Fantasy Premier League managers had a week to rest ahead of game-week 24, but the players didn’t. Manchester City, Leicester, Brighton, Sheffield United, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, Wolves, Southampton, and Chelsea all played mid-week FA Cup fixtures.
The Citizens, Foxes, Blades, Toffees, Saints, and Blues all celebrated their advancement to the sixth round, but there were casualties. Andreas Christensen was subbed off at halftime after sustaining a head injury, but Thomas Tuchel has subsequently revealed that he did not suffer a concussion. Rodri came off with a knock, although Pep “thinks” he will pass fit (which in Pep’s mind could mean “fit enough to be rotated”). Dominic Calvert-Lewin tweaked his hamstring, and has been ruled out of at least the first game of Everton’s double. Lucas Digne was also substituted with a reported knock, but Carlo Ancelotti has provided no updates on his status. Worst of all, James Justin suffered a season-ending ACL injury — a tragedy in real life as well as in fantasy.
In addition to all the on-field carnage, we also need to be concerned about rest and rotation, both in the wake of the mid-week FA Cup matches and ahead of the upcoming UEFA Champions League round of 16. For example, as enticing as a double-game week for league-leading Manchester City sounds, many of us will surely feel the sting of Pep roulette as the Sky Blues play five games across all competitions over a span of two weeks.
But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves; for now let’s stay focused on what is right in front of us, which is a DGW for four teams (BUR, FUL, EVE & MCI). Below is an overview of the league matches on the slate for this weekend, along with team news and injury reports.
Leicester vs Liverpool
[ This is our one early match that should give confirmed lineups about an hour before the Fantrax deadline. Unlike most weeks, your teams might have some stars from these lineups even though they’re not double-gamers. ]
Leicester: Ex-Liverpool manager Brendon Rodgers must be licking his lips, surely eyeing Liverpool as a lame animal there for the poaching. This attitude could help or hinder his team. It makes sense to attack Liverpool’s defense, which has been sketchy lately. But on the flip side, Liverpool is still very dangerous from the counter, so I do expect goals at both ends.
Fun fact: Klopp’s side has conceded a joint league-high seven penalties this season.
Injuries: The Foxes’ full-back James Justin, who has been vital to their campaign for a top-four spot, is out for the season after wrecking his ACL during the FA Cup win over Brighton (do not play the video with women or children in the room). Timothy Castagne, Dennis Praet, and Wesley Fofana all remain sidelined as well.
Liverpool: Klopp’s men need to continue their solid away form with good performances against Tottenham and West Ham. I feel after the humbling from Manchester City this wounded animal may be ready to pounce for the very much- needed three points.
Injuries: Liverpool is without Fabinho (muscle injury), so this could hand an opportunity to one of the deadline-day signings. Ben Davies (not Spurs’ Ben Davies) and Ozan Kabak are both available and under consideration.
Crystal Palace vs Burnley
Crystal Palace: It’s sad to say, but no Wilfried Zaha means no Palace. The only thing that can saLvage this game is Roy Hodgson’s defensive mindset and the hope for goals through set pieces or counter-attacks.
Burnley: Sean Dyche’s men are a reflection of their manager: strong, stubborn guys you would not want to challenge in a dark alley. With Pope back, Burnley looks much stronger and well-drilled defensively, and this will allow the away side joy in the final third and on set pieces.
The Clarets have kept five away clean sheets, a tally bettered only by Aston Villa. But their Achilles heel is in the attacking half of the pitch; they are the division’s lowest scorers, with a measly 14 goals in 23 matches.
Injuries: Burnley have their star man Nick Pope back between the sticks, and he’ll be joined by Jack Cork who also missed Tuesday’s FA Cup defeat.
Charlie Taylor, Robbie Brady, and top scorer Chris Wood all remain doubts according to manager Sean Dyche.
Manchester City vs Tottenham
Manchester City: After a shakey start to the season, Pep’s men now seem to be dancing to his flute: No matter who steps in, they all step up and play like champions. However, opposite chess-master Mourinho loves this type of match, and he will be eager to put one over his rival (coincidently City’s last loss was against Jose’s men). With this game being part of a double game-week, we can probably expect the unexpected from Pep’s lineups.
Injuries: Ruben Dias (illness) and Rodrigo (injury) are expected to recover in time, but Fernandinho will miss out with a thigh problem.
