The Premier League returns after a one-week break that looked longer than it was. As happy as we are to resume the Premier League, there’s also the fear of the lull to come in the international break scheduled to follow this game-week.
There is also the issue of three matches postponed, one due to a proposed industrial strike that has now been canceled, and two more following the Queen’s death and the shortage of Policemen to provide security. The affected fixtures:
Let’s take a look at the games still scheduled to take place and what to expect from them.
Both Friday matches kick off at the same time, so Fantrax managers should see four lineups confirmed during the countdown hour.
Under-fire Steven Gerrard will hope his team can pick up a first win in five games when he welcomes Southampton to Villa Park on Friday night. The Villans have lost three and drawn one of their last four matches. Ralph Hassenhuttl’s Southampton has fared slightly better, so he will be eager to prey on the Villans lack of confidence and form.
UNAVAILABLE: Matty Cash (injured), Jan Bednarek (injury), Diego Carlos (injury).
QUESTIONABLE: Emiliano Martinez(injured), Ollie Watkins(injured), Robin Olsen(injured).
UNAVAILABLE: Valentino Livramento (injured), Romeo Lavia (injured).
QUESTIONABLE: Duke Caleta-Car
Nottingham Forest v Fulham
Nottingham Forest’s Steve Cooper knows a fourth straight loss might stir speculations concerning his job security. Forest welcomes fellow promoted side Fulham in what is looking like a must-win fixture. The Forest fans were left disappointed when Bournemouth came from two goals down to nick a 2-3 victory last time out. Fulham on the other hand has been impressive, the prolific Alexander Mitrovic supplying goals up front.
UNAVAILABLE: Moussa Niakhate (injured), Orel Mangala (injured), Omar Richards (injured).
UNAVAILABLE: Harry Wilson (injured), Manor Solomon (injured).
QUESTIONABLE: Antonee Robinson (injured).
Wolves v Man City
Can anyone stop Haaland? Bruno Lage knows that unearthing the perfect formula to silence Haaland will go a long way if his side is to get anything from a match against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. The frontman has scored ten goals in just six EPL games (plus three more in two UCL matches) and already has two hattricks to his name. The acrobatic goal against former club Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League is further evidence that he doesn’t plan to slow down anytime soon.
UNAVAILABLE: Francisco Oliveira (injured), Sasa Kalajzic (injured).
QUESTIONABLE: Aymeric Laporte (injured), Kyle Walker (injured).
Newcastle v Bournemouth
Newcastle is eager to return to winning ways, and hosting 13th-placed and abysmal traveler Bournemouth this weekend is just the tonic that any doctor could order. The Magpies have drawn four and lost one of their last five fixtures. Despite improvements controlling and dominating games, the Magpies have struggled with finishing. Bournemouth has endured a rude awakening since returning to the Premier League, winning only one of the last five games.
UNAVAILABLE: Jonjo Shelvey (injured), Karl Darlow (injured), Emil Kraft (injured).
QUESTIONABLE: Callum Wilson (injured), Bruno Guimaraes (injured), Allan Saint-Maximin (injured).
UNAVAILABLE: David Brooks (injured), Joseph Rothwell (injured), Benjamin Pearson (injured).
QUESTIONABLE: Junior Stanislas (injured).
Antonio Conte’s Spurs face rock-bottom Leicester in the most lop-sided clash of GW-8. The North London side is yet to lose in the league. Conte will, however, have work on his hands in terms of lifting his players’ spirits after they fell to two late goals in the Champions League against Sporting Lisbon. League doormat Leicester will be eager to grab a first victory of the season in a match that could decide the future of manager Brendan Rodgers.
UNAVAILABLE: Lucas Moura (injured).
UNAVAILABLE: Ricardo Pereira (injured), Ryan Bertrand (injured).
QUESTIONABLE: Dennis Praet (injured).
Brentford v Arsenal
Brentford welcomes Premier League leading Arsenal to the Brentford Community Stadium in what is expected to be a tasty affair. The Bees hope to continue their recent good run of four games undefeated. The Gunners on the other hand will be eager to return to winning ways after dropping points for the first time in the 3-1 loss at Man United.
UNAVAILABLE: Christian Norgaard (injured), Ethan Pinnock (injured).
QUESTIONABLE: Sergi Canos (injured).
UNAVAILABLE: Reiss Nelson (injured), Mohamed Elneny (injured), Emile Smith Rowe (injured).
QUESTIONABLE: Thomas Partey (injured).
Frank Lampard’s Everton faces West Ham in what is looking like a clash between fallen Premier League heavyweights. Everton and West Ham are ranked 16th and 18th, respectively, and have each won only once this season. A cagey affair with limited goal-mouth action should be expected in this fixture.
UNAVAILABLE: Andros Townsend (injured), Ben Godfrey (injured), Yerry Mina (injured), Jordan Pickford (injured), Mason Holgate (injured).
QUESTIONABLE: Dominic Calvert-Lewin (injured), Abdoulaye Doucoure (injured).
UNAVAILABLE: Nayef Aguerd (injured), Benjamin Johnson (injured).
What are your predictions for this game-week? Whom are you planning to captain? Are you playing a chip? Which players do you think can shine during GW-8? What late news have you seen? Please add your thoughts to the comment section below!