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Week 38 Premier League Fantasy Pre-Deadline Chat

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It’s the last time to get pre-deadline jitters and bite your nails with worry, so let’s run down the latest injury/suspension/line-up news and speculation ahead of the grand finale!

Jose Mourinho - Manchester United - Premier League
Watford may be happy to see Jose Mourinho rest his stars for the finale at Old Trafford, but fantasy managers will feel differently.
Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

NOTE: All games kick off at the same time, 15:00 local (10:00 Eastern/07:00 Pacific). In fantasy leagues with late deadlines, we’ll see all of the day’s lineups before our picks are locked.

Burnley v. Bournemouth

Forward Ashley Barnes and defender Ben Mee have been ruled out of the finale via injury, while Chris Wood is expected to pass fit. Sam Vokes should start up front, whether alone or with Wood. Sean Dyche will allow departing players Scott Anfield and Dean Marney to say whether they want to play or not, but it is not clear whether he means as starters or merely making cameo appearances from the bench. Of course, it is also murky whether they prefer to say goodbye on the pitch or sit out and stay healthy ahead of their summer moves. Nick Pope won both team awards as players’ and fans’ player of the season, but following the 5-0 drubbing against Arsenal, Dyche could be tempted to turn to Tom Heaton.

Bournemouth has no new injury news, with Harry Arter, Adam Smith and Junior Stanislas remaining out of the picture.

Crystal Palace v. West Brom

Defender Joel Ward should be able to recover from a mid-week problem, but midfielder Jason Puncheon’s long-term injury should keep him to the bench at best.

After coming on as subs, midfielder Nacer Chadli and forward Daniel Sturridge were on the pitch for the game-winning goal against Spurs. As neither delivered a stand-out performance, Darren Moore may well keep with what’s been working for him.

Huddersfield v. Arsenal

Rajiv van la Parra departed the midweek Chelsea game with a knock, leaving him a doubt for the finale. Alex Pritchard is set to deputize.

Arsenal’s Konstantinos Mavropanos will serve the first of his three-game suspension for the early straight red card he received against Leicester, and Mesut Ozil is expected to miss out again through injury. Arsene Wenger will otherwise have his choice of who to represent him for his farewell. Could loyalists such as Per Mertesacker and Jack Wilshere get starts alongside more regular veterans Aaron Ramsey, Nacho Montreal, Hector Bellerin and Petr Cech? Rob Holding, Callum Chambers and Shkrodan Mustafi offer alternatives in defense, while the pairing of this season’s newcomers Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang up front would appear to leave Danny Welbeck on the bench.

Liverpool v. Brighton

With so many injuries, it is difficult for Jurgen Klopp to enjoy the final show in preparation of the Champions League final. The latest worry is star midfielder Sadio Mane, who faces the dreaded last-minute fitness check. Adam Lallana has returned to fitness, leaving him as an option to fill in if necessary, but Klopp likely would prefer to ease him in from the bench instead. Danny Ings may be a likelier go-to in the XI.

The visitors have no fresh injury news. Chris Hughton could rotate Glenn Murray back into the XI at the expense of Leonardo Ulloa. But are you really thinking about Brighton fantasy options, when they’re facing a motivated Liverpool side at Anfield?

Manchester United v. Watford

Say you’re a loyal Red Devils’ fan, excited to pay up as usual and attend the Old Trafford season finale in celebration of a fine, second-place season. In addition to the already-injured Romelu Lukaku and Marouane Fellaini, do you really want to see all or most stars among the likes of David De Gea, Alexis Sanchez, Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia and Chris Smalling resting on the bench (or not even in the 18-man squad)? I don’t think so, but that’s exactly what Jose Mourinho is doing in advance of the FA Cup final. Could he have rested them mid-week at the West Ham game in London instead? Of course he could have! But hey, this is Manchester United, where a second squad includes options such as Phil Jones, Eric Bailly, Eric Lindelof, Matteo Darmian, Juan Mata, Michael Carrick, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, not exactly chopped liver. It is a farewell for retiring captain Carrick.

The Hornets will have Etienne Capoue missing out for personal reasons, but Javi Gracia will be able to call on Nathaniel Chalobah who is fit following long-term injury and would seem likely to get some minutes from the bench. So Gracia may only have the single change to make with respect to the XI. Gerard Deulofeu would certainly love to earn his first start since February, but Adrian Mariappa could be the preferred option.

