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Fixtures

Frisking The Fixtures – Gameweek 8 – The Weak

A number of title rivals collide over the next few Gameweeks, ensuring that four of the “big six” teams face more testing schedules.

But in almost all cases, they emerge from those tricky spells to be graced with far more appealing fixtures, meaning that we need to make plans now, while remaining wary of another “swing” to come.

Having examined the teams with the most promising schedules yesterday, we now shift our attention to those with upcoming matches that suggest tougher times ahead.

Manchester United

(liv hud TOT che NEW BHA)

The Prospects – Goals
With matches against Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea in the next four, this is undoubtedly the sternest test of Manchester United’s form and title credentials.

Although Liverpool have conceded 12 goals in total, only one of those has come at Anfield, while Spurs have let in two goals in four away matches, providing another obstacle for Man United’s attack.

Chelsea have conceded just a single goal in their last three at Stamford Bridge, so while the trip to Huddersfield Town provides some respite in the short-term – the Terriers shipped four goals in their last home match – the potential of Jose Mourinho’s attacking charges does seem limited.

A kinder run starts from Gameweek 12, although Brighton & Hove Albion and, in particular, Newcastle United, have impressed defensively – no team has allowed fewer shots from inside the penalty area in away matches than the Magpies (15).

The Prospects – Clean Sheets
We could barely have asked for more from United defenders over the opening seven Gameweeks, with Mourinho’s backline keeping a hugely impressive six clean sheets.

But they will face far bigger tests from those three title challengers during the coming period.

Liverpool lead the way for total shots with 137, while Spurs have scored more goals in away matches (12) than any other side.

Chelsea have failed to score at home to both Arsenal and Manchester City, but will present another difficult fixture.

The combination of form, and the fact that Huddersfield have failed to score in four of their last five, means it may be worth keeping faith in members of Man United’s rearguard, though.

Additionally, both Newcastle and Brighton have only scored one goal apiece away from home, providing further reason for optimism.

The Turning Point
Matches against Arsenal and Man City also loom just after this spell, before the schedule eases heading into the festive period and the New Year. However, the brief run of favourable fixtures from Gameweek 12 (NEW BHA wat) will be seen as a window to re-invest.

Verdict
Given his form and the potential absence of Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Morata, Romelu Lukaku could remain locked in our forward lines, despite the schedule of opponents.

But doubling up on the Man United attack during this period appears to be risk, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, in particular, appearing vulnerable.

The value offered by Phil Jones means his owners are likely to keep the faith – providing he can shake off the ongoing concerns on his fitness.

West Bromwich Albion

(lei sot MCI hud CHE tot)

The Prospects – Goals
The Baggies have scored just six goals so far, with just four from open play. Subsequently, we rarely turn to Tony Pulis’ squad for attacking options and that remains the case now that they face just two home fixtures in the next six.

Those Hawthorns encounters are also with Man City and Chelsea, who have been very strong defensively away from home.

Chelsea have only let in two goals in three away matches, while City have conceded just once on their travels.

The four away tests do little to brighten the mood.

Leicester City perhaps provide the most favourable opposition, having conceded five goals in three King Power Stadium outings, although Chelsea and Liverpool were among the opponents.

Southampton have registered three clean sheets this season and should be stronger now that Virgil van Dijk is back in the starting XI, while Huddersfield had kept out Newcastle and Southampton at home before yielding against Spurs.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men provide the final opposition on West Brom’s current slate and, having produced a first Wembley shutout against Swansea City in Gameweek 5, are another side likely to severely restrict the Baggies’ attack.

The Prospects – Clean Sheets
Pulis’ men capitalised on a kind early season schedule to record three shutouts over the opening seven Gameweeks, but they could dry up during this spell.

In terms of the home fixtures, both Man City and Chelsea feature among the top four teams for away goals scored, with 11 and eight respectively, making defensive returns very unlikely.

Of the four away matches, the trips to Southampton and Huddersfield may offer some hope.

Saints have failed to score in three of their four home encounters, while the Terriers’ attack has not impressed since scoring three on the opening weekend.

