Frisking The Fixtures – Gameweek 8 – The Strong

Some key sources of Fantasy talent are about to enjoy two or four home matches over the next six Gameweeks, while big-guns also collide for the first time. All in all, we’re about to experience a major swing in the fixtures, making this a significant time to take stock.

Our opening review finds that Manchester City have the platform to continue their sensational form, while Swansea and Brighton budget assets could prove to be decent squad enablers.

Here’s our summary of those sides with the schedule to drive Fantasy investment, together with analysis of where the points could come and when the tide turns.

Manchester City

(STK BUR wba ARS lei hud)

The Prospects – Goals
While we’ve come to expect Pep Guardiola’s side being dominant and prolific at home, they’ve actually managed as many goals on the road (11) as they have at the Etihad Stadium.

The next three away fixtures, therefore, look very promising.

West Bromwich Albion rank fifth for the most shots allowed (49) in home matches, while Leicester City have conceded five goals in their last two King Power encounters with Chelsea and Liverpool.

Huddersfield Town, meanwhile, suffered a heavy 4-0 defeat against Spurs in the first testing fixture in front of their own fans.

The home matches are also fairly strong, although Stoke City have been fairly resolute on their travels, conceding just four goals, while Arsenal claimed a credible goalless draw at Chelsea.

Burnley have been impressive on the road, remaining unbeaten, but they do rank first for total shots conceded in away matches.

The Prospects – Clean Sheets
The City defence has been hugely impressive of late, keeping four consecutive clean sheets.

Of the next six fixtures, only the Gameweek 11 meeting with Arsenal carries any level of concern given their attacking pedigree, although the Gunners are yet to score on the road.

Stoke have only netted twice away from home, creating just two big chances, but Burnley will provide tricky opposition, having found the net at Chelsea, Spurs, Liverpool and Everton.

West Brom have failed to score in two of their last three, while only four sides have managed fewer penalty area shots than Leicester (20) in home matches.

The trip to Huddersfield appears very favourable – the Terriers have blanked in four of their last five encounters.

The Turning Point
City’s enviable run of away matches continues all the way to Gameweek 21, with only a trip to Old Trafford in Gameweek 16 providing any real downside.

A trickier run begins from Gameweek 23, when City travel to Liverpool, with further difficult clashes against Arsenal and Chelsea following soon after.

With Sergio Aguero back in light training, the worries of rotation among City attackers could soon be a real concern once again. As a result, the stock of Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane has taken a slight hit in the medium term.

David Silva remains a consistent midfield option, while Nicolas Otamendi is our preferred defender, as both the most nailed-on starter and the main set-piece threat.

Swansea City

(HUD LEI ars BHA bur BOU)

The Prospects – Goals
Four enticing home fixtures in the next six should spell good news for Swans attackers, although a total of three goals in seven matches hardly encourages investment.

Huddersfield have only conceded twice in three away trips, but are without a win since Gameweek 2.

Leicester rank joint-third for the most goal conceded (seven) away from home, however, while Brighton sit fifth for the most shots faced (62).

The Bournemouth match-up also looks promising – only two clubs have conceded more big chances than the Cherries (15) this season.

The away trips appear far tougher. Arsenal have managed three consecutive shutouts at the Emirates, while Burnley have only conceded once in three home fixtures.

The Prospects – Clean Sheets
With three shut-outs so far, it’s at the back where patience in defensive assets should be rewarded, particularly given the strength of the home fixtures.

Only the Swans themselves have registered fewer close-range efforts than Huddersfield (12) in away matches, while Leicester have managed just 19 from four road trips.

The Brighton and Bournemouth home clashes are also very promising – they have both scored just once on their travels.

The away fixtures are more problematic, though, with Arsenal scoring 11 goals in four Emirates matches, while Burnley are performing well this season – although they have only netted once at Turf Moor.

The Turning Point
Swansea’s slate of strong home fixtures continues for quite some time – six of their next seven look pretty winnable.

But in general, the schedule from Gameweek 17 gradually stiffens over the festive period and into January.

