Frisking the Fixtures

Which teams have the worst fixtures in the first six Gameweeks of 2020/21?

With the Premier League fixtures now released for 2020/21, we are able to assess the which teams we should invest in, and which we should avoid.

Our schedule sage Neale has already filled us in on the teams with the most appealing run of games, which you can READ HERE.

But for every swathe of blue on the Fantasy Football Scout Season Ticker, some clubs are faced with the Red Sea instead.

This article will assess why these clubs face such a tricky start to the new season, and whether or not they are able to overcome the unappealing nature of their fixtures.

If you haven’t already accessed the updated Season Ticker, and made use of its interactive features, make sure you do so by CLICKING HERE.

West Ham United

Pulisic and Willian continue fine FPL form as West Ham gear up for fixture swing

First six matches: NEW | ars | WOL | lei | tot | MCI

Over the first six Gameweeks of 2020/21, West Ham rank rock-bottom of the league, below even the four teams who don’t play in Gameweek 1.

That’s because, after a relatively cushy opening day clash with Newcastle at the London Stadium, David Moyes’ men face six of last season’s top eight between Gameweeks 2 and 7.

The away trips look particularly nasty, taking the Hammers to Arsenal, Leicester and Spurs in three of their first five while Anfield awaits them in Gameweek 7.

Their first three at home are not particularly appetising either with Wolves and Manchester City set to visit the London Stadium after Newcastle.

These fixtures will certainly go a long way in tempering any interest in Michail Antonio (£6.5m) who currently sits in 16.7% of Fantasy squads.

While the recently converted forward registered nine attacking returns during the restart, he managed just two goals in 10 appearances against West Ham’s first six opponents of 2020/21 across the whole of last season.

Perhaps the handy thing about such a brutal start to the campaign is that a large chunk of West Ham’s tough games will be out of the way by Gameweek 7.

It means that between Gameweeks 8 and 16, the Hammers sit top of the Season Ticker for appealing fixtures as they host Fulham, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and Brighton during this period while facing Leeds and Southampton away.

That said, West Ham have previously been a team whose morale has been knocked when starting the season with tough fixtures. Antonio might have a good schedule by then but will he have the form and confidence to deliver on it by that point or not? Fantasy managers will have to keep a close eye on the Hammers through their sticky patch considering the light at the end of the tunnel.

We recently examined the points potential of West Ham’s defensive midfielder Tomas Soucek (£5.0m) in THIS MEMBERS ARTICLE and, like Antonio, interest is likely to wane now that the fixtures have been revealed.

The Czech Republic international was predominantly dangerous from set-play situations which could lead to some attacking returns in the opening six matches, but only against perhaps two or three of West Ham’s first opponents.

During the Project Restart period, Newcastle and Spurs were in the Premier League’s bottom four for headed goal attempts conceded. The same two clubs were also among the worst four for shots conceded from set-plays, while Arsenal gave up 33 of these between Gameweeks 30+ and 38+, bad enough for the division’s bottom eight.

Aston Villa

First six matches: — | SHU | ful | LIV | lei | LEE

There is unlikely to be much interest in Aston Villa assets at the start of the season given their tough fixtures, especially at the attacking end of the field.

After blanking in the opening round of action, Sheffield United and Liverpool’s usually reliable defences are the first two to come to Villa Park while they travel to Leicester in Gameweek 5.

The trip to Fulham and Gameweek 6 visit of Leeds are the only matches in this run that offer much in the way of attacking promise but do remember that Villa sacrificed a lot of their offensive threat for defensive stability during Project Restart.

In this period, Dean Smith’s men scored just seven goals; only Crystal Palace (five) and Norwich (one) finding the net less often.

That aforementioned defensive stability could offer some clean sheet potential against the newly-promoted sides and potentially Sheffield United, although Villa still only kept three clean sheets during Project Restart.

Crystal Palace look to be the team who rotate home games with Villa, so anyone with Nathan Ferguson (£4.0m) in their team could combine him with what’s on offer here, but someone such as Matt Targett (£4.5m) might prove more useful between Gameweeks 7 and 12.

This is when Villa’s fixtures turn for the better, when Southampton, Brighton and Newcastle come to Villa Park, although road trips to Arsenal, West Ham and Wolves are still somewhat daunting and could discourage more than budget investment.

