Pro Pundits - Zophar

Analysing the recovery period between matches and its impact on FPL

With the FA Cup fixtures causing a longer-than-usual Gameweek, we finally have some time to take stock of the landscape after a hectic period of three Fantasy Premier League deadlines in 10 days.

This is the longest break we will have for a while, with the next three deadlines coming thick and fast. We only have the TV schedule for Gameweeks 33-35 so far and certain teams have been afforded longer rest periods compared to others as the below table shows:

As mentioned in my earlier piece on the Christmas schedule, “recent research has shown that muscle injury risk increases by almost 20% when recovery time is reduced from six to three days”.

It concluded that fixture congestion and insufficient recovery time between matches are two of the major risk factors associated with injuries and suggested that players should have at least 96 hours between matches in order to recover fully. Beyond the 96-hour period, there were no significant gains observed.

Few teams are afforded the luxury of a 96-hour rest in this period, and the teams closest to that are in green in the table. Teams closer to 72 hours are in yellow and below 72 are in red.

The average total rest period is 265 hours so in the final column, teams around that number are in yellow, below that are in red, and teams well above the average are in green.

The problem with this table is that it exaggerates the total recovery period for the non-FA Cup teams. For example, Burnley have 134 hours of recovery for Gameweek 33+ which makes their total recovery period look favourable (277 hours) despite just 76 and 67 hours recovery for their next matches, but as quoted above, beyond 96 hours the recovery gains are minimal.

Players still ideally need 96 hours to recover for the next match even if they have had 100+ hours of rest prior.

I still wanted to include this table though as it does, however, emphasise how difficult the schedule is for Liverpool (205), Manchester City (210) and Sheffield United (209). Chelsea (231), Newcastle (227), Norwich (229), Spurs (233) and West Ham (227) have it tough as well.

The below chart looks at only the period between Gameweeks 33-35, ignoring the exaggerated rest periods for teams not involved in the FA Cup:

The average total rest period is 163 hours so in the final column, teams around that number are in yellow, below that are in red, and teams well above the average are in green.

Manchester United have 217 hours of rest between their three matches, the most favourable schedule. This is great news for those investing in their assets as rotation should be minimal and performance levels can stay consistent. Wolves also have a relatively relaxed schedule with 183 hours of recovery.

Chelsea, on the other hand, have just 161 hours of rest time. City and Liverpool have extremely compressed schedules with just 141 hours and 139 hours respectively; that’s over three days less than the Red Devils.

Everton and Spurs have reason to be aggrieved as well, with just 132 and 137 hours of recovery time respectively, the lowest in the league. Burnley, Newcastle, Sheffield United and West Ham assets will also need to be monitored with their short recovery periods.

Rotation seems far more likely for these teams in red and drops in performance levels are to be expected as well, especially for teams near the bottom of the table who can’t afford to rotate.

This also makes me ask the following questions:            

1. What to do with Liverpool assets?

Salah stars as Liverpool take advantage of Aké injury

The Reds have now clinched the Premier League title but still have seven league games to play. Klopp has already said that he views the remainder of this campaign as sort of a pre-season for the next one, given the short rest time between the two.

He’s also poured cold water on FPL managers’ hopes that the Reds will play strong line-ups with a view to achieving a record points tally.

In his latest comments, he said:

Getting these types of points tallies sounds pretty nice to me but I’m not sure it’s possible because six or seven of the remaining games we play in a very short period of time. Every three days we will need to make a lot of changes, we need to be lucky and make sure nobody gets injured. We need to be lucky there. If a player gets injured he cannot play the next five as well so that makes it really tricky for all of us.

This makes things a bit tricky for us FPL managers, as well, in terms of owning expensive midfield assets like Mohamed Salah (£12.6m) or Sadio Mane (£12.5m). Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.8m) is a bit less of an issue given his low price. They are all likely to start the Manchester City fixture given the long rest but right after that they play Villa with just 66 hours of recovery, then it’s Brighton with just 74 hours rest and then Burnley with just 65.

