Tuesday, 13 December 2016

FPL Fixture Congestion Preparation

We are approaching the most exciting period in an FPL season, as games will appear in frequent succession over the next three weeks. The fixtures have a fast turnaround for this part of the footballing calendar. Full scale planning is a must, as this period inevitably leads to rapid increases/decreases in rank. The following tips will help FPL managers navigate the busy period ahead:

1.      Prioritise a good 15 rather than a good Starting 11
During this period Premier League managers attempt to limit long-term injury through player rotation. Player rotation will likely occur between Gameweeks 16 and 20, which are played between Dec 13 until Jan 2 (an average of a Gameweek every 4 days). Therefore, it is crucial for FPL managers to have a good 15 all round because players from the Spurs midfield or the Southampton fullbacks may be rotation risks as fitness becomes a priority for Premier League managers. A good all round 15 players in FPL squads will act as a safety net in cases of unexpected player rotation and will allow FPL managers to overtake others who only prioritized a good starting XI and felt the wrath of rotation.

2.      Keep on top of transfers due to tight deadlines
It is crucial to keep aware of the deadlines for each Gameweek as there may be midweek Gameweeks that catch many FPL managers off guard resulting in terrible performances and drops in rank. 

The deadlines for the Christmas and New Year Gameweeks include

Gameweek 16: 13 Dec 18:45 GMT
Gameweek 17: 17 Dec 11:30 GMT
Gameweek 18: 26 Dec 11:30 GMT
Gameweek 19: 30 Dec 19:00 GMT
Gameweek 20: 2 Jan 11:30 GMT

3.      Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON)
The Africa Cup of Nations showcases the very best of African football every 2 years. AFCON begins on the 14th of January and ends on the 5th of February. However, players are due to leave for international duty from the morning of January 2ndTherefore, there will be several African players who will be on their way to Gabon to represent their nations. These players need to be on every FPL managers’ radar to avoid having or to be sold at the right time.

The players that are likely to be selected to play in AFCON include the following (incomplete list):
-       ManĂ© (Liverpool)
-       Ayew (West Ham)
-       Bony (Stoke City)
-       Zaha (Crystal Palace)
-       Bailly (Man United)
-       Feghouli (West Ham)
-       Slimani (Leicester City)
-       Mahrez (Leicester City)
-       Amartey (Leicester City)
-       Schlupp (Leicester City)
-       Boufal (Southampton)
-       Amrabat (Watford)
-       L. Kone (Sunderland)
-       Nyom (West Brom)
-       Kouyate (West Ham)

4.      Keep on top of injury news
Injuries occur more frequently during periods in the season such as mid-December to early-January as players’ schedules are much more congested and rest times are significantly reduced. Therefore, it should be the main priority of FPL managers to keep up with injury news to avoid bringing in players or playing players whose injuries go under the radar. This has been evident throughout this season. For example, Antonio Valencia’s arm injury during the international break that went under the radar affected many owners. Most recently, Emre Can’s knee injury prior to GW15 came to light after the deadline and after many managers had transferred him in. Thus, exploration of injury websites and blogs are an essential part of preparation for the fixture congestion as they give FPL managers a potential edge over other competitors.

Written by Mark Dinkha