Double Gameweeks Galore! Rescheduled Fixtures Update and Potential Buys


It’s a rocket? It’s a star? No! It’s 9 Double Gameweeks and all but one has been slotted to GW 36!

The news came as a huge surprise to everyone as we all thought the fixtures in doubt for GW 34 would simply be moved into a midweek date as was the case last time out.

The following teams are confirmed to have a Double Gameweek slotted for GW 36:

Liverpool
Chelsea
Newcastle
Tottenham
Bolton (Bolton also have a DGW on GW 35 as well)
Fulham
Stoke
Everton

Few notes before we start:

– I will abbreviate Double Gameweek (DGW) and Gameweek (GW) throughout the article
– I know this is quite an early article when it’s actually in Gameweek 36 but you should start planning from now itself
– There’s so much to get through in this article so bare with me!

* Takes Deep Breath In *

Liverpool/Fulham

Liverpool confirmed that their clash with Fulham originally scheduled for GW 34 will now be played on May 1st (GW 36).

Fulham play: Liverpool (A) and Everton (A)

Hardly an attractive DGW for Fulham who will have their hands full with daunting trips to Anfield and Goodison Park. As we know Fulham also have the joint worst away record and have scored the least amount of goals away from home (11).

That might not stop a certain Clint Dempsey from taking or keeping a spot on your team though! Much like Fulham’s however, Dempsey’s away form is hardly reassuring. His brace at Bolton was his first proper returns in an away game since GW 18!

Now this is my first season on Fantasy Premier League so I don’t know how true this is, but I’ve been told that Dempsey is the DGW king – having scored a brace in EACH of Fulham’s last 3 DGWs!! I’m sure a few of you veterans could confirm that!

Also worth noting that Fulham’s 2 remaining fixtures after the DGW are Sunderland (H) and Spurs (A) so you would think that other Fulham players are ones to avoid. However as we analyse the Liverpool DGW, it may not be all bad news for the Cottagers.

Liverpool play: Fulham (H) and Norwich (A)

Another DGW for Liverpool and they are likely to attract some investment again. Many of you invested in the likes of Suarez, Srktel and Gerrard last time out and they duly delivered. Despite that though, they continue to frustrate in the aftermath.

As we all know, Liverpool are in terrible form at the moment and have been really unpredictable, especially of late. A memorable victory against Everton followed by a series of losses against QPR, Wigan and Newcastle!

And then they pull off a late win against Blackburn! You see part of the reason people invested in Liverpool’s previous DGW was the good fixtures that followed. Those good fixtures being QPR and Wigan… enough said.

I do think that Liverpool’s DGW fixtures are pretty favourable but it depends if Liverpool can find some form again. This time the fixtures that follow are Chelsea (H) and Swansea (A) so if they do find some form – it’s probably a good idea to keep the investment to 1 or 2 players at best.

It’s a “sit and wait” one for me. If Liverpool get some form going – I’d definitely consider them.

Liverpool will welcome the return of Daniel Agger. He’s been sidelined with injury but finally came off the bench against Blackburn. Liverpool has only kept a single clean sheet since his absence.

Also worth mentioning that Liverpool’s FA Cup Final will be on the 5th of May and that is only a few days after the Fulham game (on the 1st).

Liverpool’s chances of Champions League qualification appear to be well and truly over, so you’d expect them to concentrate their efforts on the FA Cup. Expect then, to see several key players rested for the Fulham game.

Chelsea/Newcastle

We’re going to focus quite a bit on Chelsea! Chelsea has confirmed that their game against Newcastle will be rescheduled to May 2nd.

Chelsea play: Newcastle (H) and QPR (H)

Both of Chelsea’s games will be played at home and they look set for investment. Newcastle might be no pushovers but QPR are continuing to leak goals at an alarming rate.

Unfortunately there are several flaws in Chelsea’s DGW. One being Roberto Di Matteo. The caretaker manager has not been afraid to rotate his players. Following their narrow first leg win against Benfica (a game in which he rested Lampard, Essien, Drogba and Cahill) Di Matteo vowed to continue his rotation policy.

“We’ll need everybody until the end of the season. We cannot play with just 11 players. You’ll see other players who have maybe played a little less in the past playing more of a role in the future.”

