Frisking the Fixtures

Who has the best and worst upcoming FPL fixtures?

We assess the Premier League clubs with the strongest and weakest runs of league matches over the coming weeks in our regular frisk of the fixture list.

Although our primary focus will be on a six-Gameweek lookahead in this article, we will scrutinise the longer-term prospects where relevant.

We’re still waiting for the top flight of English football to settle down to some extent, with only two of the traditional “big six” clubs currently to be found above 10th place.

Perhaps what we perceive to be normality won’t resume and upstarts like Everton, Leeds United and Aston Villa are here to stay at the top end of the table.

The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that our Season Ticker, which is the primary source for this piece, has already had a tweak in terms of fixture difficulty rating: the table-topping Toffees, for example, have crossed over to the scarlet end of the colour spectrum.

There have been functionality improvements to the ticker on our home page, too, with ‘drag and drop’ returning and the ability to remove a Gameweek added.

THE STRONG

CRYSTAL PALACE

Next six: wol |LEE | bur | NEW | wba | TOT

Crystal Palace remain top of our Season Ticker over the next six Gameweeks, although their favourable run is bookended by tricky tests against a defensively solid Wolverhampton Wanderers and high-flying Tottenham Hotspur.

The Gameweek 8 visit of Leeds United is no straightforward prospect either, given the ease with which Marcelo Bielsa’s side brushed aside the previously unbeaten Aston Villa last Friday.

It’s the three fixtures that fall immediately after the international break that catch the eye most as Burnley, Newcastle and West Bromwich Albion all currently lie 14th or below in the embryonic Premier League table.

Wolves’ relative struggles in front of goal are also worth considering: four of the Eagles’ five Gameweek 7-11 opponents, including Nuno Espirito Santo’s side, are in the bottom half of the table for goals scored.

The Gameweek 5 and 6 fixtures were frustrating from a defensive perspective, with 90th-minute strikes, both from outside the box, depriving the Eagles of clean sheets.

Roy Hodgson’s troops were only a slice of luck away from shut-outs in both cases and, given their defence-first reputation, par for the next five Gameweeks would surely be at least two clean sheets.

EVERTON

Next six: new | MUN | ful | LEE | bur | CHE

As is the case with Palace, Everton’s schedule take a bit of a nosedive from Gameweek 12 onwards.

Not that our traditional view of what constitutes a tricky fixture seems to hold true at present, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.7m) already delivering the goods against both Spurs and Liverpool.

If we are to consider games that are at least appealing on paper, then the Toffees’ next three away matches are among the best.

Newcastle, Fulham and Burnley have looked like three of the most anaemic attacks in the Premier League this season and rank in the bottom six for big chances created.

That trio of clubs only have two clean sheets between them, although the Clarets have begun to look more like their old mean selves since the international break and made life tough for Spurs on Monday.

ASTON VILLA

Next six: SOU | ars | BHA | whu | NEW | wol

Aston Villa’s 100% record came to a crashing end against Leeds United last Friday, with Marcelo Bielsa’s side delivering a reality check to the Villans.

Villa’s upcoming run of games, particularly at home, presents them with a decent opportunity to regain their momentum, however.

Dean Smith’s side sit top of our Season Ticker from now until Boxing Day, with Southampton, Brighton, Newcastle, Burnley and Crystal Palace up next for the Villans on their own turf and West Brom awaiting in Gameweek 15.

While some of those sides are performing well in the opening weeks of the campaign, that still constitutes a welcoming sequence of games in most people’s eyes.

Arsenal, West Ham and Wolves will be tough nuts to crack for Jack Grealish (£7.3m) and co on the road, however, with that trio of clubs among the more defensively secure sides in the division this season.

Villa’s fixtures rotate fairly well with those of both Newcastle and West Ham up until Christmas, should any FPL manager be considering a way to navigate those trickier tests for Smith’s troops.

WEST HAM UNITED

Next six: liv | FUL | shu| AVL | MUN | lee

Given that Frisking the Fixtures is a fortnightly series, West Ham United’s favourable run will have already commenced by the time we take a look over the schedule again during the international break.

