With European football back and well under way, we thought it would be best to map out the European fixtures and how they may affect the upcoming gameweeks. The most worrying factor is that with the Europa League having twice as many teams as the Champions League, they are squeezing two rounds in within the next month. This leaves the 4 Europa League sides little time to rest if they progress past the second round. This may not worry managers of Liverpool players too much as they just lost 2-0 to Zenit but a great Anfield comeback could change all of that.
To help, we have also included the FA cup games which take place this weekend, meaning that we have a prolonged absence before the sacred Fantasy Premier League returns. Although, there is still the small matter of Liverpool-Swansea, which takes place on Sunday as our double gameweekers finally put an end to Gameweek 26. Without further ado, let’s jump right into the fixture pileups:
Champions League Sides
Both United and Arsenal don’t have particularly demanding fixture schedules but it’s important to keep in mind that players could be rested in the lead up to important Champions League matches. With Gameweek 28 coming only 3 days before United’s crunch match at Old Trafford against Real Madrid, it is entirely possible that one or two players will be given the day off against Norwich(h). Likewise for Gameweek 29, Wenger may choose to rest one or two in the match against Everton, in preparation for the second leg against Bayern.
Europa League Sides
With Chelsea, dropping down to the Europa League, we’ve got a total of four English sides competing for this trophy. To kick things off, let’s take a look at Liverpool and Chelsea. Liverpool’s progression in this competition is looking unlikely after they failed to register an away goal and conceded twice against Zenit St Petersburg. It will take a mammoth effort at Anfield if they wish to continue to the 3rd round but if they don’t, their fixture pileup will immediately return to normal.
Chelsea on the other hand could potentially have a crazy month ahead of them if they manage to progress in all competitions. First off they are still in the FA cup and will have to take on Brentford this weekend in a replay. If they win this fixture, it will add an extra midweeek match in between Gameweeks 27 and 28, away at Middlesborough. In addition, if they manage to defeat Sparta Prague in the second round of the Europa League, they will have midweek matches for an entire month (9 fixtures in 4 weeks). This is sure to push Chelsea’s squad to its limits and Rafa will have no option but to rotate.
To round it all off, we have Spurs and Newcastle battling it out for the Europa League in Thursday night action. If they progress past their respective matches against Lyon and Metalist Kharkiv, they would only have one week’s rest before returning to the midweek madness. However, both sides have been knocked out of the FA cup so they will both get a rest this weekend before travelling abroad for the second legs of the Europa ties.
We are unlikely to see too much rotation to begin with but as we approach Gameweeks 28 and 29, we could see the squads used to their full potential. However, with Spurs pushing for a Champions League spot and Newcastle looking to secure Premier League survival, there shouldn’t be too many changes to their first elevens.
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