At least this game “week” we get some rescheduled matches ten days out: Southampton vs Brentford plus Everton vs Leicester are now scheduled to play on Jan 11, and then West Ham vs Norwich plays Jan 12.
In addition to Covid, we are also keeping an eye on the upcoming AFCON tournament with a host of Premier League players unavailable after this weekend.
Saturday, Jan 1
These are two of the in-form sides. Arsenal’s new fan favorite, Tomiyasu is unavailable after testing positive for Covid-19, along with Cedric and Chambers, meaning that White is likely to feature at right-back. Mikel Arteta, (who will also be absent with Covid-19) looks to continue freezing out Aubameyang. A City trio of Stones, Rodri and Walker will face late fitness tests.
Watford vs Tottenham
Watford continues to have problems at the back with Fermenia joining Rose on the sidelines. The Hornets will be delighted that their step goalscorer, Dennis has been excused from attending AFCON this month. Spurs are mostly in good shape, with forward Bergwijn out with a calf injury but no return date.
Crystal Palace vs West Ham
Anderson and Gallagher are unlikely to return this one (hamstring & Covid-19, respectively). McArthur remains out without a return date. Ayew will feature in the AFCON this month, so this will most likely be his last game for the Eagles until his nation is eliminated (or wins). For the Hammers, Fornals is out with Covid-19. Creswell looks unlikely to return and will join Ogbonna and Zouma on the sidelines.
Sunday, Jan 2
Brentford vs Aston Villa
Brentford’s injury crisis continues as Mbeumo looks set to miss out again (calf) along with Janelt (Covid-19). Defenders Henry, Zanka and Goode remain out, with Ajer unlikely to return yet from his hamstring injury. Fernandez continues to deputize for the injured Raya, but Lossl will soon arrive to compete for that #1 slot. Defensive duo Mings and Young will miss out (suspension & toe injury, respectively). Prediction: 2-2
Everton vs Brighton
Everton forward Richarlison will miss out again due to a calf injury, along with Andros Townsend and Yerry Mina. Dunk will miss out for Brighton, possibly returning next week, and Trossard will face a late fitness test after missing out last time. Brighton is hoping to build on their well-deserved point last time out against Chelsea.
Leeds vs Burnley
Leeds continues to have injury struggles with three defenders out (Cooper, Struijk, Cresswell) as well as two midfielders (Phillips, Shackleton) as well as forward Patrick Bamford. Burnley is likely to miss Pope and Rodriguez due to Covid. Cornet looks unlikely to recover from his injury in time, with Brownhill also set to miss out.
James and Christensen look set to miss out. Klopp has revealed that there are four new positive Covid tests that will cause “surprise” when Sunday’s lineup card is published, so approach Liverpool assets with caution (as if Tuchel’s defensive tactics weren’t already enough reason).
Monday, Jan 3
Man United vs Wolves
Ronaldo is back among the goals for the Red Devils. Lindelof will be hoping to be available for selection after missing out the last two with Covid-19, and Bailly may miss out after picking up a knock last time out. Ait Nouri faces late news after missing the last two games. Hwang remains out until February.
The added rescheduled matches below are so far out (ten days is an eternity in this topsy-turvy season!) that they can’t be analyzed or predicted yet. Covid could hit them again (or any individual player). Snow could bury them. A full slate of FA Cup matches plays on Jan 7 & 8, which could affect who’s available afterward. More clubs are negotiating to excuse or delay AFCON call-ups. More matches could be added here as this weekend’s buggered teams recover.
And then there’s the January transfer window that could sell your assets out from under you (or buy a star who kicks your guy to the bench) — We already know Brentford is borrowing Jonas Lossl, so by Jan 11 he may have displaced Fernandez as Brentford’s #1.
Any of these developments could upend whatever DGW you think you have right now, so treat these as possible sweeteners, but don’t wreck a good team assuming that today’s schedule is set in stone.
Tuesday, Jan 11
- Southampton vs Brentford
- Everton vs Leicester
Wednesday, Jan 12
- West Ham vs Norwich
What are your predictions for this game-week? Please join us in our FPL & Fantrax virtual pub comment section as we face our deadlines, post the lineups, share late-breaking news, and then chat live while the games play out in GW-21!