Securing the home advantage revisited - Fixture pairing tips for the coming season…
Since my recent article identifying teams who aren’t scheduled to play at home on the same day this season, the player price lists have been released. This means I can now make practical suggestions about bringing in pairs of players.
These players can be switched weekly to help ensure that the majority of your players are playing at home.
Having suggested that “the possibilities are endless” at the end of my last article, I have decided to name only one pairing per Premiership team, for the sake of brevity:
Arsenal & Tottenham – Van Persie (12.0) & Van Der Vaart (10.0)
Aston Villa & Stoke City – Given (5.0) & Begovic (5.0)
Blackburn Rovers & Norwich City – Hoilett (6.0) & Holt (5.5)
Bolton Wanderers & Wigan Athletic – Jaaskelainen (5.0) & Al-Habsi (4.5)
Chelsea & Fulham – Luiz (6.5) & Hangeland (6.5)
Everton & Liverpool – Jagielka (5.5) & Kelly (5.5)
Man City & Man Utd – Silva (9.5) & Young (10.0)
Newcastle Utd & Sunderland – Simpson (4.0) & Turner (4.5)
QPR & Swansea – Taarabt (6.5) & Sinclair (6.0)
West Brom & Wolves – Odemwingie (7.5) & Fletcher (6.5)
If we were to exclude Odemwingie, Fletcher, Al-Habsi, Jaaskelainen, Luiz and Zamora, we could create a squad from the other 7 pairings (adding Aaron Hughes to make up the numbers and help spend the entire 100 million budget).
For the opening week of the season, this squad would give you the option of fielding 8 players at home, since Hughes will be playing at Craven Cottage that week. In every subsequent week, either 7 or 8 players would be at home.
The stability this creates not only reduces the number of weeks where you’ve got more than 3/4 players with difficult away games you wish you could put on the bench. Knowing that 2 excellent players will be at home also guarantees decent captaincy options.
Of course, there will be times when a home match against against Chelsea seems far less appealing than an away day at Norwich, but the flexibility this tactic builds into your team could be invaluable. So pick those pairings wisely!