It is crunch time. It is time to sort the champions and the relegation fodder from the other 20 Premier League clubs as we hit the run in to the end of the season. You’ve had the previous 30 gameweeks to tinker with your team, but not there is no more experimenting. You’ve got 8 more gameweeks from which to get the most points and take the price for beating your mates in the Fantasy Premier League 2014/15. Just like over Christmas, Chelsea currently occupy top spot on the league table, with a game in hand and 6 point buffer on their closes rivals Manchester City. At the other end of the table all three promoted clubs currently occupy the relegations positions. Could it be 3 up and straight back down again come May? Lets have a look over the fixture analysis a see who has got the best and worse runs home to the end of the season, and where FPL managers can maximize points.
You can view our table of Game Week 21 – 30 Fixtures below:
Hard Road Ahead
In terms of tough fixtures for the final run-in, it’s Hull City who look to have the hardest run in, which could be quite dangerous for their Premier League survival given they are only 3 points above the relegation zone. In their last 8 Premier League matches of the year, Hull face Champions League hopefuls Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United (all at home) as well as Europa League hopefuls Swansea and Spurs. Only 2 of their last 8 matches are against teams in the bottom half of the table, which is avery tough task. Hull defender Alex Bruce is the most selected Hull player in the FPL with 11.6% of teams selected him. Bruce might be one to transfer out for the remainder of the season given their fixture difficulty.
Two other clubs with tougher runs of fixtures than most are Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion. Both these clubs have seen a massive upturn in form in 2015 after changing managers over the festive period. Alan Pardew, who was managing Newcastle United, has taken over at Crustal Palace and driven them up the table to 11th place, 11 points clear of the relegation zone and looking safe. Tony Pulis, who pulled off a remarkable run to keep Crystal Palace in the Premier League last season, has brought his defensive organization to West Bromwich Albion and led them up to 14th on the table 8 points clear of the relegation zone – where they were when he was hired. Both these two clubs has a tough ask though, both facing 4 champions league hopefuls in their final 8 matches of the season. Palace will face both Manchester’s (City & United) at home, as well as Chelsea and Liverpool away. So they have only 3 matches against teams in the lower half of the table. West Bromwich Albion have Manchester United & Arsenal away, as well as Chelsea & Liverpool at home. They finish the season with a London double header against Chelsea & Arsenal, so they’ll be hoping to achieve mathematical safety by Gameweek 36 to avoid a nervy finish. West Brom’s defense has been a nice, cheap points alternative at the back for FPL managers this season – have racked up 12 clean sheets so far (equal 3rd most clean sheets in the league this season). But you’ll probably want to drop all your WBA defenders by Gameweek 34, from which point there won’t be good odds for any more clean sheets against the big guns.
Bright Side of the Road
But for every Hull or West Bromwich Albion, with plenty of their remaining 8 matches against the bug guns, there are others clubs who have a much healthier run in which should give you a good return of points. The first of those clubs, with probably the easiest run of fixtures remaining for the season is West Ham United. Big Sam’s men have had a tough run in 2015 so far, but this has mainly been due to both injury and getting their harder matches out of the way. In their final 5 games they only face 1 team in the top half of the table in Manchester City. That means they have 7 matches from Gameweek 31 to 38 against teams in the lower half of the table. This is the perfect run to get some form & momentum going in order to climb the table as high as they can. Fantasy Premier League managers should look at the likes of Stewart Downing (5 goals and 8 assists this season) or Diafra Sakho ( 9 goals and 3 assists) to capitalise on West Ham’s run in. In Gameweek 30 West Ham recorded their first win since January, against Sunderland, so the run has officially started.
Another team with a delicious looking run of final fixtures for the year is Southampton. Southampton currently lead the league in clean sheets, with 14 clean sheets from their 30 EPL matches to date. (nearly a clean sheet every other match!). Southampton face only one team higher than them on the EPL table (Manchester City) and 5 of their remaining 8 EPL matches are against teams in the lower half of the table. These include matches against Hull, Sunderland, Leicester and Aston Villa – all of who are in the relegation battle. This is excellent news for the Saint’s already impressive defense, who will be looking to pick up at least a few more clean sheets before the end of the season. For Fantasy Premier League managers, that means the likes of Toby Alderweireld £4.8m, Nathaniel Clyne £6.1m or Ryan Bertrand £5.8m are all great picks at the back for the final few rounds of the season.
Don’t forget that Chelsea & Leicester City have an extra game over their competitors, when they play their rescheduled match in gameweek 34. That will be a double gameweek for both clubs. Given that they have 9 matches to play, as opposed to 8 matches for everyone else, keep an eye on Chelsea players towards the end of April to score some extra points.
Best of luck Fantasy Premier League Managers! Here to a great end to the 2014-15 season!