I often use the preamble of the articles I write to take a retrospective look at the previous fantasy game week. But I’m reluctant to do that this week; the memory of GW 28 is probably best left repressed. Suffice it to say it was one of the worst weeks in my 10+ years of playing fantasy EPL. A comprehensive shambles. Hot mess. Dumpster fire. I even got bounced from the NMA Blog Cup by a personal friend, who fortunately hasn’t gloated over her victory too badly (yet).
So on the advice of my therapist, this is the last time I will ever mention GW 28. Best to just let that dog lie and turn our attention to the future. The upcoming round of EPL fixtures brings us a fairly conventional Saturday/Sunday/Monday split, but in a surprise move, the league also plopped the previously postponed MCI/ARS fixture into the middle of next week, creating a mini double game-week!
Let’s run through the matches and the team news you need to know. Remember that we should have confirmed lineups for the Liverpool/Bournemouth match ahead of the Fantrax transfer deadline, so be sure to be here for that 411.
Saturday 7 March
Liverpool have come unglued lately, losing three of their last four matches across three different competitions. The league defeat to Watford last weekend ended the joint-longest winning streak (18) and second-longest unbeaten streak (44) in English top-flight history. But their home unbeaten run remains intact at 22, and this weekend’s game is at Anfield.
So will this be a really fortunate moment for Bournemouth to face the wounded Reds, or a really unfortunate moment?
Liverpool Outs/Doubts: Jordan Henderson, Alisson, Naby Keita, Xherdan Shaqiri
Bournemouth Outs/Doubts: David Brooks, Charlie Daniels, Harry Wilson (ineligible to face parent club), Lloyd Kelly, Lewis Cook, Chris Mepham
Arsenal have suffered only one league loss under Mikel Arteta, and are undefeated in the Prem in 2020. Yet despite the stabilizing effect their new gaffer has had on the Gunners, they sit in 10th place and are 8 points shy of the top four. They’ll look forward to hosting a Hammers side who’s win over the Saints last weekend was their first since New Year’s Day.
Arsenal Outs/Doubts: Cedric, Callum Chambers, Sead Kolasinac, Shkodran Musatafi, Kieran Tierney, Lucas Torreira
West Ham Outs/Doubts: Ryan Fredericks, Jack Wilshere, Andriy Yarmolenko
Palace have now collected two 1-0 wins on the trot, but prior to that they’d been winless since Boxing Day. Somehow they’re still in 12th place though, and a win against the Cherries could see them crack into the top ten.
Watford, however, are fresh from slaying giants — they brought an end to Liverpool’s record-setting run by beating the Reds 3-0 at Dean Court. Will that buoy the Cherries to further success, or will they suffer from a hangover effect?
Crystal Palace Outs/Doubts: James Tomkins, Cenk Tosun
Watford Outs/Doubts: Gerard Deulofeu, Daryl Janmaat
The Blades had a blank in the last round of EPL play, but they continued their surprising success this season on Wednesday, when they beat Reading to progress in the FA Cup. They currently sit in eighth place with a game in hand, and are still well within striking distance for a tilt at European tournament qualification.
Like Sheffield United, Norwich were also playing football in the Championship last year. But the Canaries have charted a more predictable course this season. Although they knocked off Leicester last weekend, they have managed only one other league win in 2020 and are rooted firmly to the bottom of the table. On 21 points with only ten games remaining, it’s fast becoming do-or-die time for Norwich.
Sheffield United Outs/Doubts: None
Norwich Outs/Doubts: Sam Byram, Emiliano Buendia, Onel Hernández, Tim Klose, Christoph Zimmerman
The Saints have become a bit erratic lately. Strong through the first half of the season, they’ve lost five of their last eight matches across all competitions, winning only two. But Southampton’s fortunes are inextricably linked to the form of Danny Ings, and the striker has gone stone cold lately — he’s managed just a single goal across his last six league games.
The Saints will fancy their chances this weekend, though, when they welcome a Newcastle side that hasn’t won a league game since January 18th, and who have scored only three goals since then.
