Saturday 3 October
This is our one early match that should provide confirmed lineups in the hour before the Fantrax deadline.
Chelsea’s comeback last week was fantastic, but the fact that they needed the come back was not. Their new signings are clearly still struggling to settle in. Cesar Azpilicueta’s introduction at half time may signal his return to solidify their defense, and new signing Edouard Mendy should get the start in goal.
The Eagles have started the season well, losing their first game to Everton. They have been solid across the field, playing like a team that knows who they are. This could be a hard fought game and great way to start the weekend.
Injuries: Christian Pulisic could be in the squad for Chelsea, but most likely won’t get the start. But we will be able to see the lineups. Hakim Ziyech is still not ready. CP’s list is long, but they continue to battle through it: Patrick van Aanholt, James Tomkins, Gary Cahill, Michy Batshuayi. There are concerns about Scott Dann and Jeffrey Schlupp still.
The Toffees are undefeated, and their new signings have fit in perfectly to complement other key players. They look confident and strong with lots of fantasy options across the field.
Brighton sit unsurprisingly mid table. As usual, they will put up a fight, and as usual they will not be favorites.
Injuries: Richarlison picked up a knock midweek, so he is a slight doubt but trending towards healthy. No key injuries to report for Brighton.
We can surmise that there will be goals in this one. Leeds have scored eight and given up seven, even though they scraped by with 1-0 win last weekend.
City may be reeling from last week’s embarrassing loss. I have seen City bounce back with a vengeance after games such as those. Not all of CIty’s attackers have hit full stride yet, but Leed’s open defense may be the tonic they need to get back on track. I’m looking heavily at City attacking players.
Injuries: Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus are both sidelined, limiting Pep’s rotation options and making your choice easier. Joao Cancelo and John Stones are also out. For Leeds Pablo Hernandez is out, and Jack Harrison is unavailable against his home club per his loan agreement.
Still not sure what to think of Newcastle. One stellar performance, one not so good, and one in between. If I’m reading my stats correctly (from Fantrax) the Magpies have a scant three shots on target but three goals from them. So good efficiency, but not enough chances being created. Perhaps the fact that their keeper Darlow has almost double the Fantrax points of any outfielder says it all. Allan Saint-Maximin should return which boosts their offfense.
Burnley have yet to win, although they have a game in hand. The Clarets have missed the leadership of James Tarkowski in back, and his return should help. They remain without many scoring options, so a strong back line and solid goalkeeping are a must.
Injuries: As stated, fantasy studs James Tarkowski and Allan Saint-Maximin return for their squads. Matt Ritchie will miss out for Newcastle, which leaves room for others players to take set pieces and corners. Martin Dubravka still needs time, but Karl Darlow has filled in quite nicely, making eleven (yes eleven!) saves against Spurs last weekend.
Sunday 4 October
The Foxes have twelve goals in their first three games while conceding only four. I know it’s early, but they sit top of the table and look ready to stay. Jamie Vardy looks confident and hungry. Just as important, he is receiving consistent service from Harvey Barnes, James Justin, and Timothy Castagne among others.
Something clicked for West Ham last week. The Hammers’ first two games were cause for concern, but last week they displayed what they are capable of. Unfortunately, they come against a red hot Leicester, but if they play like they did last week, I think this could be a high scoring and fun game. However, if Hammers play like they did in games one and two, Leicester could dominate all game.
Injuries: Ryan Fredericks is out for West Ham. Wilfred Ndidi is out for Leicester. Dennis Praet who has started up to now is a doubt.
Saints have only scored three goals so far, and they all belong to Danny Ings. He and his attack partners should have chances this weekend against the leaky Baggies’ worst defense in the league. I don’t trust them defensively... Oh wait, I do, but in the wrong direction.
West Brom have clearly shown that they are not afraid to go after teams, but they also have not yet figured out how to defend in the EPL yet. They have given up a league leading 11 goals, and the three to Chelsea in the 2nd half had to be disheartening.
Injuries: Nathan Redmond looks to be back and could provide a much needed spark for Southampton. Kieran Gibbs is out for his red card; a few others are hurt, but are you really looking at West Brom defenders?
I still like what I’m seeing from the Gunners this year despite the loss to Liverpool. One has to wonder where Alexandre Lacazette was all of last year: three goals in three games for the Frenchman this term. They are still settling in at the back, but at least their attacking players seem to be on the same page most of the time giving them a chance for a solid win against Sheffield.
The Blades have yet to score. They are still not giving up many goals, only four so far, but you have to score at some point to win. They are a team in need of a result.
Injuries: Kieran Tierney returns, but still Arsenal have a small list of secondary injured defenders. Gabriel Magalhaes sat out last weekend before playing a full 90 minutes in who-cares cup action midweek, so he may not be preferred for league play (YMMV). Forward Lys Mousset and defender Jack O’Connell will not be in the squad for Sheffield.
I had to check the stats when I saw that Wolves have only scored three times this year. But it’s true, they gave up seven goals in their last two games. Now they play Fulham who sit bottom of the table. I think there are some goals here for hungry Wolves attackers.
The Cottagers have given up ten goals while scoring only thrice. Aleksandar Mitrovic and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa are both solid attacking options, but otherwise I’m staying far away from Fulham.
Injuries: Fernando Marcal and Daniel Podence are possible but doubtful for Wolves. Fulham has no key injuries, but does anyone care?
Here are two “top-six” teams aiming for about the same spot in the table, so this should be one of the best matches to watch this weekend. I’m interested to see how Ole Gunnar Solskjaer approaches the game and how he sets his starting 11. Paul Pogba has disappointed thus far, and there are other better options available in that role. Defensively United have not look in sync, but some of that weakness starts in front of their back line. The Red Devils have yet to click on the attacking end of the field, but that looks like just a matter of time.
Spurs look inconsistent for a team aiming for a top 6. GW-2 was a masterclass. Last week, not so much. The loss of Son Heung-Min is a major hit for Spurs. But we may get a chance to see Sergio Reguilon in defense.
Injuries: Harry Maguire has a knock but is expected to recover in time to start for Man Utd. Bruno Fernandes looks fit to play and wasn’t mentioned by Ole in his report. Spurs’ Gareth Bale remains out, and Son is a long shot to even make the bench. Giovani Lo Celso is also a doubt.
One of these teams has yet to be scored on, and it’s not Liverpool. The Villans have two clean sheets, and Emiliano Martinez’s signing has already made a difference. But let’s not get too excited, as those wins were against lowly Fulham and Sheffield United. This game should show us a little bit more about what to expect.
The Reds have been doing what the Reds did much of last year, which is to find ways to win, dispatching Leeds, Chelsea and Arsenal despite some struggles. While Salah and company have remained a constant threat, defensively they have made mistakes which were unheard of last season. The Covid-19 sequestrations of Thiago Alcantara and Mane for the weekend will test Liverpool’s depth, especially upfront. However, I can’t see them struggling too much against a bottom-half side.
Injuries: Mane just tested positive for coronavirus and will miss this weekend’s match. He joins Thiago Alcantara and a bunch of long-term absentees in the physio’s office. Henderson remains a major doubt, as does Joel Matip. Expect either Diogo Jota or Divock Origi to start in place of Mane. Villa’s Jack Grealish is back in training and expected to start despite leaving Monday’s match early, so Villa could name an unchanged squad.
It should be another exciting weekend in the EPL. What changes are you making at the death? Which match-up has the most goals in it? How are you holding onto or dropping? Which match do you most want to watch as a fan? Please join us in the comments below!