We’ve had a fair amount of midweek action (Champions & Europa Leagues) to help us get an idea of what will happen with the starting line-ups this weekend, so let’s take a rundown of injuries, suspensions and other pressing news to help with all of the last-minute decision-making:
Neither team played midweek, and that’s probably not a good thing for either. But it mustbe worse for Fulham, as they would have loved to have rinsed the bad taste of the Etihad and last weekend’s 3-0 loss out of their mouths. Tom Cairney and Neeskens Kebano are again unavailable. While Tim Ream is back in training, he is unlikely to make the squad, so expect to see the same XI or something close.
Watford similarly lost last weekend, a 2-1 game against visiting Manchester United. A la the Cottagers, the Hornets have no fresh concerns — only the continued absences of Gerard Deulofeu and Tom Cleverly — so don’t expect any changes for the 4th place side.
There is no fresh news for Burnley, but Sean Dyche will be tempted to make a change here or there with the Clarets in last place following four consecutive league losses. Of course, given their predicament, you’re probably not considering any of their regulars or hopefuls until Tom Heaton displaces arrgh Joe Hart arrgh.
Wing-back Charlie Daniels is available to return following injury, but Sergio Rico will likely retain his spot. Similarly, Junior Stanislas will press for inclusion but will probably have to settle for a place on the bench. After all, the team is humming in 5th place following last weekend’s 4-2 win over Leicester.
Josh Murphy is doubtful, and Aron Gunnarsson suffered a setback during recovery from injury, but what does it matter? Does any Cardiff City news really matter? Unless you’re hoping for another PK stop from Neil Etheridge, are you rolling with any of their players in fantasy against mighty Man City?
The Citizens, of course, are coming off a shock 2-1 home loss in their Champions League opener. In his presser, Pep Guardiola attempt to shield his players by accepting blame the midweek defeat because he had been banned from the touchline. But he gave no hints to what changes he is pondering for Saturday. Benjamin Mendy remains out with a bruise to his foot, with Fabian Delph likely to continue to fill in. David Silva and Bernardo Silva both played 90 minutes, while Gabriel Jesus, Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling also started on offense, and all will fear losing their places in the XI. Sergio Aguero, Riyad Mahrez and Sadio Mane made appearances as subs, and will certainly push for starting spots. Defensively, Kyle Walker is likely to continue on the wing, though Aymeric Laporte and John Stones could be rotated out in favor of Vincent Kompany and/or Nicolas Otamendi following the poor midweek showing.
Christian Benteke remains out injured for the Eagles, but is that a bad thing? Probably not, considering that Jordan Ayew can continue to fill in. Roy Hodgson defended Wilfried Zaha for his criticism of the referees, saying it was a settled issue, but hopefully the Palace talisman can indeed get past that.
Rafa Benitez professed surprise that Zaha was not penalized for his comments, so he (and his defenders) certainly will continue with no sympathy during the game. But the Magpies’ skipper has his own concerns following plenty of speculation surrounding his job. Jonjo Shelvey has passed fit after missing three games from injury, so Benitez will likely turn to the midfielder. He may also turn to Salomon Rondon up front, as he has only started twice.
Speaking of managers on the hot seat, Claude Puel will be tempted to freshen up his team following two straight defeats including the recent 4-2 debacle at Bournemouth. But interestingly, he has hinted at resting Harry Maguire and Wilfred Ndidi, so, um, that may not actually help things. But if you’re up for taking a chance on a cheap clean sheet from a defender, you can go ahead and take a flyer on... well, Wes Morgan is suspended, so, I guess Saglar Soyunco?
David Wagner seems pleased with his team’s effort in recent weeks, so likely will run out with the same XI. Yay?
Liverpool has had a remarkably consistent XI in the Premiership so far, but Jurgen Klopp switched things up a bit midweek as Daniel Sturridge filled in for the semi-injured Roberto Firmino, and Jordan Henderson gave Naby Keita some rest. But Firmino came on to score the winner, and will surely be rewarded with a start. Given that the team was home and has had plenty of rest since Tuesday, Klopp will likely turn back to Keita as well in a return to the regular line-up that has delivered five league wins thus far.
Danny Ings is ineligible to face his parent club, opening a spot for Charlie Austin or perhaps James Ward-Prowse. But do you really care? Would you dare go with any Saints at Anfield? If so, you’re a better — or crazier — person than me.
Manchester United vs Wolves
United played Wednesday in Champions League, romping 3-0 at Young Boys. Diogo Dalot, Fred and Anthony Martial were among the starters under Jose Mourinho who should head to the bench this weekend in favor of some combination of Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia, Marouane Fellaini, Juan Mata and/or Alexis Sanchez.
Nuno Espirito Santo has selected the same XI for each of the five games so far, and the team is faring well, so without any fresh injury concerns, Wolves will be expected to keep on keepin’ on, as they say.
Pascal Gross remains out for Brighton with injury, but otherwise there is no big news.
For Spurs, Hugo Lloris is also still out, so the keeper position is settled for Michel Vorm, but otherwise much is in question. Given that Mauricio Pochettino has called the team weak in defense following three straight 2-1 losses, major upheaval should begin (but may not stop) there. Kieran Trippier and Toby Alderweireld did not make the midweek trip to Milan, and will expect to start at Brighton. Son Heung-min and Erik Lamela both started, which means that Lucas Moura could see a return to the XI. Dele Alli and Moussa Dembele are available in midfield, threatening Eric Dier as well as Son and/or Lemale, while the defense could see plenty of reshuffling with Vertonghen, Trippier, Alderweireld, Danny Rose, Davinson Sanchez, Serge Aurier and Tom Davies scrambling for four slots.
West Ham is coming off its first win, so Manuel Pellegrini would surely love to call on the same team that beat Everton 3-1. However, Marko Arnautovic looks to be the dreaded game time decision. Jack Wilshere is out following surgery (Arsenal fans are not surprised), and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez is questionable due to illness, but neither started at Goodison.
Eden Hazard rested for the midweek Europa League win at PAOK Salonika, but Pedro picked up an injury and is doubtful, leaving Willian likely to start. With Alvaro Morata starting in Greece, Olivier Giroud should get that honor again this weekend. Mateo Kovacic missed out on Thursday due to injury and faces a game time decision.
Arsenal vs Everton
Arsenal fielded a team with even fewer regulars than Chelsea for its Europa League victory at Vorskla, and it seems like Unai Emery has settled on at least a semi-regular XI in the Premier League. So with Henrikh Mkhitaryan having played the full 90 midweek, you can expect him to head back to the bench. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was removed early, while Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi came on as subs, and Alexandre Lacazette, Aaron Ramsey, Granit Xhaka and Hector Bellerin were rested entirely.
Richarlison is back! Richarlison is back! Richarlison is back! Indeed, Everton needs some excitement after losing at home to West Ham. Oh the indignity! Bernard, Michael Keane and Yerry Mina could also be in the picture, so Andre Silva has plenty of possible changes to contemplate as Seamus Coleman remains out with injury. Theo Walcott would love to make an impact upon his return to the Emirates, but his spot in the XI is not 100% secure.
What does the latest news have you thinking in regards to final moves for your fantasy teams? Are you hanging on the lineup announcements for the earlt game (FUL v WAT)? Be sure to share any late-breaking news in the comments!