Monday’s surprise announcement that the EFL Cup final would move back two months has caused a stir in the Fantasy world, as it would seem to have implications for the Blank and Double Gameweek picture.
First off, there will very likely be a Blank Gameweek 33, in which one or two Premier League fixtures will be postponed depending on how many top-flight clubs progress through the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the EFL Cup.
Secondly, Gameweek 26 will, barring any further weather or COVID-related postponements, have a full complement of 10 Premier League games taking place on the last weekend of February.
The free midweek after Gameweek 26 may well have accommodated any postponements from the weekend had the EFL Cup final clash occurred as originally scheduled.
Instead, it may now host other rearranged games, be it the outstanding fixtures from Gameweeks 1 and 11 and/or other cup-related postponed matches.
So here’s what we know about the Blank/Double Gameweek picture so far…
WHICH BLANK AND DOUBLE GAMEWEEKS ARE SO FAR CONFIRMED?
Blank Gameweek 18 and Double Gameweek 19 have been confirmed by Fantasy Premier League and look as follows:
WHICH FIXTURES REMAIN OUTSTANDING?
Three postponed fixtures (two from Gameweek 1 and one from Gameweek 11) are yet to be rearranged. They are:
- Burnley v Manchester United
- Manchester City v Aston Villa
- Aston Villa v Newcastle
It’s possible that two of those could still fall within Gameweeks 18 or 19, thus adding to the Double Gameweek 19 fixture bonanza or meaning that fewer teams will be without a match in Blank Gameweek 18.
But other dates are possible, as we’ll discuss below.
WHEN COULD OTHER BLANK GAMEWEEKS OCCUR?
There are two Gameweeks in which the Premier League schedule clashes with a cup competition and there is no ‘free’ midweek afterwards. These Gameweeks, therefore, could be ‘blanks’:
- Gameweek 29: The FA Cup quarter-finals take place on the same weekend. An international break subsequently follows, so any postponed league matches couldn’t take place in the ensuing days. Anywhere between zero and eight league games could be affected.
- Gameweek 33: The EFL Cup final takes place on the same weekend, with the Champions League and Europa League semi-finals scheduled for the following midweek. Between one and two league matches will be affected.
WHEN COULD OTHER DOUBLE GAMEWEEKS OCCUR?
- Gameweek 26: The most obvious time to stage any outstanding matches will be Gameweek 26, given that no domestic or European competitions are scheduled to place straight afterwards and a free midweek opens up. Two of the three postponed matches from Gameweeks 1/11 could be candidates for this week, as could any rearranged Gameweek 29 clashes.
- Gameweeks 32 and 37: There are free midweeks immediately after these two Gameweeks, which happen to clash with the FA Cup semi-finals and final. It would make sense for any fixtures affected by those FA Cup ties to be merely shunted back three or four days, but there is the capacity to absorb outstanding matches from other Gameweeks if required.
There are other possible options for a small Double Gameweek, such as Gameweek 23 – although that would require clubs being eliminated early from the FA Cup and thus having a free midweek when the fifth round is due to take place.
WHEN ARE THE CHIPS AVAILABLE?
A shrewd chip strategy will be needed to navigate through this tricky period of Blank and Double Gameweeks, and that’s before we acknowledge the possibility of COVID-19 wreaking more havoc on the football calendar.
The chips, which can’t be used in conjunction with another in the same Gameweek, are available as follows:
Bench Boost, Triple Captain and Free Hit – can be used once a season at any time.
First Wildcard – available until the start of Gameweek 16 (Monday 28 December at 13:30 GMT).
Second Wildcard – available after the start of Gameweek 16 (Monday 28 December at 13:30 GMT).
Be sure to check out our Blank Gameweek 18 and Double Gameweek 19 guide below for more information.
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