Bournemouth vs Brighton and Hove Albion
BEWARE: GW5’s first match kicks off Friday at 20:00 GMT, which means early deadlines for most fantasy formats!
Bournemouth: In the relegation zone, and deservedly so, with a perfect record of 4 losses with just one measly goal so far. Fantasy favorite Ryan Fraser is a doubt with an ankle injury sustained in the Arsenal game on Saturday.
Brighton: I’d been waiting for Pascal Gross to show up, and he finally did. The German exploded last weekend, scoring his club’s first and second goals of the season, and assisting the third, to lead his team to victory over a usually stingy West Brom side. Was his performance a fluke, or is now the time for fantasy managers to get “Grossed out?” (Sorry.) Bruno has been cleared fit after recovering from a back injury.
Crystal Palace: Winless, scoreless, and Frank de Boer sacked. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is likely to return from a groin injury, but Mamadou Sakho and Pape Souare are doubts. Wilfried Zaha remains out with a long-term injury. Can the experienced hands of Roy Hodgson turn Palace’s fortunes around?
Southampton: Probably a better team than their 1-2-1 record would suggest, but in need of a productive striker, as Manolo Gabbiadini has been an overall disappointment both in fantasy and in real life. Virgil van Dijk played 90 minutes in a U23 game on Monday, a development that will make Mauricio Pellegrino’s choice of central defenders difficult to predict.
Huddersfield Town vs Leicester City
Huddersfield: On Monday, Huddersfield conceded its first goals and suffered its first defeat -- against what many folks consider to be the worst side in the league. Is the Cinderella story over? Steve Mounie picked up a knock at West Ham but is expected to recover in time for Leicester. Kasey Palmer did his hamstring on international duty and could be out for months.
Leicester: A horror start to the season sees the former champions just one game above the relegation zone. Robert Huth could be deemed fit this week, but one would assume he’d be eased back into action gradually, having been out since July. Harry Maguire should continue to partner Wes Morgan then. Matty James has an achilles issue and Christian Fuchs injured his eye on a training pole; both are doubts.
Liverpool: Their last two games have found the Reds on either end of a beat down. But they are even on points with Burnley, and I think this game’s score stays tighter. Coutinho was fit for Brazil during the international break, but was rested for the Manchester City game due to travel fatigue. If he misses out again this week, we’ll know something more sinister is going on. Nathanial Clyne and Adam Lallana remain out with long-term injuries, and Sadio Mane is suspended for his high boot to Ederson’s face (3 matches, appeal denied).
Burnley: Burnley stand tied on points for 4th place, but in 7th on goal differential. They’ve already shown they can hang with the big boys, having beaten Chelsea and drawn with Spurs. Jeff Hendrick is returning to fitness and could be in contention, but goalkeeper and fantasy hero Tom Heaton is out, having undergone surgery for his shoulder dislocation. Can Burnley withstand Liverpool’s withering attack with Nick Pope between the sticks?
Newcastle vs Stoke
Newcastle: It’s now two wins on the trot for a team that had looked like it might be collapsing. Jonjo Shelvey is eligible again after serving a 3 game suspension for his foolish stomp in Game Week 1, but Aleksandar Mitrovic is banned and Paul Dummet is out through injury. Florian LeJeune and DeAndre Yedlin have returned to fitness.
Stoke: The first team not to be beaten by Manchester United this season will have to travel to Newcastle without Geoff Cameron and with serious doubts over Ryan Shawcross.
Watford vs Manchester City
Watford: One of only three undefeated teams left in the league, but they’ll have to bring their ‘A’ game to keep that record intact against City. Brice Dja Djedje and Maurio Zarate are doubts. Craig Cathcart, Younes Kaboul, Sebastian Prodl, and Tommy Hoban will miss out through injury, and Miguel Britos is suspended. Roberto Pereyra and Kiko Femenia have been passed fit.
Manchester City: With a record identical to that of their municipal rivals United, City will not want to drop points at Watford. But the Sky Blues seem decidedly less solid without their Belgian captain Vincent Kompany, who is a doubt with a calf problem. Will an impressive Watford side hand City their first loss of the season?
West Brom: Until last weekend, West Brom had been on a string of tight games, never scoring or conceding more than a single goal per match. That all changed when the wheels came off and they conceded 3 to a Brighton side that had not scored in any of their previous matches. The home game against relegation zone dwellers West Ham should provide them with an opportunity to atone in front of their fans. Nacer Chadli is a slight doubt, but Gareth MacAuley is unlikely to feature.
West Ham: Slaven Bilic likely saved his job—at least temporarily—by securing his club’s first points of the season on Monday. But the pressure on him remains, and he’ll be desperately searching for another result away to a West Brom side that is typically very well-organized. Bilic has confirmed that Manuel Lanzini, Edimilson Fernandes, and Mark Noble are all out, but Marko Arnautovic rejoins the squad after serving his suspension.
Tottenham Hotspurs vs Swansea City
Tottenham: They haven’t beaten a good side yet, and they won’t get a chance to do that this week when they host 15th-ranked Swansea. But they cannot afford to drop points in this fixture, and I think they’ll come out blazing. It will be a brave (foolish?) fantasy manager who goes without Harry Kane this week. Victor Wanyama and Erik Lamela remain out, and Danny Rose is very unlikely. Vincent Janssen has been loaned to Fenerbahce, by the way.
Swansea: Their only win of the season has come against hapless Palace. Prospects for a result this week don’t look good either, but they’ve added strength to their squad with Renato Sanches and Wilfried Bony. Kyle Bartley, Nathan Dyer, and Ki Sung-Yueng will all miss out, and Bony may be reserved for a super-sub appearance due to lack of match fitness.
Chelsea vs Arsenal
Chelsea: Eden Hazard is back, and so is Chelsea’s groove. It’s hard to picture Arsenal keeping a clean sheet in this one, and I’d bank on a win for the Blues. Danny Drinkwater is a doubt with a calf complaint, and Antonio Conte may choose to manage Hazard’s minutes as he builds match fitness.
Arsenal: The Gunners have a .500 record, are sitting in 11th place, and have given up 8 goals in 4 games. Surely Wenger must be losing sleep over this fixture. In the win over Bournemouth on Saturday, Francis Coquelin’s hamstring dropped him as if he’d been shot. He will miss this one along with long-term absentee Santi Cazorla. Jack Wilshere and Callum Chambers are doubts.
Manchester United vs Everton
These two sides swapped forwards over the summer. Both players have flourished at their new homes, and the drama will be fun to watch as Romelu Lukaku and Wayne Rooney now face their former clubs. Will they mute their goal celebrations? How will their former teams’ fans receive them? What will body language tell us when they shake hands with their former managers and teammates?
Manchester United: Their red-hot tear through their schedule of fixtures was slowed by a draw with Stoke on Saturday. But they remain unbeaten, they still have the league’s deadliest offense, and no team has conceded fewer goals. This week they will be without Paul Pogba though, who will be sidelined for several matches with a muscle injury. Luke Shaw is edging closer to a return, but this match probably comes too soon.
Everton: Thrashed at home by Spurs on Saturday, they now must take to the road to face United’s buzzsaw at Old Trafford. Ronald Koeman will be glad that Everton’s only fresh injury news is Ross Barkley’s hamstring, as the Englishman was never likely to feature anyway.
So that’s it then: that’s everything I know at the moment about this weekend’s team news. Is there breaking news I’ve missed? Are you stuck in a player selection conundrum? Proud of your fantasy squad and want to share it? Well go ahead—join in the chat and let us know.