The Hammers sit top of our Season Ticker from Gameweeks 8-20, with some particularly juicy games in east London to come against Fulham, Villa, Palace, Brighton, West Brom and Burnley over the next three months.

A trip to Anfield is the last obstacle before the November swing but the Reds are struggling for numbers at the back and this might be a decent time to face the reigning champions, who have conceded a joint-league-worst 14 goals this season.

Michail Antonio (£6.3m) has already bagged goals against Leicester, Arsenal and Manchester City in 2020/21, so the calibre of opposition seems to matter little to the in-form forward – although his hamstrings might have a say in his availability.

David Moyes’ side have been excellent since a Gameweek 2 switch to a wing-back system but it remains to be seen how they fare against sides who are more content to let the Hammers play on the front foot, which might be the case in Gameweeks 8 and 9.

CHELSEA

Next six: bur |SHU | new | TOT | LEE | eve

Were we to focus solely on the next three Gameweeks, then Chelsea would top the pile on our Season Ticker.

Two winless clubs in the relegation zone and an unconvincing Newcastle side are to come before things turn sour, with Chelsea facing none of the current bottom five between Gameweeks 10-18.

The Clarets and the Blades are the two worst attacks in the Premier League so far this season, with each scoring just three goals apiece.

Steve Bruce’s side have also looked toothless going forward, with no side having had fewer shots on target.

Four clean sheets in the last five matches in all competitions has hinted at a bit of a sea change for Chelsea, with new recruits Thiago Silva (£5.5m), Ben Chilwell (£5.8m) and Edouard Mendy (£5.0m) having the desired effect on a previously troubled defence.

At the other end, the Blues are now finally at full strength after an injury-interrupted start to 2020/21 and we’ll surely see a return to a more attacking set-up at Turf Moor on Saturday after the safety-first approach at Old Trafford in Gameweek 6.

ALSO CONSIDER

West Bromwich Albion (ful | TOT | mun | SHU | CRY | new), like so many clubs featured in this piece, have a mixed bag of games, with the double-header against Spurs and Manchester United the obvious negative.

Their other four opponents in the next six Gameweeks are all in the bottom half for goals scored, however, with Fulham and Sheffield United the only two top-tier sides yet to keep a Premier League clean sheet this season.

The Baggies have looked a lot more solid (against admittedly limited attacks) in the last two Gameweeks and their fixtures rotate very well with West Ham’s up until Christmas, for those nostalgic managers finding the allure of a romantic Branislav Ivanovic (£4.5m) pick hard to resist.

Top-of-the-table Everton, an improving Southampton and a Chelsea side finally nearing full strength are next up for Newcastle United (EVE | sou | CHE | cry | avl | WBA), an awkward trio of matches that undermines their lofty position in our Season Ticker.

Look beyond that though and there are some more appealing fixtures for the Magpies’ backline, with Palace, West Brom and Fulham (who Steve Bruce’s side face in Gameweek 14) hardly setting the world alight with their attacking play so far in 2020/21.

Those three teams are, as it happens, also in the bottom three for expected goals conceded, too.

Looking ahead to our next piece over the November international break, expect to see Manchester City (shu | LIV | tot | BUR | FUL | mun) feature more prominently as we gear up for their mouth-watering fixture swing in Gameweek 10.

THE WEAK

Fulham 

Sharp rescues blunt Blades as Mitrovic suffers nightmare outing

Next six: WBA | whu | EVE | lei | mci | LIV

A Gameweek 7 clash with fellow Premier League new boys West Bromwich Albion will likely represent the last hurrah for Aleksandar Mitrovic (£5.8m) in many Fantasy teams, for those managers who didn’t sell him long ago.

Fulham’s schedule is appalling from next week onwards, with four clubs scoring at a rate of two+ goals per game to come in Gameweeks 8-12 – the one exception being Manchester City, who will surely be back to their destructive best sooner rather than later.

Frankly, little more needs to be written on the matter. Some clubs, like West Ham, have been able to ride out a tough fixture run but the Cottagers, bottom of the table, winless and without a clean sheet despite a relatively favourable opening run of games, have “avoid” written all over them in the medium term at the very least.

