Back To The FPL Future: GW27

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FPL PREVIEW GW27


Bogey teams. Glaring differences between home and away form. Those players who just always seem to score against certain clubs. Sometimes fixtures past can offer some insight into fixtures future.

Looking at the recent history of the fixtures for the upcoming Gameweek can provide some potentially useful insights as to what we might expect to unfold. This is reinforced by a study of 25,000 games of football, which demonstrated a direct correlation between previous fixture results and the next fixture results. It is the reason why, for example, Everton’s 1-0 win at Liverpool in 2020/21 was so notable as their first win at Anfield in the Premier League since 1999; it was the exception that proved the rule.

Common themes, potential upsets, unexpected blanks or hauls for certain players. There are well known examples like how Jamie Vardy always scores against Arsenal. Or how Harry Kane always scores against Arsenal. Or how Kevin de Bruyne always scores against Ar…. you get the idea.

So, let’s take a look at the GW27 fixtures:

Burnley v Arsenal

Burnley have not beaten Arsenal in this fixture in the last 5 years, and only earned their first point in the 0-0 draw last season. Arsenal average over 1 goal per game at Turf Moor whilst Burnley are averaging a meagre 0.25 per game. With Burnley being Burnley, and Arsenal hardly setting the league alight despite an impressive away win vs Leicester, we may see another low scoring away win like the two consecutive 1-0 wins in 2016/17 and 2017/18.

There are no real standout players in this fixture, although Aubameyang did score a brace in a 3-1 win in 2018/19 and will be looked to again here to provide inspiration for the Gunners.

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Aston Villa v Wolves

A win each and a draw make this game hard to call. Given the injuries for the home side, they may struggle again here as they did last season when they lost 1-0. The difference this season, however, is that they have an Argentinian goalkeeping god in the form of Emi Martinez in goal. A draw here would perhaps be the most likely result without key men for both sides on the pitch to make a difference through injury.

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Sheffield Utd v Southampton

There is only 1 fixture in the last 5 seasons due to Sheffield United’s time in the second and third tiers of English football. Southampton earned a narrow 1-0 win last season through a lone Moussa Djenepo goal, and Southampton fans will be praying for a repeat of this result as they desperately try to get their season back on track. The home side will also be fighting for their Premier League survival of course, and both sides have a string of injuries to key players which could make the result a little more unpredictable.

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Brighton v Leicester

Two wins from the last three at the Amex suggests we might expect three points for Leicester in this fixture. That may be a reasonable expectation under normal circumstances, but Leicester have recently had injuries to key players James Maddison and Harvey Barnes and have struggled since then. Brighton themselves are an enigma, having recently put in excellent performances in wins over Liverpool and Tottenham, followed by inexplicable defeats to Crystal Palace and West Brom despite Brighton bossing many of the stats.

Brighton seem to be the plaything of the xG gods, and combined with the injuries for key Leicester personnel this game appears hard to predict. Historically, Vardy has fared well with 3 goals and 1 assist in the last 3 seasons, but other than this there are no standout players and it remains to be seen how Vardy does in the absence of the main creative forces in this Leicester team.

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West Brom v Newcastle

There are only a couple of fixtures in the past 5 seasons due to West Brom’s recent stint in the Championship as well as Newcastle’s Championship season in 2016/17. The two fixtures were pretty even with a 2-2 draw and a narrow 1-0 home win in 2015/16.

Newcastle did win the reverse fixture 2-1 in December, but West Brom have the better recent form with a win and 2 draws in their last 3 games. Newcastle also still have some key injuries, so this may be another opportunity for West Brom to get 3 points on the board.

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Liverpool v Fulham

Just the 1 fixture in the last 5 seasons due to Fulham mostly being a Championship side in this period. Unsurprisingly the previous meeting was a home win, and you’d expect a similar result here on paper. Liverpool have really struggled this season with their injuries, however, whilst Fulham are a much better team than the one that visited Anfield two seasons ago and are a tough team to face.

Key man Salah scored in that 2018/19 meeting, whilst both Liverpool full backs did well with an assist each to add to their clean sheet points. Given Fulham don’t score a lot of goals, this could be another good fixture for Trent and Robbo owners who would reasonably expect a clean sheet, even though clean sheets haven’t been as easy to come by this season for Liverpool.

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Man City v Man Utd

Something i certainly found interesting looking at this was just how good United’s results have been at the Etihad in recent seasons. The Red Devils have won 3 of the last 5 meetings at the home of their ‘noisy neighbours’ as well as a 0-0 draw in 2016/17. All this leaves City with just a solitary win from the 2018/19 season, which is not something you’d expect given the balance of power in Manchester over this time.