If we do hold our Liverpool attackers, we have to be careful with the captaincy. If Salah/Mane get benched in one game, they become captain material for the next game. Such patterns will have to be monitored closely, as well as the substitutions in the City game. Salah will no doubt be hungry for the Golden Boot but it seems unlikely Klopp will risk injury by starting him in all three games.

2. Do we put our faith in Jesus?

Manchester City have the best run of fixtures from Gameweek 33-38 and with Sergio Aguero (£11.7m) ruled out due to injury for that entire period, investing in Gabriel Jesus (£9.6m) is certainly tempting.

However, as the Chelsea fixture showed, the Brazilian’s starting spot is not guaranteed with Bernardo Silva (£7.7m) and Raheem Sterling (£11.7m) alternatives in that role.

Pep Guardiola has already gone on record stating his priority is the cups going forward and he will not want to risk his only recognised striker picking up a fatigue-related injury in such a busy schedule, so his minutes might be managed very carefully. Kevin De Bruyne’s (£10.7m) pitch-time will no doubt be monitored as well.

3. Could differences in rest periods affect performances?

In Gameweek 34, Spurs play Bournemouth with the former having 68 hours of recovery compared to the Cherries’ 121. Everton will have had just 68 hours rest compared to their opponents Southampton’s 93.

In Gameweek 35, Villa have just 64 hours of rest versus 114 for Palace. Everton have 64 hours to Wolves’ 88. Newcastle have 65 hours to Watford’s 89. Sheffield United have a full 24 hours less recovery time than their opponents Chelsea. Arsenal have nearly two days more recovery time than Spurs.

These differences need to be kept in mind as they will likely have an impact on energy levels and performances.

4.  Could switching between heavy hitters be beneficial?  

Like I mentioned earlier, a benching for a heavy-hitting asset like De Bruyne, Salah, Mane, Sterling etc increases their probability of starting the next game. So switching between them and handing them the armband depending on their minutes in the previous game could be rewarding. It is highly unlikely that any of them will start every match given their schedules.

My Team

Having looked at the schedule, getting a third Manchester United player into my squad will be my priority. They have the ideal motivation and near-perfect fixtures/scheduling.

Dominic Calvert Lewin (£6.4m) and Sadio Mane (£12.5m) will likely be making way for Marcus Rashford (£9.1m) and Christan Pulisic (£7.0m) with my two free transfers. Selling De Bruyne instead of the Senegalese is also an option.

Hope you found this information useful. Good luck and stay safe!


An FPL veteran of 10 seasons, Utkarsh Dalmia has been a member of the site right since 2009 and has finished in the top 5k in six of those campaigns, with a best finish of 17th in 2010. A Chelsea fan based in India, he relies heavily on statistics for his FPL decision-making process.

FPL Lessons Learned from Gameweek 32+

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1,170 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Collie01
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    6 days, 6 hours ago

    KdB scores. Cements his place as pen taker for City.

    1. Nightcrawler
      • 1 Year
      6 days, 6 hours ago

      Some people think its becuase kun isnt on the pitch

      Kun didnt even take the last city penalty when he was on the pitch

    2. how now brown cow
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      6 days, 6 hours ago

      Bet they let ederson take 1.

  2. DandyDon
    • 1 Year
    6 days, 6 hours ago

    KDB on pens for season then

    1. Nightcrawler
      • 1 Year
      6 days, 6 hours ago

      Was 1st choice

      1. Nightcrawler
        • 1 Year
        6 days, 6 hours ago

        Since madrid

    2. Dthinger
      • 3 Years
      6 days, 5 hours ago

      Didn’t Mahrez score one last week?

      1. Pipermaru
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        6 days, 5 hours ago

        KDB was benched.