BURNLEY

Pieters at right-back as Burnley reveal Bardsley's self-isolation

Next six: CHE | bha | CRY | mci | EVE | ars

While Fulham won’t be giving their upcoming opponents any nightmares, a streetwise Burnley side may be a tougher prospect.

The Clarets’ forthcoming fixture run, which includes meetings with attack-minded sides such as Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton, is enough to deter fresh investment in the likes of Nick Pope (£5.5m), despite a decent-looking double-header either side of the international break.

Sean Dyche’s side could still have a big say in FPL matters, however, with their defence starting to look more like their old selves since the October international break.

We indeed saw a free-scoring Spurs side struggle to break down their opponents at Turf Moor in Gameweek 6 and, over the course of the season, no Premier League side has allowed fewer big chances than Pope and co.

ALSO CONSIDER

Is a sea of red on the Season Ticker enough to put managers off Leeds United (LEI | cry | ARS | eve | che | WHU)?

All of the Whites’ next six opponents are currently ranked 12th or above, with Leicester, Arsenal and West Ham among the three best sides in the division from a defensive perspective.

But then that was also true of Aston Villa before Patrick Bamford (£5.9m) butchered Dean Smith’s side in the Midlands, with Marcelo Bielsa’s boys having previously gone toe to toe with last season’s top two and taken points off Manchester City.

Sheffield United (MCI | che | WHU | wba | LEI | sou) have neither form nor fixtures on their side over the next five Gameweeks (and possibly beyond), with the exception of the trip to West Brom in November.

So defensively solid in 2019/20, the Blades have yet to keep a clean sheet this season and face tough upcoming tests: Chelsea, West Ham and Leicester have all scored two goals per match or more, while Manchester City are long overdue a big win.

Finally, a cautionary word on two teams who will feature more prominently in this piece for all the wrong reasons when we revisit the fixture list over the international break.

The short-term outlook is positive for Wolverhampton Wanderers (CRY | lei | SOU | ars | liv | AVL) and Tottenham Hotspur (BHA | wba | MCI | che | ARS | cry), with the former enjoying a winnable next two matches at Molineux and the latter having perhaps the best pair of Gameweek 7/8 fixtures.

Beyond that, though, are more daunting schedules, with both sides facing six of last season’s top eight from Gameweeks 9-16 – that truly will be a test of form versus fixtures for the likes of Harry Kane (£10.9m) and Son Heung-min (£9.5m).


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811 Comments Post a Comment
  1. diesel001
    • 4 Years
    27 days, 10 hours ago

    Given the way the season has gone so far, not sure how much faith I can put in the 'fixtures'.

    "Liverpool lost 7-2 to Aston Villa, who lost 3-0 to Leeds, who lost 1-0 to Wolves, who lost 4-0 to West Ham, who lost 2-0 to Newcastle, who lost 3-0 to Brighton, who lost 3-1 to Chelsea, who lost 2-0 to Liverpool."

    https://twitter.com/SachinNakrani/status/1319744924573728781?s=20

    1. Bobby Digital
      • 3 Years
      27 days, 10 hours ago

      Good post

  2. You've got red on you.
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    27 days, 10 hours ago

    Trossard just doesn't seem to be doing it and despite being on the goals imminent table, maybe he needs to go. So:

    Trossard ----->

    a) Bowen

    b) Barkley

    c) -4 Foden (+TAA ---> Robbo)

    d) Save transfer and keep Trossard

    1. Hansel
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      27 days, 10 hours ago

      D then get Bowen next week

      1. You've got red on you.
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        27 days, 10 hours ago

        Thanks. Seems popular advice.

    2. soup natsi
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      27 days, 10 hours ago

      foden out of these three but not for a hit, not for that hit. barkley not a bad option either

  3. Hansel
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    27 days, 10 hours ago

    A) Grealish
    B) Zaha
    C) Ziyech

    1. You've got red on you.
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      27 days, 10 hours ago

      Ziyech seems the most exciting

    2. HaffNanner
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      27 days, 10 hours ago

      A

    3. Stram Dunk
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      27 days, 10 hours ago

      Grealish

    4. Paul Psychic Octopus
      • 9 Years
      27 days, 10 hours ago

      ACB

      1. Hansel
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        27 days, 10 hours ago

        I've never trusted someone as much as Paul the psychic octupus! =D

  4. Bruce Lee
    • 2 Years
    27 days, 10 hours ago

    wait... did morata actually copy dybala's arm tattoo?

