The UEFA Champions League group stage begins this month, with the first round of midweek matches set to follow Gameweek 5.
That could have a knock-on effect for Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers, even if rotation isn’t quite as prevalent at this time of year.
Four Premier League sides will be involved in Champions League action in 2023/24: Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United and Newcastle United.
With that in mind, we thought it was worth a look at the fixture schedule for those teams up until the end of October. We have stopped at that point as the TV fixtures for November and beyond have yet to be announced, so there is a lot of rejigging to the Premier League calendar still to factor in.
GAMEWEEK 5-10 OVERVIEW
Above image from @Legomane
- Saturday 16 September (15:00 BST) | Gameweek 5 – West Ham United (a)
- Tuesday 19 September (20:00) | Champions League – Red Star Belgrade (h)
- Saturday 23 September (15:00) | Gameweek 6 – Nottingham Forest (h)
- Wednesday 27 September (20:00) | EFL Cup – Newcastle United (a)
- Saturday 30 September (15:00) | Gameweek 7 – Wolverhampton Wanderers (a)
- Wednesday 4 October (20:00) | Champions League – RB Leipzig (a)
- Sunday 8 October (16:30) | Gameweek 8 – Arsenal (a)
- INTERNATIONAL BREAK
- Saturday 21 October (15:00) | Gameweek 9 – Brighton and Hove Albion (h)
- Wednesday 25 October (20:00) | Champions League – Young Boys (a)
- Sunday 29 October (15:30) | Gameweek 10 – Manchester United (a)
Manchester City have been dealt a favourable Champions League group that they will be expected to dominate. Pep Guardiola might even have the luxury to rotate from early on.
City will begin the defence of their crown by hosting Red Star Belgrade in between Gameweeks 5 (whu) and 6 (NFO).
Matchday 2 is in the week commencing 2 October so Gameweek 7 (wol) could potentially see a degree of rotation, with a tie in Germany four days later, followed by a trip to Arsenal.
The Wolves fixture is City’s only Wednesday-Saturday turnaround during this period, so Pep’s EFL Cup line-up feels key – go strong and it increases the threat of rotation at Molineux.
After the October international break, Matchday 3 sits between a tricky home clash with Brighton and Hove Albion and the first derby of the season at Manchester United. However, City travel to Switzerland to face Young Boys, which is where the likely rotation will occur.
City are juggling even more competitions than usual this season, as they prepare for their first-ever Club World Cup, so securing qualification for the knockout rounds early is important in that regard.
- Sunday 17 September (16:30) | Gameweek 5 – Everton (a)
- Wednesday 20 September (20:00) | Champions League – PSV Eindhoven (h)
- Sunday 24 September (14:00) | Gameweek 6 – Tottenham Hotspur (h)
- Wednesday 27 September (19:45) | EFL Cup – Brentford (a)
- Saturday 30 September (15:00) | Gameweek 7 – Bournemouth (a)
- Tuesday 3 October (20:00) | Champions League – Lens (a)
- Sunday 8 October (16:30) | Gameweek 8 – Manchester City (h)
- INTERNATIONAL BREAK
- Saturday 21 October (17:30) | Gameweek 9 – Chelsea (a)
- Tuesday 24 October (20:00) | Champions League – Sevilla (a)
- Saturday 28 October (15:00) | Gameweek 10 – Sheffield United (h)
Arsenal are back in the Champions League for the first time in seven years and they have been handed a favourable draw with Sevilla, PSV Eindhoven and Lens. Crucially, the time spent travelling will be short (France, Spain, Holland), meaning the Gunners are unlikely to have their work cut out.
Mikel Arteta’s toughest test is sure to come at Sevilla, winner of last season’s UEFA Europa League. The fixture sits between Gameweeks 9 (che) and 10 (SHU).
