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13 Sep 2018 by Colm Hayes

FPL Gameweek 5 – The Fixtures

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With one international break finished but another to come after GW8, FPL bosses face a four-week period in which to tally points and gain further information before the season gets fully into gear.

FIXTURES

Saturday 15th September

Spurs vs Liverpool (12:30)

Bournemouth vs Leicester (15:00)*

Chelsea vs Cardiff (15:00)*

Huddersfield vs Crystal Palace (15:00)*

Man City vs Fulham (15:00)*

Newcastle vs Arsenal (15:00)*

Watford vs Man Utd (17:30)

Sunday 16th September

Wolves vs Burnley (13:30)

Everton vs West Ham (16:00)

Monday 17th September

Southampton vs Brighton (20:00)

EUROTATION

Straight after GW5 comes the return of both the Champions League and the Europa League. It is too early to tell how European competition will affect Premier League teamsheets, but it is something FPL managers must start planning for.

Kieran Trippier (£6.0m) is just one of several examples of players in top-six sides that face a real rotation threat with the upcoming glut of games. After a clash against Liverpool at home on Saturday, Spurs face Brighton (a), Huddersfield (a) and Cardiff (H).

Those three fixtures look ripe for both defensive and attacking returns, though Mauricio Pochettino knows that Spurs are fortunate to have a clean sheet to their name in this campaign.

Before the defeat to Watford in GW4, the Tottenham boss said of the 3-0 win away to Manchester United: “When you compare the perception and the reality, we need to talk about the reality, and the reality was in the first half we can concede one, two or three goals.”

With a trip to Inter Milan on Tuesday after Saturday’s early visit of Liverpool, FPL managers might be well advised to gather another gameweek of information before investing in the Spurs defence - particularly now that Hugo Lloris (£5.5m) is expected to be out "for several weeks".

After taking on Spurs in GW5's 12.30pm kick-off, Jurgen Klopp’s side host Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday as a devilish run of fixtures begins.

Ahead of GW4, the Liverpool boss said: “We have started 3 times in a row with the same line up - that won't be possible too often in the future.”

Klopp made one change to his starting XI for the 2-1 win against Leicester as Jordan Henderson (£5.3m) replaced Naby Keita (£7.4m) in midfield.

Significant changes are not expected for the trip to Wembley, while the Reds' line-up against PSG will hopefully give some insight into Klopp's priorities this season.

A Carabao Cup clash at home to Chelsea on September 26 also gives the manager a perfect chance to rest players such as Mohamed Salah (£13.0m), Sadio Mane (£10.0m) and Roberto Firmino (£9.5m).

Two points off leaders Liverpool, Manchester City have a relatively less difficult Champions League group to navigate. Pep Guardiola's side play Fulham (H), Cardiff (a) and Brighton (H) in the next three gameweeks before a GW8 clash with the Reds.

FPL bosses are well used to the 'teamsheet tension' ahead of a City line-up being released and GW4 was no different. Bernardo Silva's (£7.5m) suggested risk of pitch time was immediately realised as the Portuguese saw Gabriel Jesus (£10.4m) take his place in the side.

Ilkay Gundogan (£5.5m) also dropped to the bench as Guardiola used a 4-1-3-2 formation, which switched to 4-3-3 after Bernardo was brought on for Jesus after 57 minutes.

Fernandinho (£5.4m) is the only Citizens midfielder that has logged four starts in four gameweeks, while differential captain pick David Silva (£8.5m) has begun each fixture since missing GW1 with a leg injury. Ederson (£5.6m), Benjamin Mendy (£6.4m), Aymeric Laporte (£5.5m) and FPL's current highest-owned player Sergio Aguero (£11.3m) are the other City assets who have started every gameweek so far.

Goalkeeper Ederson, much like his countryman Alisson (£5.6m) at Liverpool, looks the only City player not at some level of rotation risk over the upcoming fixture glut.

While Manchester United's attack is legitimately distrusted in FPL circles, Romelu Lukaku (£11.0m) continues to make a strong case for inclusion in our squads. After a brace away to Burnley in GW4, the Belgium striker netted three times for his country - against Scotland (1) and Iceland (2) - over the international break.

Owned by just 7.8%, Lukaku takes on Watford (a), Wolves (H), West Ham (a) and Newcastle (H) in the next four gameweeks and could prove a canny differential for investors who manage to squeeze the forward in among other expensive heavy-hitters.

As discussed last week, both Arsenal and Chelsea have favourable fixture runs in the medium term. Competing in the Europa League this season, Unai Emery and Maurizio Sarri should be able to take advantage of their squad depth by resting key players on Thursdays - for the group stages at least.

Following the Europa League draw, the Arsenal boss said: "I am sure we’re going to use a lot of players after this international break."

CHERRY PICKING

Another side with a good run of fixtures in the next four is Bournemouth. The Cherries take on Leicester and Crystal Palace at home, while travelling to Watford and Burnley.

Callum Wilson (£6.2m) continues to be a popular pick-up, having gained over 172,000 new owners ahead of GW5. The 68,000-plus who invested in Ryan Fraser (£5.6m), however, have pause for concern. The midfielder was left out of Scotland's squad for their Nations League tie against Albania due to a knock.

Fraser was not pictured in Bournemouth's training session on Wednesday, though further clarification should be provided by Eddie Howe in the manager's press conference on Friday morning.

Steve Cook (£4.6m) is the most transferred in Cherries defender, though Diego Rico (£4.5m) could offer value after making a first start in GW4. His opponent for that left-back/left-wing back spot, Charlie Daniels (£4.5m), missed out through injury in GW4 and was also absent from training this week.

Bournemouth's GW7 opponents Palace also face a potentially profitable four-week spell. Aaron-Wan Bissaka (£4.1m) is "fine", while Roy Hodgosn will make a decision on the involvement of 26.2% owned Wilfried Zaha (£7.0m) on Friday.

The Eagles have not won a Premier League game since the start of 2017-18 without the Ivory Coast striker in the starting line-up. Palace travel to Huddersfield, while taking on Newcastle and Wolves at Selhurst Park, along with their south-coast trip.

Leicester are another side with a favourable run of games, which has sparked big transfer movement on James Maddison (£6.6m).

The midfielder rose in price this week and over 80,000 new owners will be hoping the Foxes' playmaker can make it three attacking returns in five gameweeks away to Bournemouth on Saturday.

However, both Maddison's goal against Wolves and assist against Liverpool contained a stroke of fortune and Demarai Gray (£5.5m) could prove to be a more valuable option if he can keep his place in the Leicester side.

Claude Puel's men take on Huddersfield (H), Newcastle (a) and Everton (H) from GW7 as the Foxes look to have a smooth schedule all the way to Gameweek 16.

*The Premier League is set to trial/test VAR in each of GW5's 3pm kick-offs. Note: VAR will not affect any on-pitch decisions, no communication between referee and communications hub.

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