Mini-DGW-22 is the first game week after the January transfer window closed. With Man United and Leeds double-gamers plus all the new players introduced, there are plenty of tasty options for your fantasy teams for this round.
Chelsea has overcome an injury crisis by force of multiple new transfers, Enzo Fernandez the latest player to join the team on an EPL transfer record fee. Christian Pulisic, N’Golo Kanté, Mateo Kovacic, Edouard Mendy, and Denis Zakaria all remain unavailable through injury, and Joao Felix is still suspended. Mykhailo Mudryk showed his quality during his debut last week against Liverpool, which could earn him a starting position this time around.
As for Fulham, there are no new issues to report, with Neeskens Kebano the only name still on the injured list. Shane Duffy and Cedric Soares (on loan) are new additions to the squad who could feature.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Fulham
Everton’s new manager Sean Dyche suffered a big blow when homegrown attacker Anthony Gordon was sold to Newcastle. In response, Everton has recalled three loan players but did not pursue any new striker in the January market. To make matters worse, Nathan Patterson has been ruled out for six weeks with a knee injury. On the bright side, Dyche will be glad to learn that Ben Godfrey, Michael Keane, and Andros Townsend are nearing returns.
The “Ginger Mourinho” will need to lift team morale and inject new energy into the side if he hopes to start collecting points to bring Everton back to where they belong. That will be a tough ask against the top-of-the-table Gunners this weekend.
For Arsenal, Jesus and Reiss Nelson are long-term absentees, and Thomas Party has picked up a rib issue that has made him a slight doubt for the weekend. New transfer Leandro Trossard has blended in well since joining the team, and Jorginho will be looking for a chance to pick up some minutes in an Arsenal shirt as well.
Prediction: Everton 0-3 Arsenal
Aston Villa vs Leicester | 4 Feb (Saturday)
Villa is one of the most in-form teams in the league since Unai Emery became manager. The Villans have also signed the manager’s compatriot Alex Moreno from Real Betis as the backup plan for injured Lucas Digne, who has now been spotted back in training. Fantasy managers should keep an eye on Moreno since fullbacks from Aston Villa have a good track record in the game. John McGinn remains a doubt with a hamstring injury, and Diego Carlos will be out for an extended period with a ruptured Achilles.
After a 2-2 draw with Brighton, Leicester is now only one point outside the relegation zone. A huge boost for the team is James Maddison finally recovering — He featured in the FA Cup match last weekend. Leicester is looking forward to continuing momentum in the league to avoid relegation. Plenty of names remain in the injured list, however, with Ryan Bertrand, Johnny Evans, James Justin, Boubakary Soumare, and Wilfred Ndidi all unavailable, and Ricardo Perreira, Jamie Vardy, and Henry Souttar doubtful.
Prediction: Aston Villa 2-2 Leicester
Brentford vs Southampton | 4 Feb (Saturday)
Few players were recruited by Brentford in the January transfer window, but the highlight will always be Romeo Beckham, son of legendary English footballer David Beckham. With no new injuries reported, Brentford should field its strongest 11.
Southampton is now the “strongest” team in the league, sitting rock bottom and propping up the entire table. However, that position is not as bad as most seasons — The Saints need only three points to equal rank 14. Moussa Djenepo suffered a concussion in the recent Carabao Cup match after a collision with Newcastle’s goalkeeper Nick Pope, but could be available for the trip to Brentford. Kyyle Walker-Peters picked up a hamstring issue in that match as well. Stuart Armstrong is a doubt with a groin issue but Alex McCarthy has returned to training. Juan Larios and Tino Livramento remain unavailable. Fantasy managers should keep an eye on new-boy Mislav Oršić, the Saints’ new Croatian international winger.
Prediction: Brentford 2-1 Southampton
Brighton vs Bournemouth | 4 Feb (Saturday)
Bournemouth finally ended a five-match scoring drought to draw 1-1 against Nottingham Forest last time. Starters including Marcus Tavernier, Ryan Fredericks, Dominic Solanke and Philip Billing are all in contention to return from injury for this match, which will definitely improve Bournemouth’s offense. David Brooks, Junior Stanislas, and Lewis Cook are also close.
At Brighton, young striker Evan Ferguson is injured after a nasty challenge from Fabinho in their FA cup match. Brighton will have to further rely on the in-form Japanese winger Kaoru Mitoma on the offensive side. Lewis Mac Allister is suspended, while Facundo Buonanotte, Levi Colwill, Evan Ferguson, and Adam Lallana are all doubts. Jakub Moder is a long-term absentee.
