Fixture Analysis: Top Picks

Our early analysis of the 15/16 fixture schedule has revealed some excellent options for selection from teams with good opening fixtures.

After taking a look at the fixture schedule for the upcoming season we've picked out a few standouts in terms of the preliminary game strength from a balanced perspective. This is by no means a comprehensive analysis but is a good starting point for working on some early key picks, rotation players and budget options.

Below is the table showing our analysis of the first 6 GW for our highlighted teams. The table should be easy to understand, bright green represents the best fixture, green is a good fixture, grey is a normal/average fixture, red is a bad fixture and bright red is the worst fixture.

Fixture Analyser GW 1 GW 2 GW 3 GW 4 GW 5 GW 6

Arsenal

WHU
(H)
CRY
(A)
LIV
(H)
NEW
(A)
STO
(H)
CHE
(A)

Leicester

SUN
(H)
WHU
(A)
TOT
(H)
BOU
(A)
AVL
(H)
STO
(A)

Bournemouth

AVL
(H)
LIV
(A)
WHU
(A)
LEI
(H)
NOR
(A)
SUN
(H)

Southampton

NEW
(A)
EVE
(H)
WAT
(A)
NOR
(H)
WBA
(A)
MUN
(H)

Sunderland

LEI
(A)
NOR
(H)
SWA
(H)
AVL
(A)
TOT
(H)
BOU
(A)

The first thing we notice based on this analysis is that all the teams have fairly strong opening games. Southampton and Sunderland immediately stand out with Southampton not facing any of last year's top 6 teams until GW6. Sunderland are playing two newly promoted teams along with relegation survivors Leicester and only face Spurs from last year's top 6. 

Arsenal

Arsenal should look to capitalise on favourable opening fixtures given the strength of their 14/15 season end, winning the FA Cup and narrowling missing out on 2nd place. The fixtures look the strongest out of the top 6 teams, with only away trips to Crystal Palace and Newcastle to worry about before their trip to Chelsea in GW6. Sanchez looks set to be out for the early games given his involvement in the Copa America but with a strong contingent in midfield there are plenty of options to choose from. Rotation is a worry here, though, with Debuchy/Bellerin and Monreal/Gibbs all vying for places in the full back spots, in addition to the wealth of midfield options providing uncertainty for our selection decisions.

Leicester

Their strong finish to last season was real proof of how well Leicester can play, with 7 wins in their final 9 fixtures. With plenty of budget options here, there is a strong pull factor to include players in our team. They do have some potential tough fixtures in their schedule but given their previous form, there are some real contendors in Schlupp, Huth, Schmeical, Vardy and Ulloa to name just a few.

Bournemouth

An extremely kind schedule for the newly promoted side should give them confidence. With a swath of bargains to be had here, there is potential to pick up some good budget options. Given good home fixtures in the opening weeks, we like the look of full back Simon Francis, Winger Matt Ritchie along with new signing, Winger Christian Atsu.

Southampton

Perhaps a standout choice with none of the top 6 teams to face until GW6. Taking into consideration their performance last season at home, with 11 clean cheets and 37 of 54 total goals scored, the home fixtures against Norwich and Everton look good. Trips away to Watford and West Brom also don't appear to be too threatening, but their away performance was lacking last season compared to their home performances. Cederic Soares looks to replace the transferred Clyne at right back and could provide a cheaper option than Ryan Betrant, who had a good season last year at Left back. Jay Rodriguez looks to return and could be an exciting option but with uncertainty on first choices, rotations with Europa League games, there is a fair amount of risk making picks from the available players here.

Sunderland

 Facing Leicester, Norwich and Bournemouth looks to be some good fixtures for Sunderland. Sprinkling in Aston Villa and Swansea and things look pretty rosy. Dick Advocaat appears to have reinvigorated the team defensively, with the likes of the exciting van Aanholt and reliable Pantilimon making a claim for selection. Their attacking results though do not inspure confidence so choices for Midfield and Forward may be better spent elsewhere. Having said that, the opening schedule is very kind and there could be good value to be had from the options here.

Summary

There are of course other teams with decent options for the opening fixtures, the ones we selected here are just our top choices based on our current analysis. It's unlikely that you can ignore the options from teams like Manchester City, Chelsea and so on but this gives us a bit of perspective to broaden our selection options while we come up with our first team drafts.

All in all, a complimentary squad which fulfuls our team strategy criteria  and rotates well is what we are going for. We will be back soon with some of our top choices for our team after considering the fixture schedule for the 15/16 season.

 

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