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FPL tips: Favourable fixtures could be perfect FPL storm for Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur v Vitesse – UEFA Europa Conference League – Group G – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
(Image credit: John Walton)

While their season has been far from stellar so far, a combination of a new manager and a favourable fixture list might make Tottenham difficult for FPL managers to resist.

The FPL website offers a Fixture Difficulty Rating system (FDR) which assigns a score from one to five to each match, based on the opponent and which team is at home.

However, that system is limited, with just three bands of difficulty – two, three and four – covering the lion’s share of fixtures.

Buried in the FPL website’s code, however, is a metric called ‘Strength’, which appears to power the FDR.

Helpfully, Strength is presented on a much more granular scale – for example, the Strength data rates a visit from Norwich at 1010, while a trip to the Etihad scores 1360.

We have stretched these ratings over a one to five scale to offer a more detailed version of the FDR that you will find on the website.

So what does it tell us about the next five gameweeks?

A graphic showing the fixture difficulty faced by Premier League teams from gameweeks 12-16

Count on Conte?

Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte claps the fans after the Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool. Picture date: Sunday November 7, 2021

Antonio Conte (Martin Rickett/PA)

With no wins in their last three league games, ninth-placed Spurs have not been the attractive FPL proposition they once were, but a new manager and a favourable fixture run could change all that.

The arrival of Antonio Conte will, Tottenham fans hope, reinvigorate their ailing side, while upcoming games against Leeds, Burnley, Brentford, Norwich and Brighton could give them the perfect platform.

Our more detailed fixture difficulty ratings suggest that Spurs’ next five fixtures average 1.85 difficulty out of five – so who could cash in?

Son Heung-min would almost certainly be one of the first names of interest from an FPL perspective, the £10.3m midfielder with four goals, two assists and 58 FPL points this term.

Elsewhere, Harry Kane has underperformed with just one goal this season and has seen his ownership drop to 7.6 per cent as a result – it was only last season he managed 23 goals and 14 assists, however.

File photo dated 04-11-2021 of Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane who is excited at the prospect of working with Antonio Conte and says the Italian�s appointment shows �great ambition�. Issue date: Friday November 5, 2021

Harry Kane (John Walton/PA)

And defender Sergio Reguilon leads the way at the back with two assists and four clean sheets at £5m – if Conte moulds the Spurs backline into a formidable beast, Reguilon could be unmissable.

Newcastle, meanwhile, are winless all season – with an average fixture difficulty of 2.14 over the course of their next five games, if they do not get in the winning habit now, they might be relegation fodder soon.

Games against Brentford, Arsenal, Norwich, Burnley and Leicester could prove to be a defining period in the Magpies’ season, and two attacking players in particular will be hoping to cash in.

Allan Saint-Maximin has managed two goals and three assists despite Newcastle’s poor form, notching 45 FPL points at £6.8m.

Callum Wilson, meanwhile, has scored four goals in seven appearances at £7.3m – The Toon will need both men in fine fettle if they are to avoid a relegation scrap.

Run from Ranieri

Watford manager Claudio Ranieri (left) and Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta exchange words at the end of the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday November 7, 2021

Claudio Ranieri (John Walton/PA)

While some teams seem to have it easy over the coming weeks, Watford look to be faced with the toughest fixture list in the division.

Claudio Ranieri’s side face Manchester United, Leicester, Chelsea, Manchester City and Brentford next up, an average fixture difficulty of 3.74 out of five.

Around 22 per cent of FPL managers have goalkeeper Ben Foster in their squad, the £4.1m stopper being one of the cheapest around to get regular minutes – points may come at a premium in the coming weeks, however.

Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster during the Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool. Picture date: Saturday October 23, 2021

Ben Foster (Martin Rickett/PA)

While goals will be hard to stop in defence, they may also be hard to come by in attack where Watford have enjoyed popularity among some owners.

Ismaila Sarr (10.8 per cent) and Emmanuel Dennis (8.1 per cent) have both enjoyed patches of form, but neither look good enough to register impressive returns during a fixture run like this.

Sarr has no goals in five games, while Dennis has managed three goals and three assists this season.

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