179
Frisking the Fixtures

Who has the worst fixtures at the start of the 2021/22 FPL season?

Little more than three weeks since the end of 2020/21, the fixtures for the upcoming Premier League season are out.

We’ve already taken a look at the top-flight teams with the best runs of opening games on paper, so now we switch attention to those sides with less favourable schedules.

A six-Gameweek lookahead is our initial focus but we’ll cast our eyes further where necessary.

Our Season Ticker was updated almost immediately after the fixtures were released at 9am BST on Wednesday, with the opening six Gameweeks sorted by difficulty below:

Subscribers to Fantasy Football Scout can use this helpful tool to pick out the best and worst runs of matches for each club, sort by rotation pairings, use their own customised difficulty ratings and more.

You can see a tutorial on the Season Ticker below:

WORST FIXTURES

NORWICH CITY

  • FIRST SIX FIXTURES: LIV | mci | LEI | ars | WAT | eve
  • POSSIBLE TURNING POINT: WAT (GW5)

Welcome back to the Premier League, Norwich City.

The champions of the English second-tier sit rock bottom of our Season Ticker in the opening month, having been handed a nightmare start.

Liverpool and Manchester City are first up, with Leicester City to follow before the September international break.

It’s difficult to know which incarnation of Arsenal will turn up when the Canaries welcome the Gunners to Carrow Road in Gameweek 4 but Mikel Arteta’s Jekyll-and-Hyde side were second in the Premier League form table in 2021, hinting at some modest improvement.

Daniel Farke’s troops have some respite from Gameweeks 4-7, at least, with fellow new boys Watford to come as well as Everton, Brighton and Hove Albion and Burnley.

Fantasy investment in Teemu Pukki may have to wait, then, although the Finn did of course bag against Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City in the first few weeks of 2019/20.

CHELSEA

  • FIRST SIX FIXTURES: CRY | ars | liv | AVL | tot | MCI
  • POSSIBLE TURNING POINT: SOU (GW7)

A number of Chelsea assets may well be on Scout Picks duty in Gameweek 1 but the medium-term outlook is not so rosy for the European champions.

Crystal Palace visit Stamford Bridge on the opening weekend and have provided obliging opposition recently, losing their last seven encounters with the Blues – including both fixtures last season by a combined 8-1 scoreline.

The Eagles may be a bit of an unknown quantity given the change of manager, of course, while more traditional stiffer tests then await Thomas Tuchel’s troops.

A triple-header of away games at Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur is punctuated by a clash with Aston Villa, who defeated Chelsea 2-1 in Gameweek 38.

Champions Manchester City then follow in Gameweek 6.

Write off Tuchel’s side at your peril, though: Chelsea beat City in all three of their league and cup meetings in 2021 and shut out the likes of Liverpool, Spurs, Manchester United and Leeds United after Frank Lampard departed.

LEEDS UNITED

  • FIRST SIX FIXTURES: mun | EVE| bur | LIV | new | WHU
  • POSSIBLE TURNING POINT: new (GW5)

For Leeds, read Chelsea: iffy opening fixtures but a side that showed big improvements at the back in 2021 and who proved themselves capable of going toe to toe with the traditional elite, especially on home soil.

In truth, it’s only really the clashes with Manchester United and Liverpool that should be off-putting.

Everton are an unknown quantity at this stage following the change of manager, while Burnley, Newcastle and West Ham’s defensive form deserted them in the second half of last season: only Southampton kept fewer clean sheets than that trio of clubs (four each) from Gameweek 20 onwards.

The Gameweek 5 trip to Newcastle indeed heralds a six-match run in which Leeds are catapulted to the top of our Season Ticker.

CRYSTAL PALACE

  • FIRST SIX FIXTURES: che | BRE | whu | TOT | liv | BHA
  • POSSIBLE TURNING POINT: WOL (GW11)

Whoever takes over at Crystal Palace faces a baptism of fire.

Extending the Season Ticker lookahead to Gameweek 10 sees the Eagles drop to the bottom, with seven of the teams who finished in the top eight last season awaiting Roy Hodgson’s former charges.

Home games against Brentford, rivals Brighton and Newcastle are chinks of light amidst that run but there’ll few Fantasy managers gambling on Wilfried Zaha and co until November at the earliest.

ALSO CONSIDER

No team kept fewer clean sheets than Southampton (eve | MUN | new | WHU | mci | WOL) in the second half of last season and shut-out opportunities may be thin on the ground in the first few months of 2021/22.

The opening six games aren’t a complete write-off, with an Everton side in flux, Newcastle, a defensively suspect West Ham and Wolves all to come.

