This evening the inevitable has now been confirmed. Following Manchester City’s 9-0 aggregate victory over West Ham in the Capital One Cup, Fantasy managers are facing up to the prospect of a blank Gameweek 28 for Manuel Pellegrini’s side – the knock-on effect, of course, means we will also have a double Gameweek to consider at some point:
With City now making their way to Wembley on Sunday March 2, their currently-scheduled short hop across town to Old Trafford will be postponed and take place on an, as yet, unconfirmed date. As a result, neither Manchester side will have a fixture in Gameweek 28, meaning Fantasy managers will need to plan accordingly.
As both sides are still competing in the Champions League (and given UEFA are really dragging out the first knock-out round of the competition), there really is very little room for manoeuvre in terms of rescheduling – unless, of course, both are eliminated. At present, there are very few entirely open slots to add in an extra game (there are a couple in April and May, should the fixture planners be overly patient but these should really be “saved” for potential further upheaval).
As best as we can tell, then, there are two possible midweek slots available for this game to take place before the end of March.
Wednesday February 5 (ie, Gameweek 25) is a possibility, though a number of factors weigh against this. Given that it is so soon for such a high-profile game (in terms of policing, promotion and broadcasting rights) and that City’s Gameweek 24 home clash with Chelsea is set to take place just two days before, on Monday February 3, we reckon this is an unlikely scenario. Furthermore, that midweek period is also set aside for FA Cup replays, should City unexpectedly fail to beat Watford at the first time of asking next weekend.
If the Hornets spring a surprise and and knock Pellegrini’s side out of the cup next Saturday, the United game would almost certainly be re-arranged for the weekend of February 15-16 (ie, Gameweek 26). Somehow, though, we just don’t see that happening.
Therefore, it would seem that the likeliest date for the rescheduled Manchester derby will be Tuesday 25th or Wednesday 26th March (GW31). This scenario would give City (FUL, mun) and United (whm, MCI) for the chance to rack up the Fantasy returns but these dates, once again, are reserved for an FA Cup replay and are subject to City’s progress in the competition – basically, then, there’s still no 100% guarantee.
In layman’s terms: Manchester United versus Manchester City (GW28) will now be postponed to another Gameweek TBC. It’s most likely to occur in GW31 but this is only a guess from folks who pay close attention to the fixtures and far from a certainty. We will share an official date of the rescheduled fixture as soon as one of the clubs involved disseminate the information to us.
Beyond this fixture, United are set to finish their own Capital One Cup tie tomorrow evening at home to Sunderland. If David Moyes’ side turn their fortunes around and win there will be no further upheaval but further fixture changes would be afoot if the Wearsiders hold onto their lead as Sunderland’s Gameweek 28 clash with West Brom would be postponed.
Seeing as neither side is competing in Europe, this game could be rescheduled to pretty much any Gameweek going forward – aside from midweek Gameweek 28, due to international friendlies. We will, of course, issue an update as soon as we find out.
One thing is certain, though. Blank and double Gameweeks have returned and those who play the closest attention could have a really great advantage over their rivals as the battle for mini-league superiority heats up. As always, we’ll keep you up to date when we know more.