Since we entered into 2024, English clubs have been busy resting except for a few domestic cup competitions. In the semifinals of the Carabao Cup, Chelsea stumbled in the first leg losing 0-1 to Middlesbrough, and Liverpool ended the first match with a 1 goal advantage (2-1) over Fulham.
GW-21 spans 10 days as teams alternate winter break periods, so the team news and weather reports for the five matches on the further weekend may be drastically changed, but the players on international duty will not.
Please remember that snow and ice become possible this time of year — Indeed an “arctic blast” is forecast to move into England starting Monday. Check back near deadline time for the best guesses to when it will clear off.
Burnley vs Luton
This is now the one early match that will reveal its confirmed lineups to Fantrax managers in the minutes before their deadline (yawn!).
The hosts were knocked out of the FA Cup by a 78th minute Pedro Porro goal. Lyle Foster and Charlie Taylor were subbed off during the loss to Spurs and may not feature. Hjalmar Ekdal is joined by Luca Koleosho in the infirmary as the latter is expected to miss the rest of the season. Jordan Beyer is recovering, but his readiness is yet to be confirmed.
Luton was held to a goalless draw in the FA cup by Bolton. It seemed that Carlton Morris substitution was for an injury concern so tread carefully around selecting the forward. Luton is also without Issa Kabore (AfCON), Marvelous Nakamba, and Tom Lockyer in this bottom of the table showdown. Dan Potts and Reece Burke are doubts.
This West-London, walking-distance derby features two Carabao Cup semifinalists who suffered first leg defeats a few days ago. 10th place Chelsea eased past Preston 4-0 in the FA Cup before falling victim to Middlesbrough’s tight defense (and Palmer’s missed chances). The Blues are without Chalobah, Cucurella, Fofana, Reece James, Robert Sanchez and Jackson (AFCON). Chilwell, Chukwuemeka, Lavia and Nkunku are doubts.
Fulham cleared FA Cup opponents Rotherham 1-0 before losing out 1-2 to Liverpool in the Carabao Cup. Adama Traore is the sole confirmed injury for Fulham with Tim Ream doubtful. Calbin Bassey, Alex Iwobi and Fode Ballo-Toure are all at AfCON.
Newcastle has lost five of the last six league matches but started 2024 with a 3-0 win over Sunderland in the FA Cup. The long injury list includes Nick Pope, Matt Targett, Jacob Murphy, Harvey Barnes, Callum Wilson, Elliot Anderson and Javier Manquillo. Joelinton is doubtful and Tonali continues to be banned.
Last season’s treble winning Man City visits without John Stones after enjoying a 5-0 FA Cup win over Huddersfield. Manuel Akanji and Erling Haaland are doubts.
Host Everton returns from Palace with a goalless draw in the FA Cup and so will play a repeat match at home one week from now. Everton is without Dele Alli, Ashley Young, Idrissa Gueye (AfCON) and Dwight McNeil. Abdoulaye Doucoure is doubtful.
Surprise package Villa is in second place in EPL after 20 rounds (though Man City has a game in hand). Villa is enjoying the season so far but travels without Emiliano Buendia, Tyrone Mings and Lucas Digne. Bertrand Traore is playing for the national team while Pau Torres and Youri Tielemans are doubtful.
Both United and Spurs won in the FA Cup last week, defeating Wigan 2-0 and Burnley 1-0 respectively. EtH is hoping to end the inconsistent results of 2023. Summer signing Sofian Amrabat is out playing for Morocco, Andre Onana for Cameroon and Amad Diallo for Ivory Coast in AfCON. Jadon Sancho’s move to Dortmund is sealed. Lindelof is out with injury. The doubtful list of the club is extensive and includes Casemiro, Harry Maguire, Malacia, Martial, Lisandro Martinez, and Luke Shaw.
Spurs’ injury list has been growing over the past few weeks to include Maddison, Ivan Perisic, Romero, Solomon, Veliz and Whiteman. Adding to the long injury list is the absence of Hueng min Son who will play for Korea Republic in the Asian Cup, Bissouma playing for Mali and Pape Sarr for Senegal. Ben Davies, Eric Dier and Lo Celso are doubts. Spurs agreed with RB Leipzig on a loan deal for Timo Werner and are closing another deal to bring in center-back Radu Dragusin from Genoa.