A lack of creativity means that Swansea attackers are unlikely to gain much support despite the kind fixture list.

The home matches mean budget options such as Lukasz Fabianski and Kyle Naughton should continue to provide solid value, although Swansea defenders look best utilised as part of a rotation pairing – perhaps alongside a Watford or Burnley player.

The fact Fabianski leads the way for saves in Fantasy Premier League (FPL), with 29, means he could still be a viable starter on the road, particularly with Paul Clement’s men so stubborn away from home.

Brighton & Hove Albion

(EVE whu SOT swa STK mun)

The Prospects – Goals
The Seagulls’ short-term view looks very bright, with Chris Hughton appearing certain to target the next three home fixtures in order to steer clear of the bottom three.

Everton’s lack of confidence makes Sunday’s match-up a fairly reasonable one, while Southampton (eight) and Stoke (seven) both feature among the seven teams conceding the most big chances in away matches, despite only playing on the road three times apiece.

The away fixtures are less appealing, with West Ham registering clean sheets in two of their three home matches, although Swansea are yet to produce a shut-out in front of their own fans.

But a trip to Old Trafford is as difficult as they come – Jose Mourinho’s side are yet to concede on home turf.

The Prospects – Clean Sheets
With two clean sheets so far, and having only conceded nine goals, it’s the Brighton defence which is more likely to attract our interest.

The struggles of the Everton, Southampton and Stoke attacks on the road only enhance their prospects.

The Toffees have managed just one goal away from home, while Southampton and Stoke have both registered two goals apiece in three away trips.

In terms of the away fixtures, defensive returns appear unlikely at West Ham and certainly Manchester United, but Swansea have only netted once in three home fixtures and represent a reasonable match-up.

The Turning Point
Matches against Liverpool and Spurs follow in Gameweeks 15 and 17, emphasising the fact it’s only in the short-term, and in defence, where investment is likely to be rewarded.

With their set-piece threat and penchant to dominate the Bonus Points System (BPS), centre-backs Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk are our favoured defensive options.

If you own Pascal Gross, the soft schedule suggests it’s probably worth sticking with the German midfielder – he’s played a part in 80% of their goals, after all.

Also consider…

Stoke City
A fixture swing is imminent for the Potters following Saturday’s trip to Man City, though only two of their next six are at home.

But with a kindly run for quite some time, the value offered by both Stoke attackers and defenders should be exploited.

Listed as a midfielder in FPL and costing just 5.6, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is playing both as a central striker and on the left of a front three. He looks a compelling budget option, while Kevin Wimmer – providing he retains his start – will be a great defensive pick at just 4.4 in FPL.

Ryan Shawcross remains sidelined through injury, though, which may dampen their defensive potential. The Potters conceded just twice in the opening three with their skipper on board but have shipped nine in the subsequent four without him.

The Toffees remain in the midst of a better run of fixtures, although their only two home matches in the next six are tricky clashes against Arsenal and Watford.

The away fixtures are very favourable, though, with the Merseyside derby in Gameweek 16 the only real test up to the end of the year, while the home matches also improve in the medium to long-term.

Key targets remain difficult to identify, though, with form, rotation and a lack of value all concerns surrounding many of the possible options.

Gylfi Sigurdsson’s underlying numbers against Burnley at least suggests he’s worth keeping an eye on, as are frontmen Oumar Niasse or Dominic Calvert-Lewin – at 5.0, both started against the Clarets last time out.

Saints play four of their next six at St Mary’s, with all of those matches appearing winnable.

Their away fixtures from Gameweek 12 onwards are particularly evil, however, suggesting we may have to find rotation partners for their defenders, with Watford’s Kiko Femenia certainly a decent option.

But with Southampton’s regular starters setting us back at least 5.0, it’s more likely that Fantasy managers will choose to cut ties once the schedule turns unfavourably.

But in the short-term, investment in the backline should reap rewards as they’ve racked up three clean sheets already. The return of Virgil van Dijk should boost their defensive prospects, though the cheaper Cedric Soares remains our preferred pick due to the uncertainty surrounding the starting centre-backs.

