From Saturday onward, three EPL game-weeks will be played in just 10 days, so fantasy managers should beware of rotation. December has always been hectic, so having a strong bench is essential as we enter the busy festive period.
Saturday, Nov. 27
Arsenal v Newcastle
[ This is the lone early match, so Fantrax managers should see these two lineups confirmed in the hour before their deadline. Tune in here for those lineups, late-breaking news, and discussion in the comments during the countdown hour. ]
Under new manager Eddie Howe last week, the Magpies finally found the key to unlock their attacking threat in a 3-3 draw to Brentford with an impressive 23 shots during the fixture. While, Liverpool ended Arsenal’s ten-game unbeaten run. Still, with their impressive young talent in form, the Gunners will likely have the edge, and they have the home advantage factor as well.
Arsenal outs/doubts: Granit Xhaka is making good progress in his recovery from his knee injury but is still weeks away from a return. Sead Kolasinac is out with an ankle injury.
Newcastle outs/doubts: Paul Dummet has returned to training after recovering from a long-term calf injury, but this weekend will come too soon. Dwight Gayle is a doubt with a hamstring niggle.
* Arsenal has beaten Newcastle in 16 of their last 17 Premier League meetings, with Newcastle’s only victory coming in April, 2018.
* Newcastle is the only team in the top four tiers of English football without a win this season.
* Newcastle has conceded the most league goals (27) and has yet to keep a clean sheet. The Magpies have scored two more goals (15) than Arsenal.
Prediction: 2 – 1
Crystal Palace v Aston Villa
The Eagles have been performing very well under Patrick Viera, but they need to convert their draws into wins. Their seven-game unbeaten streak is now the longest. At Villa, Steven Gerrard started off well against Brighton in his first game. One can see goals being scored in this fixture, but it does look like another draw is coming for both to share a point each.
Crystal Palace outs/doubts: Nathan Ferguson is building match fitness after recovering from a long-term Achilles injury. James McAArthur is out out with a hamstring problem.
Aston Villa outs/doubts: Bertrand Traore (thigh) is still weeks away from a return. Trezeguet has returned from a knee-injury absence, but is still short of match fitness.
* Palace has won its last three home fixtures against Villa.
* Palace is unbeaten at home in the Premier League this season (W2 D4).
* Villa has won only one away game this season (L5), 1-0 at Man United.
Prediction: 2 –2
Liverpool v Southampton
Jurgen Klopp and Co can aim for an easy win against Southampton despite the latter’s back line performing well at times. The Reds will likely rotate star players and still claim all three points at Anfield. However, Klopp’s men at the back have not been stable this term, so a clean sheet will be a tough ask perhaps.
Liverpool outs/doubts: Roberto Firmino (hamstring), Joe Gomez (calf), Curtis Jones (eye), Naby Keita (hamstring), and Harvey Elliott (ankle) will all miss out.
Southampton outs/doubts: Stuart Armstrong is out with a calf problem. Jack Stephens (knee) is a doubt but will be assessed.
* Liverpool has won seven of the last eight Premier League games against Southampton, the loss in January last season.
* Liverpool is the only team to have scored in every Premier League match this season.
* Southampton has lost 13 away matches this calendar year, conceding 43 goals — both more than any other Premier League team.
Prediction: 3 – 1
Norwich v Wolves
Dean Smith started his tenure as Norwich manager with a 2-1 win over Southampton, the club managing back-to-back wins in the Premier League for the first time since April 2016. For Wolves, Bruno Lage managed an impressive 1-0 win over West Ham to sit sixth in the table. Norwich will likely take a while to adapt to Dean Smith’s ideology, which favors Wolves to grab all three points.
Norwich outs/doubts: Neither Christoph Zimmerman (ankle) nor Sam Byram (hamstring) will feature.
Wolves outs/doubts: Willy Boly (muscle), Jonny (knee), and Pedro Neto (knee) are all out.
* Wolves did the double over Norwich the last time both were in the Premier League.
* Wolves have won five of their last seven matches (D1 L1) to move up to sixth.
* Norwich has scored only seven goals this season, the fewest in the league.
Prediction: 0 – 1
Brighton v Leeds
The Seagulls began the campaign in impressive style but have been winless in their previous eight fixtures. Leeds faces the same issue as last season; always moving forward and exposing the back. The Peacocks blew last week’s lead against Tottenham and ended with a defeat. Both these sides are vulnerable, so another draw is possible.
Brighton outs/doubts: Danny Welbeck is out with a hamstring injury. Steven Alzate will miss with an ankle injury.
Leeds outs/doubts: Robin Koch is out with a pelvic issue, and Patrick Bamford will miss with an ankle injury. Both are nearing returns.
* Leeds has lost eight of the last nine league meetings with Brighton in the top two tiers.
* Brighton is on a seven-match winless run (D5 L2), dropping to ninth.
* Leeds has lost on their last five trips to Brighton without scoring a single goal.
Prediction: 1 – 1
Sunday, Nov. 28
Brentford v Everton
Everton is winless in six, while conceding 12 goals. Now plenty of their regular players such as Demarai Gray and Richarlison are either injured or suspended. The Bees have just one point from the previous five games but will fancy their chances for this fixture.
Brentford outs/doubts: David Raya Martin (knee) and Kristoffer Ajer (hamstring) are long-term absentees. Zanka is a doubt with a muscle injury.
