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EPL Game-Week 8 Pre-Deadline Chat

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What news has fantasy managers biting their nails ahead of the weekend?

Mauricio Pochettino - Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
What line-up will Mauricio Pochettino turn to following the disastrous 7-2 home loss to Bayern Munich?
Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

It has been another whirlwind week for Premier League teams, chock full of European action. Where does that leave us ahead of Saturday’s deadline for the weekend?

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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

TUESDAY

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

In the 7-2 debacle in London courtesy a free-flowing Bayern Munich, Mauricio Pochettino had Hugo Lloris, Serge Aurier, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld, Danny Rose, Moussa Sissoko, Son Heung-min and Harry Kane play the full game. Harry Winks, Tanguy Ndombele, and Dele Alli also started, but were removed in the 2nd half for subs Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela, and Lucas Moura.

Tottenham plays on Saturday, affording a decent amount of rest time. With criticism high and morale low, Poch faces the dilemma between whether to show faith in his system or shake things up and bring in a rash of new starters (or of course, something in between). Right back Serge Aurier will miss the trip to Brighton via suspension for the red card (two yellows) received last weekend against Southampton. Poch would normally turn to Kyle Walker-Peters or even Davinson Sanchez, but according to Cartilage Free Captain has instead suggested that Moussa Sissoko could move to that position. Kane’s spot at striker should be secure, leaving a choice among Son, Alli, Moura, Lamela, Ndombele, and Eriksen to fill out the remaining four spots in offense.

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MANCHESTER CITY

For the 2-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb at the Etihad, Pep Guardiola rested Kyle Walker, starting Joao Cancelo instead at right back, while Benjamin Mendy earned a start at left back instead of Oleksandr Zinchenko who was not named to the 18-man team. Cancelo and Mendy joined Ederson, Fernandinho, Nicolas Otamendi, Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan, and Riyad Mahrez in playing the entire game. Otherwise, Pep started Bernardo Silva, David Silva and Sergio Aguero in attack, replacing them with 2nd half subs Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus.

Manchester City plays on Sunday, affording plenty of rest time, so fantasy managers should be able to count on most of the usual starters featuring and not have to worry too much about “Pep roulette” when the Citizens host Wolves. Kevin de Bruyne, who left last weekend’s victory at Everton due to injury and missed out midweek, will be unavailable according to Manchester Evening News. Fantasy managers counting on Bernardo Silva will want to keep an eye ahead to news regarding a possible future suspension involving a charge of racism on social media. [Source: Blue Moon]

Kevin De Bruyne - Manchester City - Premier League
Kevin de Bruyne’s latest injury has fantasy managers bummed.
Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

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WEDNESDAY

CHELSEA

In the Blues’ 2-1 win at Lille, Frank Lampard went with his usual XI except for one change, starting Reece James rather than Mateo Kovacic, who was among the substitutes who made an appearance. James, Mason Mount and Willian were removed in the 2nd half for Callum Hudson-Odoi, Kovacic, and Pedro. Kepa Arrizabalaga, Marcos Alonso, Fikayo Tomori, Kurt Zouma, Cesar Azpilicueta, N’Golo Kante, and Tammy Abraham played the entire game.

Chelsea next plays on Sunday, leaving a fair amount of rest time. Hudson-Odoi’s sub appearance will have some Chelsea fans hopeful (and fantasy managers drooling impatiently, especially in Fantrax where his long absence has depressed his price to a virtually free $2.60). Central defender Andreas Christensen made the bench, though he did not appear, which means that he should be healthy enough to start at the weekend if Lampard judges him match fit and worthy of a start. If so, Zouma would seem to be more likely than Tomori to make way. According to the The Express, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Emerson Palmieri and Antonio Rudiger remain injured and will not feature until after the international break.

