Our regular frisk of the fixtures sees us assess the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) clubs and players with – in theory – the strongest run of league matches over the medium term.
We typically take a routine look at the next six matches in this article but in light of Double Gameweek 22 being announced, we’ll slightly tweak the usual format.
We’re instead assessing the eight Double Gameweek 22 teams for ease of fixture beyond next weekend, before looking at the best of the rest.
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 even set your own difficulty ratings, should you disagree with our own.
DOUBLE GAMEWEEK 22 TEAMS: PLAYERS WHO HAVE FAVOURABLE FIXTURES IN AND BEYOND GAMEWEEK 22
There are, arguably, only one or two teams that fall into this bracket.
Manchester United (avl + bre | WHU | bur | SOU | lee | WAT) are at the top of our Season Ticker over the next six Gameweeks, with some favourable fixtures for their attack especially beyond their so-so Gameweek 22 double.
West Ham may be riding high in the Premier League table and will pose a threat to David de Gea (£5.2m) in Gameweek 23 but their success certainly isn’t based on solidity in defence, with three of their first-choice back four out injured and only one clean sheet arriving in the Hammers’ last 11 league matches.
Burnley, who United beat 3-1 just over a week ago, then follow, while Southampton haven’t kept a clean sheet since Gameweek 12 and Leeds have registered more shut-outs than just two teams all season.
The icing on the cake is the visit of Watford, who have been scored against in all 18 of their Premier League matches in 2021/22.
The problem isn’t fixtures but form, with United scoring only six goals in their last five matches (games against Newcastle and Norwich have been part of that equation) and it’s only really Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.5m), who himself is hardly value for money, who appeals from Ralf Rangnick’s pool of below-par attackers.
As for Watford (new + bur | NOR | whu | BHA | avl | mun), the likes of Emmanuel Dennis (£6.1m) and Joshua King (£5.8m) will be targets for, or already owned by, not just those on a Free Hit chip but for managers using their free transfers or a Wildcard.
The Hornets’ attack (we’ll ignore their defence given how poor they are at the back) may well have the best fixture pairing in Double Gameweek 22, with Newcastle and Burnley managing just four clean sheets between them all season. The Magpies can also not be beaten for goals or big chances conceded in 2021/22.
A meeting with a Norwich side who have shipped 14 goals in their last five matches then precedes a trip to West Ham, whose defensive shortcomings we have discussed above.
The fixtures stiffen thereafter but more Double Gameweeks await: as is the case with a number of clubs, Watford have another two previously postponed fixtures that could be accommodated anywhere between Gameweeks 25-29 or beyond Gameweek 30.
TEAMS WITH THE MOST FIXTURES OUTSTANDING
- Arsenal, Burnley, Everton, Leicester (3)
- Spurs, Brighton, Watford, Liverpool, Leeds, Aston Villa, Wolves, Newcastle, Chelsea (2)
- Southampton, Crystal Palace, Norwich, Man Utd (1)
- Man City, West Ham, Brentford (0)
DOUBLE GAMEWEEK 22 TEAMS: PLAYERS WHO HAVE UNFAVOURABLE FIXTURES IN/BEYOND GAMEWEEK 22
The Double Gameweek 22 fixture announcement was met by a wave of apathy by the FPL community and the above ticker illustrates why.
For Free Hitters, most of the clubs have mediocre ‘doubles’ in Gameweek 22.
And for managers planning for the longer term, either with their transfers or Wildcard, there isn’t much to shout about beyond that.
Chelsea (mci + bha | TOT | blank | blank | cry | LEI), for example, are off to the Club World Cup when Gameweeks 24 and 25 roll around and are well on their way to having their Gameweek 27 match against Leicester postponed, as that clashes with the EFL Cup final.
We probably won’t see another double for Chelsea before Gameweek 28, with anything before that requiring early domestic cup eliminations for themselves and any prospective opponents.
Brighton (CRY + CHE | lei | blank | wat | BUR | avl) are also without a league fixture in Gameweek 24 as a result of Chelsea’s involvement in the Club World Cup, meanwhile, although have an appealing run from Gameweeks 25-28 if any owners of Albion assets can navigate their way through that blank.
Leicester (bur + TOT | BHA | liv | WHU | wol | che) have some so-so fixtures after Gameweek 22 and almost certainly won’t have another double before Gameweek 33 if they continue to progress in cups at home and abroad.
Burnley (LEI + WAT | ars | MUN | LIV | bha | cry) are realistically a no-go for anyone not playing their Free Hit in Gameweek 22, while Brentford (liv + MUN | WOL | mci | CRY | ars | NEW) face the double whammy of a fairly awful ‘double’ and some of the division’s meanest defences (Wolves, City and Arsenal) beyond that.
