We are now in the final few Gameweeks of the season and the minutes have been racking up for players in a congested schedule.
For this article, I look at the rest periods for each team in the final three Gameweeks to see if any match-ups stand out in particular.
I have outlined my methodology for the colour coding in my earlier piece.
The first thing that stands out to me is that most teams have a good recovery period for Gameweek 38+, which makes it ideal for the Free Hit chip.
We can, for example, expect Pep Guardiola to put out his strongest team as he would have had nearly five days after the Watford game in Gameweek 37+.
It also means that the final column (F) of total recovery period is a bit distorted, as certain teams have over a week off to prepare for Gameweek 38+. It’s just the FA Cup teams that are in the red in terms of the total recovery period, so let’s instead look at the recovery period for Gameweeks 36+ and 37+ (Column E).
Naturally, the teams with FA Cup involvement have the lowest recovery period – Arsenal (145), Chelsea (145), Man Utd (140) and Man City (160). The turnaround between the FA Cup fixture and Watford in Gameweek 37+ is particularly short for City (68) so it would be a surprise to see many players from the FA Cup semi-final start their league fixture against the Hornets.
Apart from the aforementioned four, Southampton (134) have a harsh schedule as well, something for us to keep in mind as owners of Danny Ings (£7.4m).
Now let’s have a look at the individual match-ups for Gameweek 36:
The teams at a disadvantage are highlighted in red.
Wolves, Arsenal, Spurs and Bournemouth have nearly a day’s less rest than their opponents.
Manchester United and Southampton (who play each other in Gameweek 35+) are particularly disadvantaged in terms of rest periods with their opponents having significantly more time to recover. If that match on Monday is as high energy as we expect, it could have a bearing on their performances and team selection in Gameweek 36+.
The Cherries are likely to find it difficult to go to the Etihad with less than 72 hours of recovery as well. City assets could once again be great picks if you can predict who Guardiola will start.
Now we move on to Gameweek 37+, which is in my opinion the trickiest week with the FA Cup ties preceding the league fixtures:
As mentioned earlier, Manchester City’s recovery period of 68 hours from their FA Cup fixture stands out. Maybe whoever starts against Bournemouth in Gameweek 36+ starts this one as well? I really don’t see Guardiola giving the likes of Kevin De Bruyne (£10.8m) a start against Watford with him likely to feature for 90 minutes against Arsenal in the cup.
Southampton have a recovery period of just 64 hours from the Brighton game, which might affect their high-intensity style – something to watch out for if you’re looking to possibly captain Ings that week.
Liverpool have over double the amount of recovery time as Chelsea and will be looking to end their last home game on a high. Selecting Mohamed Salah (£12.6m) as captain looks a legitimate shout that week given the Blues’ defensive woes.
The likes of Eddie Nketiah (£4.4m) will probably get a start against Villa given the short turnaround and his unavailability for the FA Cup semi-final due to suspension.
It will be interesting to see how much Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tinkers with his line-up with the short recovery period, too. We might need our benches in Gameweek 37+.
In terms of my own team, I was originally thinking of doing the Jamie Vardy (£9.8m) to Ings move but the Saints’ congested schedule has me a bit worried. Ings has been a machine of late but his fitness issues in the past are well documented and will they possibly flare up again with matches so close? The Saints’ pressing style could suffer too with low recovery periods. Something to ponder.
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 35+
- Norwich City 0-4 West Ham United
- Watford 2-1 Newcastle United
- Liverpool 1-1 Burnley
- Sheffield United 3-0 Chelsea
- Brighton and Hove Albion 0-5 Manchester City
- Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-0 Everton
- Aston Villa 2-0 Crystal Palace
- Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Arsenal
- Bournemouth 4-1 Leicester City
- Manchester United 2-2 Southampton
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