Leicester have scored five goals in three home matches, while Spurs will also be difficult to keep at bay, particularly if they get over their issues at Wembley by the time the two teams meet in Gameweek 13.

The Turning Point
West Brom face three kind fixtures between Gameweeks 14 and 16 before the schedule stiffens again, severely limiting the appeal of Baggies assets until the New Year.

Verdict
Those who own both Ben Foster and Rob Elliot may look to bench the West Brom stopper for the majority of this spell.

Baggies defenders could be the subject of sales, although their set-piece threat may just be a saving grace.

Huddersfield Town

(swa MUN liv WBA bou MCI)

The Prospects – Goals
As already mentioned, the Terriers’ attack has been underwhelming since the 3-0 win at Crystal Palace, with the upcoming fixtures doing little to brighten their prospects.

The trip to struggling Swansea on Saturday appears crucial and the most likely source of goals during this run – the Swans defence has been breached seven times in three matches at the Liberty Stadium.

Clashes with Man United and Liverpool will really limit the potential of the Huddersfield attack, while the fact that West Brom have shipped five goals on their last two away trips offers some hope.

Elsewhere on their slate, Bournemouth rank third for the most penalty area shots conceded in home matches, with 33, but they produced a first clean sheet of the season against Leicester last time out.

David Wagner’s side end their run with a trip to face a Man City defence that has so far impressed, conceding the fewest shots (45) and on target efforts (13).

The Prospects – Clean Sheets
With defensive points very unlikely against Man United, Liverpool and Man City, particularly based on the 4-0 defeat to Spurs, the potential for Huddersfield defenders already appears limited.

The Swansea clash again looks crucial, with Paul Clement’s men restricted to just a single goal in three home matches.

West Brom’s lack of attacking spark also offers some hope – the Baggies rank fourth from bottom for total shots in home encounters.

Managing to create just four big chances across four home fixtures, Bournemouth’s attack is failing to click, so the Gameweek 12 meeting is another where the Terriers could find some joy.

The Turning Point
Huddersfield face further tests against Arsenal and Chelsea before Gameweek 17, cementing the fact there is little appeal in owning any of their assets.

But a kind run over the festive period and the New Year should see the Terriers provide a good source for budget options once again.

Verdict
Those who own Huddersfield defenders may be tempted to hold given they face three reasonable fixtures in the next five, particularly if more pressing transfers need to be made.

But attacking points will surely remain scarce, making players such as Aaron Mooy surplus to requirements.

Also be wary of…

Watford
In the short-term, clashes against Arsenal and Chelsea limit the appeal of Hornets assets.

The Gunners do have some injury concerns in defence, so Richarlison could continue his red-hot form, with the easing schedule between Gameweeks 10 and 14 (STO eve WHU new) further enhancing his prospects.

The lack of any plum fixtures dents the appeal of any Watford defenders, with a more promising run from Gameweek 16 onwards appearing more conducive to clean sheets, bringing Kiko Femenia onto the radar.

Arsenal
A home meeting with Swansea in Gameweek 10 is the only really favourable fixture in the next six, so there appears limited upside for Gunners assets.

A visit to Man City and the north London derby are the main stumbling blocks, while trips to Watford, Everton and Burnley also look tricky.

Arsene Wenger’s side have relied heavily on their home form for Fantasy points, so the fact that Spurs, Man United and Liverpool all visit the Emirates before Gameweek 20 is a concern.

Caution looks advisable, and there are certainly worthy alternatives to Arsenal’s premium options during this spell.

Tottenham Hotspur
The next six fixtures (BOU LIV mun CRY ars WBA) are the definition of a mixed bag.

Saturday’s clash against Bournemouth appears crucial in convincing Fantasy managers that Spurs players can produce at Wembley, given that their home fixtures are so favourable all the way up to Gameweek 23.

Harry Kane’s blistering form means he should remain a leading forward option, but Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli can perhaps be sacrificed during this run if they fail to deliver this weekend.

Ben Davies’ potential to bring in points at both ends of the pitch should mean he can still thrive over the next six Gameweeks, though much could depend on how quickly Danny Rose gets up to speed following his recent return to full training.

