Our frisk of the fixtures sees us assess the Premier League clubs with the strongest and weakest runs of league matches – in theory, at least.
In this article, we’ll extend our usual six-Gameweek lookahead and instead cast our eyes a little further until the end of the 2020/21 season.
There are still a few unknowns with the schedule, with two previously postponed matches remaining outstanding: Southampton v Crystal Palace and Aston Villa v Everton.
There’s also the prospect of a calendar rejig to accommodate returning spectators at the end of the season, something we expanded on in a dedicated article here.
For now, these are the landmark Gameweeks for the run-in:
- Gameweek 32 will see Tottenham Hotspur play twice, with Crystal Palace blanking.
- Gameweek 33 will see Spurs, Manchester City, Southampton and Fulham all blank, thanks to the clash with the EFL Cup final.
We’re entering into the realms of conjecture for everything beyond April:
- Gameweek 37 would likely be a small Double Gameweek if there are no changes to the calendar, absorbing Southampton v Palace and Villa v Everton.
- If the deadlines do shift, up to eight teams could potentially have a double in Gameweek 35 and up to four teams could potentially have a blank in Gameweek 36.
INVOLVEMENT IN OTHER COMPETITIONS IN THE RUN-IN
|None||Aston Villa, Brighton, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Everton, Fulham, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Sheff Utd, West Brom, West Ham, Wolves|
|FA Cup||Leicester, Southampton|
|Europa League||Man Utd*, Arsenal*|
|FA Cup + Champions League||Chelsea|
|FA Cup + EFL Cup + Champions League||Man City|
*Dependent on Thursday’s results
THE GAMEWEEKS SURROUNDING/AFFECTED BY OTHER COMPETITIONS
- FA Cup semi-finals: Weekend before Gameweek 32
- FA Cup final: Currently clashes with the weekend of Gameweek 37
- EFL Cup final: Clashes with the weekend of Gameweek 33
- Champions League semi-finals: In between Gameweeks 33, 34 and 35
- Europa League semi-finals: In between Gameweeks 33, 34 and 35
GAMEWEEK 32-38 SCHEDULE AS IT STANDS
With the proviso that anything beyond Gameweek 34 could shift, this is the schedule as it stands:
|Dates (midweeks in italics)||Premier League fixtures||Other fixtures|
|April 16-19||Gameweek 32||FA Cup semi-finals (Leicester v Southampton, Man City v Chelsea)|
|April 20-22||Gameweek 32|
|April 23-26||Gameweek 33||EFL Cup final (Man City v Spurs)|
|April 27-29||Champions League and Europa League semi-finals (Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal* and Man Utd*)|
|May 1-2||Gameweek 34|
|May 4-6||Champions League and Europa League semi-finals (Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal* and Man Utd*)|
|May 8-9||Gameweek 35|
|May 11-12||Gameweek 36|
|May 15-16||Gameweek 37||FA Cup final (Leicester or Southampton v Man City or Chelsea)|
|May 23||Gameweek 38|
|May 26||Europa League final (Arsenal* and Man Utd*)|
|May 29||Champions League final (Chelsea* and Man City*)|
*Dependent on further progression in the relevant competition
Remaining fixtures: lee | NEW | mun | SOU | wba| bur | CRY
Liverpool tick a lot of boxes in the season run-in.
An upturn in form? Check. “Something to play for”? Check. No other distractions outside of the Premier League? Check, following their midweek exit from Europe.
Added to that, they sit top of our Season Ticker for ease of fixture from Gameweeks 32-38.
Among their seven remaining games are matches against mid-table sides with little meaningful left to fight for (Crystal Palace and Southampton) and teams currently scrapping to avoid relegation whose fate may already be decided by the time Gameweeks 36 and 37 roll around (West Brom and Burnley).
An away clash with Leeds United in Gameweek 32 is one of their trickier tests, with the Whites looking more defensively sound of late having conceded just seven goals in their last eight outings.
But the Gameweek 34 trip to Old Trafford couldn’t have been timed better, as Manchester United look set to be in a two-legged Europa League semi-final either side of it.
And in Gameweek 33, when our premium Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City assets are blanking, a home match against a Newcastle United side who have kept a joint-low two Premier League clean sheets in 2021 is prime captaincy material.
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS AND LEICESTER CITY
Wolves’ remaining fixtures: SHU | BUR | wba | BHA | tot | eve | MUN
Leicester’s remaining fixtures: WBA | CRY | sou | NEW | mun | che | TOT
We have grouped these two teams together as their schedules are markedly similar.
Both sides have excellent runs from Gameweeks 32-35, each enjoying four games – three of which are at home – against teams all currently in the bottom half of the table.
And the two clubs both suffer negative fixture swings in the final three Gameweeks, with a triple-header of matches against Champions League-chasing opposition.
Sheffield United, Burnley, West Bromwich Albion, Crystal Palace, Southampton and Newcastle United are all in the bottom six for goals conceded in 2021, although a resurgent Baggies may present a stiffer test than they would have a couple of months ago.
Wolves’ results over this period may depend much on their own motivation, something widely discussed at this time of year and a subject covered in Deulofail’s recent Hot Topic.
A 1-0 win at Fulham, a team with plenty “to play for”, was at least a promising start to those targeting Conor Coady (£4.9m) and co for this excellent run.
Remaining fixtures: FUL | EVE | new | WBA | che | cry | BHA
The result of Thursday’s Europa League quarter-final, second-leg tie between Arsenal and Slavia Prague could have a huge say on the appeal of the Gunners’ assets, regardless of their attractive Premier League schedule.
For starters, Mikel Arteta’s line-up in the Czech Republic may partly dictate what team he selects for the clash with Fulham on Sunday.