Burnley

First six matches: — | lei | SOU | new | wba | TOT

The case for Nick Pope (£5.5m) took another hit with the release of 2019/20’s fixtures. 

While the Burnley shot-stopper could perform better than the usual £5.5m goalkeeper with his combination of clean sheets, saves and bonus, no fixture in Blank Gameweek 1 presents a huge problem.

Anyone previously looking at Pope was likely combining him with a £4.0m goalkeeper to save funds. With the fixtures now published, this approach would almost certainly result in playing with 10 men for Gameweek 1. After all, forking out for a £5.5m and £4.5m in combination, a total of £10.0m, is surely too much to spend in this department.

Beyond the Blank, the fixtures themselves are somewhat mixed. Clashes with Leicester (away) and Spurs (home) are the obvious trickier ones while a run of Southampton (home), Newcastle (away) and West Bromwich Albion (away) between Gameweeks 3 and 5 doesn’t look too bad at all.

Unfortunately, Burnley do not get much of a prolonged period of blue on the ticker for some time. Between Gameweeks 7 and 12 they face three top-six clubs in Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal.

Paired with Brighton (away), Crystal Palace (home) and Everton (home), the points potential for Pope during this period may not actually be too bad, considering his ability to get lots of saves and bonus even in the tougher matches – but it does not solve the issue of how to get him in a Fantasy squad in the first place.

Instead, Burnley’s schedule perhaps suits a £4.5m defensive rotation rather than more costly investment elsewhere. The Clarets pair home games with Leicester, who can offer up James Justin (£4.5m) in the same bracket as Charlie Taylor (£4.5m).

Leeds United

First six matches: liv | FUL | shu | MCI | WOL | avl

While there is a lot of buzz about having Leeds back in the Premier League this season, they certainly could have been rewarded with a kinder start to the campaign.

In the first six Gameweeks, they face Liverpool (away) and Manchester City (home) while also doing battle with the mean defences of Sheffield United and Wolves.

A Gameweek 2 might give the best insight into how Leeds will play in a sustained period of favourable matches, but they won’t get one of those into much later in 2020/21.

Between Gameweeks 7 and 12, Marcelo Bielsa’s men face Arsenal, Chelsea and Leicester and are sixth-worst on the Season Ticker accordingly.

It takes until Gameweek 13 for Leeds to get a string of slightly more appealing games together in one go. Between then and Gameweek 18, they face Newcastle, Burnley and Southampton at home and travel to Manchester United, West Brom and Spurs.

At this point in time, there is plenty of uncertainty about how Leeds’ style of play will fare in the top-flight and a mixed bag in terms of fixtures over the first 12 Gameweeks is likely to limit investment perhaps only to the cheaper options such as Luke Ayling (£4.5m).

ALSO BE AWARE OF…

Arsenal’s initial start to the campaign is a very favourable one, pitting Mikel Arteta’s men against Fulham and West Ham. That is, of course, good news for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£12.0m), the Blank for Manchester City and Manchester United in the opening Gameweek catapulting him into the captaincy equation.

However, with those two games out of the way, Arsenal’s fixtures take a turn for the worse in Gameweek 3, as they travel to face Liverpool and Manchester City between then and Gameweek 5, while the home matches are against Sheffield United and Leicester.

Thankfully, Gameweek 3 is when Manchester City’s assets start to pick up, making a switch between Aubameyang and one of Pep Guardiola’s premium midfielders an easy choice that week.

We nearly gave Manchester City their own full heading in this article but stopped just short of doing so when we remembered how fixture-proof their players are capable of being. Instead, we decided only to make you aware of the fixture-related difficulties owners will have to deal with.

How De Bruyne and Sterling compare as FPL assets for 2020/21?

The Blank in Gameweek 1 does present a bit of an issue but, as we’ve already mentioned, a simple switch from Aubameyang to a City midfielder looks relatively simple in Gameweek 3.

Once Manchester City enter the Premier League fray, their fixtures could certainly have been nicer. Combined with the blank, trips to Wolves, Leeds and West Ham as well as home matches against Leicester and Arsenal are good enough only for a place in the bottom five on the Season Ticker.

However, should that really put us off? In games against Wolves, Leicester, Arsenal and West Ham last season (we obviously cannot include Leeds), who was the FPL midfielder that scored the most goals? Raheem Sterling (£11.5m) with a total of seven. And can you guess who had the most assists in matches against those clubs? Kevin De Bruyne (£11.5m) who assisted six times and scored four goals (10 attacking returns).