Everton outs/doubts: Andre Gomes (calf), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (thigh), Yerry Mina (hastring), and Tom Davies (knee) will all miss out. Abdoulaye Doucoure and Demarai Gray are doubts. Mason Holgate and Richarlison are suspended.
* Everton has won five of the last six league games in London (L1).
* Brentford has not won at home since beating Arsenal on opening day (D1 L4).
* Everton and Brentford have both taken one point from their last five Premier League matches, fewer than any other teams.
Prediction: 1 – 2
Burnley v Tottenham
Interestingly, Burnley has had a tough time keeping the ball out of their net this term, but has instead been scoring themselves. Having netted 14 times, which is more than Arsenal’s 13 at the moment, while keeping just one clean sheet (against Norwich). On the other hand, Spurs were stunned 2-1 by Slovenian side Mura in the Europa Conference League, and Antonio Conte is firing shots about his future and stating the club’s level after just three weeks in charge. Anything can happen in this fixture, depending on who rises up in form, but another draw seems likely.
Burnley outs/doubts: Dale Stephens (ankle) and Ashley Barnes (thigh) are out. Jay Rodriguez and Matej Vydra are doubts, both with muscle injuries. Ashley Westwood and James Tarkowski are suspended.
Tottenham outs/doubts: Giovanni Lo Celso is a doubt with a knock. Cristian Romero is out with a muscle problem.
* Tottenham has lost just once in the previous 12 Premier League meetings against Burnley (W8 D3).
* Spurs striker Harry Kane has only one goal in 11 appearances this season, but he has scored or assisted in each of his last six league games against Burnley (seven goals plus three assists).
* Burnley is unbeaten in the last four Premier League matches (W1 D3).
Prediction: 1 – 1
Leicester v Watford
Leicester’s 3-1 win over Legia Warszawa at home in the European Conference means the Foxes have ended a four-game winless run. They’ll have momentum going into this fixture after a tough 3-0 loss to Chelsea last week. Meanwhile, one often wonders what to expect from Watford this term. Claudio Ranieri’s men surprised everybody when they thrashed Man United 4-1, but they’ve also lost 5-0 to Liverpool. The Hornets are an unpredictable team so far, so this is a hit or a miss situation — Fun to watch but I wouldn’t invest much fantasy capital.
Leicester outs/doubts: Youri Tielemans (calf) and Ricardo Pereira (hamstring) will miss. James Justin and Wesly Fofana are long-term absentees. Jonny Evans is a doubt with a thigh injury.
Watford outs/doubts: Ismalia Sarr (knee), Christian Kabesele (match fitness), Nicolas N’koulou (hamstring), Ken Sema (knee), and Francisco Sierralta (hamstring) are all out.
* Watford has never kept a clean sheet in 20 top-flight games against Leicester.
* Four of the last five matches between the sides had a goal in the 90th minute.
* Leicester striker Jamie Vardy has scored five Premier League goals against Watford, including each of their last three home games.
Prediction: 2 – 0
Man City v West Ham
Even without KDB, City was untouchable and even a bit classy in the 2-1 win against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League. Guardiola has transformed this team; it’s just scary to see how they keep improving every single week even when they play without a proper striker. West Ham looks to bounce back from a 1-0 defeat to Wolves but will find it extremely difficult to match the Citizens right now.
Man City outs/doubts: Kevin De Bruyne is isolating for COVID. Ferran Torres is out with a foot injury. Phil Foden and Jack Grealish are both serious doubts with knocks. Benjamin Mendy remains suspended by his club.
West Ham outs/doubts: Angelo Ogbonna is out with a knee injury.
* Pep Guardiola has never lost to West Ham as City boss (W9 D1).
* West Ham has won only once in their last 15 league trips to City (D1 L13).
* City has kept five clean sheets in six home games this season, conceding only in a 2-0 defeat by Palace last month.
Prediction: 3 – 1
Chelsea v Man United
This should be the marquee match of the week, but times have changed in the Manchester United camp. But Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer is out and Ralf Rangnick is set to take the wheel as interim manager to the end of the season. However, Michael Carrick will still be in the managerial dugout at Stamford Bridge while Rangnick finds a work visa etc. Carrick will hope the Red Devils come to this game with confidence after a clean-sheet win over Villareal in the Champions League. However, the Blues are top of the table and have qualified themselves for the next stage of the Champions League by thumping Juventus 4-0 at home. Thomas Tuchel has really transformed this team, so he’s surely favored to grab all three points in this fixture.
Chelsea outs/doubts: Mateo Kovacic (hamstring) and Ben Chilwell (knee) are out. N’golo Kante is a doubt with a knee injury.
Manchester United outs/doubts: Paul Pogba is a long-term absentee with a thigh issue. Raphael Varane is out with a hamstring injury. Edinson Cavani, Mason Greenwood, and Fred are all doubts. Harry Maguire is suspended.
* Chelsea is winless in the last seven league matches against Manchester United (D4 L3) since winning in November, 2017.
* United has not conceded a goal in its last four Premier League meetings with Chelsea.
* United has not lost in the last 11 league games in London (W7 D4).
Prediction: 3 – 1
[All key facts sourced from Reuters , fantasyfootballscout, and Premier League]
What are your predictions for these fixtures? What are your thoughts about the Chelsea v United game? What are your fantasy strategies for the week? Any popular player whom you hope will earn you points (or be someone else’s flop)? Whom are you adding and dropping? Who’s on your barn door watchlist? Please let us know in the comments below, and if you hear any late fitness news (e.g. Covid-19 or injury), please share!