  3. SADIO SANÉ
    • 5 Years
    6 days, 6 hours ago

    the 4 best teams in the league in the semi-finals, magic of the cup

    1. Bleh
      • 3 Years
      6 days, 6 hours ago

      Lol

    2. how now brown cow
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      6 days, 6 hours ago

      Leicester and liverpool say hello.

    3. ritzyd
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      6 days, 6 hours ago

      Think Klopp would disagree with you . . . . .

      1. Nightcrawler
        • 1 Year
        6 days, 6 hours ago

        Its all fun and games winning when everyone else has given up in the league

        Pool have lost their last 2 knockout games

        1. Nightcrawler
          • 1 Year
          6 days, 6 hours ago

          Last 3 in fact

  4. Fred54
    • 5 Years
    6 days, 6 hours ago

    That backboard sound was so sweet.

    1. Fred54
      • 5 Years
      6 days, 6 hours ago

      *Back of the net, when the ball hit.

  5. Dthinger
    • 3 Years
    6 days, 6 hours ago

    Stupid Ings. Every time he goes on a run of goals, I buy him and he gets injured the next match. I’m not falling for it this time!

    1. el polako
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      6 days, 6 hours ago

      Just buy him, take one for the (non owners) team.

  6. Daniel S.
    • 11 Years
    6 days, 6 hours ago

    Christian Pulisic came off with a knock, while Andreas Christensen missed out altogether.
    ‘Christian felt some tightness in his calf during the second drinks break so we took him off straightaway. We will see the extent of that over the next couple of days but hopefully that won’t be anything serious.

    ‘With Andreas, he had a small problem near his hip. He tried to train yesterday but didn’t feel comfortable, so we pulled him out of the squad.’

    Lampard. Source: Chelsea FC site

    1. Wolves Ay We
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      6 days, 6 hours ago

      Own up. Who has already bought in Pulisic this week?

  7. FOO FIGHTER
    6 days, 6 hours ago

    Does anyone know whats happening with City's Europe ban?

    1. how now brown cow
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      6 days, 6 hours ago

      Due to be announced "First half of july"

    2. Ógie
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      6 days, 6 hours ago

      Lots of UFEA officials stuffing their pockets with brown envelops full of cash.

      I suspect it will not happen at all after appeal.

      1. how now brown cow
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        6 days, 6 hours ago

        I agree. FFP has been a farce.

      2. OrmskirkFC
        • 7 Years
        6 days, 6 hours ago

        I think they might make an example out of City, actually. They need to punish a large team if they want everyone to take FFP seriously and City doesn't have the global fanbase that PSG or a Spanish club have.

    3. Daniel S.
      • 11 Years
      6 days, 6 hours ago

      They bribed everone so they are good now

  8. Daniel S.
    • 11 Years
    6 days, 6 hours ago

    Why KDB wasn't taking penalties before, is betond me.

    1. Collie01
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      6 days, 6 hours ago

      Gundogan had a really good record I think for a long time. And Kun is the natural choice I reckon.

      Definite mistake letting Sterling and Mahrez take them instead of KdB though.

      1. el polako
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        6 days, 6 hours ago

        Gundogan is German they score pens before they learn to walk.

        1. how now brown cow
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          6 days, 6 hours ago

          Not against spurs.

          1. Daniel S.
            • 11 Years
            6 days, 6 hours ago

            He is bettet than Kun. Jesus is terible at taking them too

            1. The Suspended One
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 7 Years
              6 days, 6 hours ago

              Better than Kun? I’d rather face Gundogan 100%

        2. Nightcrawler
          • 1 Year
          6 days, 6 hours ago

          He was 1st choice in dortnund too

  9. Right In The Stanchion
    6 days, 6 hours ago

    Did klopp say he was going to rotate players? Somebody on the last page suggested he may

    1. DandyDon
      • 1 Year
      6 days, 6 hours ago

      Try reading the article!

  10. Bobby
    • 10 Years
    6 days, 6 hours ago

    Will alonso start next game?

