We’ve put the season’s first round of international competition behind us, and supporters of the English national team will be pleased with their team’s results over the break. The Three Lions shut out Bulgaria 4-0 on Saturday before defeating Kosovo 5-3 on Tuesday. Harry Kane managed a hatty in the first game and scored again in the second, while Raheem Sterling scored a goal in each. And young Jadon Sancho, who had kept Christian Pulisic out of the starting lineup at Borussia Dortmund before the American left to join Chelsea, notched a brace in the Kosovo match.
But normal service resumes in the EPL tomorrow, and fantasy managers need to shift their attention to that. Below are some brief thoughts on each match, along with the most up-to-date injury reports available at the time of publication.
Please note that the Liverpool v Newcastle match is the weekend’s early game, so we will have confirmed lineups for that match ahead of the Fantrax deadline. Be sure to join us here to guarantee your fantasy assets for that match are actually starting!
Saturday 14 September 2019
The Magpies must travel to Fortress Anfield this weekend, and their prospects don’t look good. The Reds are off to a perfect 4-0 start to the campaign, while Newcastle have managed just one win and one draw from four games. It has been 21 years since the Geordies have claimed victory on this pitch, and with many of their key players sidelined by injury, I don’t see that changing tomorrow. This fixture went 4-0 for the Reds last year, and I expect something similar this time around.
Notable Liverpool doubts: Alisson, Naby Keita, Nathaniel Clyne
Notable Newcastle doubts: Andy Carroll, Dwight Gayle, Florian Lejeune, Matt Ritchie, Allan Saint-Maximin, DeAndre Yedlin,
These two sides sit even on points with identical records of 1-1-2. Brighton are winless at home so far this season, and Burnley are undefeated in their last three visits to the Amex. My money is on Burnley for the win then, and I think the best the hosts could hope for is a draw. But I’m not counting on any clean sheets — neither side has managed one yet.
Notable Brighton doubts: Leandro Trossard
Notable Burnley doubts: Robbie Brady, Daniel Drinkwater, Dwight McNeil, Johan Berg-Gudmundsson
I look at the lineups for these two teams and am surprised to realize that almost all of Leicester’s attackers would start if they played for United. The Red Devils have won only a single game this season, and I think an undefeated Leicester side will keep it that way.
Notable Manchester United doubts: Diogo Dalot, Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba, Luke Shaw, Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Notable Leicester doubts: Matty James, Wes Morgan
Surprisingly, newly-promoted Sheffield sit in the top half of the table, having taken five points from their four league games — one point better than Southampton. Both these teams managed come-back draws against Big Six teams last time out, with Southampton tying Manchester United and Sheffield United overcoming a 0-2 deficit to share points with Chelsea. Will one team be able to claim all three points tomorrow?
Notable Sheffield doubts: John Fleck, David McGoldrick, Callum Robinson
Notable Southampton doubts: Ryan Bertrand, Kevin Danso (1-match suspension), Moussa Djenepo, Michael Obafemi, Nathan Redmond,
One of these teams is in fourth place and the other in ninth. Would you have correctly guessed which is which before the season started? Palace are grinding out points, tying Everton and beating Manchester United and Aston Villa (both of whom were reduced to 10 men by red cards). Meanwhile, Spurs have been out of sorts, even suffering a humiliating home defeat at the hands of lowly Newcastle. Nonetheless, Palace have struggled for goals, and I think Tottenham will have too much for them. When the dust settles after this one, I think Spurs will have jumped over Palace in the table.
Notable Tottenham doubts: Eric Dier, Davinson Sanchez, Juan Foyth, Giovani Lo Celso, Tanguy NDombele, Kyle Walker-Peters
Notable Crystal Palace doubts: Scott Dann, Martin Kelly, James Tomkins, Connor Wickham
Both managers here are under mounting pressure. Wolves are winless so far, perched just one place above the relegation zone. Chelsea sit in the bottom half, having conceded more goals than any club except Norwich. So while both teams desperately need a result, I’m giving the nod to Wolves. They’ve got more quality and experience, and the match is at Molineaux.
Notable Wolves doubts: Willy Boly (1 match suspension)
Notable Chelsea doubts: Emerson, N’golo Kanté,
Tomorrow’s last match should be a fun one. It’s a clash of two of the league’s most attack-oriented teams. But Norwich doesn’t bother much with defending, the gulf in quality between these two sides is enormous, and almost a dozen Canaries could be unavailable for selection. If you don’t have one or more of Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero, or Kevin De Bruyne in your fantasy squad, get ready to be left in the dust by your rivals who do. B. Mendy has been seen in training and may even appear on the bench.
Notable Norwich doubts: Tim Krul, Tim Klose, Onel Hernández, Grant Handley, Max Aarons, Tom Trybull, Moritz Leitner, Christoff Zimmerman, Ben Godfrey, Mario Vrancic, Patrick Roberts (ineligible to face his parent club)
Notable Manchester City doubts: Aymeric Laporte, Benjamin Mendy, Leroy Sané.
Sunday 15 September 2019
Bournemouth have not started the season well, picking up a win and a draw against two newly-promoted sides before losing their next two matches. Everton have won three in a row in all competitions, and are in sixth place with seven points in the league. Given each team’s recent form, and a Cherries squad ravaged by injuries, I predict that the spoils will go to the visitors on Sunday.
Notable Bournemouth doubts: Adam Smith, David Brooks, Lewis Cook, Charlie Daniels, Simon Francis, Dan Gosling, Chris Mepham, Junior Stanislas
Notable Everton doubts: Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Jonas Lossl
Watford are winless in the 2019-2020 campaign, and on Sunday they sacked Javi Gracia, replacing him with his own predecessor — Quique Sanchez Flores. They’ll be hoping to benefit from a “new manager bump” when Arsenal visit Vicarage Road, but is QSF really a “new” manager?
Notable Watford doubts: Etienne Capoue, Troy Deeney, Craig Cathcart
Notable Arsenal doubts: Hector Bellerin, Alexandre Lacazette, Kieran Tierney,
Monday 16 September 2019
Aston Villa have found life in the EPL challenging; they currently find themselves in the relegation zone, having taken only three points from four games. The Hammers, on the other hand, have taken seven of the nine points since their opening game loss to the Manchester City juggernaut. But Aston Villa have played well despite their lack of success, and on Monday their home supporters will be pumping them up. A draw here would not surprise me.
Notable Aston Villa doubts: James Chester, Jonathan Kodjia, Matt Targett, Trezeguet (1 match ban)
Notable West Ham doubts: Michail Antonio, Winston Reid
Are you sticking with Teemu Pukki for his difficult match against the defending champions? Do you think players like Sergio Aguero, Tammy Abraham, Richarlison, and Sebastien Haller can maintain their excellent recent form? Have any of your players been stricken with injuries over the international break? Please share your strategies for success in GW 5, and of course be sure to check in for late-breaking team news and the lineups for the LIV vs NEW game ahead of the Fantrax Deadline!