Now that we have passed the quarter way of the season mark, we know how each of the teams in the Premier League are lining up and how they are looking for the season. From the good, such as unbeaten Chelsea, to the bad, such as the 8 goal thrashing handed to Sunderland by the Saints. But before you play any outstanding wildcards with form players from the first 10 game weeks, lets turn our attention to the fixture list for game weeks 11 to 20. Autumn has arrived, the clocks have changed and some clubs are in for tough run of fixtures through to Christmas.
You can view our table of Game Week 11 – 20 Fixtures Here.
Hard Road Ahead
It’s going to be a long hard autumn for Stoke City who have arguable the hardest set of fixtures for game weeks 11 through 20. They face the ‘big four’ (Liverpool, Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea) all before Christmas and then spend New Years day entertaining Man Utd again. Throw in two tricky away trips to Tottenham Hotspur and Everton and you’ve got yourself an uphill battle. That’s 7 out of their next 10 matches where they would in all honesty be happy to grind out draws. With the attacking fire power that they are coming up against, transferring in any Stoke City defender between now and 2015 looks a very risky play.
One of the success stories of the first 10 rounds has been Southampton. The Saints defense has let in only 5 goals. Their 6 clean sheets and reasonably priced defenders have been a blessing to many Fantasy Premier League managers. But their quality will be tested between now and the end of the year. Southampton look to have the second hardest schedule, behind Stoke City. Five of Southampton’s next 10 Premier League fixtures are against the ‘big guns’, before Christmas they’ll line up against Man City, Arsenal and Man Utd. Then after Christmas they’ll have a London double header against Chelsea, and then Arsenal again. There other 5 fixtures look less tricky, bar a visit from Everton at home. Southampton don’t look like rolling over, but those fixtures will certainly test their staying power at the top quarter of the league table.
Our final tip of clubs with tough runs of Sunderland, who let in 17 goals in their first 9 matches of the season. They will face last years champions Manchester City both home and away, as well as matches against Chelsea, Liverpool and Everton. They’ll need to sort out their deficiencies at the back if they’re going to get anything out of those 5 games and not let their goal difference nose dive any further. Sunderland already look to be in a relegation battle, and with five tough matches coming up, they don’t look like rocketing up the table any time soon.
Bright Side of the Road
While Stoke City have the nastiest run of fixtures, it’s not all bad news for your Fantasy Premier League teams. There are teams with runs that look inviting for them to build some form and momentum going into 2015. Take a look and Manchester City for example. They’ve had a poor end to October, but things are looking a little simpler for the rest of the year. After their Manchester derby in game week 10, they don’t face any of their title rivals for the remainder of 2014. Fixtures with the high flying Southampton and resilient Everton will post hurdles, but they’ll also face all three promoted clubs (QPR, Burnley, Leicester) as well as facing a struggling Sunderland both home and away. Having already been eliminated from the League cup at the hands of Newcastle, and their Champions League Campaign on the ropes, turning their attention to a healthy looking sequence of league fixtures may be just the tonic for Manchester City’s start to play them selves into some form. If Sergio Aguero can stay fit, then there will be blue goals galore in the next 10 game weeks.
Another team with an appetizing looking schedule is Everton. With Lukaku and Eto starting to find some cohesion up front, and the the return of Ross Barkley’s creativity in midfield, they’ll be looking to kick their way to the table to jostle for a champions league spot come the end of the year. Everton will face Manchester City away from home, but avoid any of the other title contenders before 2015. Their home and away double is to Hull City, and with matches against QPR, Sunderland and Newcastle they’re looking like a good option. Their defense has been uncharacteristically leaky this year, letting in 17 goals in their first 9 games, so they’ll be a good chance to get on the right ride of their goals-per-game with a run of clean sheets.
Other clubs that fair better off are Chelsea, who don’t face any of their title rivals after game week 11. Aston Villa also have a lighter run, with key fixtures against Leicester, Burnley and Sunderland which will determine just how close the relegation zone they will end this year. They had a great start but a poor run has dragged them back down the table. Our final tip for a strong next ten rounds is West Ham United. The Hammers have been extreamly impressive so far this year, with Alex Song’s arrival from Barcelona bringing some much needed quality to Big Sam’s line up which have let to getting more out of regulars such as Stuart Downing. Up front the summer arrivals of Enner Valancia and the very impressive Diafra Sakho (who has scored a goal in each of his last five premier league matches) have brought some much needed goals to West Ham which have got Big Sam happy with his new ‘entertaining’ football that was demanded by the West Ham faithful. West Ham avoid all the big title challengers before Christmas. Games against the likes of Sunderland and Leicester should provide some points. Then they have mid-table tussles with the likes of Newcastle, Swansea and a home and away double against West Bromwich Albion. Those games mean West Ham have big potential to kick on and get themselves in a safe position going into 2015. A lot of that will depend upon avoiding injuries and seeing how their new recruits handle the congested fixture pile up going into the cold English winter. It’s in their hands to welcome Santa Claus win a lofty league position.
Best of luck Fantasy Premier League Managers! Here to a great end to 2014!