The first Double Gameweek of the season is just around the corner, with Liverpool and West Ham United enjoying two fixtures in Gameweek 24 thanks to the postponement of their Premier League clash in December.
It won’t be the last bit of disruption to the fixture schedule this season, of course.
We’ve already had a mini-Blank Gameweek in December because of Liverpool’s involvement in the FIFA Club World Cup and we are likely only six weeks from another, with the final of the EFL Cup set to be contested on the same weekend as Gameweek 28 in the Premier League.
Blank Gameweek 28
The two Premier League games postponed in Gameweek 28 are Manchester City v Arsenal and Aston Villa v Sheffield United.
We are still yet to learn when those games will now take place.
Blank Gameweek 31
Gameweek 31 will be a blank for some top-flight teams, with the FA Cup quarter-finals set to take place on the same weekend.
Given that the international break immediately follows these games, there is no chance of any postponed fixtures being held in the following midweek.
Blank/Double Gameweek 34
Gameweek 34 looks set to be an unusual one.
While some teams will possibly be without a Premier League match due to the clash with the FA Cup semi-finals, there is also a free midweek afterwards.
It could potentially end up being a Double Gameweek for a handful of sides, then, while other clubs may have just one or indeed no match at all.
That will all depend on earlier cup-influenced postponements.
Double Gameweek 37
Any outstanding fixtures would then be contested in Double Gameweek 37, given that all the other midweek dates that follow scheduled Premier League fixtures are affected by European club competition or the March international break.
There are other possibilities beyond that (Triple Gameweeks etc)- but we’ll keep it fairly simple for now.
Forward-planning is not just about navigating the blanks and doubles, of course, but factoring in which top-flight sides have a congested fixture schedule around their league games.
Involvement in European club competition could have an impact on rotation from Gameweek 26 onwards: the two Manchester clubs, Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea, Wolves and Arsenal recommence their UEFA Champions League/Europa League campaigns in mid-to-late February.
The winter break should offer some respite for Premier League sides, although it will be tough to navigate from a Fantasy perspective as the Gameweek 26 fixtures are spread out over ten days.
A dozen teams are in action a week or so after the FPL deadline for Gameweek 26, which means that Fantasy managers will have to keep their fingers crossed for injuries not occurring the interim.
We’ve cobbled together a calendar for the remaining Gameweeks of the 2019/20 season, though in some cases (Premier League fixtures from Gameweek 29 onwards, FA Cup from the fifth round onwards) the dates are subject to change due to the whims of the relevant television broadcasters.
It should also be stressed that the future Blank/Double Gameweeks after Gameweek 24 have not yet been confirmed by the Premier League and won’t be for a little while yet – but this would appear to be the itinerary at this early stage:
|Dates||Premier League||Other fixtures|
|Sat Jan 18 – Sun Jan 19||Gameweek 23|
|Tue Jan 21 – Thu Jan 29||Double Gameweek 24||FA Cup third round replay|
Jan 23: Tranmere v Watford
|Fri Jan 24 – Mon Jan 27||FA Cup fourth round|
|Tue Jan 28 – Wed Jan 29||EFL Cup semi-final, 2nd legs|
Jan 28: Aston Villa v Leicester
Jan 29: Man City v Man Utd
|Sat Feb 1 – Sun Feb 2||Gameweek 25|