Six days later (weather permitting)...
Arsenal vs Crystal Palace
Arsenal bowed out of the FA Cup at the hands of Liverpool, which echoes how Liverpool was able to overcome Arsenal in EPL to takeover the top spot. Elneny and Tomiyasu fly to join their respective teams in AfCON and Asia Cup. Thomas Partey though injured is expected to return to play sometime in January. Jurrien Timber and Fabio Vieira are also out. Gabriel Jesus and Zinchenko are doutbful but could recover in time to host Palace.
The visitors will be without Cheick Doucoure, Rak-Sakyi and Joel Ward due to injury in addition to Jordan Ayew gone to play for Ghana in AfCON. Holding, Johnstone and Olise are doubtful at the moment.
Brentford vs Nottingham Forest
Brentford was held to a 1-1 draw by 10-man Wolves in the FA Cup, so (weather permitting) there will be a repeat match on Tuesday 16-Jan ahead of our GW-21 match against Nottingham Forest. The club has several players away on international duty: Saman Ghoddos playing for Iran, Kim Ji-soo for Korea Republic, Frank Onyeka for Nigeria and Yoane Wissa for Congo. Henry, Hickey and Mbeumo are also out due to injury, while Ajer and Norgaard might recover soon enough.
Similarly, the visitors have Ola Aina leaving for Nigeria, Serge Aurier, Willy Bolly and Ibrahim Sangare for Ivory Coast, plus Cheikhou Kouyate and Moussa Niakhate for Senegal. Awoniyi, Felipe, Elanga and Origi are doubts. Forest is also scheduled to play a midweek FA Cup repeat against Blackpool after a 2-2 draw.
Sheffield United vs West Ham
Sheffield eased past Gillingham in the FA Cup and will be hosting West Ham without Besham, Egan and Jebbison due to injury. Tom Davies is doubtful but may be able to return in time for the match. Yasser Larouci and Anis Ben Slimane are playing in AfCON for Algeria and Tunisia respectively.
West Ham was held to a 1-1 draw by Bristol CIty so will repeat on Tuesday 16-Jan ahead of travel to Sheffield. Two players leave for AfCON: Nayef Aguerd for Morocco and Mohammed Kudus for Ghana. Several players are doubtful, including Antonio, Bowen, Coufal and Lucas Paqueta.
Bournemouth vs Liverpool
Bournemouth brushed off Queens Park Rangers in a thrilling 3-2 victory to advance in the FA Cup. The Cherries will host Liverpool without Dango Ouattara or Antoine Semenyo who will join Burkina Faso and Ghana respectively in AfCON. Tyler Adams, Fredericks, Kerkez and Traore remain injured for the side, while Senesi is suspended.
Liverpool had a successful start to 2024, passing through Arsenal FC 2-0 in the FA Cup and coming back to defeat Fulham 2-1 in the first leg of a Carabao Cup semifinal. Liverpool will be without Thiago Alcantara, Arnold, Bajcetic, Matip, Tsimikas and Robertson due to injury. Mo Salah is at AfCON for Egypt, and Wataru Endo is in Qatar playing for Japan in the Asia Cup.
Brighton vs Wolves
Brighton defeated Stoke 4-2 in the FA Cup to advance further in the tournament ahead of hosting Wolves. In GW-21, Brighton will be without Enciso, Ansu Fati, Lamptey, March and Veltman due to injury. Kaoro Mitoma will join Japan in Asia Cup while Simon Adingra join Ivory Coast in AFCON.
Wolves put on a 10-man survival display to deny Brentford in the FA Cup, forcing a repeat match. For GW-21, Wolves are without Hwang Hee-chan playing for Korea, Justin Hubner for Indonesia, Rayan Ait-Nouri for Algeria and Boubacar Traore for Mali in continental national competitions. Joao Gomes is suspended.
Are you making any last-minute changes in the countdown hour? Have you played a use-it-or-lose it FPL wildcard? Who’s on your watch list for upcoming weeks? Have you filled AfCON and Asia Cup holes? Are you looking forward to fresh blood coming in during the January transfer window (and will you hoard transfers against losing a player or two)? And do you have a last-minute long range weather forecast to help us navigate the 10-day game-week? Please log in to discuss these and ask your own questions!