With all but two of the eight FA Cup quarter finalists now decided, we thought it was timely to take a look at the potential fixture congestion that may resultantly ensue. At present, there are still a multitude of possibilities regarding fixture rescheduling – we pick through many of the scenarios to hopefully offer a little more clarity to the current situation, as the Gameweek 29 programme begins to fall away.
The draw for the Sixth Round is listed below in full. Everton’s Fifth Round replay with Oldham will take place on Wednesday February 27 – the same evening as Chelsea’s trip to Middlesbrough.
FA Cup Sixth Round Draw
Everton/Oldham v Wigan
Manchester City v Barnsley
Manchester United v Middlesbrough/Chelsea
Millwall v Blackburn
Ties to be played on the weekend of March 9 and 10
Gameweek 29 Matches Potentially at Risk
Arsenal v Everton: Saturday March 9
With the Gunners knocked out of the cup by Blackburn last weekend, their home clash with Everton would go ahead as scheduled if the Toffees were to also taste defeat against Oldham. If David Moyes’ men clinch a place in the final eight, however, this one will need to be moved to another Gameweek. The reason being is that Arsenal travel to Bayern Munich the following midweek (Wednesday March 13) for the second leg of their Champions League head-to-head, thus leaving no midweek alternative date within Gameweek 29.
Manchester City v Wigan Saturday March 9
There’s a lot more leeway with this one. City have no European commitments whatsoever after finishing bottom of their Champions League group. The match could conceivably stay within the confines of the Gameweek and simply moved into the following Tuesday or Wednesday, though there’s nothing set in stone to suggest this will be the case. At present, though, this has been removed from the Gameweek 29 in the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) game.
West Ham United v Manchester United Saturday March 9
This fixture could potentially be a little trickier to judge. Unlike the above-mentioned matches, it was due to be screened live as the opening match of the Gameweek. United have no European games the following midweek, suggesting the fixture could be moved along to the Tuesday or Wednesday and remain within Gameweek 29 – if tv companies still wish to show this one live, the rescheduled date may come down to whether they can sort the situation out in time for a midweek date.
Another factor here, however, is the situation in the Chelsea v Middlesbrough tie. If the first game finishes as a draw, then the replay will likely take place during the Gameweek 29 weekend. If Chelsea win at the second time of asking, their Sixth Round trip to United could then be rescheduled for the midweek of Gameweek 29, thus denying both clubs a league fixture. Similar to the City vs Wigan match, this was also been removed from the Gameweek 29 schedule earlier today.
Fulham v Chelsea Sunday March 10
Of all the fixtures, this looks the biggest conundrum – from a Fantasy perspective, a win for Middlesbrough at the first attempt would solve all our worries. There are many factors involved here – Chelsea are playing catch-up with their FA Cup schedule and also have Europa League fixtures to consider. As mentioned above, if Rafa Benitez’s side beat Middlesbrough at the first attempt, they would then play their Sixth Round match at United on the Gameweek 29 weekend, while a draw against Boro would mean the replay takes place on March 9-10 at Stamford Bridge instead and could move the Sixth Round match with United to the midweek of Gameweek 29 – as a result, Chelsea could be without a league match if this scenario transpired.
Chelsea’s progress in the Europa League plays a major part in determining whether the league trip to Fulham can be rescheduled for the following midweek. The Blues are 1-0 up on Sparta Prague from the first leg of their last 32 showdown, however, and if they clinch progress to the last 16 this Thursday, Benitez’s side then face up to either Ajax or Steaua Bucharest. The dates for those games are March 7 and March 14, though; that second leg date would cancel any chance of Chelsea having a midweek Gameweek 29 fixture if they avoid defeat at Middlesbrough. In addition, the fact that their game at the Cottage was also set to be televised live may play a part when the authorities look to sort a rescheduled date – with so many factors to consider, then, it’s impossible to ascertain just when that would be right now.
For now, Fantasy managers need to be aware of the possible fallout, while we keep you informed on any decisions made regarding the rescheduling. It’s clear that Gameweek 29 could prove pivotal over the next month, with few of us likely to remain immune to the impact of the potential postponements.