    1. Whazza
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      6 days, 6 hours ago

      Very likely considering he didn't play today

  11. Magic Zico
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    6 days, 6 hours ago

    Best CHE assets for 3-4 GWs? Pulisic Mount Giroud Abraham Willian Alonso?

    1. Rotation's Alter Ego
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      • 8 Years
      6 days, 6 hours ago

      Pulisic, not interested in the rest yet.

      Could argue Azpi, but there's better options.

    2. DandyDon
      • 1 Year
      6 days, 6 hours ago

      I really wanted to get Tammy in but looks like Giroud will start next one.

  12. el polako
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    6 days, 6 hours ago

    Why did I buy Foster again ?
    There is silver lining though looks like Watford are more mess than WHU and will go down instead.

    1. how now brown cow
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      6 days, 6 hours ago

      On today's evidence, it isn't for his distribution.

  13. JohnRoss
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    6 days, 6 hours ago

    Anyone else looking at 36 for free hit?

    1. el polako
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      6 days, 6 hours ago

      Yes, either that or 38 for freak high scoring games.

    2. DandyDon
      • 1 Year
      6 days, 6 hours ago

      Probably 38 when my Utd and Wolves trios have a tougher game

  14. SuperMane Returns
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    6 days, 6 hours ago

    FA Cup Semi Final Draw Prediction :-
    Chelsea v Arsenal
    Man U v Man City

    1. Gravless are for Kinnear
      • 7 Years
      6 days, 6 hours ago

      Disrespectful to Newcastle United

      1. The Suspended One
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        6 days, 6 hours ago

        Haha

    2. The Suspended One
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      6 days, 6 hours ago

      Let’s hope

    3. how now brown cow
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      6 days, 6 hours ago

      There's not many options tbh

      1. SuperMane Returns
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        6 days, 6 hours ago

        I'm predicting that order too 🙂

  15. Daniel S.
    • 11 Years
    6 days, 6 hours ago

    Chelsea City final

    1. Amey
      • 1 Year
      6 days, 6 hours ago

      Lol

  16. Nightcrawler
    • 1 Year
    6 days, 6 hours ago

    Prediction

    City vs arsenal

    Che vs utd

    1. Nightcrawler
      • 1 Year
      6 days, 5 hours ago

      Called it

  17. SuperMane Returns
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    6 days, 6 hours ago

    Kevin De Birthday playing well.

  18. _sidney_will
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    6 days, 6 hours ago

    Would like to draw Chelsea in the Semi’s if I had a choice but in all honesty they all scare me (Arsenal fan)

    1. Amey
      • 1 Year
      6 days, 5 hours ago

      Everyone want you 😀

  19. SuperMane Returns
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    6 days, 6 hours ago

    Can you believe that Lineker sunk so low with the Schar pun?

    1. el polako
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      6 days, 5 hours ago

      Never liked him.
      #Mexico86

  20. Vazza
    6 days, 5 hours ago

    Which duo is better for the rest of the season -

    A. Pulisic, Aurier
    B. Azpi/Alonso, Maguire

    Thanks

    1. Vazza
      6 days, 5 hours ago

      Reply fail. Can you please help out guys.

  21. Shane Long
    6 days, 5 hours ago

    What do we think City’s attack will be vs Southampton?

    1. el polako
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      6 days, 5 hours ago

      Lethal

      1. Shane Long
        6 days, 5 hours ago

        Does Mahrez and Jesus start though

        1. el polako
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          6 days, 5 hours ago

          Hard to guess Pep howver will have more info in about 60 minutes time.

    2. Klaren
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      6 days, 5 hours ago

      We should have a better idea after they play Liverpool, no point even speculating before then.

    3. Badger Badger Mushroom Mush…
      • 3 Years
      6 days, 5 hours ago

      I’d think Mahrez, Sterling and Silva

  22. Badger Badger Mushroom Mush…
    • 3 Years
    6 days, 5 hours ago

    Planning to save FT? Only other move could be Sarr to Foden but happy to bench him this week.

