The Premier League today revealed the scheduled Matchweek dates for the 2020/21 season.
The new campaign will start on the weekend of Saturday 12 September, finishing on Sunday 23 May.
The fixtures themselves aren’t yet out but, in their statement today, the Premier League said that they will be released no later than Friday 21 August.
Fantasy Premier League is yet to relaunch, of course, but most of the ‘Matchweeks’ in the below list will likely correspond with FPL Gameweeks:
Matchweek 1: Saturday 12 September
Matchweek 2: Saturday 19 September
Matchweek 3: Saturday 26 September
Matchweek 4: Saturday 3 October
Matchweek 5: Saturday 17 October
Matchweek 6: Saturday 24 October
Matchweek 7: Saturday 31 October
Matchweek 8: Saturday 7 November
Matchweek 9: Saturday 21 November
Matchweek 10: Saturday 28 November
Matchweek 11: Saturday 5 December
Matchweek 12: Saturday 12 December
Matchweek 13: Wednesday 16 December
Matchweek 14: Saturday 19 December
Matchweek 15: Saturday 26 December
Matchweek 16: Monday 28 December
Matchweek 17: Saturday 2 January
Matchweek 18a: Wednesday 13 January
Matchweek 19: Saturday 16 January
Matchweek 18b: Wednesday 20 January
Matchweek 20: Wednesday 27 January
Matchweek 21: Saturday 30 January
Matchweek 22: Wednesday 3 February
Matchweek 23: Saturday 6 February
Matchweek 24: Saturday 13 February
Matchweek 25: Saturday 20 February
Matchweek 26: Saturday 27 February
Matchweek 27: Saturday 6 March
Matchweek 28: Saturday 13 March
Matchweek 29: Saturday 20 March
Matchweek 30: Saturday 3 April
Matchweek 31: Saturday 10 April
Matchweek 32: Saturday 17 April
Matchweek 33: Saturday 24 April
Matchweek 34: Saturday 1 May
Matchweek 35: Saturday 8 May
Matchweek 36: Wednesday 12 May
Matchweek 37: Saturday 15 May
Matchweek 38: Sunday 23 May
Matchweek 18 Conundrum
Probably the thing that immediately leaps out from the above list is Matchweek 18.
This has been split in two and bisected by Matchweek 19, which throws up questions over how Fantasy Premier League will handle it.
We had a winter break last season, with the matches spread out and Gameweek 26 taking place over 11 days.
This year’s set-up looks more complicated, however.
Presuming that Matchweek 18 is split down the middle, it may be that the only workaround is a five-match Blank Gameweek 18 and a 15-match Double Gameweek 19 – but then there is the prospect of other outstanding fixtures being squeezed in around this time, just to complicate matters.
Last year we had four FPL Gameweek deadlines in the space of 12 days (December 21 to January 1) over the festive period; this year it looks like being four in 15 (December 19 to January 2).
That should hopefully ease the strain on Premier League clubs and reduce the risk of rotation, but a 48-hour turnaround between Matchweeks 15 and 16 will surely wreak a bit of havoc.
FA Cup and Carabao Cup dates
The planned dates for the FA Cup and Carabao Cup were also revealed on Thursday.
There won’t be any replays in the FA Cup this season, while the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup will be one-off games rather than the two-legged affairs we usually see.
- Third round: Saturday 9 January
- Fourth round: Saturday 23 January
- Fifth round: Wednesday 10 February
- Quarter-finals: Saturday 20 March
- Semi-finals: Saturday 17 April
- Final: Saturday 15 May
Round four, the quarter-finals, the semi-finals and the final clash with Matchweeks 20, 29, 32 and 37 in the Premier League.
Matchweek 29 (which may correspond to Gameweek 29, depending on FPL’s approach) looks set to be a blank in FPL, as an international break immediately follows.
There are currently free midweeks after Matchweeks 20, 32 and 37, however.
- Second round: Tuesday/Wednesday 15/16 September
- Third round: Tuesday/Wednesday 22/23 September
- Fourth round: Tuesday/Wednesday 29/30 September
- Quarter-finals: Tuesday/Wednesday 22/23 December
- Semi-finals: Tuesday/Wednesday 5/6 January
- Final: Sunday 28 February
Premier League clubs aren’t involved in the first round of the Carabao Cup but will be from round two onwards (round three if the teams are involved in European competition).
Rounds two to four of the Carabao Cup take place in quick succession, in between Matchweeks 1-4 of the Premier League.
The final will clash with Matchday 26 but there is currently a free midweek after it, so there are no guarantees of FPL blanks.
UEFA Champions League and Europa League Dates
The schedules for next season’s Champions League and Europa League games had previously been announced and are as follows:
- Group stage, Matchday 1: Tuesday/Wednesday 20/21 October
- Group stage, Matchday 2: Tuesday/Wednesday 27/28 October
- Group stage, Matchday 3: Tuesday/Wednesday 3/4 November
- Group stage, Matchday 4: Tuesday/Wednesday 24/25 November
- Group stage, Matchday 5: Tuesday/Wednesday 1/2 December
- Group stage, Matchday 6: Tuesday/Wednesday 8/9 December
- Round of 16, first leg: Tuesday/Wednesday 16/17/23/25 February
- Round of 16, second leg: Tuesday/Wednesday 9/10/16/17 March
- Quarter-finals, first leg: Tuesday/Wednesday 6/7 April
- Quarter-finals, second leg: Tuesday/Wednesday 13/14 April
- Semi-finals, first leg: Tuesday/Wednesday 27/28 April
- Semi-finals, second leg: Tuesday/Wednesday 4/5 May
- Final: Saturday 29 May
Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea will all enter the competition at the group stage.
- Group stage, Matchday 1: Thursday 22 October
- Group stage, Matchday 2: Thursday 29 October
- Group stage, Matchday 3: Thursday 5 November
- Group stage, Matchday 4: Thursday 26 November
- Group stage, Matchday 5: Thursday 3 December
- Group stage, Matchday 6: Thursday 10 December
- Round of 32, first leg: Thursday 18 February
- Round of 32, second leg: Thursday 25 February
- Round of 16, first leg: Thursday 11 March
- Round of 16, second leg: Thursday 18 March
- Quarter-finals, first leg: Thursday 8 April
- Quarter-finals, second leg: Thursday 15 April
- Semi-finals, first leg: Thursday 29 April
- Semi-finals, second leg: Thursday 6 May
- Final: Wednesday 26 May
While Leicester City and Arsenal will both enter the competition at the group stage, Tottenham Hotspur face three one-off matches before they even get there.
The second qualifying round, third qualifying round and play-off round will take place on Thursday 17 September, Thursday 24 September and Thursday 1 October respectively.
That sets the Lilywhites on a collision course with the Carabao Cup schedule and they could be in a similar situation to Liverpool last season.
There are four international breaks in 2020/21 although one actually predates the start of the Premier League season:
- September (covers weekend of 5/6) – before Matchweek 1
- October (covers weekend of 10/11) – in between Matchweeks 4 and 5
- November (covers weekend of 14/15) – in between Matchweeks 8 and 9
- March (covers weekend of 27/28) – in between Matchweeks 29 and 30
Manchester clubs to Miss Start of Season?
There is reportedly an agreement in principle for clubs involved in the latter stages of 2019/20 European competition to be handed a delayed start to next season.
Should the two Manchester clubs reach the finals of the Champions League and Europa League, they may miss the opening two Gameweeks of 2020/21.
A blank in Gameweek 1 appears close to being assured, with City having reached the last eight of the Champions League and United through to the last four of the Europa League.