Added to that is the fixture congestion as Chelsea are still in the Champions League and the FA Cup. Chelsea has made it through to the Semi Finals of the Champions League and IF (emphasis on the IF) they make it to the final of the FA Cup it COULD mean:

15th April – FA Cup Semi (Spurs)
18th April – CL Semi (Barcelona)
21st April – GW 35 (Arsenal)
24th April – CL Semi (Barcelona)
29th April – GW 36 (QPR)
2nd May – GW 36 (Newcastle)
5th May – FA Cup Final

That would mean 8 fixtures in just over 3 weeks and our DGW squeezed right in-between.

Now I hope I haven’t put you off from buying Chelsea players because I do think their DGW is one of the more easier ones, compared to the rest.

Looking at the Chelsea defence it’s an absolute mine field out there!

Terry – Rib injury, playing through the pain for now
Cole – Ankle injury, should play if fit
Ivanovic – Suspended for 3 games and will miss one DGW game
Luiz – Carrying an ankle knock and seems to be favoured in Champions League games

I’d say the most straightforward picks would be Petr Cech and John Terry, simply because they are the most nailed on of the lot. More the former as Terry might be given the odd rest due to his rib injury. At £6.8 and £7.4 respectively however, they will be out of reach for many. If fit, a slightly cheaper alternative to Terry would be Ashely Cole.

A cut-priced option could be Gary Cahill at £5.4 but again, the lack of guaranteed starts will be worrying. I’m going to say that if you already have Cahill I think you should be keeping him, if not though – I wouldn’t take chances. It’s best avoiding the likes of Bosingwa, Luiz and Ivanovic for reasons mentioned above.

Midfielders wise, Juan Mata would be a front runner. The fact that both Chelsea’s fixtures are at home, works to his advantage. Mata has scored 96 points from 15 home games, averaging over 6 points per game!

If you fancy a cheeky punt you might want to consider Frank Lampard as well. On his day Frank can be explosive having notched up 10+ returns on 5 occasions and is also part of an elite group of players to have gotten a 20 point haul. Since Villas-Boas’s departure from Chelsea, Lampard has started all but one game.

Forwards? Well you might want to consider Fernando Torres. No, no.. relax guys. I’m not being held at gun point! Anyway, it all started with a brace against Leicester in the FA Cup. Leicester? Meh. Nothing to see here folks! He followed that up with a crucial assist against Benfica. Ok, starting to get my attention… And then “IT” happened and when “IT” did, we all rushed to check the date… 31st March, not April Fools day yet! Holy moly… TORRES SCORED! He came away with his first goal in the League since September and also notched up 2 assists against Villa. He has also gotten an assist since then.

Chelsea’s final two fixtures are Liverpool (A) and Blackburn (H)

Newcastle play: Chelsea (A) and Wigan (A)

While playing Chelsea away might prove to be a tough task for Newcastle, they also travel to relegation strugglers Wigan in their other game. It’s been one heck of a season for Newcastle! Currently 5th place, ahead of Chelsea and are level on points with Spurs, as they push for a Champions League spot.

One of the reasons for their brilliant season are the Demba’s. More so because of Demba Ba, as he’s managed to notch up 16 goals and 4 assists in 29 appearances for Newcastle. Unfortunately though, he’s been far from his prolific self since returning from the African Cup of Nations. Since returning he’s only scored 26 points from 10 games (2.6 PPG).

Which brings me to the other one, Papiss (Demba) Cisse! Newcastle’s latest signing, powered by Goat Curry, has made an instant and absolutely stunning impact on the Premier League scoring 10 goals and an assist in only 10 appearances!!! He has already notched up 3 double figure scores. That’s 72 points in 10 games and a PPG ratio of 7.2. What makes that even more stunning is that he’s only completed 2 full games for Newcastle.

So if you’re planning to go Demba for the Double! Cisse is the in form choice. The worrying thing with Cisse though (as I mentioned above) is that he’s only completed 2 full games so far. Obviously this is normal for someone still adapting to the Premier League but will it be too soon for him to start two games in the space of 3 days? Time will tell.

I also wouldn’t necessarily count Demba Ba out yet either. He’ll be gunning to break his goal drought and should still be on spot-kick duties. Pardew substituted Ba before the 90 minutes for the 2nd time in a row against Bolton. Angry at the decision, Ba refused to shake Pardew’s hand when taken off… which apparently is EXACTLY what the gaffer wanted:

“I was trying to get a reaction from him, if I’m honest. I want him to be angry and fight. He’ll come out fighting. I know Demba, and I’ve got no worries about him.”

Midfield options? There are a few but the standout one would be Hatem Ben Arfa after returning a massive 49 points from his last 6 games! He has finally gained the trust of Pardew – who now thinks Arfa deserves an international call up.

