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Fantasy Premier League Week 7 Pre-Deadline Chat

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Who’s out, who’s in, and who’s caught somewhere in that netherworld between?

Benjamin Mendy - Manchester City - Premier League
Benjamin Mendy may as well pull his jersey all the way over his head because we have no idea when we will see him play next.
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Let’s take a rundown of the latest and greatest news regarding injuries, suspensions and line-up probabilities and possibilities for the upcoming week of Premier League fun:

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(Note: This first match is the actionable early Saturday game, so if you have any players you’re interested in here, or if you have a slot you want nailed on to start, then be sure to hang with us to the deadline.)

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West Ham vs Manchester United

Manuel Pellegrini did not say too much of note at his presser, but the highlight was his assessment that Marko Arnautovic looks fully fit, so don’t hesitate to go with the Hammers’ talisman if you think that the mighty Man U defense can be breached. Michail Antonio, Aaron Cresswell, Issa Diop, Pedro Obiang, Angelo Ogbonna, Carlos Sanchez, and Robert Snodgrass had plenty of fun starting in the 8-0 midweek Carabao Cup demolition of Macclesfield Town, but only some will make the XI this weekend.

After playing their best two EPL games of the season, Pellegrini will likely turn to a side mostly unchanged from the nil-nil Chelsea affair, but somebody is going to have to make way for Arno’s return. Judging from the squad against Everton, it will probably be Antonio, especially since he failed to convert a couple of good chances against the Blues.

Manchester United is reeling from the latest Jose Mourinho / Paul Pogba spat — this time over captaincy. Pause a moment while I pretend to be shocked... Okay, on to business: The Red Devils will look to come out with a response after losing on Tuesday to Derby County at Old Trafford despite fielding a strong XI that featured the likes of Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Romelu Lukaku, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic, and Ashley Young, with Fred and Marouane Fellaini coming off the bench. Will it be a positive or negative response? Let’s see! Still-injured defender Marcos Rojo and newly suspended back-up keeper Sergio Romero did not make the trip to London, but otherwise Mourinho will have a full roster to select from; Mou announced that Pogba definitively will start, so that’s as good a place to begin as any... unless he’s playing a truly insane mind game.

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Arsenal vs Watford

Rumors of Aaron Ramsey being sold in the winter transfer window have emerged in light of his contract situation, but it does not appear that it will impact his status in the meantime. Shkodran Mustafi played the full 90 in Arsenal’s 3-1 win over Brentford during the week, which is good news following his early injury withdrawal against Everton last weekend. Mohamed Elneny, Bernd Leno, Matteo Guendouzi, Alex Iwobi, Stephan Lichtsteiner, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan also started, which is bad news for them since that means they will likely return to the bench this weekend. Sead Kolasinac has passed fit, offering Unai Emery a choice at wing back with Nacho Monreal, but Emery could choose to stand pat and go with what’s working as the Gunners have won five straight games across all competitions following the opening pair of league losses.

As for the visiting Hornets, rampaging wing back Darryl Janmaat is out with his inevitable injury (with a timetable of over a month), so Kiko Femenia will be expected to slot in. Most of the regulars did not start in the mid-week Carabao Cup loss to Tottenham, and Christian Kabasele’s red card ban was rescinded, so otherwise the usual XI should remain unchanged. Forward Troy Deeney has three broken toes and an ankle injury, but Javi Gracia is looking for him to go the tough guy route and play through the pain (are you watching Bendy?). The rest of us wouldn’t be so macho. In fact, I can promise you that I’d be curled up in a fetal ball in bed at home... or hospital.

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Everton vs Fulham

The Toffees are well-rested after not playing since last weekend. If you were waiting on Yerry Mina, I hope you’re not holding your breath — he suffered an injury due to a stomped foot in training. Seamus Coleman and Andre Gomes also remain unavailable for selection. The big news is that Marco Silva is pondering the use of Richarlison up front as a forward rather than in his usual left wing role. If that turns out to be the case, Cenk Tosun seems even more doomed to repeat the sub role he played in the defeat to Arsenal. Dominic Calvert-Lewin could move over to fill the Brazilian’s position, while Bernard presents another option. Should Silva leave Richarlison at wing, that would aid Tosun’s cause for starting, given that the team failed to score at home against the Gunners with DCL leading the line. But Tosun has not exactly starred this season, and with so much up in the air, Oumar Niasse might be just as likely.

Fulham as a whole may not be as fresh as Everton, but the regular starters will be just fine as a heavily rotated XI beat Milwall 3-1 in midweek action. Alfie Mawson will miss out with injury, and there is a bevy of possible replacements (Calum Chambers, Maxime Le Marchand or Tim Ream), but... Are you really planning on hitching your hopes to a central defender in a side that has conceded the third-most goals in the league... and is away from home? Midfielder Tom Cairney faces the dreaded game time decision, with a thought that a substitute appearance could perhaps be the best you can hope for.

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Huddersfield vs Tottenham

Huddersfield are well-rested following a week without football, and there’s no injury news to any of the regulars, but we’re talking about the last place team, so you probably don’t care, do you?

Tottenham are more exhausted, as several regulars started in the midweek Carabao victory over Watford — Toby Alderweireld, Dele Alli, Erik Lamela, and Lucas Moura — while Son Heung-Min came off the bench. Meanwhile, Eric Dier, Harry Kane, Danny Rose, Kieran Trippier, and Jan Vertonghen were rested entirely so should be ready for a return to the XI. Spurs are in a bit of an injury crisis as midfielders Alli (who is reportedly out for up to a month with a hamstring injury) and Christian Eriksen (shorter term problem) will miss out, leaving Kane / Moura / Lamela / Son essentially assured of Mauricio Pochettino’s precious four attacking spots. Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris looks to be a last-minute decision, which would displace #3 Paulo Gazzaniga since #2 Michel Vorm remains out.