It is a similar story for Manchester United, whose Blank causes enough of a problem for the Season Ticker to mark them down, but their initial fixtures are still good enough to get a mention in our first Frisking the Fixtures article published on Thursday afternoon.

using-the-top-10000-ownership-to-increase-your-fpl-rank-andys-article 2

When the Season Ticker is filtered to display Gameweeks 2 to 7, the Red Devils rank seventh-best overall for their schedule.

During this period they play at home four times and even though they host Spurs, Chelsea and Arsenal after Crystal Palace come to Old Trafford, these clubs are all sides Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men did well against last season. Throwing away trips to Brighton and Newcastle into the mix only adds to the appeal.

Against those six sides in 2019/20, Marcus Rashford (£9.5m) registered nine attacking returns, Anthony Martial (£9.0m) scored five goals and added three assists while Bruno Fernandes (£10.5m) was involved in three goals in 333 minutes against that pool of teams.

We should also mention West Brom, who have a nice clean cut between tough and favourable fixtures between Gameweeks 3 and 4.

While the Baggies are probably best avoided when they face Leicester (home), Everton (away) and Chelsea (home) in the first three rounds, Gameweek 4 could be the time to consider Slaven Bilic’s men.

Between then and Gameweek 7, West Brom face Southampton (away), Burnley (home), Brighton (away) and Fulham (away).

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1,910 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Differential (c)
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 9 days ago

    Vinagre Lamptey rotation looks fairly decent for the short run. Twitter all over it.
    GW1 ~ Sheffield Utd
    GW2 ~ Newcastle
    GW3 ~ West Ham
    GW4 ~ Fulham
    GW5 ~ Crystal Palace
    GW6 ~ West Brom
    GW7 ~ Crystal Palace
    GW8 ~ Burnley
    GW9 ~ Aston Villa

    1. Amey
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Wonderful.
      My decision about last 2 defenders is slightly more difficult now 😀

      Is Lamptey starter definitely ??
      I don't think tbh 😮
      Don't know actually

    2. pingissimus
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Won’t be getting Lamptey - but Ryan I might consider now looking at that.

    3. Andy_Social
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Terrific - that solves my uncertainty over 4m defenders issue (I keep Ferguson only).
      If Lamptey isn't nailed, which Brighton 4.5 is?

      1. King Kohli
        • 8 Years
        3 months, 9 days ago

        Webster could be if White moves on

        1. Andy_Social
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          3 months, 9 days ago

          That would be fine

    4. King Kohli
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      If Vinagre is nailed, won't be rotating him. Wolves have one of the best defences in the league

      1. Andy_Social
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        3 months, 9 days ago

        Doesn't have to be 50/50. Just need someone to step up when Wolves have a nasty fixture, like in GW2.

    5. Eat my goal!
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Wolves are in the market for a LB

      1. Amey
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 9 days ago

        Hopefully.
        Don't want everyone to have a bargain 😛

        1. Eat my goal!
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          3 months, 9 days ago

          Makes no odds if everyone owns him

          1. Amey
            • 2 Years
            3 months, 9 days ago

            Yup
            Same with Greenwood. Although I'm pretty sure we'll sign a winger this summer

            1. Eat my goal!
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 2 Years
              3 months, 9 days ago

              We need to get moving - Chelsea will have signed an entire squad before we get a single player

              1. Amey
                • 2 Years
                3 months, 9 days ago

                Aye ....
                I'm jealous of them

  2. davidhard
    • 10 Years
    3 months, 9 days ago

    I had 6 players from Burnley, Man City and Man. U in my 1st draft. Now blank fixtures. Back to the drawing board ? Or
    Wildcard Wk2 ? Can you play your free chip week 1?

    1. Holmes
      • 7 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Nah, you can't

    2. Amey
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      No you can't play FH.
      Chill. Can bring them in team gradually.
      Fixtures for Burnley aren't that great either IMO

  3. Holmes
    • 7 Years
    3 months, 9 days ago

    Is Leed's defense any good?

    1. Eat my goal!
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      In the championship yeah

    2. g40steve
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Good against Derby etc vs Pool, City etc who knows!

