Four teams play twice this week and four teams blank, so you’ll definitely want to get your squad selections right. To help you avoid missteps, we bring you our weekly roundup of team news and injury reports.
Note: last updated 24 Feb 15:15 GMT
Fulham vs Wolves | 24 Feb (Friday)
Aleksandar Mitrovic is a serious doubt to feature in this match after picking up an injury against Nottingham Forest two weeks ago. Surprisingly, even with his absence, Fulham was able to defeat Brighton away from home last week. Consequently, it is possible that the manager may decide not to risk him in this match. Apart from Mitrovic, Tom Cairney and Neeskens Kebano are on the long-term injury list.
As for Wolves, it seems like the multiple signings from the January transfer window have not been enough to boost the offense, as Wolves have average just one goal per game in 2023 and remain the team with the joint-fewest goals scored in the league. Forward Hwang Hee Chan is the latest name to be added in the injury list on top of Boubacar Traore, Sasa Kalajdzic and Chiquinho. Defensive midfielder Mario Lemina returns from suspension.
Everton vs Aston Villa | 25 Feb (Saturday)
Everton is looking lively again after Sean Dyche’s appointment as manager. They now have two wins in a row at home and moving themselves out from the relegation zone. In-form midfielder Amadou Onana has been passed fit for this match, but attackers Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Andros Townsend, and Nathan Patterson remain unavailable. Their absences will hurt, as Everton are now tied with Wolves for fewest goals in the league.
In contrast, Aston Villa have a fully-fit squad except for Diego Carlos who picked up an Achilles injury in August last year. The Villans have lost three in a row and will view the tie with Everton as a good opportunity to break their losing streak. History is in their corner, as they have not lost to Everton in their last seven meetings (5 wins and 2 draws).
Leeds vs Southampton | 25 Feb (Saturday)
This match is crucial for both teams as they are now direct competitors in the relegation battle, ranked as last and second last in the league table. Leeds has not scored in its last two matches, and the injury absences of top-scorer Rodrigo (out until early of April 2023) and Luis Sinisterra will not help matters this week. Maximillan Wober could miss out due to a shoulder issue, adding to an injury list that also includes Stuart Dallas. Happily, defender Pascal Struijk will return for this match after clearing the concussion protocol, and Marc Roca could be fit in time to feature as well.
Southampton surprised everyone with their victory against Chelsea last week, and they are now only three points away from the safe zone. Juan Larios and Valentino Livramento are long-term absentees, and Che Adams and Mislav Orsic will miss out this week as well.
Southampton has now scored in each of its previous five matches while Leeds has failed to keep a clean sheet in each of its last five matches.
While Leicester City’s run of victories was ended by Man Utd with a 0-3 defeat last week, Arsenal finally ended its victory drought with late goals from Jorginho and Martinelli to down Aston Villa. Arsenal has won all of the previous four meetings between these two clubs.
Thomas Partey has a thigh muscle injury and missed the last two matches for Arsenal, but could be ready to return this week. Gabriel Jesus and Elneny are still unavailable.
Leicester City is a totally different team whenever James Maddison is on the field, but he will have to be assessed ahead of the Arsenal kickoff after picking up a knee injury. James Justin, Johnny Evans and Ryan Betrand are currently recovering from their injuries.
West Ham vs Nottingham Forest | 25 Feb (Saturday)
Jarrod Bowen suffered an injury last week as West Ham lost to Tottenham Hotspur, but he is expected to recover in time to play this week. Maxwell Cornet and Kurt Zouma have finally recovered but are in a race against time to pick up match fitness; they seem highly improbable. Lucas Paqueta and Danny Ings will miss the match.
On the other hand, Nottingham Forest is in the midst of a major injury crisis, with Serge Aurier the latest player to join the list. Almost all of their first-choice players are sidelined, including Dean Henderson (thigh), Jesse Lingard (knee but back in training), Taiwo Awoniyi (groin), Cheikhou Kouyate (hamstring), Moussa Niakhate (hamstring), Omar Richards (hairline fracture of the leg), Giulian Biancone (ACL), Scott Mckenna (hamstring) and Willy Boly (hamstring). The situation is so serious that they have applied to the EPL for special dispensation to register new players outside of a transfer window.
