There are just two rounds of play left, and for the teams fighting for Europe or Premier League survival, consequences are becoming serious!
And just to throw you a little curve ball, four teams have FA Cup matches this weekend: Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Chelsea. Fatigue, injury and/or suspension could play havoc with their mid-week league lineups!
Let’s review the fixtures and check the injury reports. If you’ve heard any team news please jump in and share it, and then be sure to join us for the Live Chat as the games unfold.
Norwich’s fate is sealed, and the Clarets have nothing to play for either. So will this be a dull affair? Or will the absence of pressure liberate these sides to play free and open football? Clearing some of that smoke will be confirmed lineups about 45 minutes before the Fantrax deadlines.
Norwich outs and doubts: None new.
Burnley outs and doubts: Charlie Taylor will miss out with a hamstring injury.
The Saints are another side with nothing left hanging in the balance. Not so for Bournemouth, however. The Cherries have won just won game under Project Restart, now sitting a mere three points from safety with just two games left. Alarms are sounding for them, and anything but a win on Sunday could doom them to the Championship next year.
Bournemouth outs and doubts: Adam Smith is in a concussion protocol but could graduate in time to play the Saints. Nathan Aké is a serious doubt with a groin injury, and Simon Francis and Chris Mepham will likely miss out with knee issues.
Southampton outs and doubts: None new.
This one should be interesting. Spurs are in seventh place, and although they’ve taken 14 of 21 available points since the league resumed, their route to Europe looks increasingly narrow. The Foxes have squandered what seemed to be a secure hold on third place, winning only two of eight since the return to play. They’ve now fallen to fourth and are tied on points with red-hot Manchester United. Dropped points here could mean the difference between the Champions League and the Europa League for Leicester.
Leicester outs and doubts: Marc Albrighton is out with a knock. Ben Chilwell, Christian Fuchs, and James Maddison will not feature again in 2019-20 due to injury, nor will Çağlar Söyüncü due to suspension.
For all intents and purposes, the Seagulls are safe: While it’s possible that Aston Villa and/or Bournemouth could end the season tied with them on points, Brighton’s goal differential is essentially insurmountable. The Magpies are 13th and cannot finish in the top 10. We’ll have to see if either team shows up ready to play.
Brighton outs and doubts: None new.
Newcastle outs and doubts: Fabian Schar (shoulder), Sean Longstaff (hamstring), Andy Carroll (groin), and Isaac Hayden (hamstring) are serious doubts. Allan Saint-Maximin is touch-and-go with a calf problem.
Both of these teams have been mediocre since the restart. The consequences? There will be no European finish for the Blades, and the Toffees will have to take three points from them to have any hope of a top 10 finish.
Sheffield United outs and doubts: None new.
Everton outs and doubts: Mason Holgate re-injured his shin against Aston Villa and is now a doubt. Yerry Mina is a doubt with a thigh issue.
Wolves’ European dreams are over; they’re in 6th place with essentially no chance of improving that position. The Eagles are safe on 42 points with nothing left to play for.
Wolves outs and doubts: None new.
Crystal Palace outs and doubts: Christian Benteke remains suspended. Patrick Van Aanholt dislocated his shoulder in the United match and now faces a long injury absence.
The Hornets’ defeat at the London Stadium today means that relegation remains a very real threat. With everything left to play for, Manchester City are a side that Watford would prefer not to face next. The Hornets will hope that Pep rests many of City’s first-teamers after tomorrow’s FA Cup exertions.
Watford outs and doubts: Etienne Capoue may recover from a knock in time to feature; otherwise Nigel Pearson has no new injury concerns.
Manchester City outs and doubts: None yet, but the dice will roll in the FA Cup semi before this league match.
The Villans sit in 19th place and are tied on points with Bournemouth. Like the Cherries, a win this round is critical to their survival. Arsenal have no chance of qualifying for Europe via table position, so a berth via the FA Cup is their only hope now. That could work to Aston Villa’s favor, as the Gunners will go all-out against Manchester City tomorrow, potentially forcing Mikel Arteta to field a depleted and fatigued squad for the mid-week league match at Villa Park.
Aston Villa outs and doubts: Courtney Hause and Danny Drinkwater could be ready to return, but Neil Taylor and Bjorn Engels are unlikely to feature.
Arsenal outs and doubts: None new.
The Hammers did themselves a huge favor today, picking up full points against Watford to climb six points clear of the drop. Another win would guarantee safety, and they’d like nothing more than to put that issue to bed at Old Trafford this week. But United are still battling for a Champions League finish, so the Red Devils will put out a strong squad against the Hammers despite United’s FA Cup match on Sunday.
Manchester United outs and doubts: Luke Shaw (ankle) and Brandon Williams (head) are doubts.
West Ham outs and doubts: Ryan Fredericks could be ready to return. Robert Snodgrass has returned to training but is short of match fitness.
With just two games remaining, Frank Lampard has accomplished the improbable feat of positioning his transfer-banned club for a Champions League finish. Chelsea need full points to maintain the upper hand over Leicester and United, so Sunday’s FA Cup match notwithstanding, he’ll put out a full-strength squad against the Reds. But Liverpool are the league champs, they haven’t lost at Anfield in more than three years, and they’re coming off Wednesday’s bitter loss at the Emirates. Good luck Frank!
Liverpool outs and doubts: James Milner is expected to be available after recovering from a muscle issue.
Chelsea outs and doubts: N’Golo Kante won’t be ready for the FA Cup match this weekend, but could be available for the mid-week league game.
Are you avoiding FA Cup teams this round? Which teams are you piling into? Which players are you dropping? Join us in the Comments and lay our your approach to GW 37!