Game week 28 Fixture Preview
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PaulT is back with this weeks fixture preview, offering his views and predictions for the coming midweek action.
After another eventful weekend in the FPL, we have barely been able to catch our collective breath before a quick turnaround into the midweek fixtures. The return of the City and Chelsea players will see many FPL Managers have better gameweeks this midweek, so lets look ahead to the games this week.
Cardiff City v Everton
We begin in the Welsh capital, where Cardiff entertain Everton and will be hoping for a better outcome than their last match. The 5-1 reverse at the hands of Watford brought the Bluebirds back to earth after 2 consecutive wins. That result has left Warnock’s side one place and one point outside the bottom three. Everton come into this one rested as this is their first match since February 9. The Toffees have lost their last three league matches and are now in the bottom half of the table. The home side will likely make changes after their poor showing last time out, one definite change should see Zohore get a rare start with Niasse ineligible to play against his parent club. Gunnarsson should also return to the XI. Everton have welcomed Baines and Jagielka back to training in the last few days and both have a chance of making the squad here. In Jagielka’s case, he may have to start as Zouma is suspended and Mina is still a doubt. A must win for both sides here.
Prediction CAR 1-1 EVE
Huddersfield Town v Wolverhampton Wanderers
At the John Smiths Stadium, bottom side Huddersfield play host to Wolves as they look to enliven the ever decreasing hope of surviving relegation. Their loss at Newcastle at the weekend was their 20th loss of this season and the sit 14 points from safety. Things look very bleak for them and the prospect of playing a Wolves side in decent form won’t fill them with much confidence. The visitors are unbeaten in their last 5 league games, but will be disappointed to have relinquished 7th place in the table after a 1-1 draw with Bournemouth at the weekend. The home side have Smith starting a three-match ban in midweek after being shown a straight red card at the weekend. Durm and Diakhaby were both missing from the 2-0 defeat to Newcastle at the weekend and are still doubts here. Wolves have no injury or suspension concerns, and the only threat to the players places is if the manager decides to rotate them here to save legs for the important matches to come.
Prediction HUD 0-2 WOL
Leicester City v Brighton & Hove Albion
Managerless Leicester welcome Brighton to the King Power and will hope to get a bounce from the players after the sacking of Puel over the weekend. The Foxes removed the Frenchman from the managers chair after Saturday’s humiliating 4-1 defeat at home to Crystal Palace. The Foxes are winless in their last seven and have lost six times in that run. 1st team coaches Stowell and Sadler will take charge of the team on Tuesday. Brighton had the weekend off as their game was rearranged for the League Cup Final, so Hughton will hope this rest will give the fresh impetus ahead of this one. Brighton have only won one of their last 11 in the Premier League. After they looked safe before Christmas, their recent from means they are now only three points above the bottom three. Leicester will hope Chilwell will shake off a knock to feature at the weekend and will require a late fitness test here. Maddison was fit enough to start, whilst Mendy recovered from injury to take his place on the bench. The visitors have a number of injury concerns from their last match and will still be without the suspended Andone. Balogun is definitely ruled out for Tuesday, but Murray, Dunk, and March have all resumed training ahead of this match.
Prediction LEI 2-1 BHA
Newcastle United v Burnley
Tuesday’s action is concluded at St James’s with the on form Magpies playing host to Burnley, themselves in rude health following their defeat of title chasing Spurs at the weekend. Newcastle have only lost one of their last five Premier League matches and are now four points clear of the bottom three but their opponents are unbeaten in eight Premier League matches and are two points ahead of them in the table. Both sides now look to have hit form at the right time to avoid relegation, and this one promises to be an entertaining affair. Rafa may go with an unchanged team here, as Elliot and Clark are the only injury concerns. Dummett is back from injury and is an option at left-back if Bentiez wants to push Ritchie back to his preferred position. Burnley will still be without Lennon, Walters and Defour on Tuesday, and this may prompt Dyche into keeping an unchanged XI for this one. Gudmundsson and Brady will benefit with starts if any changes are made.
Prediction NEW 1-1 BUR
Arsenal v AFC Bournemouth
Onto Wednesday, and the action begins at the Emirates with the visit of Bournemouth to North London. The Gooners went home happy as Emery’s men dispatched of Southampton at the weekend. That result meant that they are now unbeaten in their last 13 Premier League home matches and moved beck into 4th place. That will not make good reading for the visitors, as Bournemouth are winless in three matches and have lost their last eight away league games. They have also failed to score in five of their last six away league matches. The home side have injury concerns over Iwobi and Lichtsteiner, but should restore Aubameyang to the starting XI after he was benched at the weekend. Koscielny was fit enough to make the bench at the weekend and will likely be drafted back into the team here. Howe will be forced into a change, as Lerma starts a two-match ban for picking up 10 yellow cards for the season. Mepham could retain his starting place with Cook struggling with a groin injury and Daniels and Smith will compete for a starting spot at left-back.
