Our frisk of the fixtures sees us assess the Premier League clubs with the strongest and weakest runs of league matches over the coming weeks – in theory, at least.
We’ll extend our usual six-Gameweek lookahead and instead cast our eyes a little further until the end of the season, given that some managers will be looking at using their Wildcard in Gameweek 30 or 31.
Next nine: ars | AVL | lee | NEW | mun | SOU | wba| bur | CRY
Hints of a return to form for Liverpool could have come at just the right time for Fantasy managers.
Eight out of the next 10 fixtures for the Reds look like games they really should be winning, and you wouldn’t bet against them against Arsenal and Manchester United either.
Jurgen Klopp’s side sit top of our Season Ticker from now until the end of the season, with their last four matches against Southampton, West Brom, Burnley and Crystal Palace looking particularly appealing.
After a trip to the Emirates, they also have a tidy mini-run against Aston Villa, Leeds and Newcastle.
With the majority of teams in their 10-game run now “on a British beach” with only pride left to play for, the Reds could put together a serious winning run before the end of the campaign.
But their form before the win over Wolves, including four straight home defeats, has left the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) community undecided on whether to back them or not.
One player garnering interest is Diogo Jota (£6.7m), who has taken a place in Liverpool’s front three since his return from injury and scored against former club Wolves in Gameweek 28.
Despite Mohamed Salah’s (£12.4m) recent profligacy, Fantasy managers who have held on to the Egyptian can take some comfort in his recent stats.
Salah is second for shots in the box and receiving big chances in his last six outings and scored in the Champions League against Red Bull Leipzig.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.3m) brought in all three bonus points in his last game against Wolves and has created the second-highest amount of chances for defenders in the last six matches.
One factor counting against Liverpool is the Champions League. With Klopp admitting it would be “almost impossible” that his side would qualify for the tournament next year through league position, expect them to go all out to win the competition itself this year.
This could lead to players being rotated and rested on the domestic front, something we did see a bit of at the back-end of their run to the Champions League final in 2017/18, when there was little to play for in the top flight.
Next nine: WHU | ful | SHU | BUR | wba | BHA | tot | eve | MUN
Wolves soon enter a run of five fixtures as good as you are likely to see in FPL terms.
After a tricky tie at home against West Ham, they then face five of the bottom six all in a row.
Games against Sheffield United and West Brom who are all but relegated bookend an appealing home tie against Burnley.
Matches against Fulham and Brighton could prove to be much trickier, with the Cottagers battling for Premier League survival.
Wolves’ results over this period will depend much on their own desire.
Safe from trouble but too far off to threaten the European spots, we have often seen teams go off the boil with nothing to play for.
But with key players returning to the team and spots in the Portuguese European Championship squad up for grabs, Wolves could put together a solid run of form.
Centre-back Conor Coady (£4.8m) has become an unlikely goal threat with the most big chances of all defenders in the last six matches.
Star striker Raul Jimenez (£8.1m) could even have a part to play this season with Nuno Espirito Santo revealing that special headgear had been made for him.
Next nine: LIV | shu | FUL | EVE | new | WBA | che | cry | BHA
It looks to be a mixed bag of games for Mikel Arteta’s side, starting off with a home fixture against Liverpool.
But after this match, the Gunners enter a cracking little run, playing Sheffield United, Fulham, Newcastle and West Brom as well as Everton.
Arsenal have demonstrated perfectly in their last two games how they are this season’s Jekyll and Hyde, causing the FPL community to give them a wide berth.
In Gameweek 28 they were dominant in their 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur, where the margin of victory could have been far wider.
Then in their next game, they went 3-0 down to West Ham before mounting a superb comeback to claim a draw.
With four goals in his last six matches, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.5m) received backing before the Blank Gameweek 29 fixture, only to go completely missing against the Hammers.
And now that Arsenal’s attentions appear to be firmly focused on Europe, Aubameyang is a rotation risk going forward. He can also be shunted out onto the left wing, where he was anonymous against West Ham.
The performances of Kieran Tierney (£5.3m) since his return from injury have caught the eye and he should start more matches than not, but there aren’t many Gunners who will swerve a benching or two so long as they remain in Europe.
Next nine: wol | LEI | new | CHE | bur | EVE | bha | wba | SOU
West Ham have the advantage over Arsenal and Liverpool in that the Premier League will be their sole focus for the rest of the season.
With David Moyes’ men blazing towards a European spot, there will be no danger of them letting up before the end of the season.
And the Hammers have some kind fixtures before the end of the campaign, particularly on the road.
Visits to Wolves, Newcastle, Burnley, Brighton and West Brom are games where they will be expecting a win.
An end-of-the-season clash with Southampton also looks like a plum tie.
So the Hammers have the fixtures, and the players in form, to exploit this run.
Aaron Cresswell (£5.9m) is FPL’s highest-scoring defender this season, and has created two assists in his last six matches.
