Leicester City will play Chelsea in this year’s FA Cup final after the Foxes defeated Southampton on Sunday.
From a Fantasy perspective, this will have ramifications next month.
As things stand, the final of England’s premier cup competition clashes with Gameweek 37 in Fantasy Premier League – but a free midweek follows, which would neatly accommodate the league meeting between (coincidentally) Chelsea and Leicester City currently scheduled for May 15.
But, such is life and the nature of this rollercoaster FPL season, there is an expectation that something different entirely will occur.
It’s all to do with the planned return of fans to Premier League matches, which can only happen after May 17.
Nothing has yet been confirmed by the Premier League but the Athletic suggest:
The schedule has been readjusted to push the 36th round of fixtures — originally scheduled for midweek kick-offs on May 11 and 12 — to the weekend of May 15 and 16.
Any fixtures that will be displaced by the FA Cup final on May 15 will be moved to May 11 or 12.
Matches for the 37th round of fixtures are now due to take place on May 18 and 19.
The final round of fixtures for the season, however, will remain on Sunday, May 23.
So to summarise this proposed scenario: Gameweeks 36 and 37 will each shuffle back a few days, with Gameweek 35 being the ‘double’ that will accommodate Chelsea v Arsenal and Manchester United v Leicester City – and, probably, the other two postponed games from earlier in the campaign: Southampton v Crystal Palace and Aston Villa v Everton.
Those eight teams will have a Double Gameweek if this does pan out.
We should reiterate that this is all just educated conjecture at this stage, with nothing official announced.
But we likely won’t have to wait long for the Premier League’s new schedule as the results of the weekend’s FA Cup semi-finals were the final piece of the jigsaw before the television companies can start portioning out the remaining games.
Onto Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final itself and Kelechi Iheanacho (£6.1m) kept up his sensational form by grabbing the game’s winner.
The Nigerian finished at the second attempt after good work from strike partner Jamie Vardy (£10.1m), in doing so registering his 10th goal in his last seven matches.
As for Vardy, he has now gone 11 competitive games without finding the back of the net. That represents his longest goal drought since a run of 16 games in late-2016, with a spurned one-on-one opportunity in the first half against the Saints representative of his current wastefulness in front of goal.
The veteran forward was visibly shattered at the end of the game, although the Foxes do at least have four days before they take on West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League.
Second-half substitute James Maddison (£7.2m) was once again reduced to bit-part player status as Brendan Rodgers handles his comeback from injury carefully and he has now been omitted from the starting XI in the three matches since he was passed fit, although his no-show in Gameweek 31 was disciplinary-related.
There was encouragement for owners of the Foxes’ defensive assets, too, with Southampton not able to muster a single shot on target. Rodgers’ troops were at full strength at the back, with Caglar Soyuncu (£5.3m) returning from illness to bolster the backline.
As for the beleaguered Saints, there wasn’t much to champion ahead of their future Double Gameweek.
FPL midfielder Nathan Redmond (£6.4m) was again stationed ‘out of position’ up front but a lack of service and creativity saw him and Danny Ings (£8.4m) fail to register a single shot between them, with four of Southampton’s six efforts coming from outside the box.
Fraser Forster (£4.0m) at least retained his place between the posts and the fact that he has started seven of the last eight matches in all competitions bodes well for those Fantasy managers who are relying on the budget goalkeeper for appearance points this week and beyond.
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