The 2018/19 Fantasy Premier League season is nearly here and we are taking a look at the early fixture calendar.
Europa League action may reduce the appeal of Burnley defenders in FPL for Gameweek 1.
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In many respects, the fixture calendar will easier to navigate this season than it has been previously. Here are the reasons why:
- The summer transfer window closes before Gameweek 1, on Thursday 9th August. There will be no new players after this point, although players can still transfer out of the Premier League, to one of the main European leagues.
- The EFL Cup will not be as strenuous as it has been previously, given that there are to be no replays or extra time in the tournament. Any match which is drawn after 90 minutes will immediately progress to a penalty shootout.
- Although the International Breaks will split the season up somewhat, there is a lull in major tournament international football and qualification games. There will be far less at stake in any friendly games, which should help to reduce fatigue.
With the exception of Burnley, most teams will play either four or five games in this window. The top six get a bye in the EFL Cup Round 2, so have the quietest schedule of all teams.
It remains to be seen whether Premier League clubs take the early stages of this cup seriously, with many likely to opt for playing a weakened side: any all PL match ups at this stage could force a full strength lineup.
Burnley carry the biggest question mark in these early parts of the season: the Europa League play off games could seriously hamper the early stages of their season. I’d advocate no Burnley players for the start of the season: they don’t have the squad depth required and could have to cover many miles.
It’s important to note that many of the big clubs in the Premier League could be missing their key players, who have taken part in the Knockout Stages of the World Cup.
You’d expect limited minutes, with perhaps just substitute appearances in Gameweek 3-4 for those players who were involved in the Semi Final and beyond.
This phase of the season is arguably one of the most congested for the top six teams, with seven fixtures occurring within around 23 days.
If the European cup ties are kind, it could give these clubs the opportunity to rest big players, but many will be going all out for convincing results from the start.
All of the top six have reached the final of the EFL cup at least once over the last four seasons, but they may be able to negotiate these early rounds with a weaker side.
It’s another congested time for the big teams, with 6 or 7 fixtures in 23 days, depending on progression in the EFL Cup. With six group games in the European tournaments, Matchday 3 and 4 will be crucial to their campaigns to reach the knockout rounds.
The EFL Cup fixtures will also be more challenging from this point on, with a win here securing a Quarter-Final place. This period could be a good opportunity to invest in some differential players from smaller clubs, with strong form and fixtures.
The international breaks at the end of Gameweek 4 and Gameweek 8 will present managers with an ideal opportunity to play their first wildcard.
Given the impact of the World Cup on the initial gameweeks, expect the first international break to be a very popular time to activate.
The 2-week window gives managers plenty of opportunity to plan their wildcard wisely, as well as capitalise on price changes.
It’s worth noting here that very few players will rise more than once within this window, so the myth of gained value during these longer periods shouldn’t be banked on.
BEFORE YOU GO… With less than four weeks remaining, check out our current thoughts on a Gameweek 1 side, which we published earlier this week.