  4. Joga Bonito®
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    3 months, 9 days ago

    What’s going on with the mobile version? The season ticker is all condensed? Anyone else seeing this or just my phone?

    1. Holmes
      • 7 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Looks fine on my phone (Google Chrome)

      1. Joga Bonito®
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        3 months, 9 days ago

        Ah mines iPhone

  5. Azathoth
    • 6 Years
    3 months, 9 days ago

    Your opinion please for this TAA/Salah-less 4-4-2 team:
    McCarthy - 4.0
    VVD - Robbo - Doh - Stevens - 4.0
    Mane - Auba - Son - Soucek - 4.5
    Werner - Mitro - 4.5

    Thanx

    1. King Kohli
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Wouldn't recommend going without TAA tbh.
      What is your plan for the Manchester boys?

    2. Jusagoras
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Really like 4-4-2 with double Liverpool defence and Doherty, but would probably still do Robbo, Stevens -> Trent, Egan. I also think you need a secure starter for the fifth defender slot if you're set on 4-4-2, unless a playing 4.5 striker emerges.

  6. King Kohli
    • 8 Years
    3 months, 9 days ago

    Thoughts on this plan?

    McCarthy Nyland
    TAA Doherty Saliba Vinagre Mitchell
    Salah Auba Ziyech Gordan Bissouma
    Martial Ings Mitrovic

    0.5 Leftover.
    Gw 2 : Salah > Bruno
    Gw 3 : Auba > Kdb

    1. Azathoth
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      With the 0.5 leftover Martial to Werner?

      1. King Kohli
        • 8 Years
        3 months, 9 days ago

        Want Martial from gw 2 so looking to bench him gw 1 and play a 442/532.

    2. Siva Mohan
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Nyland is your bench fodder but Heaton is back in training .. so you may lose some value once people start shipping out Nyland (17.3% ownership)

      Saliba nailed? PSG and Man City are interested in Gabriel now so Luiz/Mari with Saliba in CB doesn't look good for CS

      1. King Kohli
        • 8 Years
        3 months, 9 days ago

        Will be watching the Community Shield keenly to see which Arsenal defenders start.
        Saliba will be replaced by another 4.5, probably Justin, if he's a rotation risk.

        Good shout on Nyland.

    3. Amey
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Similar to mine.
      Like it .

      I'm going with Werner as a one GW punt. Will move on to Martial in second GW

  7. Silecro
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 9 days ago

    Morning fellas!
    I think I've managed to find out a solid team&tactics for first couple of fixtures:

    McCarthy
    TAA/Vinagre/Saliba
    Salah/Son/Auba/Ziyech/Armstrong
    Ings/Mitrovic

    Nyland/Ayling/Taylor/Davis
    0.5 itb

    GW2 - Ings becomes Martial
    GW3 - Auba becomes KDB

    What do you say?

    1. The Units
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Man C?

      1. Silecro
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 9 days ago

        I will survive GW2 vs Wolves,
        GW3 - Auba becomes KDB

    2. Jusagoras
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Like the transfer plan because you've got the choice of either Son -> Rashford or Ings -> Martial in GW2. The team does look a little weak in defence however. Would consider downgrading Ziyech.

      1. Silecro
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 9 days ago

        I've made peace with myself on playing TAA & rotating 4.5s. I would like to have some Chelsea asset because they could be very explosive, and Werner is a bit of a stretch for me, but we'll see over friendlies, maybe some things change that

  8. BeaversWithAttitude
    • 2 Years
    3 months, 9 days ago

    I can't see the 'free hit' chip. It's still included in the rules, so I guess it's a glitch?

    1. Siva Mohan
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      available from GW2

    2. The Units
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Yes but can't use in first GW.

  9. Siva Mohan
    • 8 Years
    3 months, 9 days ago

    DM says Kane is quarantined for 14 days and returns to pre-season training next weekend..

    He will be straight off to Internationals.. good enough to start GW1?

    1. The Units
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Good question.

    2. KAPTAIN KANE
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      He will start yes

      1. Gabbiadini
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 9 days ago

        Maybe contentious if Wilson joins. Otherwise, he starts.

  10. Eat my goal!
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    3 months, 9 days ago

    Right then - complete change up

    McCarthy
    Vvd aurier vinagre (unless lb bought)
    Mane son auba Armstrong
    Vardy mitro rich

    4.0 4.0 4.0 4.5

    Prob early wc

    1. Amey
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Nice

  11. KAPTAIN KANE
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 9 days ago

    Morning chaps, A, B or C please?