  5. kopite65
    • 6 Years
    27 days, 10 hours ago

    Any thoughts? 2ft 0.1 itb
    martinez/steer
    robbo chill dallas mitchell kwp
    salah son puli grealish bissouma
    kane wilson dcl
    cheers

  6. Paul Psychic Octopus
    • 9 Years
    27 days, 10 hours ago

    So apparently it's pronounced Fernansh in Portuguese, rather than Fernandezz. That settles it. He's called Bruno.

  7. Camzy
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    27 days, 10 hours ago

    Is there anyone here that's actually in the top 10K?

    I have a feeling this is the most unknown top 10K ever. All of them seem to be lucky Spurs fans.

    1. Dexters Laboratory
        27 days, 10 hours ago

        Sadly have to agree.. hours spent and I'm 436K. A guy in work (C) Bamford last week because he had a good feeling. It's a year of luck

      • diesel001
        • 4 Years
        27 days, 10 hours ago

        Spurs, Everton and Vardy fans. Fair play to them. Their faith paid off.

      • Miguel Sanchez
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        27 days, 10 hours ago

        Did you see the ghost team someone posted that is at OR 42?

      • Long ago I drew a walrus
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        27 days, 10 hours ago

        Quite close to the top 10k myself, just the 3.66million places off

    2. Dexters Laboratory
        27 days, 10 hours ago

        Pick Two for the next three GWs
        A) Grealish
        B) Havertz
        C) Bruno
        D) Pulisic

        1. Gudjohnsen
          • 3 Years
          27 days, 10 hours ago

          AC

      • Zim0
        • 2 Years
        27 days, 10 hours ago

        Rashford Goal
        Bruno Assist

        1. Zim0
          • 2 Years
          27 days, 10 hours ago

          Linesman almost messed it up by raising flag for possible offside but rashford didn't stop and scored

      • Werner Bros
        • 5 Years
        27 days, 10 hours ago

        Bottomed on last page

        Appreciate any thoughts on what to do here please?

        A: Davies > Chilwell
        B: Save

        McCarthy / Nyland
        TAA Justin Mitchell / Taylor Davies
        Salah Son Zaha Podence / Bissouma
        DCL Werner Jimi

        1FT 1.7ITB

        Open to any other suggestions.

        1. Dexters Laboratory
            27 days, 10 hours ago

            A

          • dmcnam12
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            27 days, 10 hours ago

            A

          • Werner Bros
            • 5 Years
            27 days, 10 hours ago

            Thanks, seems to be the popular choice!

        2. jdoyle
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          27 days, 10 hours ago

          Brilliant assist by Fernandes

        3. Stram Dunk
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          27 days, 10 hours ago

          Rashfoooord

        4. Zim0
          • 2 Years
          27 days, 10 hours ago

          Rashford Goal Again

          1. Zim0
            • 2 Years
            27 days, 10 hours ago

            Fred assist

        5. dmcnam12
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          27 days, 10 hours ago

          Rashford looks VERY clinical

        6. LOLarov
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          27 days, 10 hours ago

          Rashford making a fantasy claim!!!!

        7. Camzy
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          27 days, 10 hours ago

          Havertz > Rashford or Fernandes?

          Genuinely seems a dilemma now...

          1. Zim0
            • 2 Years
            27 days, 10 hours ago

            Yeah. I want both ._. There are so many options this year. Im loving it

          2. Giggs Boson
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 9 Years
            27 days, 10 hours ago

            I think I want both for the WBA game in GW9, but I'd rather Bruno for now.

            I don't think Arsenal and Everton will give Rashford space to run into, so I favour Bruno in those two.

            1. Camzy
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 10 Years
              27 days, 10 hours ago

              Except for the fact that Rashford has an incredible record vs top 6 teams last year. I'm actually leaning that way. Going Rashford allows me to do James > Chilwell.