That leaves Spurs (ARS + lei | che | SOU | WOL | mci | LEE), who also face the three sides with the best defensive records in 2021/22 (Chelsea, Wolves and City) after their middling double. Chelsea have been in fairly poor form at the back and might be there for the taking but the Blues comprehensively outplayed Antonio Conte’s near-full-strength side in the EFL Cup semi-final first leg on Wednesday, with the Lilywhites’ manager downbeat after full-time:
“Last year, they won the Champions League and if you compare the two teams I think there’s not a comparison. We’re talking about a team that’s ready to win and they’ve played an important part over many years.
“Today, we have seen the difference between the two teams.
“I said that these types of games can show us the difference in the gap there is between us and top clubs like Chelsea. We struggled a lot this evening and they showed us they are much stronger than us.” – Antonio Conte
SINGLE GAMEWEEK 22 TEAMS: BEST AND WORST FIXTURE RUNS
As for the rest, it’s easy to see why some FPL managers are unwilling to ditch too many ‘single’ Gameweek 22 assets ahead of next Friday’s deadline.
Everton (nor | AVL | new | LEE | sou | MCI), for example, sit near the top of our ticker when we look at the next six Gameweeks. The lack of a Double Gameweek 22 might have miffed Fantasy bosses who brought in the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.9m) last week, thinking there was a chance of a ‘double double’ for the Toffees, but they do have some favourable matches over their next five, with the bottom three teams for goals conceded all to come between now and Gameweek 25.
Merseyside rivals Liverpool (BRE | cry | LEI | bur | NOR | blank) are also sitting pretty in our Season Ticker from Gameweeks 22-26, with Diogo Jota (£8.2m) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (£8.4m) seeing their owned-by figures and prices rising further in the run-up to Gameweek 22.
And West Ham’s upcoming meetings with Leeds, Watford, Leicester and Newcastle, who have a collective seven clean sheets in 74 league matches this season, look great for Michail Antonio (£7.8m) and Jarrod Bowen (£6.7m).
The fit-again Ollie Watkins (£7.8m) will be a likely FPL target when Aston Villa‘s (MUN | eve | LEE | new | WAT | bha) fixtures turn for the better in Gameweek 23, meanwhile.
As a footnote, there are blanks for both Liverpool and Arsenal (tot | BUR | wol | blank | BRE | blank) in the above graphic.
The two sides’ Gameweek 27 meeting has been postponed because of a clash with the EFL Cup final, although it could theoretically still be held within Gameweek 27 if they are both eliminated by the FA Cup fifth round. The Gunners are also without a fixture in Gameweek 25 because of Chelsea’s Club World Cup involvement.
FUTURE DOUBLE GAMEWEEKS?
With Covid still wreaking havoc on the fixture calendar and 15 Premier League matches still to be rearranged (plus more cup-related blanks in Gameweeks 27, 30 and 33), the schedule will continue to evolve over the coming weeks and months.
Here is when the next Double Gameweeks could hypothetically fall between now and the March international break:
- Gameweek 23: A chance of a very small Double Gameweek*.
- Gameweek 24: A chance of a very small Double Gameweek*.
- Gameweek 25: A possible Double Gameweek for anyone bar Man City, West Ham, Brentford, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Leicester and Norwich)
- Gameweek 26: A possible Double Gameweek for anyone bar Man City, West Ham, Brentford, Chelsea, Man Utd, Leicester and Norwich)
- Gameweek 27: A possible Double Gameweek if teams with an outstanding match-up are eliminated by the FA Cup fifth-round stage. Four sides, Arsenal, Chelsea, Leicester and Liverpool, will have their weekend matches postponed because of the EFL Cup final, however.
- Gameweek 28: A possible Double Gameweek for anyone bar Man City, West Ham, Brentford, Liverpool, Leicester (if they are still in the Conference League) and Norwich (if Leicester are still in the Conference League)
- Gameweek 29: A possible Double Gameweek for anyone bar Man City, West Ham, Brentford, Chelsea, Man Utd, Leicester (if they are still in the Conference League) and Norwich (if Leicester are still in the Conference League)
- Gameweek 30: No chance of a Double Gameweek and a near-certain chance of it being a Blank Gameweek, as it will clash with the FA Cup quarter-finals.
*Aston Villa v Burnley or Leeds v Aston Villa could be played on Saturday/Sunday February 5/6. That would mean either the Gameweek 24 deadline being brought forward a few days or the fixture being tagged onto the end of Gameweek 23.
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