    A) ASM
    B) Armstrong
    C) Soucek and keep 0.5m

    Thanks

    1. Eat my goal!
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      A or b

      1. KAPTAIN KANE
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 9 days ago

        Thanks

    2. The Units
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Depends what you are going to use the 0.5. Is this playing every week, if so Armstrong imo otherwise Soucek.

      1. KAPTAIN KANE
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 9 days ago

        Likely wildcarding week 2

    3. Amey
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      C

      1. KAPTAIN KANE
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 9 days ago

        Cheers Amey

    4. Gabbiadini
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      B

  12. Gabbiadini
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 9 days ago

    Anyone interested in Nketiah at 6.0 could be a good option for 2 weeks before trading up to Martial if he is a starter...?

    1. The Units
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Is he nailed? Would be a good option.

      1. Gabbiadini
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 9 days ago

        Lacazette potential transfer away.

        1. Andy_Social
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          3 months, 9 days ago

          That's the issue. If Laca goes, I might consider it after a few GWs. Want to see how many minutes Saka gets too - and Saliba.

          1. Gabbiadini
            • 3 Years
            3 months, 9 days ago

            Arsenal fixtures deteriorate after GW2 is the only problem. You're looking at GW8

            1. Andy_Social
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              3 months, 9 days ago

              Yeah, when Mitro runs out of jammy fixtures.

  13. KAPTAIN KANE
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 9 days ago

    Who is Stuart Dallas’ competition at Leeds? People saying Ayling more nailed but Dallas played more last season - 45 games?

    1. Gabbiadini
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      I think Dallas played some OOP and more competition at LB than RB I think is the understanding.

      1. KAPTAIN KANE
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 9 days ago

        Ok thanks

    2. Andy_Social
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Article says manager particularly loves him and never drops him.

  14. amit1964
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 9 days ago

    hii
    does someone open a mini league i can join?
    thank you

    1. Chandler Bing
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Can join this: llwyqx It'll be up to 100+ members at least before the season begins so you can invite your friends as well.

      Also join LMS and the official FFS leagues

  15. Gabbiadini
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 9 days ago

    Who scores more over the first 2GWs
    Ziyech
    or.
    Son -4 (need to use an extra transfer to get to GW3 team)

  16. prgmtctchr
    • 6 Years
    3 months, 8 days ago

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    1. Squeazy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 8 days ago

      Guendouzi (c)

    2. gwitbrock
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 8 days ago

      Sorry to be a wet blanket but anyone can just pick a team of 11 non starters, right?

      1. gwitbrock
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        3 months, 8 days ago

        point being there has to be some slightly more complex rules like anyone who plays 0 minutes in a week scores 5 points or 0 minutes over a season is a 100 point 'bonus' (penalty). Or you are only allowed 3 red flags at a time or something.

      2. Zim0
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 8 days ago

        Thaz why the use entire 100m rule i guess

        1. prgmtctchr
          • 6 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          Exactly. If you use the whole 100m, it is nearly impossible to pick only non-starters. Three non-starters in your 11 will be automatically substituted, anyway.

          1. gwitbrock
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 6 Years
            3 months, 8 days ago

            I actually just tried to do a team just for fun and it's true it is hard, but if laca leaves and Chilwell too then its possible to have only one or two rubbish starters. Reckon I could smash that score but can't waste my precious team on that league!

    3. Zim0
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 8 days ago

      Isn't it illegal to have 2 teams?

      1. Zim0
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 8 days ago

        I don't want my main team account deleted 😛

        1. prgmtctchr
          • 6 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          I would never want to appear to encourage anyone to break any rules. Perhaps one has a sibling, partner, friend, etc. who is interested in collaborating for the low-scoring team. Or perhaps one is so tired of being frustrated by too little that they want to spend a season being frustrated by scoring too much.

  17. StingRay
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 5 days ago

    Why is everyone going for the Wolves defender VINAGRE ?

    I realise he’s a cheap option at 4 mln, BUT he’s far from nailed on. I’ve looked at Wolves last 10 games and more often not, he doesn’t play at all or the full 90 mins.

    Why not spend an extra 0.5 min and get Saiss or Coady in ?