              1. Giggs Boson
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 9 Years
                27 days, 10 hours ago

                He has a good record because big sides generally played a high line against United, who sat back. He'd punish them on the counter.

                Arsenal tend to play very defensive against the big sides under Arteta.

                Rashford looks good though. Probably a good pick regardless. It's all guesswork.

          3. Stram Dunk
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            27 days, 10 hours ago

            Martial on pens now? Rash for me

        8. Grounderz
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 9 Years
          27 days, 10 hours ago

          What a strike, Marcus.

        9. Would Ed Woodward
          • 1 Year
          27 days, 10 hours ago

          Rash is on one of his hot steaks, happens every season.

        10. Kristobal
          • 9 Years
          27 days, 10 hours ago

          Anyone knows if Alex Telles is injured?
          Did a solid debut and then heat?

        11. xHaTr
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          27 days, 10 hours ago

          How does this sounds for 2FT?

          Reece James and Trossard to Dallas and Zaha

        12. nkhoughton
          • 5 Years
          27 days, 10 hours ago

          Is sterling to Son good or bad? Already own Kane

          1. Tinkermania
            • 1 Year
            27 days, 10 hours ago

            Going by last few weeks points, it seems a good move. But Raz will likely score more than Son this season. Of course some may disagree.

          2. Whatever100
            • 4 Years
            27 days, 10 hours ago

            Well Son clearly the better player and cheaper. Son creates his own chances and chances for his team mates whereas Sterling generally relies heavily on the players around him for his usual tap ins.

        13. Wolfman180
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          27 days, 10 hours ago

          Any thoughts? 2FT 0.2 ITB

          Martinez/McCarthy
          Robbo/Chilwell/Dallas/Konsa/Lamprey
          Salah/Son/Pulisic/Rodriguez/Jorginho
          Kane/DCL/Brewster

          There's no urgent moves that stand out to me, but feels wrong burning a transfer

          Thinking of perhaps Jorginho to Soucek and roll a transfer

        14. Do I Not Like Orange
          • 8 Years
          27 days, 10 hours ago

          Another few goals in top level European competition for Rashford. Still not as successful a sportsman as a fella who does the hop, skip & jump or some minor royal who jumps horses over small fences, apparently.

          1. Ron_Swanson
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 10 Years
            27 days, 10 hours ago

            You don’t think he will win SPOTY?

        15. DycheDycheBaby
          • 5 Years
          27 days, 10 hours ago

          Rashford essential

        16. ⭐ Bemba_Da ⭐
          • 10 Years
          27 days, 10 hours ago

          Rashford like maradonna there

        17. Zim0
          • 2 Years
          27 days, 10 hours ago

          United penalty

        18. sully29
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          27 days, 10 hours ago

          Rashford looking sharp.

        19. ⭐ Bemba_Da ⭐
          • 10 Years
          27 days, 10 hours ago

          Martial on pens

          1. Zim0
            • 2 Years
            27 days, 10 hours ago

            Probably needs a goal thats why

        20. Zim0
          • 2 Years
          27 days, 10 hours ago

          Martial Goal

        21. Captain Vantastic™
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          27 days, 10 hours ago

          Bruno off pens?

          1. Zim0
            • 2 Years
            27 days, 10 hours ago

            Unlikely. Martial most likely wanted to score his first goal of the season and bruno let him take it

            1. Camzy
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 10 Years
              27 days, 10 hours ago

              It's strange. Rashford on a hatty and he doesn't take it.

              1. Tinkermania
                • 1 Year
                27 days, 10 hours ago

                You know why he let Martial take it, don't you?

              2. Zim0
                • 2 Years
                27 days, 10 hours ago

                They're all buddies i guess. Rashy wanted him to score too

              3. Grounderz
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 9 Years
                27 days, 10 hours ago

                Unselfish thing to do. Think he knows Martial needs a boost in confidence just with a goal so that to them seemed more important than the hatty, I guess.

          2. Noah’s Ark
            • 7 Years
            27 days, 10 hours ago

            Rashford passed the ball to Martial. He was without a goal in 11games he needed it.