Worth noting that Newcastle’s final two fixtures following the DGW are Man City (H) and Everton (A) so I would think twice about going overboard with Newcastle players, especially in defence. Regardless, the Magpies are in top form.

Everton/Stoke

Everton play: Stoke (A) and Fulham (H)

Third DGW for Everton this season and for the most part, it’s been one fail after another. Third time lucky then? Have to say I quite fancy those Everton fixtures and they are in decent form too. Everton have typically sparked to life in the 2nd half of the season. They are arguably the most in form team leading up to this DGW.

With those fixtures then, you’d fancy at least one clean sheet from Everton. Your ideal man then, would be Leighton Baines. Nailed on and will start both games barring injury. However being the most expensive defender in the game at £7.9, he is a luxury only few can afford.

Although with that huge price tag also comes a considerable attacking threat including penalties, free-kicks and numerous crosses.

Despite all that he’s only managed 2 assists all season. Enter Nikica Jelavic. 4 goals in 5 starts. Everton may have finally found someone to get on the end of Baines’ deliveries.

The other nailed on option would be Tim Howard.

Back from injury Phil Jagielka at £5.3 could be your budget option. Before getting injured Jagielka played every single League game and you would expect him to cement his spot in the team again. One to keep an eye on.

There’s nobody really standing out in the Everton midfield. Not sure if you would waste a valuable DGW spot on an Everton midfielder either.

Perhaps Steven Pienaar? Since returning to Everton he has already bagged 2 goals and 4 assists. Actually the more I think about it the more I like the idea of Pienaar in my team.

As I mentioned above, 4 goals in 5 starts and I definitely think you should consider Nikica Jelavic. Have Everton finally found someone who can solve their goalscoring crisis? Maybe. Moyes has been quick to praise him.

“I think he [Jelavic] has done quite well, Leighton Baines is our top goalscorer with four – so it is quite obvious to see where we have been short.”

Jelavic may be new to the Premier League but he has a proven goalscoring record having scored 14 goals in just 22 starts for Rangers, earlier in the season.

With Wolves (A) and Newcastle (H) to come following the DGW, any Everton investment you make will probably extend their stay on your team – until the end of the season.

Stoke play: Everton (H) and Arsenal (H)

So key players to consider are… Hang on, did you say Everton and Arsenal? No thank you, good night!

Bolton/Aston Villa/Tottenham

Bolton confirmed that their game against Aston Villa (which was postponed due to Muamba’s unfortunate Cardiac Arrest) will now be played on the 24th of April while their clash against Spurs has been rearranged for the 2nd of May.

Amazingly, this means that Bolton will have BACK-TO-BACK Double Gameweeks on both GW 35 and 36. It also means that both Tottenham and Villa will also have a (surprise surprise) DGW!

GW 35:

Bolton play: Villa (A) and Swansea (H)
Villa play: Bolton (H) and Sunderland (H)

GW 36:

Bolton play: Tottenham (H) and Sunderland (A)
Tottenham play: Bolton (A) and Blackburn (H)

Bolton then, play 4 games in just 2 gameweeks! It means that just having a single Bolton player alone for both DGWs pretty much guarantees you 8 points! In a way though, the back-to-back double gameweeks for Bolton are a bit deceiving. The only game you’d expect substantial returns would be against Villa, the other 3 fixtures being a much tougher test for the relegation strugglers.

Regardless, Ryo Miyaichi and Adam Bogdan will surely see their ownership percentage rise sharply!

We’ve been a bit overexposed to Miyaichi lately and it appears like we’ve cursed him as he’s failed to complete a game in his last 3, playing 76, 45 and 13 minutes respectively.

After the Wolves game Owen Coyle said Miyaichi looked tired:

“I thought he was feeling it a little bit in his legs at the end of the (Wolves) game. We will need to get him rested up as best as we can.”

A definite worry for current and future Miyaichi owners. Does that mean more rest or are they simply trying to keep him fit for these final few games? I’m not sure Bolton can afford to keep him out of the action though. Take what you want from that quote.

Someone else that’s recently slipped onto the radar is Martin Petrov. He was a massive failure when many managers got him earlier in the season, but a goal and an assist in his last four games and he’s making himself heard again. Interestingly Petrov has had a total of 15 shots on goal in his last four games – the highest of any Bolton player.

