What better way to kick-off the New Year than a double, even if it is a very small one and just for FPL. This comes in the form of a London Derby on Jan 12 when Fulham hosts Chelsea, making them the only sides to feature twice (Fantrax puts that match into GW-20). Elsewhere we do have another London Derby in this game-week, with Crystal Palace set to host Spurs.
Brentford vs Liverpool
Toney is a serious doubt after sustaining a knee injury last time out, even though Thomas Frank says a scan didn’t show serious damage. Liverpool will have to assess Andrew Robertson and Harvey Elliot after their respective knocks. They could join absentees James Milner, Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz and Firmino. New-boy Cody Gakpo looks unlikely to clear paperwork hurdles in time to feature, as Liverpool couldn’t register him and apply for a work permit until 1 January, which is a bank holiday, and the Dutch transfer window doesn’t open until 3 January.
League leadering Arsenal is in good shape, with only Jesus and Nelson unavailable. Smith-Rowe hopes to be in contention now that he has returned to full training. No new injury concerns for Newcastle either — Dummet, Isak, Krafth, Shelvey, and Targett all remain sidelined.
Everton vs Brighton
Mina and Gordon will face late fitness tests for Everton after overcoming illnesses, but this game will most likely come too soon for Keane’s return. Onana will miss through suspension, while James Garner and Andros Townsend remain unavailable. Brighton hopes that Alexis Mac Allister will be ready to rejoin the squad, and that the presence of the World-Cup winner will inject new inspiration into the side. Jakub Moder, Danny Welbeck, and Adam Webster are still unavailable.
Leicester still has a slew of long-term injuries, including Ryan Bertrand, Johnny Evans, James Justin, Dennis Praet, James Maddison, and Ricardo Pereira. Patson Daka came off early in the loss to Liverpool and will now have to be assessed. Fulham on the other hand has no new injury concerns.
Man United vs Bournemouth
World Cup winner Lisandro Martinez may return to the side after an extended break, Scott McTominay should be ready after shrugging off illness, and Diogo Dalot is edging closer to a return. Marcus Rashford, who scored the winner as a sub last time, should find himself back in the starting lineup after serving his punitive benching by ten Hag. Jadon Sancho’s individual training plan continues, but at least he has returned to Old Trafford.
Philip Billing hopes to return for Bournemouth after picking up a knock last time out. This one may come too soon for Marcus Tavernier, Junior Stanislas, Neto, David Brooks, and Ryan Fredericks.
Southampton vs Nottingham Forest
The Saints have no fresh injury concerns as some of their long-term absentees make some small steps toward recovery, including Livramento, Walcott, McCarthy, and Larios. Not much is new at Forest except that Jesse Lingard will have to be assessed after missing out last time.
Patrick Bamford is only now returning to training after illness delayed his recovery from his hip injury. Luis Sinisterra has not yet returned to training after a foot injury suffered last month, and neither has Stuart Dallas after his femur fracture. For the Hammers, this game probably comes too soon for Zouma and Cornet’s returns.
Aston Villa vs Wolves
Jacob Ramsey is not quite ready to return from a hamstring injury, and Diego Carlos remains unavailable. Wolves are in good shape, with Neto the only notable long-term absentee.
Crystal Palace vs Tottenham
Palace defender Mitchell continues his suspension, as does Spurs’ midfielder Bissouma. The Eagles are still without Nathan Ferguson, Sam Johnstone, and James McArthur. Dejan Kulusevski hopes to return after sitting out the loss to Aston Villa, but Lucas Moura remains doubtful. Richarlison and Rodrigo Betancur are not available.
Thursday (5th January)
No reported new injury concerns reported at Chelsea, as James Reece, Ben Chilwell, Armando Broja, Wesley Fofana, N’Golo Kante, and Reuben Loftus-Cheek are all still sidelined. Chelsea GK Edouard Mendy will hope to be nearing contention, but Man City defender Ruben Dias still seems unlikely to feature.
Thursday (12th January)
This one is still a week and a half away, but at the time of writing, Fulham has no new injury concerns. See above for the current state of affairs at Stamford Bridge.
In addition to their FPL double, the Cottagers have an FA Cup match on Saturday 7 January, plus their GW-20 fixture with Newcastle on 15 January. Chelsea has essentially the same schedule except its FA Cup match will be played on Sunday 8 January. That’s four matches in 12 days for Fulham versus four matches in 10 days for Chelsea, so expect to see rest and rotation during this period.
If we can, we will give more details closer to the date of this match (and watch the comments).
What are your predictions? Will West Ham stop the rot and get points on the board again? Who will win the West London Derby? Please register and let us know your thoughts in the comments!