After the third international break of the 2019-2020 campaign, the English Premier League is heading straight into preparations for the busiest period of the domestic football year. With eight gameweeks taking place between November 23rd and December 29th, plus mid-week League Cup and/or European competition obligations for most teams, the end of the first half of the season is promising to be another intense period for FPL managers. And that’s even before mentioning Liverpool’s participation at the FIFA Club World Cup (as winner of 2018-2019 Champions League) from December 11th to December 22nd. This has actually resulted in this season’s first blank, as the encounter between Liverpool and West Ham in gameweek 18 has been postponed to a currently unknown date. Liverpool though are the odds-on favourites with online bookmakers to win the EPL following their 3-1 beating of rivals Man City.
In order to help you navigate the upcoming period in your quest to creep up the ranks before the second wildcard is activated at the deadline for gameweek 20, we’ve taken a quick look at the fixture sets for November and December. Below you’ll find a brief analysis of three of the teams with the most favourable fixture calendars and some of their most promising FPL assets. For discussions on FPL tactics read more on our FPL forum.
Palace (a), Brighton (H), Everton (H), Bournemouth (a), Watford (H), blank, Leicester (a), Wolves (H)
Liverpool definitely have one of the most favourable fixture sets of all teams coming up, especially over the next five weeks, but that’s not the only reason we’re starting this piece with the Reds. There is their good form to warrant loading up on Liverpool assets, but it’s what happens from gameweek 18 onwards that could (should?) make you think twice about that approach. Starting with a blank gameweek, the Reds then travel to Qatar for the FIFA Club World Cup before visiting Leicester in gameweek 19 and hosting Wolves three days later. In other words, in about five weeks, some of the official fantasy game’s most popular players are going to be subject to heightened fatigue and increased rotation risk. The question is: can you go without at least one or two of their guys over these coming weeks? It’s probably not the best idea, with the likes of Sadio Mané (£12.1m), Mo Salah (£12.3m) and Roberto Firmino (£9.4m) likely licking their lips at the next five gameweeks. The same goes for Liverpool’s cross-crazy wing-backs, Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.2m) and Andrew Robertson (£7.0m). Three home games against more than attractive opposition over the coming five sounds like a steady source of FPL points for quite a while, just don’t lose the swing in fixtures from gameweek 18 onwards out of sight.
Brighton (a), Everton (H), Watford (H), Villa (a), Norwich (H), Man City (a), Liverpool (H), West Ham (a)
What goes for Liverpool, goes for Leicester as well, to a certain extent. Brendan Rodgers’ men are in top form and they have an attractive run of fixtures coming up, facing the current numbers 11, 15, 18, 17 and 20, respectively, in the EPL over the coming five gameweeks. The Foxes obviously have no Club World Cup responsibilities to deal with, but they do face a swing of fixtures from gameweek 18 onwards, like the Reds do. With the home game against Liverpool taking place five days after the clash with Man City at the Etihad, rounds 18 and 19 are about as hard as it can get for them. We can repeat the question we asked earlier in regard to Liverpool, though: can you afford going without Leicester stars to avoid the chaos of the calendar towards the end of December? Probably not.
Leicester players like Jamie Vardy (£9.6m), James Maddison (£7.5m), Youri Tielemans (£6.6m), Caglar Söyüncü (£4.9m) and Ricardo Pereira (£6.3) have proven to be FPL point magnets at very reasonable prices this season. Not only do the Foxes boast the division’s second-best attack (29 goals scored after 12 games vs 35 goals scored by City over that same period), but the best defence in the league as well (conceding 8 goals in 12 games). A big advantage for Leicester assets over Liverpool assets (and most players of the other teams active in Europe), from an FPL point of view, is the absence of international obligations for the former. Leicester can focus all of their form and resources on the Premier League and the League Cup (one game, away vs Everton on December 18th), which leads to nicely priced players performing like premium assets who have practically no fear of fatigue or rotation. In other words, dream material for the average FPL manager.
Liverpool (H), Burnley (a), Bournemouth (H), Watford (a), Brighton (H), Newcastle (a), West Ham (H), Southampton (a)
Apart from Palace’s home game against current leaders Liverpool immediately after the international break, none of their encounters until the very beginning of January 2020 rate higher than 3 on the official game’s Fixture Difficulty Rating. As a matter of fact, five of the upcoming eight Premier League fixtures are rated 2 for the Eagles. They are having a relatively quiet, but nonetheless solid first half of the season, with their current position in 12th place as a tangible result of that. Palace are definitely having some trouble finding the net, as is illustrated by the just 10 goals scored so far this season, but they have made up for it until now with a pretty sturdy defence (16 goals conceded in 12 games after having faced all but one club from the traditional top six, Liverpool).
What’s interesting about Palace, from an FPL point of view, is that their squad boasts plenty of differential options that could deliver big once the Liverpool game is over and done with on Saturday, November 23rd. Considering his bargain price tag, forward Jordan Ayew (£5.1m) immediately comes to mind as an asset who seems nailed as a starter (started 11 of the 12 Premier League games so far), who is priced more than friendly, and who supplies the occasional return (4 goals and 46 FPL points currently). In midfield, star man Wilfried Zaha (£6.7m) and last season’s penalty wonder Luka Milivojevic (£6.7m) immediately come to mind. Unfortunately, the former hasn’t really been able to hit exceptional form yet this season (no goals, 2 assists and 29 FPL points so far) , while the latter hasn’t seen as many penalties as he did last year (2 goals, no assists and 35 FPL points this season). Either of the two can be a great differential in November and December, though. In the back, Palace boast their most premium option in the shape of left-back Patrick van Aanholt (£5.6m). The Dutch defender had a fantastic 2018-2019 season (3 goals, 2 assists, 12 clean sheets and 140 FPL points) and seems on the way to another more than decent performance this season. He currently stands on 2 goals, no assists and 43 FPL points. If you’re looking for a new goalkeeper for the coming month or two, Palace stopper Vicente Guaita (£5.0m) could be a reasonable option, considering he is facing some of the most goal-shy outfits over the coming gameweeks in Watford, Newcastle, West Ham and Southampton. There are a few alternatives for the Spanish goalie, but his current 3 clean sheets and 34 FPL points from 10 Premier League games (he missed gameweeks 9 and 10) is not a bad result.