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Fixtures

Frisking the Fixtures – Gameweek 16 – The Weak

Having taken stock of the teams with the kindest upcoming schedules earlier today, we now assess those sides with less promising festive matches.

The upcoming batch of fixtures, which hands six teams as many as four road trips in the next six, plays a part in our thinking, while the Gameweek 21 blank for Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United is a fresh factor to consider.

Southampton

(ARS LEI che HUD tot mun)
The Prospects – Goals
Although six goals in the last three fixtures suggest that the Saints’ attack has picked up of late, the prospect of facing four of the current top six over the coming period will surely temper any enthusiasm in their forward-thinking players.

In the short-term, back-to-back home fixtures against Arsenal and Leicester City in Gameweeks 16 and 17 shouldn’t necessarily be feared, given that they’ve managed just three clean sheets between them in away matches, although it’s difficult to class these match-ups as favourable.

The Gameweek 18 visit to Chelsea is a daunting prospect, although that is followed by a plum home fixture against a Huddersfield Town outfit that have conceded 16 goals in their last five road trips.

But Gameweeks 20 and 21 provide brutal trips to Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United.

Spurs have kept clean sheets in three of their last five at Wembley Stadium, while Jose Mourinho’s side boast the league’s tightest home defence, having only conceded once at Old Trafford.

The Prospects – Clean Sheets
Mauricio Pellegrino’s men have hardly convinced at the back, mustering just a single clean sheet in ten, and that lack of defensive returns looks likely to continue over their forthcoming schedule.

The St Mary’s meetings with Arsenal and Leicester in Gameweeks 16 and 17 seem unlikely to offer shut-outs. The Gunners are top for shots and penalty area efforts over the last four Gameweeks, while Leicester always pose a dangerous threat on the counter-attack, even if their goal potential seems muted under Claude Puel.

The trip to Chelsea in Gameweek 18 will surely see the Saints defence breached, although the visit of travel-sick Huddersfield that follows provides some respite: David Wagner’s side have failed to score in each of their last six on the road.

This stretch concludes with trips to Spurs and Man United in Gameweeks 20 and 21 – two further match-ups where defensive returns seem most unlikely.

The Turning Point
The schedule begins to ease from Gameweek 22 onwards, although Saints don’t really benefit from a prolonged run of kind fixtures throughout the rest of the campaign.

Verdict
With three of their next four home matches (HUD CRY BHA) considered favourable, there could be a case made for the in-form Charlie Austin being used as part of a rotation pairing with a cut-price defender or midfielder.

But outside of the striker, the prospect of four gruelling fixtures in the next six is likely to mean we ignore Pellegrino’s options.

Bournemouth

(cry mun LIV mci WHU EVE)
The Prospects – Goals
This six-match period begins with a reasonable trip to Crystal Palace, although the Eagles have upped their resilience of late and produced back-to-back clean sheets.

Things then turn nasty for the Cherries, as they face three of the top four in consecutive Gameweeks.

No team has conceded fewer goals this season than Man United, while the home meeting with Liverpool in Gameweek 18 provides another tough match-up.

Nonetheless, the Reds are ranked third for the most goals conceded in away matches (17), which offers hope to Eddie Howe’s attack.

The trip to the Etihad Stadium that follows in Gameweek 19 seems unlikely to yield goals. No side has given up fewer big chances this season than the Citizens (15). Howe’s men could attempt to exploit City’s weakness at set-pieces, though the Cherries have mustered just 27 attempts from dead-ball scenarios, the fewest in the league.

The schedule then eases, however, as their Gameweek 20 and 21 visitors West Ham United and Everton rank first and third respectively for goals conceded.

The Prospects – Clean Sheets
The Palace fixture also appears fairly favourable from a defensive perspective, with the Eagles failing to score in each of their last two encounters. However, Roy Hodgson’s side are a stronger prospect at Selhurst Park and have created 13 big chances from their last four home matches – only three other sides can better that tally.

It’s tough to see defensive returns from the matches that follow, with Man United, Liverpool and Man City lined up between Gameweeks 17 and 19.

United and Liverpool lead the way for goals scored over the last four Gameweeks with 12 apiece, while the City attack has stalled a little of late, but has still netted 10 times from their last four on home turf.

The West Ham clash in Gameweek 20 offers more cause for optimism, though – the Hammers have failed to score in two of their three away matches since David Moyes took charge.