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Manchester City vs Brighton

Pep Guardiola gave good news about Kevin De Bruyne’s eventual recovery (not too far off!), but unfortunately remained vague about Benjamin Mendy. Rumors have it being more than just an injury — there’s also a question surrounding his commitment and mindset. Let’s see, staying out late going to a non-local boxing match... a driver’s license suspension... tardiness for an injury recovery session... and ultimately something about being in Pep Guardiola’s metaphorical dog house, which doesn’t sound like a fun or productive place to be. Gabriel Jesus, David Silva, Riyad Mahrez, and John Stones were among the starters in the 3-0 midweek Carabao victory over Oxford United. With a vital second Champions League game approaching rapidly (MCI lost their first), there’s doubt over Silva’s starting status this weekend, whereas Jesus and Mahrez were already more likely to feature from the bench. Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva, Fernandinho, Aymeric Laporte, Fabian Delph and Kyle Walker did not play at all, while Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan were subs, so those players will expect to see the XI.

Pascal Gross is out and Jose Izquierdo is a doubt for the visiting Seagulls, which does not necessarily mean that you should go with their alternates in offense. Nay, not at all. Rather, it means that the Citizens are even likelier to record a clean sheet.

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Newcastle vs Leicester

The Magpies are well-rested, which could be a useful advantage for an 18th place team. Salomon Rondon is out injured, but he had not yet established himself as a regular starter, so the Joselu / Ayoze Perez pairing will not be any surprise. Central defender Federico Fernandez and wing-backs Paul Dummett and DeAndre Yedlin are all possible absences from wing back, giving you another reason to hold off on adding goalkeeper Martin Dubravka to your fantasy teams until the schedule turns more favorable in a couple of weeks.

The visiting Foxes are coming off a PK win over Wolves in the Carabao Cup in which they actually started several regulars — Jamie Vardy, Jonny Evans, Wes Morgan, Ricardo Pereira, and Rachid Ghezzal — while Kelechi Iheanacho came off the bench. Fantasy favorite James Maddison was rested entirely. Demarai Gray’s injury will keep him out for several weeks, so Claude Puel could turn back to Marc Albrighton.

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Wolverhampton vs Southampton

It’s the battle of the Hamptons! While Leicester started a good portion of its stars midweek, Wolves rested most of the XI who have featured so far in every game, not running out players such as Leander Dendoncker and Ivan Cavaleiro who are hoping to crack the starting line-up. Given that Wolves have enjoyed a strong start, and the that they lost their Cup game, it would be difficult to imagine Nuno Espirito Santo doing any tinkering for the Premier League return.

The Saints welcome back Danny Ings following his absence against parent club Liverpool, but Shane Long faces a game-time decision, meaning that Ings could pair with Charlie Austin up front.

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Chelsea vs Liverpool

Chelsea won the midweek Carabao Cup fixture at Liverpool 2-1, and now they go to Stamford Bridge for the EPL affair. The only regulars who featured were Naby Keita, Sadio Mane and James Milner for Liverpool along with Cesar Azpilicueta, Mateo Kovacic and Willian for Chelsea, so things will take on a decidedly different look with the usual suspects (including Eden Hazard who scored the winner as a sub) planning on making a triumphant return to the XI.

Antonio Rudiger and Pedro are among those who face a game-time decision for the home side, so Willian will be likely to start in wing attack, with Gary Cahill available in central defense for the home Blues if needed.

For the visiting Reds, Dejan Lovren played the full 90 midweek, but Virgil Van Dijk is a game time decision, so the central defender pairing (with or without Joe Gomez) remains up in the air.

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Cardiff vs Burnley

Defender Lee Peltier has suffered a long-term injury, so there goes a cheap defensive starter... not that you were too excited about him, given Cardiff’s extreme leakiness. But it’s an extremely well-rested leakiness, i’n it? Surely!

Burnley lost their mid-week Cup tie, but maybe that’s a good thing, considering that getting knocked out of Europa League seemed to help their EPL fortunes. Focus, focus, focus! The offense failed to score with Chris Wood leading the line, and Tom Heaton allowed a pair of scores as Kevin Long netted the only goal in a 2-1 defeat to Burton Albion, so Sean Dyche will surely be tempted to return to the XI that delivered the 4-0 win over Bournemouth last weekend.

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Bournemouth vs Crystal Palace

Junior Stanislas returned for the Cherries in the 3-2 win over Blackburn Rovers midweek, but after such a long injury layoff will probably have to settle for a spot on the bench this weekend. As it so happens, Ryan Fraser was rested entirely, while Callum Wilson and Joshua King came off the bench, so the main offensive trio will be minty fresh. The Sergio Rico / Charlie Daniels wing-back situation remains in doubt, so as usual you should probably avoid it entirely unless you’re addicted to drama.

Aaron Townsend and Patrick van Aanholt were the only usual starters who made the XI in the midweek 3-0 win over West Brom as Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Jordan Ayew appeared as subs. We all keep waiting for Max Meyer to start, but that wait will likely continue as Meyer played the full 90 midweek, whereas Townsend came off early. Ayew should continue to fill in for injured Christian Benteke, and Roy Hodgson will not be expected to make any changes to his usual suspects.

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What last-minute line-up decisions are you fretting over? Please be sure to share any late-breaking news in the comments!

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