Now the bulk of the FA Cup fourth round games have been played, the upcoming blank and Double Gameweek (DGW) picture is beginning to become a little clearer.
The chart shows the Capital One Cup final match up (lilac), the blank Gameweek 27 fixtures (purple), potential DGW options for the teams affected by the Capital One Cup final (yellow), potential blank Premier League gameweeks for teams because of the FA Cup (dark grey), the only guaranteed Gameweek 30 and Gameweek 35 fixtures so far (green) and the four Premier League fixtures in Gameweek 30 and Gameweek 35 (light grey) where the team in the larger tile is waiting to discover if the team beneath them in the smaller tile progresses in the FA Cup.
The FA Cup fourth round games have settled several matters. Manchester City’s progress to the fifth round means there can be no DGW26 for the Citizens and Newcastle United. Liverpool’s draw with West Ham United in the fourth round of the FA Cup means a replay will be needed that kills off the possibility of a DGW25 Merseyside derby.
If Everton beat Carlisle United tomorrow, the possibility of the Toffees playing their postponed Gameweek 27 Premier League match with Liverpool in Gameweek 26 will also disappear and the teams won’t meet until after the blank.
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Stoke City’s FA Cup fourth round loss to Crystal Palace has ensured the Potters and Southampton will have a Premier League fixture in Gameweek 30, joining Leicester City and Newcastle as the only teams guaranteed to play that week.
Southampton also join Leicester as being the only two teams currently guaranteed to play every gameweek this season (unless freak conditions, like heavy snow, cause games to be postponed). That means the Saints and the Foxes will not have a DGW, but it also means players from those teams could be a valuable source of cover during the blanks.