The latter could perhaps see a bit of rotation, then, meaning squad options like Takehiro Tomiyasu (£4.5m), Fabio Vieira (£5.4m) and Leandro Trossard (£6.7m) could come in, but the Tuesday-Saturday turnaround is at least kind.
Meanwhile, PSV caused problems for Arsenal in the Europa League group stages last season. They won 1-0 at home but a 2-0 defeat in Eindhoven means Arteta will be wary of their threat.
Elsewhere, the EFL Cup trip to Brentford looks primed for rotation, which should ensure key players start in Gameweek 7 (bou).
- Saturday 16 September (15:00) | Gameweek 5 – Brighton and Hove Albion (h)
- Wednesday 20 September (20:00) | Champions League – Bayern Munich (a)
- Saturday 23 September (20:00) | Gameweek 6 – Burnley (h)
- Tuesday 26 September (20:00) | EFL Cup – Crystal Palace (h)
- Saturday 30 September (15:00) | Gameweek 7 – Crystal Palace (h)
- Tuesday 3 October (20:00) | Champions League – Galatasaray (h)
- Saturday 7 October (15:00) | Gameweek 8 – Brentford (h)
- INTERNATIONAL BREAK
- Saturday 21 October (20:00) | Gameweek 9 – Sheffield United (a)
- Tuesday 24 October (20:00) | Champions League – FC Copenhagen (h)
- Sunday 29 October (15:30) | Gameweek 10 – Manchester City (h)
Manchester United have been drawn with Harry Kane’s Bayern Munich in their Champions League group.
The German giants were one of the teams to avoid in Pot 1. However, the timing of the fixture perhaps means it’s unlikely they’ll need to rest key individuals in Gameweek 6 (BUR), given that rotation will surely be on the cards in the EFL Cup.
A Wednesday-Saturday turnaround should of course be factored in, but it’s a late kick-off at Old Trafford (20:00), ensuring further rest time.
Erik ten Hag’s side were also paired with Galatasaray and FC Copenhagen but they face both at home first, with a long-ish trip to Turkey still to come.
Meanwhile, the Danish side don’t have a great record in the competition and finished bottom of their group last season with a goal difference of -11, failing to win a single fixture.
- Saturday 16 September (17:30) | Gameweek 5 – Brentford (h)
- Tuesday 19 September (17:45) | Champions League – AC Milan (a)
- Sunday 24 September (16:30) | Gameweek 6 – Sheffield United (a)
- Wednesday 27 September (20:00) | EFL Cup – Manchester City (h)
- Saturday 30 September (15:00) | Gameweek 7 – Burnley (h)
- Wednesday 4 October (20:00) | Champions League – Paris Saint-Germain (h)
- Sunday 8 October (14:00) | Gameweek 8 – West Ham United (a)
- INTERNATIONAL BREAK
- Saturday 21 October (15:00) | Gameweek 9 – Crystal Palace (h)
- Wednesday 25 October (20:00) | Champions League – Borussia Dortmund (h)
- Saturday 28 October (17:30) | Gameweek 10 – Wolverhampton Wanderers (a)
Newcastle United have been handed the toughest Champions League draw with Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund and AC Milan in Group F.
Given the strength of their opponents, rotation will be a necessity and Eddie Howe will have to learn how to adapt to changes to the starting XI.
Matchday 2, versus PSG, is sandwiched in between Gameweeks 7 (BUR) and 8 (whu), so either of those matches could present room for rotation if required.
Last year’s successful campaign was built on a consistent starting XI that rarely changed from game to game, meaning eight players started 30 or more Premier League matches. It’s unlikely that will be the case this year, however.
Kieran Trippier (£6.5m), for example, is 33 later this month and now has a very good deputy in Tino Livramento (£4.5m) at the club, so he could perhaps be a candidate to sit out the odd match.
It’ll be intriguing to see how Howe handles Alexander Isak (£7.7m) and Callum Wilson’s (£7.8m) game time over this period, too. If one of them emerges as a first-choice starter in the league, they will become an excellent option.