But Everton’s recent resurgence, with 12 goals from their last five encounters, makes the Gameweek 21 meeting another test.

The Turning Point
Once that treacherous three-match run through mid-December is out of the way, the schedule from Gameweek 20 onwards is generally favourable all the way up to Gameweek 29.

Verdict
Bearing in mind that the tough run is fairly short-lived, Fantasy managers may elect to hold players such as Charlie Daniels through the choppy waters.

But with rotation an added concern through this congested period, Callum Wilson – who dropped to the bench only last weekend – will find it more difficult to justify a spot in our three-man forward lines in the short-term.

West Ham United

(CHE ARS stk NEW bou Blank)
The Prospects – Goals
While the Hammers may raise their game for the upcoming London derbies at home to Chelsea and Arsenal over the next two Gameweeks, Moyes’ side will be expected to struggle for goals.

The Blues have recorded clean sheets in two of their last three away matches, while Arsenal have only given up three big chances over their last four Gameweeks.

The Gameweek 18 trip to Stoke City marks the beginning of an easier spell, with the Potters only managing two shut-outs this season.

The home clash against Newcastle United in Gameweek 19 also offers cause for optimism – the Magpies have struggled to shut out opponents, shipping 12 goals over their previous four Gameweeks.

The visit to Bournemouth in Gameweek 20 could also provide some profit for the Hammers attack. Howe’s defence have generally struggled at home this season and have just two clean sheets from eight matches at the Vitality Stadium.

The Prospects – Clean Sheets
With just a pair of clean sheets at the London Stadium so far, it’s difficult to see West Ham managing to keep out either Chelsea or Arsenal over the next two Gameweeks.

Even the run that follows fails to provide a plum fixture, with Gameweek 18 opponents Stoke scoring in eight of their last nine encounters.

The Magpies match-up is probably the kindest during this stretch, although Rafa Benitez’s side have netted in each of their last three road trips.

Defensive returns could be possible at Bournemouth in Gameweek 20: Howe’s men have mustered no more than one goal in six of eight home matches.

The Turning Point
The Hammers do, of course, now face two fixtures in Gameweek 22, when they host West Brom before heading to Wembley to play Spurs, while their schedule is kind following the double.

Verdict
With tough short-term fixtures and the Gameweek 21 blank, any progress made under Moyes is unlikely to tempt Fantasy investment in the short-term.

The Double Gameweek 22 could see us consider a few budget-friendly options, such as either Joe Hart or Adrian in goal, but we’re yet to see a consistent attacking option emerge.

Also be wary of…

Tottenham Hotspur
The blank in Gameweek 21, along with back-to-back trips to Man City and Burnley in Gameweek 18-19, may persuade some to temporarily shed Harry Kane and any remaining Spurs assets prior to DGW22.

They do face three of their next five at home over the next six Gameweeks, though Wembley still provides a major stumbling block when facing sides who adopt a defensive approach.

After being rested in midweek, Kane’s performance against Stoke this weekend is likely to prove pivotal in deciding the forward’s fate during the upcoming period, particularly with Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho urging yet more funds into midfield.

Everton
While form and confidence are edging back into Everton’s camp, Sam Allardyce’s “revolution” won’t be helped by his side’s fixtures over the next six Gameweeks.

He enjoys just two matches at Goodison Park – the source of the majority of their points so far – and one of them is against Chelsea. We should be wary, then, as we’re not yet clear on the new manager’s tactics and team selection for away trips.

In that respect, Sunday’s Merseyside derby might tell us more, with the pitch-time of popular budget forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin certain to be a point of interest.

Brighton & Hove Albion
The Seagulls are another team with just two home matches in the next six.

We’ve mentioned before that their squad will be stretched over this spell, and the number of away matches won’t help Chris Hughton’s cause.

Spurs and Chelsea provide two of their away opponents and tired legs, combined with a lack of squad depth, could easily get exposed.

Home encounters against Burnley and Watford look vital, then, and could be the only source of Fantasy returns over this spell.

Budget assets such as Shane Duffy and Glenn Murray are kind on the budget and easily rotatable and could be worth holding if our squads are strong enough, though both are just one booking from a ban. Meanwhile, Pascal Gross’ 20% owners may well retain his services in light of his output so far, though the drive to upgrade our midfield may see him suffer ownership losses.