Newcastle United
The main appeal of Magpies assets is their home schedule right the way up to the New Year.

Budget goalkeeper Rob Elliot can potentially work as a “one-stop shop” in goal, though a recent lack of save points is a little concerning.

While budget strikers aren’t currently in vogue, Joselu may yet remain the favoured solution should we look to investigate a cheap third forward option.

West Ham United
Slaven Bilic’s side remain in the middle of a very kind run, which turns violently in the other direction from Gameweek 14 onwards.

A run of three clean sheets in the last four could certainly be maintained over the next three Gameweeks (bur BHA cry), with Aaron Cresswell the leading candidate.

The lack of a reliable option in attack means we’re still unlikely to invest further forward.

Leicester City
While the Foxes’ immediate fixtures are inviting, the long-term outlook appears even brighter.

Their run of away matches, in particular, looks outstanding all the way up to Gameweek 20.

That should certainly play into the hands of their counter-attacking style, and is another factor that boosts the stock of Jamie Vardy.

Man City and Spurs both visit the King Power Stadium in the next seven, but the Foxes did score at home against Chelsea and Liverpool, providing another positive regarding Vardy’s prospects.

Those two encounters do slightly lessen the appeal of Leicester defenders, although the short-term fixtures could warrant investment.

Danny Simpson is kind on the budget, while Harry Maguire may be worth the extra outlay due to his set-piece threat and bonus potential – he’s already bagged a goal and two assists.

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1,785 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Nelson Vivas Fan Club
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    4 months, 13 days ago

    Why aren't Chelsea mentioned in this article? cry-WAT-bou-MUN-wba

    1. Lukedb24
        4 months, 13 days ago

        I’m shocked we are not

        1. Big_Andy_GAWA
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          4 months, 13 days ago

          It doesn't seem in the correct order! Surely WHU and Leicester should feature more prominently...?!

      • tsm
          4 months, 13 days ago

          i just dont get it either, i see hazard exploding over the next few game weeks.

          1. how now brown cow
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            4 months, 13 days ago

            Like an egg in a microwave. Again.

      • Lukedb24
          4 months, 13 days ago

          Which is a better 3some?

          1. Davies, Sterling, Vardy
          2. Van Dijk, Silva/Sane, Vardy + 0.2/3 itb
          3. Maguire, Coutinho, Vardy

          Going would be Kolasonic, Miki and Firmino.

          1. Nelson Vivas Fan Club
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            4 months, 13 days ago

            Why not Davies, Sterling, Vardy? My preferred option 😉

        • TheFantasyFootballChaps
            4 months, 13 days ago

            Swansea have some great fixtures coming up - we'd recommend snapping up Naughton or Olsson!

          • Lukedb24
              4 months, 13 days ago

              Which city mid is everyone getting in?

              Budget aside who is the best option? I can’t help but think it’s silva

            • Jigger and Pony
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              4 months, 13 days ago

              Right. Decided to go Coutinho over Hazard on WC. Anyone with me or most going Hazard?

              1. Brian (Not the Messiah)
                  4 months, 13 days ago

                  "decided" - sounds like you're ready to undecide. 😉

              2. Brian (Not the Messiah)
                  4 months, 13 days ago

                  Any news on Morata?

                  1. Over Midwicket
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    4 months, 12 days ago


                • Marcon
                    4 months, 13 days ago

                    Held off using my WC over the break and think it's best that I keep it in my pocket.

                    Any suggestions about what to do with my free transfer, 1.3 ITB

                    Foster Elliot
                    Davies Kola Jones Mee Long
                    Alli Ramsey Ritchie Gross TC
                    Kane Lukaku Vardy

                    1. ILOVEBAPS
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      4 months, 13 days ago

                      Save. Seems good. I'd like to have a Che defender though...

                  • ILOVEBAPS
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    4 months, 13 days ago

                    Before Hegazi drops what about
                    DDG /Hegazi > Fabs / Otamendi -4?
                    Hegazi / Lukaku > Luiz / Jesus -4

                  • YouShawAboutThat
                      4 months, 12 days ago

                      Who to start. Gross or Naughton?