Liverpool
The Reds face difficult tests against Man United, Spurs and Chelsea in the next six, although the run between Gameweeks 10 and 18 is generally kind, barring home meetings with Chelsea and, to a lesser extent, Everton.

Once the next two matches are out of the way, they look certain to drop straight back into “The Strong” in our weekly fixture assessment.

Facing United and Spurs without Sadio Mane is a major blow, although Liverpool have historically fared well against top-six rivals under Jurgen Klopp.

But it may be time to only go with one Reds attacker, be that Mohamed Salah or Philippe Coutinho, with Roberto Firmino now seemingly dispensable.

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811 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Batigol
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    9 days, 21 hours ago

    Flippin’ international break... Thought I’d come through unscathed until the Kolasinac news. Sounds like he should be okay to play though so fingers crossed.

  2. Ëð
    9 days, 21 hours ago

    Hey folks, would like some advice on this line up:

    Foster, Elliot Otamendi, Daniels, Simpson, Cedric, Mariappa
    Salah, Alli, Silva, Richarlison, Carroll
    Kane, Lukaku, Rodriguez

    1FT, £0.2 ITB, WC still available. What would you go with here:

    A) WC to fix up mostly defence, and help work Rodriguez out of the team
    B) Rodriguez -> Joselu
    C) Save
    D) Other

    1. Gregor
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      9 days, 21 hours ago

      Roll it.

    2. Ryssel
      9 days, 19 hours ago

      Get in Joselu for now... I think you can fix it over a few weeks, your team doesn't look that bad.

  3. jimmy.floyd
    9 days, 21 hours ago

    Ditch Bailly or Kolasinac?

    1. Rajveer
      9 days, 21 hours ago

      Bailly

  4. New Post
    1. Gregg Wallace
      9 days, 21 hours ago

      cheers

  5. fish66
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    9 days, 21 hours ago

    (A) Firmino & Mkhi -> Vardy & Sterling -4
    (B) Firmino & Mkhi -> Vardy & Sane -4
    (C) Anything else

  6. camarozz
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    9 days, 21 hours ago

    So save ft?? Or shake it up a bit this week??

    Elliot,
    Jones, Cedric, Davies
    Ramsey, Antonio, Ritchie, Eriksen
    Lukaku, Vardy, kane (c)

    (ryan,Suttner, T.carrol, long)

    Also have my WC which is a first at this stage of season.

  7. Rajveer
    9 days, 21 hours ago

    Need help guys...alrdy on -8 by bringing in
    Vardy for Firmino
    Kane for Lacazette &
    Sterling for Mkhi...
    Now have 0.1 itb..team:-

    Fabianski
    Kolasinac Naughton Cedric Jones
    Sterling Eriksen Salah
    Kane Morata* Vardy

    Elliot Atsu Goldson RLC

    If Morata is out which is most likely I dnt find any suitable replacement... What to do??

    1. Johnny Leghorn
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      9 days, 18 hours ago

      Learn not to take so many hits especially in an international period.
      Why did you take out 2 fit strikers and leave the injured one?
      Don't do anything more. Play Atsu.
      You might find Morata is back in a couple of weeks so you can hold.
      I'd ease off on the trigger finger if I was you. You'll have bad weeks. Taking another 8 points off your score doesn't help.

  8. Fred the Red
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    9 days, 20 hours ago

    Wasn’t Kane at nearly 100% to rise? How/why did he go back down to 95%?

    1. potatoBoyde
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      9 days, 19 hours ago

      Try tracking Mbemba. he's been rising and resetting every week since gw1 despite net transfers always on the rise.

      Basically crack the code is still finding its feet.

  9. The Blue Zone
    9 days, 18 hours ago

    Best combination from the following?

    A: Alonso, Loftus-Cheek, Otamendi
    B: Azpi, Doucoure, Stones
    C: Luiz, Groß, Otamendi

    *Midfielders to be used as rotation options.

    1. Twisted Saltergater
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      9 days, 18 hours ago

      A

  10. Sims
    9 days, 15 hours ago

    any word on jones?