Prediction: Brighton 3-2 Bournemouth
Man United vs Crystal Palace | 4 Feb (Saturday)
Christian Eriksen is ruled out until end of April due to an ankle injury. Fortunately, United has done well in the transfer market, including the acquisition of Marcel Sabitzer, who can deputize for Eriksen. Jack Butland and Wout Weghorst were also added for specific tactical reasons (Butland is ineligible to face his parent club this weekend, btw, not that he would have started anyway). Scott McTominay and Diogo Dalot are injury doubts, and Donny van de Beek is out for the season with a knee injury. Happily, Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial have recovered and are available, having featured in the midweek League Cup semifinal. They’ll certainly provide more attacking options for manager Ten Hag.
On the other side, Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha could miss up to six weeks with a hamstring injury. Michael Olise is expected to play a vital role in Crystal Palace’s offense in Zaha’s absence. Joachim Anderson and Nathan Ferguson are doubts, and James MacArthur is not available.
prediction: Man Utd 3-1 Crystal Palace
Wolves vs Liverpool | 4 Feb (Saturday)
This is the third time in the last 30 days that these teams will play each other. Liverpool eliminated Wolves from the FA Cup after a controversial offside decision in their first meeting. Wolves recruited some non-headliners in the transfer window — Brazilian international Mattheus Cunha, former Southampton player Mario Lemina, and Pablo Sarabia from PSG. Julen Lopetegui has no new injury concerns to deal with.
On the other side, Liverpool did not recruit anyone after bringing in Cody Gakpo early in the window. Jota, Diaz, Firmino, and VVD all remain sidelined, and Fabio Carvalho is a doubt. Joining the list of wounded is Ibrahima Konate, who picked up a hamstring injury in the FA Cup loss to Brighton.
prediction: Wolves 1-0 Liverpool
Newcastle vs West Ham | 4 Feb (Saturday)
West Ham has won the “battle of the managers” last week versus Everton, with David Moyes successfully protecting his job. With the successive win against Derby County in the FA Cup, West Ham is bouncing back from its struggles. Kurt Zouma has picked up a hip injury, but that should make minimal impact as there are enough players to cover. Scamacca, Cornet, and new Hammer Danny Ings are also sidelined.
Surprisingly, Newcastle did not splash the cash in this transfer window, instead buying just Anthony Gordon from Everton and then streamlining the squad by letting go of a few rotational players. The new boy might get his debut following Bruno Guimaraes’s suspension and Alexander Isak’s possible concussion in the midweek EFL semifinal match. Emil Krafth, Javier Manquillo, Jonjo Shelvey, and Matt Target are still out, and Bruno G is still suspended.
Prediction: Newcastle 1-1 West Ham
Nottingham Forest vs Leeds United | 5 Feb (Sunday)
Forest shocked everyone by signing the three-time Champions League winner Keylor Navas as the replacement for injured Dean Henderson (long-term thigh issue). Forest currently sits 13th looking to retain a Premier League spot at season’s end. Manager Steve Cooper can now focus on the league after being eliminated from all domestic cup competitions. Forest midfielder Jesse Lingard picked up an injury in warmup before the EFL match and is expected to stay out. He joins a long list of casualties including Awoniyi, Gibbs-White, Kouyate, Niakate, and Omar Richards. Chris Wood, Jack Colback, and Ryan Yates have been struggling with illness.
Leeds, though qualified for the 5th round of the FA cup, is sinking in the league, their recent win the first since early November. Troublingly, their leading scorer, Rodrigo, will be out for two months with an ankle injury. Defender Robin Koch is suspended, and Diego Llorente is expected to start in his place. Summerville, Struijk, Cooper, Forshaw, Gray, and Adams are all doubts.
Prediction: Forest 0-1 Leeds United
Both teams have made the shocking decision to let a top first-team defender leave the club in the January transfer window. Man City sold recently-idle Cancelo to Bayern Munich, and Tottenham released Matt Doherty.
Tottenham will play without manager Antonio Conte on the sideline for some time while he recovers from gallbladder surgery. High-profile signing Pedro Porro previously actually played for Man City. It will be interesting to see how he performs against his former club. Richarlison could return to the squad for the first time since the World Cup, and Lucas Moura continues to build match fitness.
John Stones at City is expected to miss the match due to a hamstring injury, and Phil Foden is a doubt with a foot problem.
Prediction: Tottenham 2-2 Man City
Man United vs Leeds | 8 Feb (Wednesday)
As the only second-feature, players from both Man United and Leeds will attract a lot of fantasy interest. On top of that, history suggests that this fixture will be a goal-fest — The two teams have scored 20 goals in their previous four meetings.
After qualifying to the final of ECL cup, Man United is the only team still alive in all four competitions. However, manager Ten Hag does not have the habit of rotating the starting line up. Thus, we can expect United’s in-form players such as Casemiro, Rashford and Bruno to continue.
Prediction: Man United 4-1 Leeds United
How do you strategize your fantasy teams with all the new players and a mini-double game-week? Is anyone playing a chip this week? Please log in and join the live chat in the comments below!