Bournemouth vs Man City | 25 Feb (Saturday)
Bournemouth welcomed back a few of their starting attackers last week, with Marcus Tavernier, Hamed Traore and Dominic Solanke all featuring against Wolves. However, Jefferson Lerma and Jordan Zemura were subbed off during that game and now face fitness tests ahead of the Manchester City match this week. Tavernier was also withdrawn, and Gary O’neil has confirmed that he’ll join Lloyd Kelly, Lewis Cook, Illia Zabarnyi, and David Brooks on the sidelines this weekend.
As for Man City, Kevin De Bruyne and Aymeric Laporte were absent from the mid-week Champions League game due to illness. Pep rates KDB as touch-and-go for the tie with the Cherries and has ruled Laporte out. John Stones remains sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Historical data supports Manchester City here, as they won all 12 of the previous meetings.
Crystal Palace vs Liverpool | 25 Feb (Saturday)
Tyrick Mitchell will be available to play against Liverpool despite picking up a knock last week, and Zaha will be assessed. Ferguson, Johnstone, and Ward are expected to miss the game.
Liverpool suffered a 2-5 loss to Real Madrid at Anfield and is now on the edge of elimination from the Champion League. If they do crash out after the second leg, the silver lining is that they could then focus exclusively on the league since they have also been eliminated from all of the domestic cup competitions. Darwin Nunez has recovered from his shoulder injury and featured in the midweek Champions League game. However, Thiago Alcantara, Konate, Luis Diaz and Arthur are expected to miss both of the games this week due to injuries. Joe Gomez is in doubt this game but should be able to play the second game in this double game week.
Crystal Palace is winless in its last ten games across all competitions. It is crucial for them to bounce back as they are now only 6 points above the relegation zone, and all the teams behind them are trending toward improvement.
Tottenham Hotspur has finally regained 4th place after defeating West Ham last week. Although they have slipped up in their first leg Champions League game against AC Milan, their performances in the league have offered encouraging signs. There is no new injury news reported from the camp, with Bentancur, Bissouma, Sessegnon and Lloris all still unavailable.
Chelsea is winless in its last five matches across all competitions despite being the biggest spender in the transfer market. Sterling and Fofana have recovered and featured in the last match but Pulisic, Mendy, Broja and Kante are expected to be sidelined. Cesar Azpilicueta is sure to miss out as well, having only been discharged from hospital two days ago after sustaining a concussion in the Soton match.
This London Derby should offer us a cracker of a match-up!
Arsenal vs Everton | 1 March (Wednesday)
The Gunners are currently carrying a game in hand, so this make-up match will draw them even with their top-of-the-table competitors on games-played. If he misses the first game of Arsenal’s double, Partey may be able to feature in this match, but Elneny and Jesus are not expected to return.
James Garner and Nathan Petterson could recover in time for this one, leaving Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Michael Keane and Andros Townsend as the only three names left on Everton’s injury list.
Arsenal’s defense has been leaking goals lately, so there could be a chance for Everton to gain something here despite the fact that they have not won any of their last nine away matches.
Liverpool vs Wolves | 1 March (Wednesday)
Joe Gomez, who is a doubt for the first game of the double, should have a better chance to feature in this match. The same goes for Arthur and Konate who have nearly completed their rehab processes. Only Diaz, Thiago and Ramsay are ruled out completely for this game.
Wolves have no players nearing recovery, leaving Hwang Hee Chan, Traore, Kalajdzic and Chiquinho unavailable for this one.
While Liverpool is on the verge of crashing out of this season’s Champions League tournament, recent league results have reignited their hope of qualifying for next year’s competition. Currently they are only seven points behind fourth-place placed Tottenham, with 2 games in hand!
Can you field a starting XI without taking hits or using chips this week, or will you absorb zeroes for players with blanks/injuries? Please log in and tell us your plans the comments below!
Stats and info for this article were sourced premierleague.com