Frisking the Fixtures returns as we take a look at the teams and players with attractive medium-term fixture runs from Gameweek 16.
An overview of those with less appealing matches will follow later.
- READ MORE: Best FPL fixture runs for all 20 Premier League sides
- READ MORE: How AFCON and the Asian Cup will affect FPL
- READ MORE: When are the FPL Blank and Double Gameweeks in 2023/24?
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As Chelsea have had to compete with Manchester City, Newcastle United, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur in recent weeks, FPL managers have long been eyeing up this appealing fixture run between Gameweeks 16 and 21.
It’s a big reason why over one million have bought Cole Palmer (£5.3m), after seeing the cheap, penalty-taking midfielder rack up the fourth-best expected goal involvement (xGI, 6.25) since first starting in Gameweek 7.
Yet his streak of starts ended at the weekend, having picked up a knock. When Christopher Nkunku (£7.3m) makes his imminent return from injury, does this increase Palmer’s rotation threat?
Fellow midfielder Raheem Sterling (£7.0m) costs more but entered Gameweek 15 with the league’s most in-box touches (123). Jumping on a defensive asset mightn’t be so urgent, as Everton and Wolves are scoring goals and the Blues’ own backline has been without a clean sheet since Gameweek 7. The fourth-best at preventing big chances (26), the Blues have conceded the ninth-most shots on target (65).
A possible rush for goalkeeper Robert Sanchez (£4.6m) will have been impacted by new movements for Newcastle’s Martin Dubravka (£4.0m), diverting attention towards Reece James (£5.4m) and Levi Colwill (£4.5m) as their next-best routes for defensive coverage.
A word of warning: their rest periods between festive fixtures are tiny.
BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION
With a recent look at nailed-on starters showing Brighton to have the fewest, imagine how much harder it’ll be to predict Roberto De Zerbi’s line-ups over this busy December.
Kaoru Mitoma (£6.5m) has joined Joao Pedro (£5.3m) on the rotation carousel and maybe cheap midfielder Simon Adingra (£5.0m) will follow.
Captain Lewis Dunk (£5.0m) should be mostly safe now that he’s back from suspension but, with big injuries taking away Pervis Estupinan (£5.0m), Solly March (£6.1m) and Ansu Fati (£6.5m) and several others, the Seagulls’ defence is still to keep a clean sheet.
The fixtures are arguably better from an attacking perspective anyway, with Burnley, West Ham and Wolves having kept just one clean sheet each in the first 14 Gameweeks.
Spurs, meanwhile, have been conceding goals aplenty since injuries and suspensions struck in November.
Evan Ferguson (£6.1m) could be worth a punt up front but getting six successive starts out of any Albion asset will be a stretch.
If this fixture frisk took place from Gameweek 15, the hosting of Burnley would have put Wolves on top.
Like Mitoma, Hwang Hee-chan (£5.7m) will soon be off to the Asian Cup, starting from Gameweek 21. Otherwise, he’d be a highly recommended midfield option.
By scoring the winner in Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Vincent Kompany’s troops, it means only premium assets Erling Haaland (£14.0m), Mohamed Salah (£13.1m) and Son Heung-min (£9.6m) have bettered his eight league goals.
The win over the Clarets was their first clean sheet since Gameweek 3 – although backup goalkeeper Daniel Bentley (£3.9m) also kept one last week as he replaced Jose Sa (£5.0m) after the Arsenal goals.
Their backline hasn’t brought attacking contributions so far. Wolves’ defence is one of two to have not scored a goal and none have fewer assists (two), although Rayan Ait-Nouri (£4.5m) was posting some strong underlying numbers before injury struck. He’s hoping to be back this weekend.
Pedro Neto (£5.6m) remains sidelined but forward Matheus Cunha‘s (£5.6m) last four matches have all ended with a return.
The Clarets’ narrow loss at Wolves quickly followed their 5-0 thrashing of Sheffield United. Until then, they were the division’s lowest scorers and it also brought their first clean sheet since promotion.
Both Charlie Taylor (£4.0m) and Jordan Beyer (£4.0m) are fine in the role of cheap fifth defender – delighting some managers with double-digit scores from the 5-0 – and they could be handed starting spots in Gameweeks 17 and 21, at home to Everton and Luton Town.
There’ll be little interest in Burnley’s attacking names, despite the decent fixtures. Lyle Foster (£4.9m) could’ve been an interesting third forward, after netting three times in seven appearances, but he’s stepped back to seek assistance for his mental health.
Although events off the pitch are taking the headlines at Manchester United, their upcoming fixtures aren’t too bad. They’d won five from six before the Newcastle defeat, and three successive clean sheets pushed Harry Maguire (£4.3m) as an intriguing option.
But none of their next six matches stands out as being particularly outstanding. Not even the Bournemouth game – a side that’s finally discovered goals and wins under Andoni Iraola. Creative numbers remain solid for Bruno Fernandes (£8.3m) but he’s underachieving, albeit not on the same scale as Marcus Rashford (£8.5m).
As for West Ham United, frustrated Alphonse Areola (£4.3m) owners are very aware of their poor defensive record. Heading into Gameweek 15, they’d conceded the fourth-most attempts (220) and are on a sole successful shut-out.
Things are more promising for them in midfield, with the upcoming fixtures better from an attacking perspective.
Jarrod Bowen (£7.6m) is alongside Hwang on eight goals, having netted in all six away matches. Meanwhile, summer signing Mohammed Kudus (£6.6m) has 31 points, two goals and three assists from his last four outings.
Fixture-proof Salah will soon depart FPL for AFCON, meaning he’ll miss Liverpool’s Gameweek 21 trip to Bournemouth. He’s a strong captain choice for Gameweek 19 though, at Burnley.
Expensive defender Trent Alexander-Arnold (£8.0m) is hitting some attacking form but rotations doubts will continue to linger around Darwin Nunez (£7.7m) and Konstantinos Tsimikas (£4.9m).
Don’t completely ignore Manchester City and Brentford, either.
Yes, they blank in Gameweek 18.
But taking that Gameweek out of the equation, they sit in the top three for ease of fixture from Gameweeks 16-21.
If you’ve got a way of negotiating their absences in the round of matches before Christmas, their players should be among the points on either side of the FIFA World Club Cup.
Bryan Mbeumo (£7.1m) is another well-owned asset who will depart for Africa after Gameweek 20, however.