Frisking the Fixtures

FPL 2023/24: Worst fixtures for the new season

With the Premier League fixtures now released for 2023/24, we can start assessing which teams we should invest in and which we should avoid.

Having already taken a look at the top-flight teams with the best runs of opening fixtures on paper, here we focus on those sides with less favourable schedules.

The primary focus in this article will be on a six-Gameweek lookahead but we will scrutinise the shorter and longer-term prospects where appropriate.

SEASON TICKER OUTLOOK

Our Season Ticker has been updated, 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.


WORST FIXTURES

NEWCASTLE UNITED

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Eddie Howe’s troops have been handed a nightmare start to 2023/24, with their opening five fixtures all against teams who finished in the top half last season.

After hosting a much-improved Aston Villa side in Gameweek 1, they face champions Manchester City, Liverpool, Brighton and Hove Albion and Brentford.

As a result, Newcastle sit rock bottom of our Season Ticker across the opening five rounds.

These fixtures will surely go a long way in tempering any interest in Kieran Trippier and co, but they might prove more useful in Gameweek 6, which is when their schedule improves, with consecutive matches against newly-promoted Sheffield United and Burnley, plus West Ham United, Crystal Palace and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The Magpies have had a quiet summer transfer window so far, but have recently been linked with Italian midfielder Nicolo Barella, a signing which would signify a major statement of intent for the Champions League qualifiers.

They play the first of six group stage games on September 19 or 20, which falls between Gameweeks 5 and 6.

NOTTINGHAM FOREST

FPL Gameweek 35 differentials: Gibbs-White, Alvarez + Maddison 1

There won’t be much interest in Nottingham Forest players at the start of the season given their tough opening fixtures.

In the first six Gameweeks, they face all of last season’s top three – Man City, Arsenal and Manchester United – along with Chelsea, who should improve under Mauricio Pochettino.

All of those aforementioned fixtures are on the road, where Steve Cooper’s side struggled last term. Indeed, their away form was a real Achilles heel in 2022/23, with just eight points picked up on their travels.

Above: Nott’m Forest created just 16.2 expected goals (xG) in away matches last season, the lowest tally in the top-flight

The only positives from the above schedule is that Forest, who retained their Premier League status with a game to spare last term, do at least host the three newly-promoted clubs early on in the campaign.

Sheffield United and Burnley are the Reds’ first two home games, with Luton Town due to visit the City Ground in Gameweek 9.

WEST HAM UNITED

FPL Gameweek 38 differentials: Paqueta, Kulusevski + Solanke 2

While a West Ham player could potentially be on Scout Picks duty in Gameweek 1, the medium-term outlook is not so rosy for the Europa Conference League champions, who are likely to start the season without key midfielder Declan Rice.

After their opening day clash with Bournemouth, the Hammers meet Pochettino’s Chelsea in a London derby, before facing three of last season’s top six in the next four rounds.

Fantasy investment in Jarrod Bowen may have to wait then, although goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski could produce save points and pick up a bit of interest if priced up at £4.5m, following a campaign that saw him keep just nine clean sheets – only five sides recorded fewer.

Like last year, many of West Ham’s fixtures in the first half of 2023/24 will be rescheduled for Sundays, due to Europa League group stage games taking place on Thursdays.

BOURNEMOUTH

FPL Gameweek 38 differentials: Paqueta, Kulusevski + Solanke 3

Gary O’Neil did an excellent job keeping Bournemouth in the Premier League last season, after a difficult start that saw them concede 16 goals across their first four matches.

However, it’s a tricky start this time around, too, which begins with the visit of West Ham, followed by Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Brentford, Chelsea and Brighton.

In fact, if we extend the Season Ticker to include the Gameweek 7 meeting with Arsenal, the Cherries drop to 19th.

It means few FPL managers will be gambling on Dominic Solanke and co until October at the earliest.

ALSO BE AWARE OF

FPL promoted sides: Who are the key men in Sheff Utd's attack?

Newly-promoted Sheffield United (CRY/nfo/MCI/EVE/tot/NEW) have a pretty decent start, with fixtures against Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest, but with Man City, Spurs and Newcastle to follow in the next four, interest in Iliman Ndiaye may have to wait, despite carrying a fair bit of potential.

Meanwhile, Fulham (eve/BRE/ars/mci/LUT/cry) recorded a surprise top-half finish last season, but while their opening and closing games of the first five Gameweeks are relatively kind, a run of Brentford, Arsenal and champions Man City in the middle is far from ideal.

