The main news of the week is that Newcastle parted ways with Steve Bruce, which came as little surprise after the big takeover and continued poor results. We await his replacement while a relegation battle remains the immediate focus. The loss against Spurs on the weekend was Steve Bruce’s 1000th game as a manager.
Elsewhere we had plenty of European football, with Liverpool outlasting 10-man Atletico Madrid, Chelsea thrashing Malmo (but losing two forwards to injury), Man City pasting Club Bruges, and Man United coming back from 0-2 down to beat Atalanta.
[ For Fantrax managers, this is the one early match that should publish confirmed lineups about an hour before the Fantrax deadline. ]
The Gunners are in mostly good shape, due to life without European football. However, young sensation Saka will face a late fitness test after receiving a nasty kick on Monday evening. Villa defender Cash is expected to overcome a dead-leg for this one, but a return for midfielder Traoré seems unlikely.
Chelsea vs Norwich
Chelsea suffered a couple of injuries during the midweek fixture; strikers Lukaku and Werner are both ruled out, and Tuchel says they’re likely out multiple weeks. This could be a good time to back some other Blues forwards. Chelsea loanee Billy Gilmour has been out of favor at Norwich and is ineligible to face his parent club in any case (as if anyone here would pick a Norwich “asset”).
Crystal Palace vs Newcastle
Palace has been playing well recently but have faced recent frustration in putting opponents away after conceding in the last kick of the game against Arsenal on Monday. Zaha missed last game-week due to injury but is expected to return against a headless Newcastle. The Magpies have a big boost from the recent return of striker Calum Wilson. Shelvey will miss out due to suspension.
Everton vs Watford
Everton continues to struggle for firepower, forwards Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison to continue missing out. The latter is closer to a return but is unlikely to make it back in time. The injury crisis has worsened for Everton, with star midfielder Doucouré out for a few weeks after sustaining a foot injury. Watford frontman Joshua King is expected to return from a muscular injury.
Leeds vs Wolves
Raphinha will return after missing last time due to travel fatigue, but Phillips looks to have suffered a setback in his recovery from hip injury and will likely miss out. Bamford remains out as are defenders Koch and Ayling. Wolves are on a run of three wins and have no new injury concerns.
Southampton vs Burnley
Saints come into this one off the back of a win, but they will be without captain Ward-Prowse who is suspended till the end of October. Che Adams and Jack Stephens remain out with long-term injuries. Sean Dyche has backed injured pair Taylor and Vydra to return for this one, but Ben Mee remains sidelined. Burnley is still hunting for a first win of the season.
Brighton vs Man City
Graham Potter has some defensive decisions to make with defender Adam Webster set to return to the squad after missing the previous four matches. Danny Welbeck remains out long-term. Man City was able to rotate and make plenty of subs in an easy UCL victory on Tuesday, but Grealish and Cancelo both played the full 90 mins. Ferran Torres remains out and is not expected back until 2022.
Brentford vs Leicester
Brentford looks to get back to winning ways after being unlucky to not get something out of the Chelsea game. Vitaly Janelt should make it back from injury for this one. Foxes’ new boy Patson Daka hasn’t done himself any harm after bagging four goals on Wednesday evening in the Europa League, Leicester enjoying a bit of rotation. Ayoze Pérez will face a late fitness test after missing out midweek.
West Ham talisman Michail Antonio was afforded a rest in Thursday’s Europa League win over Genk. The Hammers fielded a mostly strong side with Benrahma and Fornals making late cameos. Heavily rotated Spurs suffered a shock defeat against Vitesse in the Europa League Conference; they have no fresh injury concerns coming into GW-9.
Man United vs Liverpool
Klopp played his strongest lineup on Tuesday, an impressive victory away at Atletico Madrid. Thankfully there are no new injuries. Curtis Jones remains a slight doubt. Man United made a comeback against Atalanta mid-week, Rashford among the goal scorers, but he suffered a dead-leg and must face a late fitness test for this one, as will midfielder Fred.
What are your predictions for this game-week? Whom are you backing in the Man Utd vs Liverpool match? Please join us in our FPL & Fantrax virtual pub as we face our FRIDAY deadlines, post the lineups, share late-breaking news, and then chat live while the games play out in GW-9!