Welcome to my latest installment of the FPL Fixture Analysis here on FPL Updates. This is a look at the best upcoming games of teams and players – from a fantasy perspective – from all four corners of the Premier League table. Hopefully you navigated your way relatively unscathed through last week’s measly fixture list and are looking forward to a full week of action starting on Saturday.
What’s written below is subject to change, with 11 fixtures needing to be rearranged into the calendar at some point. This means that any team mentioned’s “next five” games could potentially alter.
Current Top Five
Out of Europe and with an FA Cup semi final against Chelsea to come, Tottenham have five scheduled league fixtures before that Wembley date on April 22/23. Harry Kane owners would’ve watched Sunday’s cup quarter final with Millwall feeling uneasy at the prospect of the England striker being out injured, particularly with the favourable run of games Spurs have coming up. After hosting Southampton this Sunday, they have two away games at Burnley and Swansea City to kick off April with. Watford and Bournemouth then both visit White Hart Lane before their last four date with Antonio Conte’s men. With Kane out, I’d advise against believing Vincent Janssen (7.5m) will be a shoo-in to take his place. For that price, there are far better striking options at other, lower positioned clubs that are worth bringing in. Should you decide to go with a Rondon (6.6m) or Gabbiadini (6.8m) a rejig in your midfield may be required. There, Son Hueng-Min (6.8m) looks a steal to me, with goalscoring potential and the ability to pick up a clean sheet point here or there too. Son was superb the last time Kane was missing – arguably better when he’s the leading man rather than playing second fiddle to the league’s joint top goalscorer. Danny Rose’s (5.9m) injury is also worth keeping tabs on, as Ben Davies (4.7m) has been improving and is crucially available for over a million pound cheaper. If Rose is out for another few weeks, Davies could be a shrewd pickup.
Manchester United were the featured side here when I last wrote this column a fortnight ago. Since then however, there priorities may have changed slightly, so continuing with their players comes with some caution now. Their fixtures are mostly nice; Middlesbrough (A), West Brom (H), Everton (H), Sunderland (A) and Chelsea (H), with just that last one sticking out as a really difficult task. But since last time – pre-Bournemouth – Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been suspended, United have gone out of the FA Cup and they’ve bagged themselves an away goal in their Europa League clash with Rostov. Personally I think Jose Mourinho will be looking at that European competition in two lights. Firstly, it represents a continental trophy – their first for nine years. Secondly, it may be their best chance of reaching next year’s Champions League, with Liverpool and Manchester City pulling away slightly in the top four race. Granted, United have games in hand, but I would proceed with caution through this period when selecting your players. With Zlatan out for two more games, Marcus Rashford (6.4m) all of a sudden looks appealing if you do decide to risk it – remember the Swede can play in Europe so there’s more chance of Rashford starting the league games. Though grossly unglamorous, Marouane Fellaini (5.8m) might (and I say might) be an option because he’s cheap and well, erm… *something negative about Jose’s tactics sometimes/occasionally here*.
Bar Leicester City, everybody else in this part of the table faces a top six team within their next five – unless of course the Foxes’ clash with Arsenal is rearranged for this period. This makes their upcoming portion of games most appealing, especially when coupled with the start they’ve made under caretaker/interim boss Craig Shakespeare. On Saturday they go away to West Ham United, before back to back home games with Stoke City and Sunderland. A tricky trip to Goodison Park and Everton is next before they go to Crystal Palace on April 15th. After Jamie Vardy (9.6m) stepped up in a win over Liverpool, Riyad Mahrez (8.9m) and Christian Fuchs (5.2m) – two more of last year’s stars – were in the goals in the last victory against Hull City. If Shakespeare can help rediscover some of the form from these under-performers (by last year’s standards), then the champions will pull safe of the drop zone quickly. Under him, they’ve already picked up six points from two matches. One quick note would be to say that Shinji Okazaki (5.6m) looks to be a favourite of Shakespeare, who has picked him from the start in those two games, though it should be noted that he’s finished neither game. The Japanese forward isn’t considered a regular goal threat but he might end up a nice option for when the Foxes play their DGWs, particularly if he remains in the side.
You can’t help but feel it’s now or never time for David Moyes, both for Sunderland and his future managerial prospects in England’s top flight. Of all of the clubs at the bottom of the table, arguably only Middlesbrough look in worse shape right now. The Black Cats looked brilliant when they disposed of Crystal Palace at the beginning of February, but since then they’ve lost three on the bounce without scoring. If both the club and Moyes are to survive, the revival must start here. First up is Burnley at home, the go-to game you need if you’re desperate for three points. In fairness, the Clarets’ performances on the road have improved lately – scoring goals included – but they’re still without a win away from Turf Moor all season. This is followed by two away games, at Watford and then Leicester. Moyes’ old club Manchester United then visit the Stadium of Light before another home game against West Ham. At this point in the season, there are very few names in the Sunderland team that are going to come from nowhere and save your FPL team, but the usual suspects like Jermain Defoe (7.7m), Lamine Kone (4.4m), Jordan Pickford (4.1m) and perhaps Adnan Januzaj (5.3m) are all worth considering as outside options.
Good luck for the game week ahead.
Written by Joe McPhee (@JPMc99)