|Tue Feb 4 – Wed Feb 5||FA Cup fourth round replays|
|Sat Feb 8 – Mon Feb 17||Gameweek 26 (split across two weekends)||(Winter break)|
|Tue Feb 18 – Thu Feb 20||Champions League/Europa League|
Feb 18: Atletico Madrid v Liverpool
Feb 19: Spurs v RB Leipzig
Feb 20: Bruges v Man Utd + Olympiakos v Arsenal + Wolves v Espanyol
|Sat Feb 22 – Mon Feb 24||Gameweek 27|
|Tue Feb 25 – Thu Feb 27||Champions League/Europa League|
Feb 25: Chelsea v Bayern
Feb 26: Real Madrid v Man City
Feb 27: Man Utd v Bruges + Arsenal v Olympiakos + Espanyol v Wolves
|Fri Feb 28 – Sun Mar 1||Blank Gameweek 28||Mar 1: EFL Cup final (AVL v MCI)|
|Tue Mar 3 – Wed Mar 4||FA Cup fifth round|
|Sat Mar 7 – Sun Mar 8||Gameweek 29|
|Tue Mar 10 – Thu Mar 12||Champions League/Europa League|
Mar 10: RB Leipzig v Spurs
Mar 11: Liverpool v Atletico Madrid
Mar 12: Europa League last 16, 1st leg
|Sat Mar 14 – Sun Mar 15||Gameweek 30|
|Tue Mar 17 – Thu Mar 19||Champions League/Europa League|
Mar 17: Man City v Real Madrid
Mar 18: Bayern v Chelsea
Mar 19: Europa League last 16, 2nd leg
|Sat Mar 21 – Sun Mar 22||Blank Gameweek 31||FA Cup quarter-finals|
|Wed Mar 25 – Tue Mar 31||Internationals|
|Sat Apr 4 – Sun Apr 5||Gameweek 32|
|Tue Apr 7 – Thu Apr 9||Champions League/Europa League|
Apr 7-8: Champs Lge, QFs, 1st leg
Apr 9: Europa League, QFs, 1st leg
|Sat Apr 11 – Sun Apr 12||Gameweek 33|
|Tue Apr 14 – Thu Apr 16||Champions League/Europa League|
Apr 14-15: Champs Lge, QFs, 2nd leg
Apr 16: Europa League, QFs, 2nd leg
|Sat Apr 18 – Sun Apr 19||Blank/Double Gameweek 34||FA Cup semi-finals|
|Tue Apr 21 – Wed Apr 22|
|Sat Apr 25 – Sun Apr 26||Gameweek 35|
|Tue Apr 28 – Thu Apr 30||Champions League/Europa League|
Apr 28-29: Champs Lge, SFs, 1st leg
Apr 30: Europa League, SFs, 1st leg
|Sat May 2 – Sun May 3||Gameweek 36|
|Tue May 5– Thu May 7||Champions League/Europa League|
May 5-6: Champs Lge, SFs, 2nd leg
May 7: Europa League, SFs, 2nd leg
|Sat May 9 – Sun May 10||Double Gameweek 37|
|Tue May 12 – Wed May 13|
|Sun May 17||Gameweek 38|
The FA Cup, Europa League and Champions League finals take place after the Premier League season ends, on Saturday May 24, Wednesday May 27 and Saturday May 30 respectively.
Early Thoughts on Chip Strategy
There’ll be more focus on chip strategy once we have ascertained the fixtures in the bigger Blank/Double Gameweeks to come but there’ll be lots of Fantasy managers considering using their Triple Captain chip in the first Double Gameweek of the season – the deadline for which is next Tuesday.
FPL bosses haven’t had the chance to deploy this chip on a Liverpool asset since 2015/16 and there will be a huge temptation to use it on Mohamed Salah (£12.3m) or Sadio Mane (£12.4m), among others.
Such is the uncertainty about future postponements, then we can’t really say whether there’ll be a better chance to use it in 2019/20.
Those who still have their Bench Boost chips will of course be eyeing up Double Gameweek 34 or 37 but there is, unlike last season, some breathing room in between the blanks and doubles for those who have already used it.
The Free Hit chip could potentially be used in Blank Gameweek 31 but, given that we will have a little bit of time to prepare for it, that set of fixtures could feasibly be navigated around with careful use of free transfers (and perhaps a hit).
When to use the second Wildcard is another discussion point and again, once the Blank/Double Gameweek picture becomes clearer, we will revisit the various options for this chip – some point after Blank Gameweek 31 is perhaps the preferred option at this stage.
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