After analysing those sides with promising fixtures to follow over the next four-to-six Gameweeks, we turn our attentions to those with less reason for optimism.
Both Manchester sides are braced for some tricky upcoming matches, while Spurs’ top-four ambitions will also be put under scrutiny.
Meanwhile, Crystal Palace are handed an evil run of opponents that could see them struggle to navigate clear of the relegation trap door.
(EVE sot MUN liv ARS cry)
The Prospects – Goals
A visit from Everton and trip to Southampton precede a tough run of three straight fixtures that may persuade many Fantasy managers who loaded up on Spurs for double Gameweek 22 to reconsider.
Certainly, this weekend’s visit from Everton still looks promising – the Toffees, after all, have conceded more shots (81) than any side over the last four Gameweeks.
Southampton, meanwhile, have recorded just one clean sheet in their last 11 outings at St Mary’s and will clearly struggle to rebuff Mauricio Pochettino’s attack.
After that, however, things turn nasty for the north London side, with home encounters against Man United and Arsenal bookending a Gameweek 26 visit to Anfield.
Nonetheless, it’s worth noting that the Red Devils have just one shut-out in their last seven road trips, while Arsenal have been similarly porous away from home, with a pair of clean sheets in their previous eight.
The trip to Anfield looks the toughest of those three, then, given that Jurgen Klopp’s side boast the most impressive home defensive record, with just four goals against.
Spurs will have no fears over the visit to Selhurst Park in Gameweek 28, however; the Eagles have a single home clean sheet to their name, though that was, admittedly, due to an impressive rearguard display against Man City on New Year’s Eve.
Given that Man City, Arsenal and Man United could all lose their Gameweek 28 fixtures, Spurs could be a valuable source of attacking points at this point.
The Prospects – Clean Sheets
This weekend’s Everton encounter looks a likely source of defensive returns. Sam Allardyce’s side are ranked bottom for shots (30), efforts on target (four) and goals (one) in the last four Gameweeks, though the arrival of Cenk Tosun is expected to boost their flagging attack if they can provide him with service.
The trip to St Mary’s affords Spurs the chance to claim a third successive away shutout. Although the Saints have scored in six of their last seven at home, they have netted more than a single goal on just one of those occasions.
Having managed just four clean sheets at Wembley, those head-to-heads with Man United and Arsenal don’t look too conducive to defensive returns. The Red Devils have scored at least twice in each of their last five on the road, while the Gunners have notched in all but one of their last eight away matches.
A visit to Liverpool’s rampant attack in between those matches is even less enticing. After that, Palace’s home record suggests that a clean sheet will be hard to come by at Selhurst Park – the Eagles have netted twice in seven of their last eight home matches.
The Turning Point
That Gameweek 28 trip to Palace kick-starts a very kind run-in for Pochettino’s side.
Over the final 11 rounds of fixtures, they are set to face just three of the current top eight – this involves a trip to Chelsea in Gameweek 32 and home clashes against Man City (Gameweek 34) and Leicester (Gameweek 38).
Owners of Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and Son Heung-min may be looking for an exit route in light of those Gameweek 25-27 fixtures, particularly for those already holding Harry Kane.
However, Spurs’ run of matches over Gameweek 28-38 suggests a double-up option could pay off – in terms of attacking potential, they are ranked top by our season ticker for that period.
(BUR ars whu NEW eve TOT)
The Prospects – Goals
Similar to Spurs, the Eagles square up to four of the top nine in the upcoming six Gameweeks.
As mentioned above, Roy Hodgson’s men have been a consistent source of goals in front of their own fans but that record could be put to the test against Burnley this weekend. Only Chelsea and both Manchester clubs – ie, the top three – have scored more than one goal at home to Sean Dyche’s side.
The trip to Arsenal also looks problematic – the Gunners have conceded just one goal in six home matches against teams outside the top eight this term.
However, their visit to West Ham immediately afterwards is more appealing – David Moyes’ men have allowed more shots in the box (47) than any side in the previous four Gameweeks. Palace, meanwhile, have netted six times in their last three on the road.