Newcastle v. Chelsea

Christian Atsu remains out following injury last weekend, Islam Slimani finishes up his suspendion, and Chelsea loan Kenedy is ineligible to face his parent squad. Joselu and Jacob Murphy, both of whom came on as substitutes against Tottenham mid-week, would seem to be Rafa Benitez’s dueling options to replace Kenedy, depending on the preferred formation.

Antonio Conte has no fresh injury news, but following the mid-week debacle, plenty of line-up changes are expected. Thibaut Courtois is available following injury that caused him to miss the Huddersfield draw, and it’s probable that he will be joined by Eden Hazard, Victor Moses, Gary Cahill and Olivier Giroud, all of whom rode the pine for a must-win game that they, um, didn’t win.

Southampton v. Manchester City

Maya Yoshida returns from his one-game suspension, while defender Jan Bednarek and midfielder Mario Lemina both look set to come down to a last-minute decision following recent injuries.

A la Chelsea but even moreso, Manchester City looks to welcome back a huge array of stars (from among David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne, Kyle Walker, Fabian Delph, Nicolas Otamendi and Ederson) who were rested mid-week in the 3-1 triumph against Brighton. Of the offensive studs, David Silva is the most doubtful due to possible travel fatigue, while Delph could make way for in defense for Benjamin Mendy if Pep Guardiola wishes to reward the wing defender with his first start since September.

Swansea v. Stoke

The Swans have no fresh injury concerns, and Carlos Carvalhal will surely adopt an offensive-minded approach, with goals, goals and more goals offering the only chance of jumping over Southampton to avoid relegation. The Ayew brothers — Jordan and Andre — will likely remain up front, and may be joined by Tammy Abraham or Nathan Dyer. Renato Sanches, meanwhile, will be left out of the team entirely following social unrest... social media unrest, that is. Yep, an ill-timed (shortly after the relegation-inducing-loss) tweet heralding a new emoji from the Benfica transfer is actually responsible for a line-up decision, but while that’s quite hilarious, there's not much actual impact, as Sanches was only likely to be an unused substitute anyway.

For the visitors, defender Bruno Martins Indi is out following last weekend’s problem, while forward Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting looks like he won’t be able to pass fit for the finale in the recovery process from his late March injury.

Tottenham v. Leicester

Saying farewell to its temporary Wembley home, the home side will be expected to feed service to Harry Kane in his unlikely quest to catch Mo Salah for the Golden Boot. Of course, that individual pursuit will have to be balanced with the team’s desire to stay in third place, which would afford even better Champions League footing than falling to the fourth spot. As such, Mauricio Pocchetino will look to field his strongest side, but unfortunately there are question marks surrounding the availability of defenders Kieran Trippier and Serge Aurier along with midfielders Moussa Dembele and Victor Wanyama; in Poch’s presser, he conveyed that he is tempted give a start to either Juan Foyth or Kyle Walker-Peters.

The Foxes have a slew of injury absences with Daniel Amartey, Ben Chilwell, Robert Huth, Wilfred Ndidi and Shinji Okazaki all confirmed out, along with the suspended Marc Albrighton. Things are looking dicey in back, as keeper Kasper Schmeichel and defenders Danny Simpson and Alexander Dragovic are questionable. So while Claude Puel would love to go out on a high note, his XI looks to be littered with loads of second choices.

West Ham v. Everton

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez remains out injured, and while James Collins has returned to training, the finale likely comes too soon for a start. With the scoreless draw against Manchester United, the Hammers have scored more than one goal only once in the past six games, so Andy Carroll or Jordan Hugill could tempt David Moyes if he feels like tinkering with the offense and adding in an attacker in front of Marko Arnautovic on the last day.

While it has not been a fun season for Moyes, the Tyneside fans have really not warmed up to “Big Sam” Allardyce despite a big turnaround in the standings following the sacking of Ronald Koeman. Apparently, Everton needs to play sexy football! An injured Wayne Rooney won’t get to say goodbye on the pitch, but winger Theo Walcott could start if judged fit.

How many spots in your fantasy teams are still open? Which line-up decisions are you awaiting with bated breath? Be sure to share the latest news in the comments below!