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LIVERPOOL

In Liverpool’s wild, wacky, super fun 4-3 win over visiting Salzburg, much of the XI was expected, though Jurgen Klopp needed to turn to Joe Gomez in place of injured Joel Matip in central defense. Gomez was preferred to Dejan Lovren, who stayed on the bench alongside midfielders Adam Lallana and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Otherwise, usual Champions League security blanket James Milner was used only as a sub, coming in with Divock Origi and Naby Keita in the second half as Jordan Henderson, Giorginio Wijnaldum and Mo Salah came off. Adrian, Andy Robertson, Gomez, Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Sadio Mane, and Roberto Firmino played the entire game.

Liverpool plays on Saturday, leaving little in the way of rest time. According to Caught Offside, Matip has been ruled out while goalkeeper Alisson is still a doubt for the visit of Leicester. It would not be a shock to see Alisson replace Adrian, but it would certainly be no surprise if the Reds were cautious and waited until after the international break.

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THURSDAY (EUROPA LEAGUE)

ARSENAL

The Gunners pasted Liege 4-0 at home. Icing on the cake, Unai Emery was able to do so with basically his 2nd team. Emiliano Martinez, Kieran Tierney, Rob Holding, Shkodran Mustafi, Hector Bellerin, Lucas Torreira, Dani Ceballos, and Gabriel Martinelli played the entire game, while Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock, and Ainsley Maitland-Niles started, replaced in the 2nd half by subs Matteo Guendouzi, Nicolas Pepe, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Arsenal hosts Bournemouth on Sunday, leaving little time to recover.

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MANCHESTER UNITED

The Red Devils drew 0-0 at AZ Alkmaar (Netherlands). Harry Maguire was named to the team, but was rested as an unused sub. A couple of fresh faces — Brandon Williams and Angel Gomes — played the entire game alongside David De Gea, Victor Lindelöf, Marcos Rojo, Diogo Dalot, Nemanja Matic, and Fred. Juan Mata, Daniel James, and Mason Greenwood also earned starts, replaced by 2nd half subs Scott McTominay, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford.

Manchester United travels to Newcastle on Sunday, offering fairly minimal rest time. Neither Paul Pogba nor Anthony Martial were named to the 18-man team midweek and both will miss the upcoming game as well through injury according to the Manchester Evening News. Aaron Wan-Bissaka also missed via illness and is a doubt.

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WOLVERHAMPTON

Following a first league win of the season over Watford last weekend, Wolves eked out a 1-0 road Europa League victory at Besiktas (Istanbul). Nino Espirito Santo used most of his regulars, as Rui Patricio, Roman Saiss, Conor Cody, Willy Boly, Jonny, Matt Doherty, Joao Moutinho, and Ruben Neves played the entire game. Morgan Gibbs-White, Pedro Neto and Raul Jimenez also started, replaced in the 2nd half by subs Leander Dondencker, Adama Traore, and Patrick Cutrone.

Wolves travel to Manchester City on Sunday, leaving little rest for a daunting task. Dioga Jota did not travel midweek due to an injury concern, and is a doubt for the weekend. [Source: Sports Mole]

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OTHER NEWS

SUSPENSION

In addition to Aurier’s aforementioned ban, a couple others are set to begin:

  • Crystal Palace midfielder and penalty kick specialist Luka Milivojevic (yellow card accumulation) will miss the trip to West Ham.
  • Newcastle United midfielder Isaac Hayden starts a three-game ban for the straight red received last weekend.

[Source: The FA]

INJURY

  • Influential Norwich midfielder Todd Cantwell is an injury doubt for the visit of Aston Villa and may face the dreaded game-time decision.
  • Canaries’ keeper Tim Krul has been ruled out through injury, as has backup Ralf Fahrmann. leaving 3rd-string Michael McGovern to fill in between the sticks. [Source: Vital Norwich]
  • West Ham keeper Lucasz Fabianski has been ruled out with a long-term injury, so Roberto Jimenez Gago (who played the last 56 minutes last week) will be expected to step in. [Source: Hammers News]

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NOTE: The early match with confirmed lineups before the Fantrax deadline will be Brighton hosting Tottenham. Be here during the countdown hour to see those!

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What are the big decisions for your fantasy teams ahead of the deadline? If you hear of any late-breaking news, please share in the comments below!

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