Fantasy Premier League

FPL long view: How to take advantage of festive fixture swings

By The Scout 2 Dec 2023
Nunez, Isak, Palmer

The Scout shows when key players have great fixtures so managers can switch between them at the perfect time

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Managers in Fantasy Premier League should already be planning ahead in order to navigate the busy upcoming festive period.
 
There will be seven Gameweeks across December, with midweek matches starting from next week, in Gameweek 15.
 
There is also a Blank Gameweek 18 for Brentford and Manchester City, which will affect popular picks such as Erling Haaland (£14.0m) and Bryan Mbeumo (£7.0m).
 
In addition, managers must also start to factor the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) and the Asia Cup into their thinking.
 
Both competitions take place over Gameweeks 21-24, which could have huge ramifications for Fantasy big-hitters such as Liverpool and Egypt’s Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) and Tottenham Hotspur and South Korea’s Son Heung-min (£9.6m), if their nations progress to the latter stages. 
 
Mbeumo will again be affected here, along with players such as Chelsea’s Nicolas Jackson (£6.9m), Manchester United’s Andre Onana (£4.8m) and West Ham United’s Mohammed Kudus (£6.6m).

FPL managers should be looking ahead and considering the key fixture swings for a number of clubs. By selling one player just as his good run of matches ends, and switching to someone whose nice run is just beginning, managers can jump up the rankings over the busy upcoming spell.

Here, the Scout highlights the best time to invest in a number of clubs and players, starting with those who have an enticing schedule right now, from Gameweek 14.

Arsenal: GW14-15 & GW19-22

Arsenal’s short and long-term schedule strengthens the appeal of investing at both ends of the pitch.
 
Their next two matches against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Luton Town both score two in the Fixture Difficulty Ratings (FDR), as do their four matches over Gameweeks 19-22 against West Ham, Fulham, Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest.

Arsenal's schedule
GW Opp. FDR GW Opp. FDR
14 WOL (H) 2 19 WHU (H) 2
15 LUT (A) 2 20 FUL (A) 2
16 AVL (A) 3 21 CRY (H) 2
17 BHA (H) 3 22 NFO (A) 2
18 LIV (A) 4      

*Fixture Difficulty Ratings (1= easiest, 5 = hardest) 

Bukayo Saka (£8.8m) can be a key figure in managers’ midfields in this run, with the winger’s potential for goals and assists helping him produce returns in 10 of his 12 appearances so far this season. 

While William Saliba (£5.5m) is the safest pick at the back, Oleksandr Zinchenko (£5.1m) has the greater upside for goals, assists and bonus points of any Arsenal defender.

Liverpool: GW14-16

Each of the Reds' next three matches against Fulham, Sheffield United and Crystal Palace score just two in the FDR.
 
While that increases the appeal of Salah as a big captain alternative to Haaland, managers could also consider a double-up with Darwin Nunez (£7.6m) to target that kind run.

Nunez could be a better short-term option than Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins (£8.5m), who faces Man City and Arsenal in the same period.

Liverpool's next three fixtures
GW Opp. FDR
14 FUL (H) 2
15 SHU (A) 2
16 CRY (A) 2

Liverpool’s subsequent schedule, however, is among the toughest around. From Gameweek 17-20, they face Man Utd, Arsenal and Newcastle United.

Bearing in mind that Salah could then be playing in AFCON from GW21-24, there is even an argument for selling him.

West Ham: GW14-17

If he is passed fit to face Crystal Palace this weekend, Jarrod Bowen (£7.6m) has the schedule to punish his huge number of sellers.

The Hammers face Crystal Palace, Fulham and Wolves in the next four Gameweeks, giving Bowen more opportunities for goals.
 
Summer signing Kudus has two double-figure hauls in three outings and could be a handy short-term acquisition.

West Ham's next four matches
GW Opp. FDR
14 CRY (H)    2
15 TOT (A) 3
16 FUL (A)    2
17 WOL (H) 2
Brentford: GW14-21

Mbeumo has a superb short-term schedule to immediately reward managers, with the Bees facing three of the four sides who have yet to keep a clean sheet - Luton, Brighton & Hove Albion and Sheff Utd - in the next three Gameweeks.

