After the mini-double game week exploits of Liverpool, fantasy managers are either riding a huge high or down in the doldrums. Let’s run down the latest news and speculation to help you make the last-minute decisions to get your team rolling this weekend.
TEAMS WITH THE SHORTEST TURNAROUND
GW24 was a bizarre game week, stretching from Tuesday, January 21 through Wednesday, January 29. During that time there were also other competitions going on as well. Monday, January 27 brought Bournemouth v. Arsenal in FA Cup action, while Tuesday, January 28 featured Aston Villa v. Leicester in Carabao Cup. The latest action during the week was Wednesday, January 29 with West Ham v. Liverpool in the EPL plus Manchester City v. Manchester United in a Carabao Cup fixture.
In GW25, Arsenal and Manchester City will enjoy plenty of rest since they do not play until Sunday. All of the other teams that played midweek have EPL action on Saturday. Other than the usual worry over Pep Roulette, the biggest rest/rotation concern for fantasy managers will surround the three teams — Liverpool, Manchester United and West Ham — who have the least amount of rest time.
PLAYERS WITH AT LEAST 45’ ON WEDNESDAY (90’ UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED):
Liverpool: Alisson, Andrew Robertson, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold (77’), Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (84’), Mo Salah, Divock Origi (68’), Roberto Firmino
West Ham: Lucasz Fabianski, Arthur Masuaku, Aaron Cresswell, Angelo Ogbonna, Issa Diop, Jeremy Ngakia, Manuel Lanzini (68’), Mark Noble, Declan Rice, Robert Snodgrass, Sebastien Haller
Manchester United: David de Gea, Brandon Williams, Victor Lindelöf, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw (79’), Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Nemanja Matic (76’), Fred, Jesse Lingard (65’), Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood (45’), Daniel James (45’)
Plenty of players have been added late in the winter transfer window. Most of the recent newcomers will be unlikely to start straightaway, particularly offensive players coming from outside leagues. Defenders/goalkeepers and players from other EPL teams will probably have a better chance of being slotted in immediately.
In that vein, a cameo appearance from Sporting Lisbon-to-Manchester United attacker Bruno Fernandes will likely be the best he could hope for. A team’s personnel situation could have an influence; for instance, with Aston Villa’s Wesley out injured, Mbwanna Samatta (recently brought over from Genk) could be pressed into action earlier than would otherwise have been expected.
Generally speaking, of course, fantasy managers will want to wait until new players have already featured before adding them to their teams. Naturally, we will also want to keep an eye on players in our fantasy sides whose starting status may be under threat from any of the newcomers.
Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returns following his three-game (two EPL, one FA Cup) suspension for a violent red card.
Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic received a red card from two yellows on Wednesday and will serve his one-game suspension this weekend.
[Source: The FA]
Let’s run down some of the bigger injury situations:
CHELSEA: Forward Tammy Abraham is a serious doubt for the weekend, probably more unlikely than likely to start, while Defender Reece James looks to have more of a chance as a game time decision; midfielder Christian Pulisic is expected to be available for GW26.
CRYSTAL PALACE: Forward Cenk Tosun, who has already featured thrice for the Eagles since transferring from Everton, is expected to be unavailable through injury until Week 27. Either Christian Benteke or Connor Wickham could earn a start alongside Jordan Ayew, or Ayew could feature alone up front.
LIVERPOOL: Sadio Mane is unavailable following injury at Wolves, but fellow Liverpool attacker Divock Origi has passed fit following injury at West Ham. Jurgen Klopp will likely roll with Firmino + Origi + Salah in attack, but if he elects to be cautious with Origi, he could turn either to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Takumi Minamino as the third attacker. Midfielder James Milner remains out, allowing Salah to continue with PK duty.
MANCHESTER CITY: Aymeric Laporte returned from long-term injury to play 77’ at Sheffield United, but he did not feature mid-week and his status is uncertain for the weekend due to fatigue/recovery concern. Wing defender Benjamin Mendy and defensive midfielder/fill-in central defender Fernandinho appear to be game-time decisions.
MANCHESTER UNITED: Midfielder Paul Pogba is expected to be available in GW26, while forward Marcus Rashford will likely have to wait until GW29.
NORWICH CITY: Midfield playmaker Emiliano Buendia is available after missing the previous game.
WATFORD: Midfielder Ismaila Sarr will miss a second straight game with injury.
WEST HAM UNITED: After missing four of the past five games with injury, midfielder Michail Antonio looks to be a game-time decision.
[Source: official Premier League fantasy site]
- Leicester v. Chelsea (early game; XIs should be available before the Fantrax deadline)
- Bournemouth v. Aston Villa
- Crystal Palace v. Sheffield United
- Liverpool v. Southampton
- Newcastle v. Norwich
- Watford v. Everton
- West Ham v. Brighton
- Manchester United v. Wolves (late game)
What changes to your fantasy teams are you pondering before the deadline? Please be sure to share any late-breaking news in the comments for the pre-deadline chat, then come back and join us for the live chat.