But taking the Gameweek 7 and 8 clashes with Chelsea and Leeds United into consideration does push the schedule towards unfavourable territory, particularly as encounters with both Manchester clubs are to come before then.

Tottenham Hotspur (MCI | wol | WAT | cry | CHE | ars) have the trickiest test of Gameweek 1, meanwhile, with four London derbies to come between Gameweeks 3-6.

Spurs do rise to third in our Gameweek 2-8 ticker once the visit of Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions is out of the way, however.

There is not much to like about Burnley‘s (BHA | liv | LEE | eve | ARS | lei) opening set of matches, meanwhile.

That goes doubly true for Chris Wood, given that Brighton, Liverpool, Leeds, Everton and Arsenal were all in the top seven for clean sheets in the final 12 Gameweeks of the campaign.

Our Euro 2020 Fantasy coverage

BEST PLAYERS

Group A: Turkey | Italy | Wales | Switzerland

Group B: Denmark | Finland | Belgium | Russia

Group C: Netherlands | Ukraine | Austria | North Macedonia

Group D: England | Croatia | Scotland | Czech Republic

Group E: Spain | Sweden | Poland | Slovakia

Group F: Hungary | Portugal | France | Germany

BY POSITION: Goalkeepers | Defenders | Midfielders | Forwards

ALL OUR TEAM REVEALS

STRATEGY

Access all EURO 2020 tournament AND qualifier data ONLY with Fantasy Football Scout Premium Membership

JOIN OUR MINI-LEAGUE WITH JUST EAT: 13RHPLTV09

Become a Member and get unrestricted access to our data and articles

Full-year memberships and monthly subscriptions are now available.

Join now to get the following:

  • Plot your transfer strategies using the fully interactive Season Ticker.
  • Get projections for every Premier League player provided by the Rate My Team statistical model.
  • Use Rate My Team throughout the season to guide your selections and transfers.
  • Get access to over 150+ exclusive members articles over the season.
  • Analyse our OPTA-powered statistic tables specifically tailored for Fantasy Football Managers.
  • Use our exclusive tool to build custom stats tables from over 100 OPTA player and team stats.
  • Enjoy our brand NEW Flat-Track Bully feature which introduces an opposition filter to your tables.
  • View heatmaps and expected goals data for every player.
  • Use our powerful comparison tool to analyse players head-to-head.

ALREADY A USER? CLICK HERE TO UPGRADE YOUR FREE ACCOUNT

NEW TO SCOUT? CLICK HERE TO START A MEMBERSHIP ACCOUNT

179 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Richarlidad
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 3 days ago

    Kane, Griezmann, Lukaku
    Perisic, Sterling, Calhanoglu, Yarmo, Insigne
    Alba, Meunier, Hernandez, Fernandes, Spinna
    Donna, Livakovic

    A little bit different but mostly template. Would you swap any of my forwards for Mbappe?

    1. Neves say Neves
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 3 days ago

      really nice, like calhan

    2. fricky_
      3 months, 3 days ago

      Love it. Would personally swap kane for mbappe. Just don't think England will score more than 1 or 2 goals. France could score up to 6 goals

  2. dark91
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 3 days ago

    Not sure if smart or foolish but I am picking these guys as differentials on LL.
    Calhanoglu, Yarmolenko, and Golovin

    Hope at least 1 of them returns

    1. Dr. Rog
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 12 Years
      3 months, 3 days ago

      its a good strategy as there is a killer bench anyway

    2. fricky_
      3 months, 3 days ago

      Absolutely love it, I have Yarmo and Cal myself

  3. Gooner97
    • 8 Years
    3 months, 3 days ago

    Would you change anything from this lot? 2FT, 0ITB

    Donnarumma, Hradecky
    Kjaer Denayer Alioski Wijndal P.Torres
    F.Torres Malinovskyi Insigne Mount Nego
    Kane Griezmann Lukaku

    1. KGFC
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 3 days ago

      Kjaer, Alioski, Wijndal, Nego.... probably would have played LL

  4. Firminoooo
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 3 days ago

    Golovin (C) lets go!

    1. KGFC
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 3 days ago

      Dyzuba here!

  5. More Cowbell
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 11 Years
    3 months, 3 days ago

    I've still got the armband on Bale....

    Roll the dice or get a grip and put it on Insigne like a good boy?

    1. fricky_
      3 months, 3 days ago

      Insigne no doubt

  6. nerd_is_the_werd
    • 1 Year
    3 months, 3 days ago

    RAMSET WHAT A CHOKE

  7. FFSbet.com
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 3 days ago

    Ramsey destroying my Bale(C)