The big issue, of course, is his Blank Gameweek 18, but if managers can deal with benching him, Brentford then face Wolves and Crystal Palace before the Cameroon star departs for AFCON.

Brentford's schedule
GW Opp. FDR GW Opp. FDR
14 LUT (H) 2 18 - -
15 BHA (A) 3 19 WOL (H) 2
16 SHU (A) 2 20 CRY (A) 2
17 AVL (H) 3 21 NFO (H) 2
Newcastle: GW15-19

The Magpies face a very kind run of opponents from Gameweek 15, facing Everton, Fulham, Luton and Nott’m Forest in four of their subsequent five fixtures.

Doubling up with Kieran Trippier (£7.0m) and Anthony Gordon (£5.9m) looks the best tactic, although Alexander Isak’s (£7.4m) tally of seven goals in nine matches suggests he could still be worth the rotation risk as a big differential up front. 

Centre-back Jamaal Lascelles (£4.1m) is a cut-price alternative to Trippier in defence.

Newcastle's fixtures from GW15
GW
Opp. FDR
GW15 EVE (A) 2
GW16 TOT (A) 3
GW17 FUL (H) 2
GW18 LUT (A) 2
GW19 NFO (H) 2

Man City: GW16-20

The champions’ schedule on either side of their Blank Gameweek 18 looks very encouraging for attacking returns.

All four of their matches from GW16-20 score two in the FDR, with Haaland facing Luton, Crystal Palace, Everton and Sheff Utd.
 
While managers who own Haaland and Mbeumo should be wary of over-investing in any other BGW18 players, players such as Jeremy Doku (£6.7m) or Phil Foden (£7.5m) could reward those willing to double up on the Man City attack.

Man City's GW16-20 matches
GW
Opp. FDR
GW16 LUT (A) 2
GW17 CRY (H) 2
GW18 - -
GW19 EVE (A) 2
GW20 SHU (H) 2

Chelsea: GW16-21

The Blues’ run of opponents from Gameweek 16 can reward managers at both ends of the pitch.
 
Each of their six matches score only two in the FDR, with Cole Palmer’s cost of £5.3m and penalty duties making him their most appealing pick.

Raheem Sterling (£7.0m) has blanked only twice in six starts alongside Palmer and offers a differential option.
 
Goalkeeper Robert Sanchez (£4.6m) could be the best-value pick at the back as Mauricio Pochettino’s side look to improve upon a run of six matches without a clean sheet.

Chelsea's fixtures from G16
GW Opp. FDR
16 EVE (A) 2
17 SHU (H)  2
18  WOL (A) 2
19 CRY (H) 2
20 LUT (A) 2
21 FUL (H) 2

Spurs: GW17-20

Son’s upturn in schedule from Gameweek 17 could make him the perfect replacement for Salah until his departure for the Asia Cup with South Korea.

Spurs face Nott’m Forest, Everton and AFC Bournemouth in their subsequent four matches, with all three scoring two in the FDR.

The home match with Everton in Gameweek 18 is a particularly appealing one from a captaincy perspective, in a Gameweek where Haaland has no fixture and Salah goes head-to-head with Saka at Anfield.  
 
Full-back Pedro Porro (£5.3m) has produced defensive or attacking returns in eight of his 12 appearances and is the go-to pick at the back.

Spurs' GW17-21 matches
GW Opp. FDR
17 NFO (A) 2
18 EVE (H) 2
19 BHA (A) 3
20 BOU (H) 2
21 MUN (A) 4

Aston Villa: GW18-21

While Watkins is bound to suffer sales in the short term given he's an injury doubt for Gameweek 14 and faces Man City and Arsenal over Gameweeks 15-16, Villa’s schedule from Blank Gameweek 18 onwards suggests many will be rushing back to the Aston Villa forward.

Unai Emery’s side host Sheff Utd in that reduced round of fixtures, while they also face Burnley and Everton between then and Gameweek 21.
 
That also brings Douglas Luiz (£5.6m) and Moussa Diaby (£6.8m) into consideration as more budget-friendly options in midfield.

Villa's GW18-21 matches
GW Opp. FDR
18 SHU (H) 2
19 MUN (A) 4
20 BUR (H) 2
21 EVE (A) 2

View all the latest FPL tips ahead of Gameweek 14 in Fantasy Premier League

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