You also have to fancy them at home to a Newcastle outfit with a single clean sheet in their last nine in away matches.
A visit to Goodison Park will prove more testing, with Everton conceding just three times in their last five at home. That precedes the head-to-head with Spurs at Selhurst Park.
The Prospects – Clean Sheets
(BUR ars whu NEW eve TOT)
After shocking us all by claiming a first home clean sheet of the season against Man City, Hodgson’s men have the chance to immediately add another – this weekend’s visitors Burnley have failed to score in three of their last four on the road.
Silencing Arsenal at the Emirates is another story altogether, though – only Man City have scored more home goals than the Gunners (39 to 27).
Similarly, their clash with West Ham at the London Stadium will cause problems. The Hammers have scored in seven of their last eight league matches, netting against the likes of Man City, Chelsea and Spurs.
Their Gameweek 26 visitors Newcastle have struggled for a cutting edge of late – only Swansea have fired fewer efforts in the box (17 to 22) in the last four Gameweeks. Nonetheless, the Magpies have been consistent on their travels, scoring in five of their last six road trips.
As discussed in the Spurs section above, the Everton attack has been far from impressive of late, yet the arrival of Cenk Tosun could transform their fortunes in the final third.
Following that, keeping out Harry Kane and co looks beyond the Eagles in Gameweek 28.
The Turning Point
Palace’s fortunes in the medium-term look anything but favourable, with a trio of testing fixtures (MUN che LIV) in the four Gameweeks following this six-match stretch.
From Gameweek 33-38, though, they are handed a very kind run-in that could well prove pivotal to their hopes of beating the drop.
With the injuries mounting in defence and midfield, Palace offer next-to-no appeal right now.
With a goal or assist in six of his last eight home appearances, Wilfried Zaha has been the only asset worth considering, yet with Burnley, Spurs, Man United and Liverpool four of the next five to visit Selhurst Park, his potential will be put to the test.
That schedule suggests that Palace will approach the final six fixtures with everything still to play for, which could bring Zaha and Christian Benteke into the frame as they bid to steer clear of the bottom three.
Also be wary of…
While the league leaders’ three home matches (NEW WBA LEI) hold considerable appeal at both ends of the pitch, they are also braced for a trio of tough road trips, with visits to Liverpool, Burnley and Arsenal.
Although you’d still back them to get among the goals against any opponent, the goalless draw at Selhurst Park – which was the first time this season they have failed to score – may deter some from loading up on their attack.
Raheem Sterling remains their most consistent source of points and continues to offer excellent value, though Sergio Aguero’s stock is on the rise after Gabriel Jesus was ruled out through injury. Pep Guardiola stated again today that he expects the Brazilian back in “two to three weeks”, with the first leg Champions League tie with Basel surely the target.
In defence, while, their total of seven away clean sheets is more than any side, Liverpool and Arsenal’s home attacking form suggests that it may only be their Turf Moor visit that could benefit Nicolas Otamendi owners.
City’s progress in the Carabao Cup is another factor to consider. If, as expected, they defeat Bristol City and clinch a place in the final, their visit to Arsenal would move out of Gameweek 28 and be subject to rescheduling, leaving them with a blank prior to the Chelsea clash.
Jose Mourinho’s side also offer up a mixed schedule.
A tally of eight clean sheets at home should be boosted by visits from Stoke and Huddersfield, while they’ll be heavily backed at St James’ Park in Gameweek 27, where Newcastle have failed to score in five of the last six.
David De Gea and Phil Jones owners can expect further points, while Jesse Lingard has the form to profit in the final third.
However, United also have trips to Burnley and Spurs and a visit from Chelsea on their agenda.
Mourinho’s penchant for parking the bus against his rivals may well dent Lingard’s prospects in those match-ups, with the defence perhaps their most reliable source of returns.
Similar to Man City, United could also be without a Gameweek 28 match. If Chelsea defeat Arsenal in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup, their Gameweek 28 visit to Old Trafford would require rescheduling and could be moved to another round of fixtures.