We have another roller-coaster ride of Premier League fixtures just like Week 24, as we are set to witness another weird run of football, this time running from Saturday Feb. 8 through Monday Feb. 17. The inaugural Premier League winter break is here.
The first weekend’s clash features four fixtures. In-form Everton goes head-to-head with visitors Crystal Palace, and Brighton faces off against Watford on Saturday. Then Sheffield United faces Bournemouth and hesitant Manchester City goes against a dull West Ham side on Sunday.
The fixtures have been staggered so that there are not too many days without football, but players still get around a fortnight off which they rightly deserve. Following the early set of fixtures, we have a bunch of other Premier League matches to follow all the way through February 17, which is why it’s better to take some time to build your fantasy team in order to gain the maximum amount of points.
Saturday 8 February
Everton v. Crystal Palace
Carlos Ancelloti’s men are unbeaten in the previous four matches and made a stunning 3-2 comeback win against Watford last week. A win for the Toffees would take them to the seventh spot, level on points with Sheffield before their game on Sunday and higher than Manchester United and Wolves. Lucas Digne has provided five more Premier League assists than any other Everton player this term so far.
Meanwhile, Palace have lost their second consecutive game, and are now winless in six matches.
Brighton v. Watford
Both teams are desperately trying to get out of the ‘six pointer’ relegation scramble, with the hosts without a win in the previous five fixtures. Watford failed to get out of the red zone by squandering their lead in previous two matches into defeats. This is a match both will be aiming for the three points in, but it seems like a draw for now.
Sunday 9 February
Sheffield United v. Bournemouth
Sheffield have been the surprise team of this season, in position to take their place in the Europa League. Just when you thought Bournemouth had lost their pace, their back-to-back wins against relegation rivals moved them out of the bottom three for now.
Manchester City v. West Ham
With Real Madrid awaiting for Manchester City around the corner, Pep Guardiola’s side will look to remind the world how threatening their players can be despite being unlucky against Jose Mourinho’s Spurs last week.
With Raheem Sterling out injured for this match, they still have more than enough quality to thrash Moyes’ slow West Ham side. The Hammers are without a win in their last five league matches, losing thrice in the process.
Saturday 15 February
Wolves sit eighth in the table and are very much in the hunt for a Europa League place. The additional week’s rest will play a major part for Wolves when they face Leicester but the gap between them is 12 points. Brendan Rodgers’ side will look to continue cementing their shot for the Champions League next season and a win would be an incredible boost for the Foxes.
Southampton were thrashed 4-0 by Liverpool and have dropped back to the bottom half of the table. But Saints have enough time to rest with the split week helping them out. They have taken 10 points from their previous six home games, and Danny Ings remains a favorite of many fantasy managers out there and perhaps Jack Stephens can also be considered too.
Burnley has won three times in their last six away matches and impressively have kept clean sheets in each of those victories. They have managed to grab seven points from their last three games, which is why Sean Dyche’s men will be confident of extending their unbeaten league run to four matches.
Norwich v. Liverpool
Norwich are deep in the relegation zone and now face the European champions Liverpool. One wonders how Daniel Farke’s side can possibly push out of last place with Wolves and Leicester to follow. The Reds will aim to continue their brilliant 43-game Premier League unbeaten run, and this match just seems one of those where one team just dominates for the entire 90 minutes.
Sunday 16 February
After a defeat to Bournemouth last week, Dean Smith knows Villa’s visit to Jose Mourinho’s side will be a tough one. Spurs’ confidence will be sky high after defeating current English champions Manchester City last week and a win against Villa will close the gap with Chelsea to a single point as Tottenham chases the fourth spot. Fantasy favorite Heung-Min Son is back in form as well.
This season’s average Arsenal side has 13 draws — their club-record – and have won only six times in 25 games so far. This just shows how much work Mikel Arteta has on his plate to rebuild the Gunners from scratch. Newcastle is a side who will sit back deep, hunting for a counter attack. Don’t be surprised if you see another stalemate that extends the hosts’ record to fourteen draws.
Tuesday 18 February
Chelsea v. Manchester United
With just six points’ difference between these two, this match is purely meant for the top four chase. Both teams are extremely inconsistent, which makes it seem that they really don’t feel like qualifying for Champions League. One thing is for sure, this will be one interesting match to watch.
Which team do you think will grab the opportunity for the top four spot? What do you think about the winter break fixtures? What attackers appeal to you? Where do you think the clean sheets will be? What decisions are you planning as the deadline is around the corner? Please share your thoughts in the comments section!