We’re back with GW-4, after a couple of weeks away due to the international break. This gives us all a chance to reset, do some potential tinkering with our fantasy teams and pray that our players make it through unscathed. Unfortunately we’re not just contending with the threat of injuries but also coronavirus and the risk of quarantine. This has already caused multiple players to miss out and has cast a doubt over a few more.
Due to players not being released, the Brazilian Football Federation has requested FIFA to block five Premier League clubs from playing their Brazilian stars for a five day period, which would rule them out of this game-week (and MD-1 of Champions League). We are still waiting for confirmation if this goes through, so please keep a close eye out for the news! The affected players are: Fabinho, Firmino, Alisson [LIV]. Jesus, Ederson [MCY], Fred [MU], Thiago Silva [CHE] and Raphinia [LEE].
The big talk of the weekend is the anticipated return of Cristiano Ronaldo! Many Fantasy managers have been rushing to bring him into their sides, and the whole footballing world will be watching. We all know Ronaldo is raring to go and wants to be in the starting 11 for this one, with boss Ole Gunnar Solskjær saying he will definitely play a part. Ronaldo has stated he’ll put pressure on Ole to start him so it’s reasonable to back him.
Crystal Palace vs Tottenham
For Fantrax managers, this is our one early match that should publish confirmed lineups before the Fantrax deadline.
Midfielder Schlupp will miss this one after sustaining a hamstring injury last time out; Milivojevic is in contention to make his first appearance of the season. Son Heung-Min is one of the casualties of the international break and looks set to miss out due to a calf injury. Elsewhere, Bergwijn and Skipp will face late fitness tests, and Sanchez is trapped in quarantine.
Arsenal vs Norwich
It’s a bottom of the table clash, a relegation six-pointer! Both sides have yet to pick up any points. Norwich sits just above Arsenal after scoring a goal last time out. Arsenal midfielders Xhaka and Elneny are out with suspension and injury respectively. A much needed trio of White, Gabriel and Partey are expected to return this weekend, with Smith-Rowe and Kolasinac facing late fitness tests. This is just in time for the Gunners as they face a decent run of fixtures. Norwich’s Scotland midfielder Kenny Mclean is a slight doubt.
Brentford vs Brighton
Brentford has enjoyed a decent start to Premier League life and can field a mostly fit squad for this one with the exception of defender Sørensen who is out long-term. Midfielder Onyeka is doubtful due to illness. The Seagulls have also enjoyed a good start to the season and have no fresh injury concerns. Burn and Lamptey remain out with long-term injuries.
The Foxes have a bit of defensive crisis, Evans and new signing Vestergaard both racing to get their fitness up in time for a return. Ricardo Pereira is expected to recover from his knock in time for this one. In midfield, Perez is suspended. Among the Citizens, De Bruyne may now be in contention as he hopes to have shaken off his ankle injury; Foden looks unlikely to make it back for this one.
Summer signing Sancho picked up a knock on international duty and has now returned to training, but there may be doubts where he starts. Rashford and McTominay remain out. Ronaldo was in good form during the break before returning early due to (lucky for us) suspension, so he is in contention to start. Goalkeeper Dean Henderson is nearing a return but is still building his match fitness. The Magpies have a few knocks, including talisman Calum Wilson out with a thigh injury.
Southampton vs West Ham
Theo Walcott remains out for the Saints, as does Stuart Armstrong, who is yet to make an appearance so far this season. The Saints are unbeaten in the last two and have had a fair start, but they’ll face a determined West Ham side picking up where it left off last season. The Hammers are in good shape, though defender Masuaku is on the sidelines as he rebuilds match fitness.
Watford vs Wolves
Kiko Femenia remains out for the Hornets and has no set return date. 2nd choice keeper Ben Foster is currently scheduled to be back next weekend. Defender Jonny and midfielder Neto remain out with long-term injuries. Wolves start a run of decent fixtures and hope to capitalise. The big news is that Mexican striker Raul Jimenez has been given the green-light by the Mexican Football Federation to feature in this one (Jimenez did not travel on International duty due to the COVID-19 quarantine situation).
Chelsea saw a host of players feature in the international break, so beware of rotation. Regardless, Reece James will not feature due to his sending off last time out. While Ronaldo received all the transfer attention recently, Chelsea pulled off a shrewd move by signing Saul Niguez from Atletico Madrid. Niguez may feature with Kante and Pulisic sit injured. Buendia misses out for Villa as a result of quarantine and will be back next week. Elsehwhere, Konsa is a slight doubt.
Sunday 12th August
Leeds has no injury concerns except Robin Koch, who hasn’t featured since GW-1. Raphinia is at the mercy of the Brazilian FA’s ban. Firmino is already ruled out, so Jota could be a great bet. James Milner looks set to miss out as he continues his return from injury.
Monday 13th September
Everton vs Burnley
Rafa Benitez has backed Seamus Coleman to overcome his hamstring knock in time for Monday. Calvert-Lewin is another player with a slight injury but backed to start. James Rodríguez is back in training, but this game-week looks too soon for him. Burnley has no fresh injury concerns and looks to build on last round’s draw with Leeds.
Please join us in our FPL & Fantrax virtual pub as we face our deadlines and then chat live as the games play out in GW-4!