Game-Week 14 was Saturday and Sunday, and now we have our first mid-week action of the season. Interestingly, it’s a three-day mid-week slate of games for GW15 running from Tuesday through Thursday, so let’s get ready.
THE WEEK 14 & 15 CRUNCH
When worrying about which stars may be rested, one thing to consider is how much rest time the teams have between the pair of games.
Plenty of Rest:
...which sets up these two for stress in the following weekend.
THE WEEK 15 & 16 CRUNCH
Of course, another thing to think about is the subsequent weekend for GW16 from Saturday through Monday. Some players may be rested due to the midweek game’s proximity to the prior weekend, while others instead could hit the sidelines due to when they play the subsequent weekend.
Wednesday/Saturday: Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham, Watford
Thursday/Sunday: Brighton, Newcastle, Sheffield United
Tuesday/Saturday: Bournemouth, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Leicester City, Manchester City
Wednesday/Sunday: Aston Villa, Norwich City, Southampton, Wolves
Plenty of Rest:
Wednesday/Monday: West Ham
THE WEEK 14-16 CRUNCH
Least Crowded Situation: West Ham enjoys the most rest across the three game weeks (Saturday / Wednesday / Monday), so Manuel Pellegrini may be able to roll with his preferred XI across this period.
Most Crowded Situation: Manchester United suffers the most constricted fixture congestion for these three game weeks (Sunday / Wednesday / Saturday). The Red Devils may not have as much depth as they would like due to injuries, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have to think about rotation, particularly with Europa League entering the picture following Week 16 as well.
Several other top teams will also have Champions League and Europa League considerations, which could impact Week 15 and/or 16 line-ups.
- Liverpool keeper Alisson misses Week 15 due to the non-violent straight red card earned in Week 14, pressing Adrian into action.
- Aston Villa defender Frederic Guilbert and Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan also miss Week 15 due to yellow card accumulation.
Some key players who are expected to miss Week 15 or whose status is uncertain:
Burnley: defenders Erik Pieters and Charlie Taylor (both in doubt)
Chelsea: forward Tammy Abraham (unlikely to feature)
Crystal Palace: defenders Gary Cahill, Scott Dann, and Joel Ward (all unlikely to feature)
Manchester United: midfielders Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba (both in doubt)
Newcastle: midfielder Allan Saint-Maximin (in doubt)
West Ham: midfielder Michail Antonio (in doubt)
PLAYERS SITTING ON FOUR YELLOW CARDS
As mentioned, a couple of players miss Week 15 due to yellow card accumulation. Many others currently have four yellow cards on the season, one away from a fifth card which would trigger an automatic one-game ban if it happens in the team’s first 19 games:
Arsenal: defender Calum Chambers, midfielders Granit Xhaka and Matteo Guendouzi
Brighton: midfielder Dale Stephens
Bournemouth: defender Diego Rico
Burnley: defender James Tarkowski
Manchester City: midfielder Raheem Sterling
Manchester United: defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Norwich City: defender Max Aarons, midfielder Kenny McLean
Sheffield United: defender John Lundstram, midfielder John Fleck
West Ham: defender Ryan Fredericks
Wolves: midfielder Ruben Neves
NEW MANAGERS’ LINE-UP DECISIONS
Tottenham’s Jose Mourinho has had two Premier League games now, but his XIs have varied a bit, likely impacted at least in part by having a Champions League game in between. Lucas Moura, Harry Winks and Ben Davies started Week 13 but not Week 14, whereas the opposite was true for Moussa Sissoko, Tanguy Ndombele and Jan Vertonghen. Ndombele had missed Week 13 due to injury, and that was the case for Davies in Week 14; Davies looks likely to remain unavailable for Week 15.
Caretaker manager Freddie Ljungberg made a couple/few interesting choices for his XI in Week 14, as Skhrodan Mustafi earned his first start of the season in central defense while Sokratis hit the bench. Otherwise, Calum Chambers played out of position at right wing back opposite Sead Kolasinac, while Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney hit the bench.
Crystal Palace v. Bournemouth
Burnley v. Manchester City
Chelsea v. Aston Villa
Leicester City v. Watford
Southampton v. Norwich City
Wolves v. West Ham United
Manchester United v. Tottenham
Liverpool v. Everton
Sheffield United v. Newcastle
Arsenal v. Brighton
[NOTE: Premier League schedule and injury information came from the official Premier League fantasy website. Suspension-related information came from there as well, from the official Premier League website or from the official FA site.]
Which games are you watching? What line-up decisions have you biting your nails ahead of the midweek fixtures? Please share any late-breaking news as the deadline approaches, then join us for the live action!