It means Fantasy investment in 14-goal forward Aleksandar Mitrovic may have to wait, although the Cottagers do at least have some respite from Gameweeks 5 to 8, with new boys Luton Town and Sheffield United to come as well as Crystal Palace.

Tottenham Hotspur (bre/MUN) and Chelsea (LIV/whu), both of whom will be playing under new managers, have two tricky fixtures to start but they do at least improve soon after.

Elsewhere, Manchester United face Spurs, Arsenal and Brighton inside the first five Gameweeks, but have some decent fixtures in and around it (WOL/NFO/bur), hence not taking a more prominent role in this piece.

Erik ten Hag, of course, guided his side to Champions League qualification in his first season at Old Trafford, with the Red Devils keeping more clean sheets than any other side in 2022/23.

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38 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Revival
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 11 Years
    10 months, 3 days ago

    Think if Ferguson is priced cheaply and Arsenal midfielders are near premium prices, then the decision for me and many others is: Go with Jesus/ARS Mid/BRI Mid from the off or go with Ferguson and 2 Arsenal Midfielders?

    1. Andy_Social
      • 11 Years
      10 months, 3 days ago

      For Ferguson, I'd be worried about Undav and Joao Pedro.

      1. Revival
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        10 months, 3 days ago

        Pre-season should help us. If Ferguson minutes a issue I guess Jesus around 9.5m will be tempting to get with one Arsenal Midfielder and a budget Midfielder to cover.

        1. Andy_Social
          • 11 Years
          10 months, 3 days ago

          I've got Enciso in my draft - LiveFPL has him as a 5.5m forward.

          1. Bobby Digital
            • 6 Years
            10 months, 3 days ago

            Where on Livefpl do I see the prices?

            1. GUNNERINHO
              • 10 Years
              10 months, 1 day ago

              Go into transfer planner. You can build your team there.

      2. FarkeMee
        • 3 Years
        10 months, 1 day ago

        Not sure I see Pedro as an out and out striker. In fact, it will be interesting to see how they do use him - number 10 would be my guess.

    2. I Member
      • 8 Years
      10 months, 3 days ago

      I'm eyeing up Jesus, Odegaard and Mitoma but depends on the pricing.

    3. Piggs Boson
      • 12 Years
      10 months, 3 days ago

      Jesus might be a nice placeholder for a Newcastle striker.

      Ferguson I'm unsure about. Lots of competition for his place, and De Zerbi likes his rotation...

      1. OLDHERMAN
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        10 months, 3 days ago

        I genuinely think Ferguson will explode next season.

  2. Snake Juice
    • 7 Years
    10 months, 3 days ago

    I love that we're getting Havertz

  3. FPL Virgin
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    10 months, 3 days ago

    A crucial and very pertinent question hasn't been answered today and it warrants a hot topic.

    What gameweek range should you be using with the ticker to plan your gameweek 1 team?

    First 6 gameweeks? First 8? 4? Or maybe something longer like 12?

    I remember on Adam Hopcroft's MTM video on here he was very adamant about using 8.

    1. dunas_dog
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      10 months, 2 days ago

      It’s come across clearly today that we should use first 6 weeks as range for start of session

    2. panda07
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      10 months, 2 days ago

      You are always looking for hard and fast rules for FPL but the fact is that each set of fixtures are unique and there will be some players you want to keep for 2/3/4/5/6/7/8 weeks. It's up to you to plan and choose which transfers you make when.

  4. George Sillett
    • 8 Years
    10 months, 2 days ago

    Kronke makes billions from real estate and won't commit to an extra £20M for Rice . Lol

    1. Deulofail
      • 8 Years
      10 months, 2 days ago

      Is he allowed to do that?

      1. George Sillett
        • 8 Years
        10 months, 2 days ago

        Makes his own rules

  5. George Sillett
    • 8 Years
    10 months, 2 days ago

    After all the speculation it would be hilarious if Rice ends up at Man City

  6. FPL Virgin
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    10 months, 2 days ago

    ARTICLES STILL TO COME TODAY:

    Best fixtures of the opening six Gameweeks
    Worst fixtures of the opening six Gameweeks
    Rotation pairs

    Just over 40 minutes left to get the rotation pairing article.

  7. Evil Greg
    • 14 Years
    10 months, 2 days ago

    Enjoyed FPL Blackbox tonight

  8. teddy.
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 14 Years
    10 months, 1 day ago

    Although Bournemouth's fixtures are awful, they actually rotate well with Sheffield and particularly Brentford.

    Raya + Neto/Travers gives a run of:

    WHM ful CRY BOU CHE EVE nfo eve BUR BUR WHM NEW shu LUT cry shu LUT nfo FUL