Man City’s 21-match winning streak in all competitions was rudely interrupted by a 2-0 defeat at the hands (or feet) of Man United, but regular service was restored in midweek at the Etihad Stadium, all three points taken from Southampton to open up a 14-point gap at the top of the table.
Despite that gap, game-week 28 can still provide plenty of surprises elsewhere among the top four and the relegation battle. Don’t forget the FRIDAY DEADLINE because Newcastle hosts Aston Villa today; don’t miss it!
Also note: Most Americans will leap forward into Daylight Savings Time in the wee hours of Sunday morning, two weeks before the UK and Europe. That won’t affect deadline time this week, but it will affect viewing schedules from Sunday forward, and it will affect deadlines for UCL Fantasy and next week’s fantasy deadlines for all of our American players making the great leap forward.
This is our one deadline match that should give us confirmed lineups before the Fantrax deadline. Come back in the countdown hour to see the lineups in the comments and chat about how to react!
Newcastle vs Aston Villa
Steve Bruce has found the month of March difficult, taking just a single win in his previous five fixtures. He must manage the groin injury of Allax Saint-Maximin and leaving Callum Wilson still out with a hamstring injury. The same can be said for Dean Smith’s Villa who also have just one win in five, which puts them back into the mid-table with Jack Grealish not expected to make the trip at St. James’ Park.
* Newcastle is unbeaten in their last 11 Premier League games against Aston Villa at St James’ Park (W6 D5).
* Villa is gunning for its first league double over Newcastle since 2004-05 following their 2-0 home victory in January.
*Dean Smith’s Villa has kept a league-best eight clean sheets away from home this season and 14 overall.
Prediction: 1 – 1
Leeds vs Chelsea
With so much history behind this top-flight rivalry, Leeds will be hoping to make life tough for Chelsea’s defensive players. However, Bielsa’s men have lost four of their last five fixtures while the Blues are still unbeaten under Tuchel, winning eight and drawing three of his 11 matches at the helm.
* Chelsea has won just one of the last nine Premier League games at Leeds (D3 L5).
* Chelsea beat Leeds 5-1 in a League Cup tie at Elland Road in 2012 but have never won consecutive away games against the Yorkshire club before.
* Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has not tasted defeat in his nine league games since replacing Frank Lampard – only Maurizio Sarri (12) and Frank Clark (11) have had longer unbeaten runs at the start of their Premier League careers.
Prediction: 1 – 3
Crystal Palace vs West Brom
Sam Allardyce may seem to have shifted gears a tad bit for the Baggies as they have lost once in five fixtures, conceding just twice. Despite looking like a club that will be relegated by the end of the season, the former Palace manager has made it difficult for teams to beat which may very well be troublesome for the Eagles who were demolished by Spurs last week.
* Crystal Palace beat West Brom 5-1 in December and is looking to complete a first top-flight double over the Baggies.
* Palace has won four of six Premier League home games against West Brom (L2).
* Roy Hodgson’s men are hoping to avoid going a fourth consecutive home league game without scoring, a feat they last managed in 2018-19.
Prediction: 0 - 0
Everton vs Burnley
Everton slipped from being serious top four contenders after the 2-0 loss to Chelsea, but Carlo Ancelotti will look to stay consistent to secure any European spots in offer. The Italian manager will look to capture three points against an under-pressure Burnley squad that has Fulham and Newcastle to look foward to if they flop their visit to Merseyside.
* Burnley has been winless in its last five games (D4 L1) to remain in 15th, four points above the relegation zone.
* Everton has won only one of the last six home games (D1 L4), scoring three goals.
* Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s 13 goals have helped Everton grab 14 points — more than any player in the league this season.
Prediction: 2 – 0
Fulham vs Man City
Man City is just making it look extremely easy and smooth after the 5-2 victory over Southampton, putting them in the most comfortable position in the table, their focus shifting towards Europe. However, Pep Guardiola may find Fulham a bit more annoying than the Saints given their form lately, though it really looks like nobody can stop this Citizen side anytime soon.
* Man City has won its last seven away matches, scoring 19 goals and conceding only three.
* Fulham has kept a clean sheet in five of their last seven matches.
* Fulham has scored only eight goals at home this season, the lowest in the league.
