Here is a treat for Fantasy Premier League managers trying to calculate what impact the FA Cup will have on Gameweek 30 Premier League fixtures and their FPL teams. In this guest post, Balders estimates the percentage chance of the games going ahead and provides you with exclusive access to an incredible Gameweek 30 planning tool. Over to Balders:
This weekend sees 11 Premier League sides line up across eight FA Cup matches and if the threat of injuries in these games isn’t enough to make you hold your transfers, the games will also generate a raft of blank fixtures in Gameweek 30.
As covered in detail by Diva’s blank and double Gameweek planning series, the winners of these matches will have their FA Cup quarter finals on the weekend of Gameweek 30 and their Premier League matches for that week will be postponed.
Using bookies’ opening lines for the the fifth round matches, I’ve taken a look at the likelihood of each Gameweek 30 match going ahead. The early good news is that Stoke City vs Southampton and Leicester City vs Newcastle United are going ahead, but after that it gets decidedly murky.
Five games in Norwich City vs Manchester City, Aston Villa vs Tottenham Hotspur, Bournemouth vs Swansea City, Sunderland vs Everton and Liverpool vs Chelsea fall into a broad grouping of ‘maybe happening’.
Meanwhile, the teams involved in three games – Manchester United vs Crystal Palace, West Ham United vs Watford, and Arsenal vs West Brom Albion – all face the double jeopardy of either side winning their FA Cup tie, leading to the postponement of their Premier League match.
Due to three FA Cup ties involving two Premier League sides, there will be at least three matches postponed – i.e. six teams facing a blank. Conversely two of these ties should guarantee a Premier League fixture goes ahead and adding that to the Stoke vs Southampton and Leicester vs Newcastle games, we will have at least four matches going ahead. At least eight teams will definitely have a game, but we currently know only four of them.
Simulating every win/loss situation for these eight FA Cup games, we can build a picture of how many Premier League games are likely to be postponed and the results are show in Table 1.
As we can see, there’s likely to be five or six games cancelled unless there are lots of upsets from lower league sides. Also notable is how many big FPL players are in the most endangered sides and you start to realise how much of a massacre this week could be.
Furthermore, these ‘likelihoods’ discount draws which may force replays in Gameweek 30, thereby postponing two Premier League games if that is when the FA decides to stage replays. If that is the case and there are multiple draws we could see up to eight matches postponed.
As we do not know for certain how the replays will pan out (if there are any), I have ignored them for the above modelling and for a Team Diagnostic Tool that I have created especially for readers here. In my Team Diagnostic Tool you can enter your players into it and it will tell you how good or how your team is shaping up for Gameweek 30 across each position and as a whole.
For example, below is the current outlook for my badly prepared team, showing I most likely won’t have a goalkeeper and I am likely to have between just four and eight outfielders in my current state – though I could have as low as three or as high as 10 outfielders.
Looking ahead to this weekend, I can see Tottenham and Arsenal’s results are crucial to my squad and if both their FA Cup games go as expected then I’ll be looking at four or five Gameweek 30 players rather than nine or ten.
As we are already within the gameweek of the FA Cup games, there’s not much more we can do than sit and wait it out. However, if you want to see how your team will fare, feel free to open one of the three copies of the tool below and input your team.
If there is visibly somebody else with the tool open and inputting their team, please open another version of the tool so you are not overwriting their team. Each version is designed to only be used by one person at a time.
To input your team, type in your players in cells C3:C17 corresponding to their playing positions in your squad, then next to them input their teams’ FPL abbreviation codes in cells D3:D17. After about five seconds the spreadsheet should then produce a diagnosis for your team.
During the weekend of FA Cup games I will update the likelihoods to either zero per cent or 100 per cent when we know whether games will be going ahead.