Sky sports report that Newcastle will have to play as scheduled their 2nd premier league game of the season away to Chelsea, of all places only 2 days after playing the 1st leg of their Europa qualifier on the preceding Thursday night. The Daily Mail have subsequently reported that the tie can be moved if Newcastles opponents agree (although why they would remains a mystery?). The draw isn’t made until 10 August.
So what does this potentially mean for fantasy premier league managers. For the season overall, we will have to see how seriously Newcastle take the Europa league. I suspect, given their fanatical fan base (who will definitely be travelling to games in numbers) and the fact that they, in my mind, will end up with a mid table finish this year, I can see it being a strong priority. Look for rotation and rest hindering your fantasy premier league returns from Newcastle players. Some teams such as Spurs have made it a squad game time exercise but I think Newcastle will treat it like Stoke did last year. If that’s the case then look for a Paul Lambert like rotation frenzy every weekend by Alan Pardew.
Newcastle are rated by me as only having the 9th best schedule in the opening 6 games out of the 20 fantasy premier league teams, so its not a major disaster in terms of the first 2 games especially as there is still a small chance of postponement. However, for those thinking of Cabaye, Cisse and Demba Ba in their opening fantasy premier league team, depending on the Europa fixture, then you may just have to be prepared for a no show.
If you’re interested in how each teams fixtures are rated in terms of ease, go to the strategy category of the site and find the post “fantasy premier league analysing the opening fixtures”
I also think there will be no fantasy premier league bargains in Newcastle this year like last season when they came up although rotation my give a chance for someone unexpected to nail a fantasy premier league starting spot.
Here’s the Newcastle spoke persons explanation as put on Sky Sports if you’re interested in the detail:
“Supporters will notice that our fixture against Chelsea remains scheduled for Saturday, August 25, with our Europa League fourth qualifying round fixture on the preceding Thursday,” read a club statement.
“Prior to the TV selections being made and in accordance with normal procedure, the club made an application to move the Chelsea game to Sunday, August 26.
“Unfortunately, the Metropolitan Police refused this request on the basis of other scheduled activities in and around London at this time.
“The club and the Premier League subsequently made representations to UEFA to request that our Europa League match be moved from the Thursday to the Wednesday in order to avoid the team having to play two games in three days.
“UEFA unfortunately rejected this request.”
And the Europa “lifeline” as reported in the Daily Mail
‘UEFA is not in a position to change the requested fixture from Thursday to Wednesday or Tuesday. However, after the draw ceremony for the play-offs, if the opponent agrees to reschedule the match date to the Tuesday 21st August before 18:30 CET, the UEFA Administration will be open to consider the request.
‘Written approval is required from the opponent club as well as the respective national associations of both teams. Please note that should Newcastle United FC be drawn to play the match on the 23rd of August and the opponent does not agree to change the match date, the match will be maintained as such.’