Round 34’s raft of mid-week games is complete, so we now turn our attention to Game-week 35. When this upcoming slate of fixtures concludes, we’ll be less than two weeks away from the Grand Finale on 26 July!
Let’s run through the weekend’s schedule and check the injury reports for each club.
West Ham and Norwich are both in horrible form. The Hammers have taken only four points from the 15 on offer since the league fired to life again, while Norwich have claimed none. On just 21 points with only four games left, Norwich’s canary seems all but cooked. But the Hammers’ hopes are still alive, so they’ll view a victory here as a crucial step towards survival.
Note: We will have lineups for this match ahead of the Fantrax deadline, so join us in the count-down hour to buy a guaranteed extra Hammer or two.
Norwich outs and doubts: Todd Cantwell is expected to be available after recovering from a hamstring issue.
West Ham outs and doubts: None new.
Like West Ham, Watford sit four points above the drop zone and are fighting for their Premier League lives. Having already secured survival, the Magpies are set for a comfortable mid-table finish and would seem to have little to play for. But they are coming off an 0-5 dismantling by the clinical football machine that is Manchester City, so Steve Bruce will expect a reaction from his men.
Note: We will have lineups for this match ahead of the Fantrax deadline, so ditto if you have an eye on any assets/enablers here.
Watford outs and doubts: Nigel Pearson has no fresh injury worries.
Newcastle outs and doubts: Steve Bruce hopes to have Allan Saint-Maximin, Emil Krafth, and Jamaal Lascelles back to face the Hornets.
Although Klopp is no longer routinely fielding his template XI, by all indications he is still intent on winning games. That is not good news for Burnley’s four-game unbeaten streak, especially with Mohamed Salah chasing the Golden Boot. Owners of Nick Pope will have to be brave to keep the faith with Burnley’s net-minder for this contest.
Liverpool outs and doubts: Jordan Henderson suffered a season-ending knee injury in the victory over Brighton, but Jurgen Klopp hopes to have Dejan Lovren available for Burnley.
Burnley outs and doubts: None new.
Tuesday’s 3-2 escape from Crystal Palace saw Chelsea climb to third in the table, while Sheffield United’s smash-and-grab drew them to within a point Wolves. This is a contest with crucial consequences for Europe, then, and both teams will want to leave the pitch with full points.
Sheffield United outs and doubts: Dean Wilder is hoping to have John Fleck, Oliver McBurnie, and David McGoldrick back for the visit of the Blues.
Chelsea outs and doubts: Billy Gilmour will miss the run-in after undergoing knee surgery, but Frank Lampard should have Mateo Kovacic available for selection after the midfielder recovered from an Achilles problem.
Having already had to play two of the league’s form teams (United and Liverpool) since the restart, Brighton now have to square off with the Sky Blues. The Citizens have won five of the seven games they’ve played under Project Restart, scoring a whopping twenty goals while conceding only three. Brighton have not yet secured safety, and it’s hard to imagine they’ll make any progress in that mission tomorrow.
Brighton outs and doubts: Graham Potter has no new injury worries.
Manchester City outs and doubts: Like his counterpart, Pep Guardiola has no new issues except those he conjures from the roulette wheel in his own mind.
Having won just once since returning to play, the Toffees might wish they were still in lock-down. Wolves had won three in a row, but were defeated by Arsenal before Sheffield United pulled a smash-and-grab at the death on Wednesday. Now two games out of fifth, their European hopes are fading fast. Full points will be crucial for them on Sunday.
Wolves outs and doubts: On 8 July, Adama Traore dislocated his shoulder for the fourth time this season, but he has since been seen in training and could potentially feature. Pedro Neto, who suffered a knock last time out, could also pass fit.
Everton outs and doubts: Mason Holgate and Andre Gomes are doubts.
Palace are safe but have little left to accomplish. The Villans, however, are in dire trouble. Even if they run the table from here out, they can only finish with 39 points. That’s not likely to be enough to avoid the drop even if they can pull off that kind of run. A loss on Sunday would make survival all but impossible. Expect them to come at the Eagles with everything they’ve got.
Aston Villa outs and doubts: Matt Targett could come back into contention for the visit of Crystal Palace, but otherwise the Villans are without fresh injury news.
Crystal Palace outs and doubts: Gary Cahill will likely miss the rest of the season after picking up a hamstring injury against Chelsea on Tuesday, but Martin Kelly should come back into contention this weekend.
Tottenham have taken seven points from the five games they’ve played since the league sprang back into action, but even those mediocre results belie their performances. They’ve been poor, with most of the blame resting with their whiny Portuguese manager. This is the North London Derby, though, so if there is any match Spurs would be up for, it is this one, and many fantasy managers will be banking on Harry Kane to maintain his amazing strike record against the Gunners. For their part, Arsenal are on a five-game unbeaten run and will want to add another game to that streak when they square off against their neighbor-rivals.
Tottenham outs and doubts: Mourinho has no new injury concerns, but on Wednesday Eric Dier was handed a four-match ban for climbing into the stands to protect his brother during TOT’s FA Cup loss to Norwich back in March.
Arsenal outs and doubts: Like his Portuguese counterpart, Mikel Arteta has no fresh injury worries. But Eddie Nketiah will serve a three-match ban (across all competitions) after being shown red in Tuesday’s match with Leicester.
Bournemouth have been lousy since the lockdown lifted, their four-game losing streak broken only when they drew with palsied Tottenham yesterday. The Cherries have scored just three goals over those five games while conceding twelve.
The Foxes have won just once while tying three times, so they’re not exactly in great form either. This could actually be a fun match, with Bournemouth desperate to beat the drop and Leicester determined to stay in the top four. The kicker will be returned-to-form Jamie Vardy in contention for the Golden Boot and facing a defense that has shipped twelve goals in five matches.
Bournemouth outs and doubts: Adam Smith will miss out with a head injury. Eddie Howe has no other new injury concerns.
Leicester outs and doubts: James Maddison and Ben Chilwell are serious doubts.
Speaking of fun matches to watch, I don’t think there’s a more exciting team in the Prem than Manchester United right now. The Red Devils are unbeaten in 17 games across all competitions, scoring 17 goals in 6 games since Project Restart launched. The Saints don’t really need this win, and that’s probably a good thing.
Manchester United outs and doubts: None new.
Southampton outs and doubts: None new.
Will the form teams maintain their pace this week? Will any of the struggling sides turn their fortunes around? What will the race for Europe look like after GW 35? And the battle to beat the drop? What will Jose Mourinho’s complaint be this week? Please tell us in the Comments!