Should Arsenal defeat Slavia, then a two-legged semi-final tie against Dinamo Zagreb and Villarreal could cause further rotation-related disruption in Gameweeks 33, 34 and 35.
There aren’t many Gunners who will swerve a benching or two so long as they remain in the Europa League, with success in that competition representing their best chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
Remaining fixtures: eve + SOU | – | SHU| lee | WOL | AVL | lei
No frisk of the remaining fixtures would be complete without a mention of Spurs, the only team with two matches in Double Gameweek 32.
They’re decent ones, too: the Lilywhites have put nine goals past Everton and Southampton in their two most recent meetings, although it’d be difficult to see Jose Mourinho’s hot-and-cold Lilywhites replicating those results based on their recent form.
The match with Ralph Hasenhuttl’s beleaguered troops particularly appeals as the Saints have shipped 11 more goals than any other club from Gameweek 19 onwards, a run that includes 12 concessions in their last four games.
The problematic element is the fact the clash with Southampton falls a few days before the EFL Cup final, which in turn causes the Lilywhites a Blank Gameweek 33.
We’ll almost certainly want Harry Kane (£11.7m) and Son Heung-min (£9.4m) straight back, as a meeting with whipping boys Sheffield United awaits in Gameweek 34.
Three comfortably mid-table clubs then follow, for subscribers of the ‘on the beach’ theory.
WEST HAM UNITED
Remaining fixtures: new | CHE | bur | EVE | bha | wba | SOU
Having racked up 82 points in his first 10 appearances since his loan move to east London, Jesse Lingard (£6.5m) will be a staple of many FPL squads, regardless of fixtures.
But favourable opposition is always welcome and in Newcastle, Burnley and Southampton, he and his Champions League-chasing West Ham side face three teams who have managed just one clean sheet each in the last seven Gameweeks.
The hope from a Hammers perspective is perhaps that, by the time we reach Gameweek 36, the destinies of a resurgent Brighton and West Brom will be settled – those two sides have the joint-third-best defensive record in their last 10 matches, with nine goals conceded apiece.
We’ll be back with another look at the calendar in a fortnight’s time, by which time you can expect to see Leeds United (LIV | MUN | bha | TOT| bur | SOU | wba) feature more prominently.
A double-header against Liverpool and Manchester United precedes a more welcoming run-in, although the Whites will fancy their chances against anyone after their Gameweek 31 success at the Etihad.
Sheffield United (wol | BHA | tot | CRY | eve | new | BUR) are second behind only Liverpool in our Season Ticker for Gameweeks 31-38, although it would take a serious about-turn in form for Fantasy managers to go anywhere near the Blades: Paul Heckingbottom’s charges have lost eight of their last nine matches, conceding 20 goals and scoring just three.
A significant Double Gameweek 35 is still a possibility but it’s worth mentioning the four teams we know will have a Double Gameweek at some point, namely Aston Villa, Everton, Crystal Palace and Southampton.
None of them have a particularly attractive run-in, however – more of which below.
Southampton and Crystal Palace
Southampton’s remaining fixtures: tot | – | LEI | liv | FUL | LEE | whu (plus CRY)
Crystal Palace’s remaining fixtures: – | lei | MCI | shu | AVL | ARS | liv (plus sou)
Blanks for Southampton and Crystal Palace in the next two Gameweeks, along with some tricky tests on either side of them, ensure that the two mid-table clubs remain rooted to the bottom of our Season Ticker.
And that’s before we even get to recent results, with Southampton in the bottom two of the Premier League form table over their last eight, ten and 12 matches.
These two sides found themselves in similar ‘nothing to play for’ territory in the final quarter of 2019/20 and underscored the uncertainty that the end of the season brings: Southampton were excellent after lockdown, Palace abject.
Their future Double Gameweek may rekindle interest, especially if Palace do end up getting a Gameweek 35 double-header against two of the division’s two worst defences in Saints and Sheffield United.
FULHAM AND MANCHESTER CITY
Fulham’s remaining fixtures: ars | – | che | BUR | sou | mun | NEW
Manchester City’s remaining fixtures: avl | – | cry | CHE | new | bha | EVE
Both these sides share two things in common: they blank in Gameweek 33 and have played at least one game more than the rest of the division.
Fulham also have away matches at Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United to negotiate, although there are more favourable clashes to look forward to for both sides.
It’s less about fixture difficulty at the moment, though, for these two clubs.
The Cottagers’ form has deserted them just at the point when survival looked likely, with losses to mid-table opposition in each of their last three games denting their FPL appeal.
And for City, it’s more to do with the rotation risk that comes with them fighting on four fronts: due to their continued involvement in the FA Cup, EFL Cup and Champions League and the fact that the Premier League title is all but secured, they face more pressing issues on either side of their remaining six top-flight fixtures.
The Gameweek 35 fixture swing for Chelsea (BHA | whu | FUL | mci | ARS | LEI | avl) is something to consider for those doubling up or tripling up on the Blues’ backline, although Thomas Tuchel will be hoping that European exertions will provide a welcome distraction for City and Arsenal sides with little left to play for on the domestic front.
Brighton and Hove Albion (che | shu | LEE | wol | WHU | MCI | ars) will be hoping that Premier League safety is assured by Gameweek 36, meanwhile, after a decent three-match run that precedes it.
The fine form of West Bromwich Albion (lei | avl | WOL | ars | LIV | WHU | lee) will also be put to the test between now and mid-May, with all seven of their remaining opponents in the top 12 – although, to bring us neatly back around to a recurring theme, four of their fixtures are against mid-table sides with little chance of relegation or Champions League qualification.
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