Another away win would certainly seem unlikely on current form, with City now on 21 consecutive victories in all competitions and last failing to win in the Premier League in Gameweek 13. United meanwhile have been in patchy form at best, with 2 goalless draws in GW26 including against an otherwise woeful Crystal Palace side, as well as a recent draw against West Brom and a defeat to Sheffield United.

But as the old adage goes, form goes out the window in a derby. And whilst an away win may on paper seem unlikely this season based on form, it would have also seemed unlikely in previous seasons, and yet United have won 3 in 5. So it will be interesting to see what unfolds on Sunday, and there are usually a few goals involved in these fixtures. Rashford scored and assisted in the 2-1 away win last season, whilst Gundogan scored in consecutive meetings in 2017/18 and 2018/19, Mahrez also has consecutive assists in the last couple of seasons, but other than this it is hard to find any other players of note in what may be an otherwise unpredictable game.

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Man City v Southampton

Southampton will be desperate to get something from their first game against Sheffield Utd in this double gameweek, as it appears highly unlikely they will be getting anything from their second game at the Etihad. There is utter dominance from the home side in this fixture, with 5 consecutive wins and an aggregate score of 14-5, City are averaging almost 3 goals per game against the Saints. Coupled with Southampton’s crippling injury crisis, Saints fans will just hope this isn’t another 6-1 thrashing as it was in 2018/19. Southampton have surely already suffered their thrashings this season, haven’t they?

Fit-again Aguero has a strong recent record, with 2 goals and 2 assists in the last two meetings, but interestingly Sterling has 3 goals and 3 assists across the first four fixtures in our timeframe, although he blanked last time out. It’s still an incredibly strong record, and given Southampton’s issues down that side with the injury to Kyle Walker-Pieters, he could be in for more returns in this one. De Bruyne had 2 goals and 3 assists across three meetings between 2015/16 and 2017/18, but he has blanked in the last two and is, by his own lofty standards, in poor form this season.

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Tottenham v Crystal Palace

If you were thinking of placing a bet on a Palace win in this fixture, you probably shouldn’t. Spurs have won each of the last 5, with Palace failing to register even one goal in this time. That probably tells you everything you need to know about this fixture, without even getting into how poor Palace have been season.

If you don’t own Son already, you may want to consider getting him for this fixture alone let alone considering he plays in blank GW29. He has such a strong record at home to Palace, with 5 goals across the last 5, including a brace in the 4-0 thrashing last season. Kane actually doesn’t have the best record in this fixture, with just a couple of assists over the last 5, but a owning a Spurs defensive asset should prove fruitful as they have 5 consecutive clean sheets, and Serge Aurier also bagged a couple of FPL assists last season.

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Chelsea v Everton

Not dissimilar to Spurs at home to Palace, Chelsea have been dominant in this fixture in recent history. After a 3-3 thriller in 2015/16, Chelsea have won 4 on the bounce, and Everton have not scored in those 4 meetings since. Chelsea appear to be a bit more defensively solid since Tuchel arrived, so in addition to the recent history it’s hard to see Everton getting anything from this game. Chelsea have averaged nearly 3 goals per game in this fixture, so there may a potentially high ceiling for attacking returns.

Given the high squad turnover at Chelsea in this timeframe, a lot of the players who previously featured are no longer relevant. Giroud and Mount scored in the 4-0 win last season, and Alonso scored in the 5-0 win in 2016/17, but otherwise not many of the current Chelsea squad have much of a history here. Owning any Chelsea defenders may well bring a clean sheet.

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West Ham v Leeds

There is no fixture history to examine here due to Leeds’ 16 year absence from the Premier League. West Ham won the reverse fixture 2-1 thanks to goals from Soucek and Ogbonna, and this isn’t one of those fixtures that FPL managers were worrying about when examining West Ham’s tough fixture run.

West Ham are having a good season and are looking a strong side, so the ceiling probably isn’t too high for Leeds assets. Leeds have also been defensively poor this season, so this could be a fixture where Antonio or Lingard shines.

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FOOTNOTES:

Past meetings in cup competitions have been excluded from the table of results, as we are only interested in league results. Not to mention cup competitions can have more erratic/unreliable results with unique atmospheres and weakened teams often played.

There are also varying amounts of fixture history in the last 5 seasons to draw upon, by virtue of 3 teams being relegated to and promoted from the Championship every year. Leeds, for example, have been absent from the Premier league for 16 years and so will often have little to no league history in the last 5 years versus certain teams. It was considered to replace those teams in these articles with ‘similar’ teams for the sake of comparison, but it was decided that this would be more unreliable, subjective and arbitrary and therefore would not represent an accurate or fair analysis.

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