    Henderson
    TAA AWB C.Taylor Boly
    Salah (c) KDB Bruno
    Auba Jiminez Ings

    McCarthy Sarr Lascelles Hayden

    1. Badger Badger Mushroom Mush…
      • 3 Years
      6 days, 5 hours ago

      Help!

  23. Daniel S.
    • 11 Years
    6 days, 5 hours ago

    I love the fact that FFS gave a chance to Chelsea fan to write an article. An amazing one if i may add.

    1. Daniel S.
      • 11 Years
      6 days, 5 hours ago

      Thank you Zophar for the great article

      1. zøphar
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        6 days, 5 hours ago

        Appreciated Daniel!

  24. Athletic Nasherbo
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    6 days, 5 hours ago

    Henderson
    TAA Doherty Egan
    KdB Fernandes Richarlison Cantwell
    Aubameyang Rashford DCL

    Nyland Grealish Aarons Lundstram

    Richarlison + Aubameyang > Mahrez + Jiménez/Jesus(-4)

    1. Badger Badger Mushroom Mush…
      • 3 Years
      6 days, 5 hours ago

      Nah

      1. Athletic Nasherbo
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        6 days, 5 hours ago

        Why?

        1. Badger Badger Mushroom Mush…
          • 3 Years
          6 days, 5 hours ago

          Jesus not nailed and Jiminez looking sluggish

          1. Badger Badger Mushroom Mush…
            • 3 Years
            6 days, 5 hours ago

            And no Pool!

    2. Amey
      • 1 Year
      6 days, 5 hours ago

      Triple City is just asking for trouble.

      1. Athletic Nasherbo
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        6 days, 5 hours ago

        Mahrez + Jiménez then 😉

        1. Amey
          • 1 Year
          6 days, 5 hours ago

          You don't like Pool boys ??
          Can be rank killer vs Villa man

          1. Athletic Nasherbo
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 3 Years
            6 days, 5 hours ago

            Don’t play with fear boss. Might still get Salah in.

    3. Klaren
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      6 days, 5 hours ago

      I’d do the 2nd move first and do Richarlison to Mahrez the following GW without a hit.

  25. SuperMane Returns
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    6 days, 5 hours ago

    Jay-Zuz has a great scoring record when Kun not in the team.

    1. Magic Zico
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      6 days, 5 hours ago

      Record to start as well?

  26. Amey
    • 1 Year
    6 days, 5 hours ago

    Bloody KDB making it hard to even think about selling him.
    Lol

  27. SuperMane Returns
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    6 days, 5 hours ago

    Alan shaking his ball bag.

  28. Flynny
    • 5 Years
    6 days, 5 hours ago

    Got 4.2mitb and 2fits.....want to shake things up next week...are either of these worth a throw of the dice? ....entails starting one of either foden or nketiah each week...

    A.....Fleck dcl and fernandes to kane foden and pulisic - 4

    B....Fleck dcl and Henderson to kane foden and Martinez - 4

    McCarthy (hendo )
    Taa Maguire boly (soy Stephens )
    Salah Kdb Fernandes martial (fleck)
    Jiminez dcl nketiah

    Thanks

    1. Badger Badger Mushroom Mush…
      • 3 Years
      6 days, 5 hours ago

      Not sure about Kane personally

      1. Flynny
        • 5 Years
        6 days, 5 hours ago

        I'm looking at differentials - and he is explosive potentially

  29. SuperMane Returns
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    6 days, 5 hours ago

    FA Cup Semi Final Draw Prediction :-
    Chelsea v Arsenal
    Man U v Man City

    COMPLETELY WRONG-oops

  30. Hazz
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    6 days, 5 hours ago

    FFS, United vs Chelsea in the semis.

    Ole's voodoo curse is going to strike again.