Our regular frisk of the fixtures sees us assess the Premier League clubs and players with – in theory – the strongest and weakest runs of league matches over the coming weeks of Fantasy Premier League (FPL).
The primary focus in this article will be on the next six Gameweeks but we will scrutinise the longer-term prospects where appropriate.
Our colour-coded Season Ticker is the primary source for this piece; using this tool as a Premium Member, you can sort by difficulty, rank by attacking and defensive potential or find budget rotation pairings. You can also set your own difficulty ratings, should you disagree with our own.
Saturday’s comprehensive 7-0 win over Norwich City brought a hat-trick from Mason Mount (£7.5m), who had lost 390,000 owners since his previous start in Gameweek 5, rather than the much-bought Kai Havertz (£8.1m). The German was the only Chelsea starter to blank – a beautiful summarisation of what FPL is all about. However, those new owners could still benefit from Romelu Lukaku‘s (£11.5m) injury if Havertz delivers the goods against Newcastle United – a side yet to keep a clean sheet.
The Blues then face Burnley at home, completing the sequence of facing relegation zone sides. After that are two games that seem difficult at first but, looking deeper, still present strong attacking fixtures. Leicester City haven’t kept a clean sheet since Gameweek 1 and conceded twice in each of the four games preceding Sunday’s 2-1 win at Brentford, whilst Manchester United have let in 11 goals from their last three matches in all competitions.
Six clean sheets have been kept from nine attempts. Although their three goals conceded is the league’s lowest, Chelsea are bettered by several sides in terms of shots conceded, shots conceded in penalty area and expected goals conceded (xGC). The other defensive issue is guessing who will play for Thomas Tuchel. Only Ben Chilwell (£5.8m) and Trevoh Chalobah (£4.9m) have started the last two league matches, with Marcos Alonso (£5.8m) and Andreas Christensen (£5.1m) waiting to step in.
Another side facing the bottom three in succession is Brentford. The newly-promoted side have impressed many over early matches, despite the last four fixtures being against teams from last season’s top six. Before that, the Bees won two and drew two of the first five and many FPL managers will be hoping that Ivan Toney (£6.5m) is joined by Bryan Mbeumo (£5.6m) in attack, should the Frenchman recover from the hamstring issue that forced his half-time withdrawal at the weekend.
Mbeumo is a cheap midfielder, playing as a striker. his expected goals (xG) tally of 3.47 is the best of all sub-£7.5m players and only beaten by six of any price. Only two goals have been scored, although an incredible six shots have hit the woodwork. Toney only has an assist from the past four gameweeks but is on penalty duty.
Burnley (a), Norwich (H) and Newcastle (a) present three of the four worst xGC numbers, conceding a total of 434 shots so far – an average of 16-per-match. Norwich have only scored twice, with them and Burnley having the lowest team xG numbers of 7.29 and 8.78, boding well for Ethan Pinnock (£4.7m) and Pontus Jansson (£4.7m). Beyond that, Everton have just conceded five times at home to Watford, Tottenham have let in 13 from their last six and Leeds United’s defence is the only one competing with the bottom three for worst back line.
Between defensive woes, two successive defeats and the drop in form of Harry Kane (£12.1m), Tottenham’s imminent clash with Man United will be an interesting battle to see which club is most in crisis right now. For owners of Kane and Son Heung-min (£10.2m) – who is still managing to have a good season – the fixture defies its red colouring on the ticker. Then it’s a trip to Goodison Park and a stretch of fixtures that exceeds the four shown in blue above. Between Gameweek 12 and Gameweek 22, Spurs only face one of last season’s top four.
This gives an opportunity to those with plenty of money in the bank from selling Lukaku or Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.5m), as the temptation to get either Son or Kane strengthens. Defensively, Nuno Espirito Santo’s men started the season with three clean sheets but have none since, yet the cheap prices of Eric Dier (£4.5m) and Sergio Reguilon (£5.1m) could persuade FPL managers to grab one for these opponents.
Top of the fixture ticker are Norwich, although with an asterisk that they’re bottom of the league, winless and with only two goals so far – it would an incredibly maverick move to go for forward Teemu Pukki (£5.8m). A decent £4.5m bench option could be Mathias Normann who, since his Gameweek 5 debut, comes top for goal attempts (11) at his price point. Their defence did keep consecutive clean sheets against Burnley and Brighton, before returning to normality with the 7-0 crushing at Chelsea.
Whilst one perspective is that Leeds (H), Brentford (a), Southampton (H), Wolves (H) and Newcastle (a) are good fixtures for Norwich, the other is that managers should target assets from these five teams because they are about to have a very promising opponent.
Just when it seemed that Watford’s early mid-table position was about to collapse, new manager Claudio Ranieri watched his side overturn a 2-1 deficit at Everton into a remarkable 5-2 win inside the last 15 minutes. The Hornets are now in 14th place and will be thankful for a six-point gap over the relegation zone, knowing that the home match against Southampton is followed by Arsenal (a), Man United (H), Leicester (a), Chelsea (H) and Manchester City (H).
Some of these sides’ weaknesses were mentioned above but, make no mistake, they will still be tough challenges for Watford. Emmanual Dennis (£5.2m) delivered 12 points in his 26-minute cameo but is suspended for Gameweek 10, whilst Joshua King (£5.5m) added a hat-trick to his brilliant record versus Everton to bag his first goals of the season. Star man Ismaila Sarr (£6.2m) wasn’t involved in any of the five at Goodison Park and his price drops are expected to continue when FPL managers see these fixtures. At the back, Watford join Newcastle in still not having collected any clean sheets.
WEST HAM UNITED
The time might have felt right to ditch Michail Antonio (£8.1m), having blanked in consecutive matches and with Liverpool (H), Man City (a) and Chelsea (H) on the horizon. Then the striker netted the winner against Tottenham to join Jamie Vardy on 57 points as the joint-second highest FPL scorer behind Mohamed Salah (£12.9m). Many managers have other fires to put out right now, with Mbeumo, Jamie Vardy (£10.8m) and Raphinha (£6.7m) potentially injured and Ronaldo losing form, meaning Antonio’s goal should see him survive a cull.
However, team mate Said Benrahma (£6.5m) may be one of those fires. After delivering a goal, an assist and 12 points from the first pair of matches, he he since been involved in one goal from seven. It isn’t for a lack of trying – his four games since scoring in Gameweek 5 have amassed 16 shots, a number only topped by Salah throughout the league.
Again, the Mbeumo and Raphinha situations could spare him an abandonment, but patience must surely be thining amongst his 33.7% ownership. Defensively, the Hammers have followed a leaky start by keeping two successive clean sheets. Aaron Cresswell (£5.5m) added an assist on Sunday. However, it’s ill-advised to purchase one with these upcoming fixtures.
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