How to tackle upcoming weekend without Premier League fixtures and double FPL gameweeks

Firstly, commiserations to the Fantasy Premier League managers who decided to captain (or even worse, triple captain) Watford’s Emmanuel Dennis for Double Gameweek 23. Take solace in the fact that you were most certainly not alone.

Gameweek 23 still has one game to go – Burnley vs Watford on Saturday 5 February – but the overwhelming majority of FPL players will be happy to see the back of it. An average score of 30 points makes it the lowest scoring week of the season so far.

Although there are no Premier League matches taking place until Tuesday 8 February – hence why your Instagram feed has suddenly been overtaken by Dubai-based footballers – there is still plenty going on in the FPL world with blank and double gameweeks on the horizon.

Here’s how to navigate the upcoming schedule.

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Time to offload your Chelsea assets

If you have any Chelsea players occupying positions in your squad, now is the time to start plotting their exits as the Blues won’t play in three of the next four gameweeks.

Chelsea’s reward for winning last season’s Champions League is a place in the Club World Cup tournament which is being held in the United Arab Emirates in February.

Teams that will blank from Gameweek 24-27

  • Gameweek 24: Chelsea, Brighton
  • Gameweek 25: Chelsea, Arsenal
  • Gameweek 26: None
  • Gameweek 27: Arsenal, Chelsea, Leicester, Liverpool

Thomas Tuchel’s team will face Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup on Saturday 5 February before setting straight off for UAE to play the semi-final of the Club World Cup on Wednesday 9 February, which coincides with Gameweek 24 in the Premier League.

Whether they win or lose that semi-final, Chelsea will play again on Saturday 12 February, either in the final or third-place off and that date clashes with Gameweek 25.

Chelsea are then due to face Crystal Palace in Gameweek 26 but will blank for a third time in February in Gameweek 27 when they meet Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final.

With Chelsea barely featuring in the Premier League over the coming weeks, a few clubs will invariably be given a breather.

Brighton are the only other team that will sit out Gameweek 24 (although as will soon become clear it could be worth holding onto their players for now), while Arsenal are out of action in both gameweeks 25 and 27. Leicester will also have a break in Gameweek 27.

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While managers have begun discarding their Chelsea assets, both Antonio Rudiger (£6.2m) and Mason Mount (£7.6m) are still owned by over 20 per cent of managers and all three of Reece James (£6.2m), Edouard Mendy (£6.1m) and Marcos Alonso (£5.7m) are in over 10 per cent of squads.

Given Arsenal will also blank twice in the next four gameweeks, it makes sense to swap their players out for those who will have twice as many fixtures. Aaron Ramsdale (£5.1m) is Arsenal’s most popular player in FPL but can easily be replaced by Josa Sa (£5.2m) or David de Gea (£5.2m).

Double gameweek for Man Utd and Brighton

Whereas Chelsea players will be out of sight and out of mind for the next few weeks, Manchester United’s top assets will come into sharp focus considering their upcoming schedule.

Ralf Rangnick’s side are scheduled to face Burnley (a), Southampton (h), Brighton (h), Leeds (a) and Watford (h) in their next five league games.

As if that wasn’t enticing enough, they have an Old Trafford double header against Southampton and Brighton in Gameweek 25.

Demand for Bruno Fernandes (£11.7m) is likely to be sky-high following his Gameweek 22 exploits in which he scored twice and provided two assists in a draw against Aston Villa and win over Brentford. While Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.5m) disappointed in Gameweek 22, he is likely to be the most captained player for United’s double gameweek as he has a higher ownership than his compatriot.

Bruno Fernandes was the highest-scoring player in Gameweek 22 (Photo: Reuters)

Other United options of interest are De Gea (£5.2m), who is up to fourth in the top-scoring goalkeeper standings and Diogo Dalot (£4.5m), assuming he keeps his place in the starting line-up.

Brighton are the other team in action twice in Gameweek 25, with away trips to Roy Hodgson’s Watford and Ralf Rangnick’s United lined up.

Watford haven’t kept a Premier League clean sheet since beating Liverpool 3-0 in February 2020 and the likes of Neal Maupay (£6.5m), Leandro Trossard (£6.1m) and possibly even Danny Welbeck (£5.9m) could be worth a short-term punt with that in mind.

Marc Cucurella (£5.1m) is the pick of Brighton’s defensive options. The Spanish wing-back has started every league game since joining the Seagulls from Getafe prior to Gameweek 4.

When to use your chips

Entrusting anybody other than Mo Salah (£12.7m) with the triple captaincy chip seems to be a risky strategy given his form this season. Liverpool will have a double gameweek at some point and it is not beyond the realms of possibility that when that comes around, Salah could be the most triple-captained player in FPL history.

Those unfortunate managers who entrusted Dennis to deliver the goods in Gameweek 23 will attest that sometimes it is better to play it safe with that particular chip. On the flip side, Jarrod Bowen‘s (£6.7m) 21-point haul in Gameweek 21 and Fernandes’ 22 points the following week show that it can pay to take a calculated gamble when using it.

If you fancy United to run riot in Gameweek 25, it looks to be a straight shoot-out between Ronaldo and Fernandes for the captaincy.

Gameweek 27 could be an opportune time to deploy the Free Hit, meanwhile, given none of Arsenal, Chelsea, Leicester or Liverpool will be in action.

Plenty of FPL managers have tripled up on Liverpool stars this season with Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold (£8.5m) and Diogo Jota (£8.4m) featuring in the top-five highest-scoring players.

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