Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have noticed that the 2019/20 Premier League fixtures have been released.
Many fantasy managers will have already started their planning, but which teams have the best opening fixtures? Read on as we analyse five teams with the best opening runs.
Everton – (cry/WAT/avl/WOL/bou)
Everton are the only team who don’t face a team in the top 6 in their opening 5 games. To look further down the line they only face 1 top 6 side in their first 10 games. Their only tricky tie comes in Gameweek 7 at home to Manchester City. Their difficult games come right near the end of their first batch of games through gameweek 15-18. This is ideal for managers as you can hop off for the likes of Southampton, Sheffield United or Crystal Palace players who all have a great 4 game spell.
Defensively, Everton kept the 4th highest amount of clean sheets last season, the highest outside the ‘big six’. At the start of the season Silva’s side weren’t supposed to be known for their tight defence but quite the opposite. However, come the end of the season many were proved wrong and as the season progressed grew from strength to strength.
Only 5 of Everton’s 14 clean sheets came away from home last season and 3 of their opening 5 games are on the road. The other 9 home clean sheets were on a par to champions Man City. Surprisingly Everton kept 4 out of 6 clean sheets against the ‘big 6’ at Goodison Park.
Going forward Everton were 8th highest scorers in the league as top scorers Richarlison and Siggurdson both scored 13 times.
Their opening run of games look ever so kind including 2 newly promoted side in their first six games. Palace on the opening day will be one of their toughest games; the other 2 games on the road look very favourable going forward against Aston Villa and Bournemouth. Their home tie with Wolves in Gameweek 4 may see their opponents coming off the back of a Europa League playoff game which will no doubt favour the blues.
I can see Everton assets being very popular and rightly so with that run. Lucas Digne will be a great option in defence and one of Siggurdson or Richarlison may be a good long term spot in FPL manager’s midfield.
Bournemouth – (SHU/avl/MCI/lei/EVE)
The Cherries look to have a plumb opening 2 games. They face newly promoted Sheffield United at home and up to Aston Villa in Gameweek 1 and 2. For those who like to wildcard early, Eddie Howe’s players could be very popular to help kick start their season.
Bournemouth kept 10 clean sheets last season the joint 8th best in the league. I wouldn’t expect many to be picking a Bournemouth defender unless they’re reasonably to help afford the array of premium assets. Their lack of a number 1 keeper is also a worry.
Their following 3 games do toughen up with a home game against Man City. This being their main difficult opponent. The other 2 games see them play an Everton and a Leicester side who had a great end to the season.
There will be goals in these games but the problem being who is the man to pick. Bournemouth scored the most goals outside the top 6 with 56. Wilson returned a goal or an assist 26 times, King 15 times while Fraser returned 21 times. With those 2 opening games I can’t see FPL managers ignoring at least 1 of those 3. There’s always the opportunity to move them on before the City game for a potential bargain elsewhere.
Liverpool – (NOR/sou/ARS/bur/NEW)
Liverpool have a mouth-watering run to their start of the season. With only 1 opponent in the top 6, a double or triple up looks inevitable in FPL manager’s initial teams.
Their opening 3 home games which includes Arsenal in Gameweek 3 look full of goals. Newcastle may look to sit deep and frustrate Liverpool but I can’t see any team keeping Liverpool out at this moment in time. Arsenal kept the lowest amount of clean sheet on the road last season with just 1, so this game looks as good as any opposition.
Their opening two away trips aren’t bad either with Southampton who only kept 3 clean sheets at home last season and Burnley only mustering 5. The opening run looks great for both offensively and defensively.
Gameweek 1 will see plenty of armbands on Liverpool players as they host promoted Norwich. Liverpool couldn’t have asked for a much nicer opening game on Friday night and going on previous results, it should be full of goals. At least Norwich won’t have to face Suarez again.
Pricing will play a huge part in which Liverpool assets are picked but I expect there to be plenty of triple up from the Champions of Europe. One of Salah or Mane looks essential for captaincy in the opening weeks but a key decision will be whether to double up in defence or further up the pitch considering the inevitable price hike.
A thing to point out is that Liverpool will play the UEFA Super Cup final against Chelsea in between Gameweeks 1 and 2. This is an added game before they travel to Southampton and the final takes place in Turkey on Wednesday 14th August.
Manchester City – (whu/TOT/bou/BHA/nor)
Last season’s champions open their season with a favourable run of games. They start off with 3 of their first 5 on the road.
In their previous campaign City kept 11 of their 20 clean sheets on the road, so that’s definitely not a deterrent for me. They’ve also scored more goals on the road than any other side in the league.
Gameweek 1 at the London Stadium is definitely a nice opener as City came away 4-0 winners last season. Tottenham in Gameweek 2 is City’s only game against the ‘big six’ but that won’t phase the champions as they only lost and drew once against that opposition. Their following three games against Bournemouth, Brighton and Norwich are all captain material.
Looking further down the line Man City don’t play another side from the top 6 until they travel to Anfield in gameweek 12. In that period they face 2 of the newly promoted sides. Long term their fixtures look great.
When it comes to Man City assets, fixtures aren’t that important but it’s always nicer to be against easier opposition. For example last season’s DGW35 saw City’s defence rack up hauls against Spurs and Man Utd. Much like Liverpool I’d expect managers to invest heavily in Man City assets. Out of all the premium options the top 2 from last season will be the ones to choose from based on fixtures. One of Sterling and Aguero looks quite sensible, especially with plenty of those games looking captain material.
Brighton – (wat/WHU/SOU/mci/BUR)
Brighton just make the top 5 with 3 nice home games in their opening 5. Unlike the previous 4 they don’t face a promoted side. New boss Graham Potter will be pleased with their opening games as he looks to settle into his new team.
They’ve just the one stand out game against the ‘big six’ in Manchester City during gameweek 4. Ideally you’d bench any of your Brighton players in when they travel to the Etihad.
The Seagulls travel to Watford on the opening gameweek which isn’t the easiest of away games but Watford kept just 4 clean sheets at Vicarage road. Next up they have 3 favourable home games in their next 4. West Ham, Southampton and Burnley kept 9 clean sheets between them on the road last season and were 12th or lower for goals scored away from home.
Brighton’s players should provide some budget options to help fund the heavy hitters in our sides. While their fixtures are kind, are you willing to trust the likes of Dunk and Duffy in your side? Their 3 opening home games could be used as part of a rotation plan while benching them in their away games.
Written by FPL Junior (@FPL_Junior)