The most recent round of FA Cup matches, and the fifth-round draw, have confirmed more details about the upcoming Blank Gameweek 31.
Burnley’s fourth-round defeat to Norwich on Saturday ensured that they will be in Premier League action on the weekend of March 21.
They will be hosting Watford, who were knocked out of the FA Cup on Thursday in their belated third-round replay.
Meanwhile, Monday night’s clash between Bournemouth and Arsenal confirmed another Blank Gameweek 31 fixture.
The Cherries’ exit means that on the weekend of March 21, they will be clear to travel to Molineux, where they will face a Wolves side already eliminated from the FA Cup.
As things stand, these are the only two fixtures guaranteed for Blank Gameweek 31, potentially firming up the Fantasy credentials of Raùl Jiménez (£7.5m), Adama Traoré (£5.7m), Troy Deeney (£6.3m), Chris Wood (£6.2m) as well as their colleagues.
However, we also have a much better idea of what it will take to either confirm or deny blanks for the other 18 teams in Gameweek 31 – because of the fifth-round draw, conducted on Monday evening, which looks like this:
- Sheffield Wednesday v Manchester City
- Reading/Cardiff v Sheffield United
- Chelsea v Shrewsbury Town/Liverpool
- West Bromwich Albion v Oxford United/Newcastle United
- Leicester City v Coventry City/Birmingham City
- Northampton Town/Derby County v Manchester United
- Southampton/Tottenham Hotspur v Norwich City
- Portsmouth v Arsenal
As a result, this is what the Blank Gameweek 31 permutations look like:
|20-Mar-20||20:00||Spurs||vs||West Ham||If Spurs beat Southampton and Norwich|
|21-Mar-20||12:30||Chelsea||vs||Man City||If Chelsea beat Liverpool/Shrewsbury or if Man City beat Sheffield Wednesday|
|21-Mar-20||15:00||Burnley||vs||Watford||CONFIRMED FOR BLANK GAMEWEEK 31|
|21-Mar-20||15:00||Man United||vs||Sheffield United||If Man United beat Northampton/Derby or if Sheffield United beat Reading/Cardiff|
|21-Mar-20||15:00||Newcastle||vs||Aston Villa||If Newcastle beat Oxford United and West Bromwich Albion|
|21-Mar-20||15:00||Norwich||vs||Everton||If Norwich beat Spurs/Southampton|
|21-Mar-20||15:00||Wolves||vs||Bournemouth||CONFIRMED FOR BLANK GAMEWEEK 31|
|21-Mar-20||17:30||Liverpool||vs||Crystal Palace||If Liverpool beat Shrewsbury and Chelsea|
|22-Mar-20||14:00||Leicester||vs||Brighton||If Leicester beat Coventry/Birmingham City|
|22-Mar-20||16:30||Southampton||vs||Arsenal||If Southampton beat Spurs and Norwich or if Arsenal beat Portsmouth|
Only two Blank Gameweek 31 fixtures remain where both teams are still in the FA Cup; Chelsea’s hosting of Manchester City and Sheffield United’s trip to Manchester United.
The first of those could be ‘blanked’ by either Chelsea or Shrewsbury Town or Liverpool in the next round, or by Manchester City defeating Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.
There are four matches which we will not discover the fate of until after the FA Cup fourth round replays have been played.
Liverpool, Southampton, Spurs and Newcastle still have to squeeze through such matches, which take place on February 4 and 5, 2020.
Therefore, we will not know about any of the following Blank Gameweek 31 fixtures until then:
- Liverpool v Crystal Palace
- Southampton v Arsenal
- Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham
- Newcastle United v Aston Villa
Meanwhile, at least one of the following matches will end up as a ‘blank’ in Gameweek 31.
- Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United
- Norwich City v Everton
- Southampton v Arsenal
This is because Spurs v West Ham and Norwich v Everton cannot both be blanked, given that the two home sides could face off in the Cup while the Hammers and Toffees are both already out of the competition.
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