There is no Friday or early Saturday game, so we get four lineups for Fantrax, including Man City!
Also, the World Cup is around the corner! Just saying!
Let’s get to the games!
Bournemouth v Leicester
Bournemouth’s three losses are to Arsenal, Man City, and Liverpool (by a combined 16-0!) But otherwise the Cherries have been solid, including not allowing another goal (outside of the three the Gunners put past them) while at home. They do only have six goals to the good.
The Foxes got the result they needed last week — finally. It wasn’t just that they earned all three points, it’s that they played with some confidence and energy, especially James Maddison. One win won’t save the season, but it does perhaps start their climb out of the pits of despair (and saved Brendon Rodgers’s job... for now).
UNAVAILABLE: Pearson, Brooks, Kelly, Stanislas
QUESTIONABLE: Rothwell, Fredericks
UNAVAILABLE: Pereira, Bertrand, Ndidi, Mendy
Chelsea v Wolves
The Blues had to come back to win in Graham Potter’s debut as coach, but they did. Two subs combined for the winner against a tough Palace squad.
Wolves are running out of Portuguese managers to hire, but it’s hard to argue the decision with the start they’ve had and the utter lack of goals — only one in the previous four matches — giving them a league low three. Their mounting injuries don’t help.
UNAVAILABLE: Tavares, Collins, Jiminez, Kalajdzic, Neves, Neto
QUESTIONABLE: Hee-Chan Hwang
Erling Haaland... (Yes, that’s it for my Man City write up.)
Southampton has lost three straight, scoring only once. That’s not good news for the Saints who head to Manchester, where City has 20 goals in four home games.
UNAVAILABLE: Phillips, Stones, Walker
UNAVAILABLE: Livramento, Lavia
QUESTIONABLE: Armstrong, Larios
Newcastle v Brentford
Newcastle put four past 10-man Fulham last weekend. It’s a boost of confidence, especially since those four came without key attackers Alexander Isak and Allen Saint-Maximin. The Magpies hadn’t won since their opening game (even though they’ve only lost once too). It’s their defense (tied for second best in the league) that is keeping them in the top half and fighting for Europe still.
Brentford sits exactly mid-table in 10th. This seems just about right. Two wins, two losses, and some draws. The Bees are going to play hard, but they’ve been shut out in two straight after scoring five, so... your guess is as good as mine.
UNAVAILABLE: Darlow, Ritchie, Krafth, Shelvey, Isak
UNAVAILABLE: Norgaard, Lewis-Potter, Jansson
Brighton v Tottenham
This is a huge game. Both teams are sitting in the top four, with only one loss apiece.
Brighton proved a force even without Graham Potter at the helm... at least offensively. The Seagulls will keep being who they are and deserving to be in 4th.
Spurs suffered their first loss last weekend, to Arsenal, and they played to scoreless UCL draw mid-week. They’ve yet to be held scoreless in the EPL though, so I expect goals here.
QUESTIONABLE: Caicedo, Mwepu
UNAVAILABLE: Kulusevski, Moura, Emerson Royal, Tanganga
Crystal Palace v Leeds
Palace has only a single win on the season, finding themselves just above the drop zone. The Eagles just aren’t getting results. Wilfried Zaha remains their most dangerous player.
Leeds is struggling away from home with two losses and a draw. After a very strong start, the Peacocks are struggling to find consistent form. They need a goal scorer and some additional creativity; perhaps Rodrigo’s return from injury will be soon enough to provide both.
UNAVAILABLE: Ferguson, McArthur, Butland, Clyne, Richards
UNAVAILABLE: Dallas, Forshaw, Gray, Hjelde, Sinisterra
West Ham’s second win moved the Hammers away from the relegation zone slightly. I keep waiting for them to break out of their slow start. Jared Bowen finally scored. He was such a big part of their success last season. I’m not quite jumping back on the bandwagon yet, as it was against Wolves. But there could be some momentum here... or at least improved confidence.
Fulham has been a surprise to start the season, although a bit inconsisent. Mitrovic has been stellar, so the big question here is whether or not he plays (and plays without a limp). The Cottagers have injuries and a red card suspension to deal with too.
UNAVAILABLE: Aguerd, Cornet
UNAVAILABLE: Solomon, Kurzawa, Chalobah
QUESTIONABLE: Mitrovic, Robinson, Willian, Tete, Harry Wilson
Arsenal v Liverpool
The Gunners remain top of the table after a big win against Spurs. They have yet to lose at home (or keep a clean sheet). They are second in goals for and against. They are playing with consistency and confidence. This is another big test for Arteta and company. They’re going to need every point to stay ahead of Man City.
I’m not sure what’s going on with Liverpool (or Mo or TAA or VvD or...). They can’t seem to put a solid defensive AND offensive performance together. Even their 18 goals (4th in the league) is a bit inflated because of their 9-0 evisceration of Bournemouth. They need a result, but it won’t be easy. They’ve also yet to win on the road.
UNAVAILABLE: Smith Rowe, Elneny,
UNAVAILABLE:, Oxlaide-Chamberlain, Keita, Melo
QUESTIONABLE: Robertson, Jones
After a horrendous start, Everton is moving steadily up the table. The Toffees haven’t lost since their opening two games, having now won two straight. They have the best goals-against stat in the league. They still are looking for goals, with only seven thus far. Only Aston Villa (in game two) has scored more than once. This will be tough for United.
Man United’s win streak came to a screeching halt against a dominant City team. But United still is much improved as a squad. The Red Devils are beginning to look like a team with an identity, and players are finding their roles. Goals are coming from different places, but we have seen that they need to tighten the back. It’ll be interesting to see who starts for them defensively.
UNAVAILABLE: Godfrey, Townsend, Patterson, Holgate
QUESTIONABLE: Mina, Calvert-Lewin
UNAVAILABLE: Williams, Greenwood, Maguire, Van De Beek, Wan-Bissaka
Nottingham Forest v Aston Villa
Forest is a mess. After a promising start to the season, the not-so-Tricky Trees have lost five in a row, conceding a combined 18 goals in that skid, much to the chagrin of Henderson’s early fantasy punters. I wonder if there will be some shakeups. Something has to improve quickly if they are going to try to stay up!
Aston Villa is sitting in the lower half but seeing positive movement. The Villans get Forest at a good time when a win could jump them into the top half. Forest has provided such spark for several other offenses.
UNAVAILABLE: Niakhate, Richards
UNAVAILABLE: Kamara, Digne, Diego Carlos, Augustinsson
QUESTIONABLE: Bailey, Chambers
Good luck this week. Comment below on how your teams are shaping up!