The Bolton defence might not be worth it, as they continue to concede goal after goal – but Bogdan, being so cheap may be worth a look. If you want to look elsewhere for goalkeepers, at £4.0 and £4.4 respectively – David Wheater and Tim Ream are cheap alternatives.

Bolton’s final two fixtures are WBA (H) and Stoke (A)

Like Stoke, it’s not really worth mentioning Aston Villa’s DGW either to be honest. While their two fixtures are not the worst in the world, is there any player that’s really worth buying?

Bent would have been one but he’s sidelined with injury while Agbonlahor has gone completely off the boil. The last time he got a goal was way back in November!

Someone that’s recently burst on to the scene is Andreas Weimann who earned them a point against Stoke last week and scored the winner against Fuham a few weeks earlier.

McLeish:

“Goals talk and it will be hard for me to leave Weimann out. It was a fantastic strike.”

He comes at a cheap price of £5.0

I’m struggling to find any positives on Villa’s DGW. Stiliyan Petrov comes to mind. He was sadly diagnosed with Acute Leukaemia a few weeks ago and this might fire up Villa. Villa tried hard to beat Chelsea coming from 2 down to equalize at 2-2… only to lose 4-2 in the end. That performance was followed up by draws against Liverpool and Stoke.

Saving the best for last, by far the most tasty looking Double Gameweek on paper is Tottenham’s! Blackburn and Bolton? You couldn’t make this stuff up. Spurs coverage would appear to be almost essential despite not being in top form – and we’re pretty spoilt for choice.

Quite a few good options in defence. Brad Friedel could be a strong keeper option. The ever reliable Assou-Ekotto is also worth a look. Nailed on and we know he poses an attacking threat. Ekotto is now at a steep price of £6.3 and it’s hard to imagine that he started off at 5.0!

Your budget Spurs defender at £5.5 is Younes Kaboul. It’s best you avoid the likes of King and Gallas.

Midfield wise, Gareth Bale has been goalless in his last 10 games and only managed 3 assists during this same period. It was not so long ago that we rated Bale as a season keeper and now Fantasy Managers are starting to get frustrated – with many letting go of the Welshman.

Despite this he is still the favoured choice in the Spurs midfield. The captaincy choice will prove to be one-hell-of-a-headache but I’m sure a certain Gareth Bale could be a frontrunner!

Interestingly however, Rafael Van der Vaart appears to be finding his form again. He’s found the net twice in the last 5 games and also grabbed an assist. At £9.6 his price tag is 0.1 higher than Bale’s but unlike Bale‘s ownership (40%), his is at a mere 5% earning him a differential status! However his recurring hamstring problem is well known and whether he can start twice in a few days is another question.

Up front Adebayor looks to be the only viable option. A recent brace against Swansea showed what the man is capable off and he was clearly missed in their loss against Norwich, where he was benched.

I would avoid Saha and Defoe. While both are good options you just can’t be sure if they’ll start or not. I also highly doubt they’ll play 2 games in such a short space of time.

Like Liverpool and Chelsea – the worry with Tottenham is the FA Cup Final should they reach it, just 3 days after the Bolton match. Redknapp showed this week that he isn’t afraid to rest big names like Adebayor and VDV for the Semi Final clash with Chelsea.

More good news is that Tottenham’s fixtures that follow the DGW are Villa (A) and Fulham (H)! Looks like they’re staying in your teams until the end then. Many managers will be looking to maximise their Spurs coverage with 3 players.

Manchester Derby (GW 36)

Whilst all these DGWs are swimming around let’s not forget the Manchester Derby going on in the same week! Many managers have preferred the trio of Rooney, Valencia and Evans for United cover.

While Evans may be benched, some managers may start to wonder if two United attackers are too much? With such a limited budget and Rooney (£13.0) and Valencia (£8.5) taking quite a portion of that, the option to offload one might sound tempting. If United happen to seal the title by then, this decision becomes much easier.

The same can be said of City with the likes of Kompany, Aguero and Silva.

So, quick recap of things to consider:

– Most fruitful DGWs on paper appear to be Chelsea, Spurs and Everton
– Everton and Newcastle are in top form followed by Chelsea
– FA Cup Final – Teams involved in the final are likely to be subject to rotation in the DGWs
– Consider final two fixtures for each club (GW 37/38) – which I have mentioned throughout the article
– Manchester Derby – Possible way of freeing funds

This should certainly provide a wonderful twist to the beginning of the end of this fantasy season. I hope I’ve given you something to ponder over and helped cleared up any doubts in your mind!

Well that’s a rap people! Comments welcome.