Southampton Outs/Doubts: Stuart Armstrong, Moussa Djenepo, Nathan Redmond
Newcastle Outs/Doubts: Andy Carroll, Ciaran Clark, Paul Dummett, Jetro Williams
Wolves are tied on points with 5th-place Manchester United, and are just one game outside a Champions League qualification berth. They’ve won their last two in a row and are undefeated in their last six across all competitions, advancing to the Europa League’s Round of 16 last week.
On the other hand, Brighton’s form is dire. They are winless in 2020 across all competitions and are now teetering just one point above the drop zone.
Wolves Outs/Doubts: Jonny, Adama Traore
Brighton Outs/Doubts: José Izquierdo
Burnley have lost only one league match since their New Year’s Day defeat to Aston Villa, and have toppled top-of-the-table giants such as Leicester City and Manchester United along the way. That run of form has seen them climb into the upper half of the table, where they sit in 9th place, just four points outside of European qualification.
Tottenham started 2020 relatively well but have since slumped into a four-game losing streak across all competitions, and Wednesday they were bounced from the FA Cup by Norwich. They are desperately in need of a win tomorrow, but that will be a tall order at Turf Moor against an in-form Clarets side.
Burnley Outs/Doubts: Ashley Barnes, Ben Gibson, Johann Berg-Gudmundsson, Matthew Lowton
Spurs Outs/Doubts: Harry Kane, Hugo Lloris, Moussa Sissoko, Heung-Min Son
Sunday 8 March
Chelsea have been a model of inconsistency this season. For example, they only have two league wins in 2020, but on Tuesday they defeated the Liverpool juggernaut in the 5th round of the FA Cup. Billy Gilmour starred in the No. 10 role and Kepa Arrizabalaga played well and collected a clean sheet in that game, so it will be interesting to see if either man keeps his place against Everton on Sunday.
The loss to Arsenal followed by the tie with Manchester United has seen the Toffees tumble out of the Top 10. But Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been a goal-scoring machine under Carlo Ancelotti, and Chelsea’s defense can be obliging.
Chelsea Outs/Doubts: Tammy Abraham, Andreas Christensen, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Jorginho (suspended), N’Golo Kanté, Mateo Kovacic, Christian Pulisic, Willian
Everton Outs/Doubts: Seamus Coleman, Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Morgan Schneiderlin
Manchester United vs Manchester City
Manchester United have finally been able to stitch together some consistency lately. Since their loss to Burnley on January 22, they’ve gone on a nine-game unbeaten streak across all competitions. That run has positioned them in 5th place, just one game outside a Champions League berth. To a large extent that run is down to the form of Anthony Martial and Bruno Fernandes, but it’ll take a good performance from all the Red Devils to muster a result against the Citizens.
For City, the Manchester Derby is the first match in a double-game week that pits them against two of the perennial Big Six. With the league title essentially out of reach, though, loading up on City’s DGW is risky business given Pep Guardiola’s proclivity for rotating.
United Outs/Doubts: Daniel James, Harry Maguire, Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, Aaron Wan-Bissaka
City Outs/Doubts: Kevin De Bruyne, Aymeric Laporte, Leroy Sane
Monday 9 March
Leicester beat West Ham on January 22 but haven’t won since. Yet somehow they’re still in third place and ahead of Chelsea by five points. They’ll have a good opportunity to take a result from the home match against the Villans, who have only won once in the league since New Year’s Day and sit in 19th-place (with a game in hand).
Leicester Outs/Doubts: none
Aston Villa Outs/Doubts: Tom Heaton, John McGinn, Wesley
Wednesday 11 March
Manchester City vs Arsenal
This rescheduled match created the double game-week, and also caused a bit of fixture congestion for both clubs. The addition of this mid-week tie means Arsenal will now play three league games in the span of a week, while City will play three league matches over six days followed by the second leg of their Champions League clash with Real Madrid three days later. We can therefore expect rotation to rear its ugly head, especially with respect to Man City.
To add further interest, this match also pits Pep Guardiola against his fomer assistant, Mikel Arteta.
Outs/Doubts: covered above
How heavily will you invest in double game-week players? Which DG’ers are must-haves, and which are you avoiding? Are you burning any FPL chips this week? Join the chat and let us know!