We approach GW-3 of the season in what seems like no time. In normal seasons, we’d just be starting up now, but thanks to the World Cup’s unusual autumn scheduling, this isn’t a normal season. However, Man City is already leading the league (on goal-difference), so some things don’t change.
Along with City, Arsenal is the only other team with two wins from two, so maturing young players seem to be gelling well there. Remarkably, Brentford sits third, heading a pack of six teams on four points, thanks to a 4-0 drubbing of woeful Man United.
And so it’s at the other end of the fledgling table that we find United, rooted to the bottom, propping up the rest of the league. And that remainder of the league includes relegation-zone neighbors West Ham (the only team not to score in their opening two games) and perhaps less surprisingly Everton.
We also find Liverpool in the bottom half, with two anemic draws from London’s less-heralded sides Fulham and Crystal Palace. Fortunately for the Reds, they next face rock-bottom side Man United, a fixture formerly thought of as a top of the table clash but now closer to a relegation scrap!
GW-3 kicks off at 12:30 BST Saturday, with Tottenham hosting Wolves (Fantrax managers should see those two lineups confirmed right here in the comments about an hour before kickoff). We finish on Monday at 20:00 BST with Liverpool’s trip to Old Trafford. Here is a run through the latest team news and injury reports to help you finalize your fantasy squads before your deadlines.
SATURDAY 20TH AUGUST
Tottenham vs Wolves
For Spurs, Oliver Skipp remains out but is making progress with his long-term foot injury, and Cristian Romero is out with a muscle injury. Clément Lenglet is available after missing out last week.
Wolves remain without striker Raul Jimenez, and Joao Moutinho is a major doubt. Also, Morgan Gibbs-White has agreed a £25m+ fee with Nottingham Forest, which will leave a space up front, although how much attacking Wolves will do is questionable.
Again: This is the first match of the game-week, so confirmed lineups should be available before the Fantrax deadline. Be sure to tune in here during the countdown hour so that you can see those team sheets and pick from among the starters.
Crystal Palace vs Aston Villa
This is a match between two teams who got off the mark last week, Villa narrowly overcoming Everton, and Palace getting a creditable draw at Anfield. For Palace, Nathan Ferguson, Jack Butland, James McArthur and James Tomkins remain unavailable. Villa has some new issues, with Diego Carlos and Kortney Hause definitely out, and doubts over Philippe Coutinho and Matty Cash.
Everton vs Nottingham Forest
Pointless Everton faces a Forest side buoyant from the win over West Ham last week. Another defeat for Everton will put a lot of pressure on Frank Lampard. He’s not helped by a lengthy injury list either: Ben Godfrey, Andros Townsend, Yerry Mina, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and Abdoulaye Doucoure are all ruled out. Andre Gomes and Allan have a chance of returning. Forest has no new concerns, and Ryan Yates could return. New signing from Wolves, Morgan Gibbs-White, is expected to be in the matchday squad.
Fulham vs Brentford
This London derby sees unbeaten Fulham take on high-flying Brentford. For Fulham, Harry Wilson remains unavailable and there are new concerns over two midfielders in Andreas Pereira and Bobby De Cordova-Reid. Brentford has no new injuries, although Kristoffer Ajer, Sergi Canos, and Ethan Pinnock look set to miss out again.
This match looks set to be a bit of a grudge match for Southampton after last season when they felt the first goal should not have stood in a 4-1 defeat. At least Ralph Hasenhuttl appears to be hoping this will motivate his team. Each team has only one point from the opening two game-weeks so will be looking for a first win to get the season going.
Leicester has no new concerns, with Ricardo Pereira and Ryan Bertrand still unavailable. Harvey Barnes may feature though. Speculation continues over Wesley Fofana and a possible move to Chelsea, but Brendan Rogers is still clinging:
“The idea is that he’s still very much a Leicester City player. I’ve said a number of times that he’s not for sale. The club have made that clear so unless anything changes, I would expect him to be here.”
For Southampton, Theo Walcott, Romain Perraud, and Valentino Livramento remain out.
Bournemouth vs Arsenal
Bournemouth’s tough opening schedule continues with a home fixture against perfect Arsenal following the 4-0 away defeat at perfect Man City. Still, the first game, at home, resulted in a 2-0 victory over Aston Villa, so there is hope for Scott Parker’s side.
For Bournemouth: David Brooks, Joseph Rothwell, and Ryan Fredericks are still ruled out. Jordan Zemura and Dominic Solanke missed the City game due to COVID and injury, and both are slight doubts for this fixture. Arsenal has a full squad to choose from.
SUNDAY 21ST AUGUST
Leeds vs Chelsea
Two unbeaten teams meet in Sunday’s opening game, and while most will have Chelsea down as favorites, Leeds has made a decent start, scoring two goals in each fixture so far.
Leeds’ concerns: Long-term absentees Stuart Dallas, Luke Ayling and Junior Firpo remain out, while Liam Cooper has only a slim chance of returning. Up-front, Patrick Bamford is a doubt but Joe Gelhardt has passed fit.
Chelsea has Mateo Kovacic, Marcos Alonso and N’Golo Kante still out, although there is a very small chance of Kante’s return. Armando Broja has been ruled out, and Christian Pulisic is a doubt.
West Ham vs Brighton
The other early game on Sunday sees pointless (and scoreless) West Ham take on unbeaten Brighton. West Ham is nearly back to full strength, although Craig Dawson remains a major doubt. The Hammers had a Europa League qualifying match on Thursday evening and appear to have come through that unscathed. They did manage to score in that game, goals coming from Scamacca, Bowen and Antonio. Brighton will be without Jacob Moder but have no new injury concerns.
Newcastle vs Man City
The first really big test this season for Newcastle comes in Sunday’s late game when table-topping Man City comes to town.
For Newcastle, Jonjo Shelvey is definitely out, while Jamal Lewis, Federico Fernandez and Emil Kraft also look likely to continue to miss. Matt Targett and Ryan Fraser both missed last week’s game; Targett is now 50/50, and Fraser has a better chance of returning.
Aymeric Laporte will still be missing for City, although he’s hardly being missed given that the Citizens haven’t conceded a goal yet. Kalvin Phillips is nearing a debut for City, but this weekend is likely too soon.
MONDAY 22ND AUGUST
Man United vs Liverpool
The schedulers no doubt picked this fixture as the stand-out of the weekend, and perhaps it is, although not necessarily for the reasons they expected. United has started horribly and seem to be the team everyone wants to play against at present (kick’em while they’re down!). With two disappointing draws, Liverpool too has stumbled out of the gate, although there have been some good signs too.
Victor Lindelof and Anthony Martial look set to miss out for United, in the unlikely event you’re interested in picking United players for this one. Liverpool has a lengthy injury list, with Thiago Alcantara, Diogo Jota, Curtis Jones, Joel Matip, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ibrahima Konate all set to miss out again. Slightly better news sees a potential return (to the bench at best) for Caoimhin Kelleher, but Roberto Firmino may struggle to make it, and of course Darwin Nunez starts his 3-match suspension.
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Which players are must-haves for your fantasy teams line-ups? Are you looking to use your wildcard yet? Which fixture are you looking forward to most? Have you heard any late-breaking announcements? Please log in and tell us in the comments below!