Are you ready to get confused? I am scratching my head trying to work out if I have my mental picture of the possible Double Gameweek (DGW) and blank scenarios right. I’ll share with you the picture I have, but if you spot any errors with it please leave me a comment.
The FA Cup quarter-finals have tidied up some details for us, but have also created a scheduling headache. I’ll start with what we know.
Firstly, we know two Premier League fixtures in Gameweek 35 will have to be rearranged in addition to West Ham United versus Manchester United. Crystal Palace versus Everton and Norwich City versus Watford will have to move because they clash with the FA Cup semi-finals.
Secondly, we now know Arsenal and Chelsea will only have one DGW each, but we don’t know yet whether they will be in Gameweek 34 or 37.
Thirdly, we know that Everton have three fixtures to rearrange, but only two easy slots set aside in which to play them. This is where it gets complicated – as partially indicated by the copious amounts of orange on the latest update to my chart from earlier in this series. Keep reading beyond the chart for an explanation.
The chart shows the games that will go ahead in Gameweek 35 in the light green box. The yellow boxes indicate DGW scenarios that could happen in either Gameweek 34 or Gameweek 37. The larger tile indicates the team with a DGW and the smaller tiles show their opponents.
The Gameweek 35 matches that need rearranging are shown in the purple boxes.
The light blue boxes indicate a set of DGWs I suspect are likely to take place – but they could be swapped around if Everton’s game at Crystal Palace is scheduled for Gameweek 34. If they did that it would cause a domino effect: Manchester United’s game against Palace would have to move to Gameweek 37, which would push Manchester United’s game against West Ham back into Gameweek 34, which would push West Ham’s game against Watford into Gameweek 37 and Watford’s game against Norwich into Gameweek 34. But for now, let’s assume those fixtures stay where they are.
Are you confused yet? Well, we’re just getting started…
The Everton dilemma
Everton have fixtures against Liverpool, Sunderland and Crystal Palace to rearrange. I suspect the Merseyside derby will be scheduled in Gameweek 37, but that’s just a suspicion. If that is where the derby goes, then Liverpool’s rescheduled match with Chelsea from Gameweek 30 would slot into Gameweek 34.
If, however, the derby is scheduled in Gameweek 34, Liverpool’s game against Chelsea would go in Gameweek 37. In this scenario, Everton could play either Sunderland or Crystal Palace in Gameweek 37. But where do they fit the other tie? The simplest thing to do would be to seek dispensation to break the rule that Premier League games should not clash with European fixtures. Arsenal’s FA Cup replay against Hull City already broke a similar expectation and West Ham United’s tweet about their quarter-final replay suggests they are considering something similar.
If Everton can use a European night for the third rescheduled game, then there are two options:
Play Sunderland in Gameweek 37
If they do this, Everton could keep the Palace game in Gameweek 35 and simply move it midweek – this would mean only one double gameweek for Palace and only two for Everton. Alternatively, they could rearrange it for Gameweek 36 – this would mean a third double gameweek for Everton and a second double gameweek for Palace.
Play Palace in Gameweek 37
If they do this, Everton could play Sunderland midweek in Gameweek 35 or 36. This would simply move Sunderland’s one DGW to whichever week was chosen. Everton would have a third DGW if the fixture was in Gameweek 36, but only two (and no blank) if it was in Gameweek 35.
Play Liverpool in Gameweek 37
If, as I suspect, they play the Merseyside derby in Gameweek 37, then Everton can play Sunderland in Gameweek 34 and rearrange the Palace tie for Gameweek 35 or 36 with the same result as described in the “Play Sunderland in Gameweek 37” above. If Everton wanted to play Palace in Gameweek 34, it should set off the domino effect to the light blue fixtures that I described earlier. It could create the same scenario for Everton and Sunderland as “Play Palace in Gameweek 37”.
I haven’t worked through options that put the Merseyside derby in Gameweek 35 or 36 because Liverpool are currently 2-0 up from their Europa League first leg against Manchester United. If Liverpool go through in the second leg, we wouldn’t find out until late Gameweek 33 whether they will be playing in the Europa League semi-finals midweek in Gameweeks 35 and 36.
Of course, if they don’t want to rearrange a Premier League game on a European night, the scheduling officials will have to get creative. I’m not going to start trying to second guess that now. Hopefully they will announce the rearranged games soon and we can get on with the business of planning which players we actually want to bring in.