Prediction: 0 – 3
Americans affected by DST should remember to move clocks forward before going to bed Saturday night!
Southampton vs Brighton
Since Ralph Hasenhüttl’s improbable win over Liverpool, the Southampton side dreaming for Europe has skidded to 13th in the table on four losses in six games. Brighton will be delighted to hear that Danny Ings missing this fixture, given the striker scored in the previous two meetings, but Graham Potter’s men have to take charge of dull Saints side for the three points in order to escape the relegation zone.
* Southampton has never lost to Brighton in the Premier League (W3 D4), winning the reverse fixture 2-1 earlier this season.
* Brighton has always come away from Southampton with a point with three draws.
* Southampton has won only five times in 13 home games this season but has kept a clean sheet in each of those wins.
Prediction: 1 – 2
Leicester vs Sheffield United
Leicester already has a number of injured players out, but with Jamie Vardy scoring just once in his previous 14 games, he may as well be. Injury may explain his recent form, so Brendon Rodgers seems to be putting faith into inconsistent Kelechi Iheanacho who is on course for his best goal scoring return since joining the club in 2017. Sheffield will struggle to compete with the quality that the Foxes’ have to offer, which will help the hosts to capture three important points.
* Leicester has struggled at home this season, picking up only 19 points of a possible 39 with six losses.
* The Blades have lost 22 of their 28 games this season to sit bottom of the league, 12 points from the safety zone.
* Leicester has beaten the Blades in all three Premier League meetings, striker Jamie Vardy either scoring or assisting, including a 90th-minute winner in the reverse fixture in December.
Prediction: 2 – 0
Arsenal vs Tottenham
Probably the fixture of the week, the North London Darby may not be the same without the fans in the stadium, but the stakes will always be high somehow. Jose Mourinho may have found the key to unlocking Garth Bale’s form, and the duo of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min looking dangerous than ever. Arsenal fans will be looking for Mikel Arteta to deliver local pride as the Gunners’ last league victory came in December 2018.
* Arsenal has not beaten Spurs in their last five meetings in all competitions (D2 L3).
* Spurs are looking to accomplish the league double over Arsenal for the first time since 1992-93.
* Arsenal has lost to Spurs in the league only once at Emirates Stadium, a 3-2 loss in November.
Prediction: 1 – 1
Manchester United vs West Ham
Despite conceding a last minute equalizer by AC Milan at Old Trafford in their first-leg of the Europa League campaign, the derby win over league leaders Manchester City will allow the Red Devils to stay confident in the league to end on a high note.
However, this can be ruined by former United manager David Moyes who has transformed West Ham lately and is looking to create chaos for his former club. The West Ham manager will also be looking to end the Hammers’ 14-year long league win-drought at Old Trafford. On-loan Jesse Lingard is inelligible against his parent club.
* Manchester United won the reverse fixture 3-1 and is looking to do the double for the first time since 2013-14 when Hammers’ boss David Moyes was the Man United manager.
* Manchester United is unbeaten in their last eight league games (W3 D5) and is looking to keep a fourth consecutive clean sheet for the first time under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
* Moyes has never won away at Old Trafford (D4 L9) as manager of Everton, Sunderland or West Ham.
Prediction: 2 – 1
Wolves vs Liverpool
How things have shifted since Christmas. The defending champions will be hoping to restart domestic momentum and confidence after their victory over RB Leipzig in Budapest. Three points will grant faint hope for a top-four spot. Meanwhile, Wolves have lost their last five encounters against the Reds, but Nuno Santo will sense opportunity against Klopp’s men who have just been all over the place.
* Wolves have lost their last eight Premier League matches against Liverpool.
* Liverpool has lost nine league matches this season, including six of the last seven, dropping to eighth in the standings.
* Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara has lost more league games with Liverpool this season (seven) than he did in 68 matches with Barcelona (six losses).
Prediction: 1 – 1
[All stats sourced from Reuters]
What are your predictions for the fixtures? What are your thoughts on the North London durby? What are your fantasy strategies for the week? Any popular player whom you hope will earn you points? Whom are you adding and dropping? Please let us know in the comments below, and if you hear any late fitness news (e.g. Covid-19 positive or injury), please share!