Jesse Lingard (£6.1m) is also in dazzling form since arriving from Manchester United on loan, and has had 11 shots in the box in his last six games.
While the goalscoring touch has evaded Michail Antonio (£6.7m) of late, he is still a key part of the Hammers’ attack, and laid on two assists against Arsenal.
Manchester City‘s omission from this list is likely due to them not having a fixture in Gameweek 33.
But before and after that blank, they have games that could really hurt Fantasy managers who do not have any of their assets.
The Citizens are still yet to play Aston Villa, Leeds, Crystal Palace, Brighton and Newcastle.
The spectre of Pep roulette looms over their end-of-season run, but players like Ruben Dias (£6.1m) and Kevin De Bruyne (£11.9m) have shown they are more likely to play than others.
After matches against both Manchester clubs and Liverpool, the clouds part for Leeds.
Leeds sit top of the Season Ticker from Gameweek 34 until the end of the season, with games against Brighton, Burnley, Southampton and West Brom to come.
Holding onto players like Raphinha (£5.7m) and Patrick Bamford (£6.7m) could be a wise move even during the initial difficult fixtures, with Leeds capable of nicking a goal or two due to their attacking style.
Chelsea may be deep into the Champions League, but they have the squad capable of putting together a solid run domestically.
The Blues will play West Brom, Brighton, Palace, West Ham and Fulham, before their fixtures take a nasty turn in Gameweek 35 with a trip to the Etihad.
With Thomas Tuchel needing to keep players fresh for multiple competitions, rotation will definitely be a factor for Chelsea.
But players like Marcos Alonso (£5.7m) could see more Premier League game-time, particularly against some of the weaker teams, with the more defensively sound Ben Chilwell (£5.8m) saved for tougther opposition.
Fantasy managers who value fixtures over form and are looking for a short-term punt could go for a Southampton player.
In their next three games, the Saints face Burnley, West Brom and Crystal Palace before a blank in Gameweek 33.
Next nine: mun | EVE | che | shu | LEE | wol | WHU | MCI | ars
Seagulls’ fans will be relieved that their side trounced Newcastle when they see their run-in for the end of the season.
In their next three, they face Manchester United, Everton and Chelsea, who are all gunning for Champions League places.
They will need to pick up points from the following three games against Sheffield United, Leeds and Wolves, as they then face West Ham, Man City and Arsenal to round 2020/21 off.
But Brighton have performed well in fixtures against clubs higher up the table.
They hold impressive wins over Spurs and Liverpool, and were unlucky to only claim a point in a 2-2 draw with West Ham.
And any FPL managers who brought in Brighton assets for last weekend could hold onto them for Blank Gameweek 33, when they face Sheffield United, before getting rid.
Next nine: eve | CHE | sou | lei | MCI | shu | AVL | ARS | liv
Crystal Palace’s combination of poor form and a tough run of games is enough to put off even die-hard Eagles fans from investing in their assets.
Palace sit bottom of the expected goals (xG) table for the last six matches, and second bottom for expected goals conceded (xGC) over the same period.
Southampton and Sheffield United look like winnable games for Roy Hodgson’s men.
But matches against Everton, Chelsea, Leicester, City, Villa, Arsenal and Liverpool could see them plunge down the table.
The return of talisman Wilfried Zaha (£7.1m) to the team should help lift their xG.
But with a bounty of mid-price midfield options, it could be wise to avoid the Eagles for the rest of the season.
Next nine: che | SOU | lei | avl | WOL | ars | LIV | WHU | lee
Let’s be honest, any fixture right now for West Brom is a tough game.
But any Baggies fans hoping for a reprieval towards the end of the season won’t be getting one, with them playing Arsenal, Liverpool and West Ham in a row.
Their final game of the season before dropping down to the Championship will be a trip to Leeds, who beat them 5-0 in the reverse fixture.
Sam Allardyce has failed to work his magic on West Brom, despite their xG and xGC showing signs of improvement in recent games.
And any backers of Mbaye Diagne (£6.0m) swayed by his impressive stats have had no attacking returns to show for their faith.
Next nine: MCI | whu | WBA | CRY | sou | NEW | mun | che | TOT
It’s the classic ‘form versus fixtures’ argument where Leicester are concerned, with the Foxes playing some cracking football of late.
But for anyone looking to invest in Leicester players, it may be worth waiting until after their games against Manchester City and West Ham.
From Gameweek 32 onwards, they face West Brom, Palace, Southampton and Newcastle in a cracking run before their schedule turns difficult again.
In Kelechi Iheanacho (£5.7m) the Foxes possess one of the most in-form strikers in the league.
The frontman has got on the end of an incredible seven big chances in four games, the most in the league by far, and ties Harry Kane with 15 attempts.
As the FA Cup tie showed against Manchester United, Iheanacho is capable of scoring against the top teams – as are Leicester themselves.
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