Tottenham: Jose has been hitting the headlines due to his comments about how Bale allegedly ruled himself out of the F.A cup fixture against Everton. This week’s game will be a classic Jose performance that he hopes will end with a result. Both Kane and Son will be key to Jose’s set-up in the final third.
Injuries: Bale, according to Bale, is injured.
Brighton Vs Aston Villa
Brighton: Brighton endeavors to complete a league double over Aston Villa for the first time ever. Can Mr. Potter wave his wand and get a magical result against the Villans?
Aston Villa: Villa’s recent performances have been... inconsistent. But Villa does have the talent to help through tough times. Key man Jack Grealish will play a front-and-center role in this fixture, with Ollie Watkins co-starring.
Injuries: Kortney Hause and long-term absentee Wesley are the only players ruled out.
Southampton vs Wolves
Southampton: Southampton skidding in the league, having dropped five matches in a row. But the Saints did muster a win at Wolves in the FA Cup on Thursday. This game seems like two teams down on their knees and in desperate need of a victory.
Wolves: Wolves were on a bad run themselves, but they reacted by beating Arsenal and drawing with Leicester before losing to Saints in the F.A Cup on Thursday. They’ll hope this rematch goes better.
Injuries: Fernando Marcal, Raul Jimenez, Willy Boly and Daniel Podence all remain on the sideline.
West Brom Vs Manchester United
West Brom: Big Sam may feel he can pull off a draw or even sneak a win due to his low-block defensive tactics. The fact that United thrives on the counterattack could actually play right into West Brom’s hands.
Injuries: Grady Diangana
Manchester United: United sits 2nd and hopes to cement this position, with Bruno on target in nearly every game. However, I have a feeling this game will be settled by the big man Cavani, or perhaps by a Bruno penalty. Regardless, any route to victory will please Ole.
Injuries: Paul Pogba has a thigh injury
Arsenal vs Leeds
Arsenal: The Gunners will enjoy the space afforded them by Bielsa’s set-up. Leeds will come out swinging, and that attitude could bite them.
Injuries: Thomas Partey strained a hamstring and Kieran Tierney remains sidelined with a leg injury.
Leeds: Bielsa’s men will play their usual brand of open football, so we could see a goal-fest at both ends of the pitch.
Everton vs Fulham
Everton: The Toffees will be without talisman Dominic Calvert-Lewin, but Richarlison and new signing Joshua King will attempt to fill the void. With Rodriguez pulling the strings, Everton seems to be in good shape to take all three points.
Injuries: Dominic Calvert-Lewin suffered a minor hamstring strain on Wednesday during the FA Cup win over Tottenham and has been ruled out. Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford remains sidelined.
Fulham: Scott Parker’s side picked up another crucial point against West Ham last weekend to help avoid relegation. But the long wait for a league win stands at 12 games, and with Everton’s I see this run continuing.
Injuries: Tom Cairney and Terence Kongolo
West Ham vs Sheffield United
West Ham: On their day the Hammers have the potential to hurt anyone, and with Lingard on form and ready to make the London Staduim his dance floor it will take a lot for Sheffield to win here.
Sheffield United: After a 20-game winless run in the Premier League, the Blades have now won three of their last six. They have alternated between victory and defeat in those six games, losing against Chelsea last time out. The days of Lord Lundstram and Co have been left behind, which has seen them slump into the position they are in today — dead last.
Injuries: Enda Stevens (calf)
Chelsea vs Newcastle United
Chelsea: Tuchel has a squad packed with quality in every position, and under his tactical mastery this game can only end one way (and that’s not in favor of the traveling party).
Injuries: Thiago Silva
Newcastle: Steve Bruce will be without four key players for the trip to Stamford Bridge, and unfortunately one of them is star-man striker Callum Wilson, who has been their only hope for goals.
Injuries: Striker Callum Wilson (hamstring), Fabian Schar (knee), and Javier Manquillo (ankle) are all injured, while midfielder Jeff Hendrick is suspended after being sent off during the match against Southampton.
- Burnley vs Fulham
- Manchester City vs Everton
These matches are the flip-side for our double gamers. See analyses above, and then hope for the best.
Are you all-in on double-gamers, or do you smell a trap? Did you drop any big discounts to bring in players who play twice? How badly did mid-week injuries affect your squads? Please join us in the comments as we share late-breaking team news up to the transfer deadline, and then stick around to call the live action as we all watch the games together!