Round 8 gets off to an early start, with Brighton squaring off against West Ham tomorrow. On Saturday, Tottenham will try to bounce back from last night’s Champions League defeat to Barcelona. And José Mourinho will try to stop the rot at Old Trafford after his side were booed by the home crowd after settling 0-0 in their Champions League fixture with Valencia. The Red Devils are now winless in their last four games in all competitions, and have not won on home turf since the EPL’s opening weekend.
But the weekend’s main event will happen on Sunday, when Liverpool welcome Manchester City to Anfield. It’s a Clash of the Titans that promises attacking, entertaining football from two of the best managers in the game. I know what I’ll be doing on Sunday, and I hope to find you right here on NMA following all the action with me.
Pascal Gross continues to nurse an ankle injury, and Dale Stephens picked up a hamstring issue in the game against Spurs. Both are doubts for the weekend.
Javier Hernandez has recovered from illness “but needs a few more days to be back to his best.” Jack Wilshere is dealing with an ankle problem. Andy Carroll, Manuel Lanzini, and Winston Reid are all long-term absentees.
James Tarkowski was withdrawn from the Cardiff match with a groin injury. His status for the weekend is “touch and go.” Robbie Brady has stepped up his recovery and could be ready for a first-team return soon, but not this soon. Ben Gibson is out due to hernia surgery, and Nick Pope remains unavailable as he recovers from his shoulder dislocation.
Christian Benteke and Scott Dann are sidelined with knee injuries. Jairo Reidewald and Connor Wickham are both on the disabled list with “muscle injuries.” Both are close to recovery, but Wickham has not played since August, so he will need time to build match fitness.
Héider Costa suffered a knock in the match against Southampton and will hope to recover in time to feature against the Eagles.
Demarai Gray picked up an ankle injury in the Carabao Cup match on 9/25 and will be out for 3-6 weeks. Matty James has been a long-term absentee.
Marco Silva’s injury headaches look set to ease soon. Yerry Mina, Phil Jagielka, Seamus Coleman, and André Gomes have all either returned to training or are close. James McCarthy remains sidelined as he recovers from the tib/fib fracture he suffered earlier this year.
Mauricio Pochettino must be sweating his club’s mounting injury concerns. Dele Alli (hamstring), Serge Aurier (thigh), Moussa Dembélé (knock), Christian Eriksen (abdomen), and Jan Vertonghen (hamstring) have all been ruled out for Game Week 8. Vincent Janssen remains sidelined after undergoing foot surgery. On a brighter note, Hugo Lloris has returned to fitness and will reclaim his spot between the sticks this weekend.
Junior Hoillett missed Game Week 7 through injury, but should be fit to return this weekend. Aron Gunnarsson has returned to training, but looks short of match fitness. Lee Peltier and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing are long-term absentees.
Miguel Britos, Gerard Deulofeu, Stefano Okaka, and Sebastian Prodl have all been passed fit, but Daryl Janmaat (knee) and Tom Cleverley (Achilles) are weeks away from fitness. Marc Navarro has also been ruled out with a knock.
Charlie Daniels has resumed training and could be in contention for the trip to Vicarage Road.
Marcos Rojo is a doubt with a knee injury, and Ander Herrera, Jesse Lingard, and Ashley Young are all struggling with knee problems. Only Young looks like a possibility for the weekend.
Paul Dummett and Fernández missed Game Week 7 with hamstring injuries, but both have been pictured in training. Salomón Rondón is struggling with a thigh issue. Florian Lejeune is out for months after undergoing ACL surgery in August.
Joe Bryan and Neeskens Kebano are long-term absentees, and Timothy Fosu-Mensah (shoulder) will also miss out. Alfie Mawson and Tom Cairney could be named to the squad but may not be ready to start.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed today’s Europa league game through illness and could be a doubt for the league match at Craven Cottage. Petr Cech will be out for 3-4 weeks with a hamstring injury. Given the Gunners’ favorable run of fixtures over that time frame, Bernd Leno looks like an excellent fantasy value. In addition to Cech, Carl Jenkinson (ankle), Laurent Koscielny (Achilles), Ainsley Maitland-Niles (leg), and Konstantinos Mavropanos (groin) are also set for extended absences.
Southampton vs Chelsea
Mark Hughes has but one injury concern: Shane Long remains a doubt with toe issue.
Pedro, Andreas Christensen, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have been passed fit, and all three started today’s Europa League match with Videoton. Isaiah Brown has been ruled out for the season with an ACL injury.
Liverpool vs Manchester City
Naby Keita left the pitch on a stretcher midway through the first half of last night’s Champions League defeat to Napoli. He was taken to hospital for assessment of a back issue, after which he was discharged and rejoined the team for the flight home. He will be a doubt for the visit of City. Adam Lallana and Divock Origi have returned to training, but it is doubtful that Jurgen Klopp would send them straight into the lineup for a game like this one. Alex Oxalade-Chamberlain could miss the entire season with an ACL injury sustained in July.
Ilkay Gundogan picked up a hamstring injury in the Champions League victory over Hoffenheim and is now a doubt for the weekend. Kevin De Bruyne has returned to training but needs to build match fitness. Benjamin Mendy’s status is still unclear, but he has not been included in France’s squad for the upcoming international games, which suggests he will not be ready to suit up against Liverpool. Fabian Delph has been ruled out for Game Week 8, which may leave room for Oleksandr Zinchenko to deputy-deputize at left back again after earning 15 points (Fantrax) and Pep Guardiola’s praise for his performance last weekend. Claudio Bravo and Eliaquim Mangala remain unavailable.
How are your fantasy squads shaping up? Have your teams been affected by injuries? Come on in and let us know your managerial plans for the weekend! And of course, check in frequently for breaking team news that could influence your squads. We should have lineups for Brighton and West Ham about a half-hour before the Fantrax deadline on FRIDAY. Don’t miss it!