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666 Comments Post a Comment
  1. blueallthrough
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    5 days, 9 hours ago

    Kane in and captain for next two, feeling good:-)

  2. Guti14
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    5 days, 9 hours ago

    A) Coutinho & Kenny/Chilwell
    B) Ramsey & Christiansen

    Really fancy A tbh

    1. TheAbear53
      4 days, 14 hours ago

      Wrong

  3. Haugli
    5 days, 9 hours ago

    Need some help here. Got 2 FT's and 1.3 ITB, but unsure where to repair.

    De Gea / Elliot
    Azpilicueta / Duffy / Daniels (Moreno, Lowton)
    Sterling / Sane / Hazard / Salah / RLC
    Wilson / Kane (Niasse)

    Summarized i have two players not starting in Wilson, Niasse and Elliot. I also have Moreno and Lowton out injured.
    My forward 3 is bad. I'm thinking either Wilson, Sane -> Firmino/Vardy Richarlison/Ramsey.
    This way i can asses Moreno and Lowton for the next week and still have a decent lineup.

    Thoughts?

  4. Mateja
    5 days, 9 hours ago

    DDG in Ederson out? Dont want to change rest of the team but have 2fts . Yay or nay? 🙂

    1. 007 - BALEGIUM
      5 days, 8 hours ago

      No, DDG is better

      1. Sanchit
        5 days, 3 hours ago

        So why a NO?

        1. 007 - BALEGIUM
          4 days, 22 hours ago

          Sorry, I mean yes. De Gea in.

        2. TheAbear53
          4 days, 14 hours ago

          Why on earth did you ever have Ederson ?

    2. Sanchit
      5 days, 3 hours ago

      Yay

  5. FirminoIsBetterThanYou
    5 days, 8 hours ago

    Boring questions but who to captain:
    A). Hazard
    B). Kane
    C). Salah
    D). Coutinho

    1. 007 - BALEGIUM
      5 days, 8 hours ago

      Haz for me

    2. Jay Arell
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      4 days, 21 hours ago

      Going haz

    3. InItToWinIt1
      4 days, 21 hours ago

      Hazard

  6. OLLY G
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    5 days, 8 hours ago

    Start Pope or Speroni?

    1. Cowslip
      4 days, 23 hours ago

      The Pope

  7. scottmac
    5 days, 8 hours ago

    Taking weather conditions on Merseyside to one side for a minute.

    Really fancy Salah for captain this week.

    Anyone else got that same feeling?

    1. Grendos
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      5 days, 8 hours ago

      He's my VC this week with Hazard (C). Both could do well.

      1. scottmac
        5 days, 7 hours ago

        Yes, I have it the other way round. Coin flip

  8. Cowslip
    4 days, 23 hours ago

    Do I pick Mee or Richarlison this week? Or hedge bet and play both?

    1. InItToWinIt1
      4 days, 21 hours ago

      Need full team to decide. But I am playing both and assume a lot will

      1. Cowslip
        4 days, 16 hours ago

        Here goes then, cheers:

        Courtois (Speroni)
        Walker, Daniels, Dann (Mee, Hunemeier)
        Hazard, Salah, Groß, Richarlison (RLC)
        Kane, Morata, Murray

        How about now? Seems a coin toss between Mee and Rich to me

  9. El Muñeco
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    4 days, 21 hours ago

    After a couple of disastrous weeks, decided to pull the trigger on the WC. What are people's thoughts on:

    DDG, 3.9
    Kolasinac, Mee, Zeegelaar, Kenny, Mariappa/Mbemba
    Hazard, Salah, Coutinho, Richarlison, RLC
    Kane, Morata, DCL

    Obvious concerns about defence but I think the strong front 8 is worth it?

    1. Football Wizardry
      4 days, 21 hours ago

      Christiansen in defence instead of Kola. Frees up a bit more cash to upgrade another defender.

    2. Cowslip
      4 days, 16 hours ago

      Speroni instead of 3.9
      Drop Mee (late fitness test and bad fixtures)
      Agree about Christensen instead of Kola, will help you get a better mid than RLC (who's playing in an unfavoured wing position. Maybe Surman instead)
      DCL might get dropped - maybe Murray (slightly less chance of droppage)

  10. TheAbear53
    4 days, 14 hours ago

    Who is best replacement for Mustafi ?