Prediction ARS 4-1 BOU
Southampton v Fulham
At St Marys, Southampton will look to bounce back from that 2-0 defeat at Arsenal as they entertain a Fulham side humiliated by West Ham last time out. This is a massive six pointer in the battle to avoid the drop which neither side will be keen to drop points in. Southampton have only lost two of their last seven Premier League matches but have only won twice in that spell as well. With Fulham 8 points from safety, a defeat here would all but end hopes of avoiding the drop . The Cottagers are also the only side yet to win a Premier League away game this season. For Saints, Bertrand was an unused substitute against the Gunners and will hope for a recall here. McCarthy will also hope to be back in the fold after he was replaced by Gunn in goals, the latter making an error in the defeat. The visitors gave debuts to Markovic and Nordtveit in the last match, and both should feature here again. Schurrle missed Friday through illness, and this may just come to soon for him.
Prediction SOU 0-0 FUL
Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur
One of the matches looked out for on the calendar sees Spurs make the journey across London to Stamford bridge to take on Chelsea. Both sides had tough results to take over the weekend and will be glad of the short turnaround here to allow them to bounce back. The home side will still be licking their wounds both mentally and physically after the penalty shoot out loss to City in the League Cup. The “misunderstanding” between Sarri and Kepa is dominating the post match headlines, and it will be interesting to see if the keeper retains his place for this one. Spurs were disappointing in defeat at Burnley, and will be glad of the chance to put things right here. Sarri will undoubtedly make changes after the exertions of the cup final, and we will most likely see Higuain recalled after his surprising demotion to the bench on Sunday. Loftus-Cheek and Hudson-Odoi will also come into contention for starts. Spurs were delighted to welcome back the talismanic Kane on Saturday, expect him to lead he line here. Dier missed out through illness and may return, whilst both Trippier and Sanchez were rested ahead of this one and both should start.
Prediction CHE 2-1 TOT
Crystal Palace v Manchester United
Selhurst Park sees the Eagles look to continue their good form against the walking wounded of United. Palace will be high on confidence after thrashing Leicester 4-1 on Saturday, this means they are now unbeaten in their last six matches in all competitions. Saturdays match also saw Hodgson become the oldest manager in PL history. Sakho was forced off with an injury in that match and will need assessing before playing. Expect Dann to start in his place if he fails to make it. Wan-Bissaka missed out altogether and will hope to be back for this match. United are still unbeaten in the Premier League under Solskjaer (10 matches) after Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Liverpool, although this meant they dropped out of the top 4. Ole had to use all 3 subs before half time on Sunday, and the injuries are mounting for the Red Devils ahead of this one. With Mata, Lingard and Rashford all unlikely to feature, Sanchez should get a rare start. McTominay and Andreas Pereira are expected to replace Herrera and Matic in the starting XI and Martial is back in training so could feature.
Prediction CRY 2-1 MNU
Liverpool v Watford
Anfield will be rocking as the league leaders look to stay on the summit as they welcome a rampant Watford to Merseyside. Liverpool played within themselves at Old Trafford in the 0-0 draw with their bitter rivals. They may well have taken a point before kick off but given the issues encountered by United, Klopp may see that as an opportunity missed. The Reds scored eight goals without reply across the two meetings between these sides in 2018, but given the form of both of these sides the hosts are unlikely to have it so easy this time around. Only the current top five have scored more away goals than the Hornets (22) this season and the 5- win at Cardiff will have boosted their confidence ahead of this tough trip. The home side could welcome back Lovren and Alexander Arnold here, but the former may find himself kept out by the good form of Matip in recent games. Firmino was forced off at the weekend, and was replaced by Sturridge. Whether this change is retained or Shaqiri is preferred is a dilemma for Klopp. The visitor are still without the suspended Holebas, but Gracia has a full squad to choose from apart from that. Deulofeu grabbed a hat trick at the weekend and the former Everton man would love to play pantomime villain here.
Prediction LIV 3-1 WAT
Manchester City v West Ham United
Our final match sees the League Cup winners return home to the Etihad to welcome their former manager Pellegrini and his Hammers to Manchester. City have won their last six competitive meetings with West Ham, scoring 24 goals in the process, so it will be an uphill task for the visitors. However, they will be encouraged that City did have to come through 120 mins to win the cup final and picking up injuries to key players along the way. This means they will likely have to rotate some of their star players in this one. Laporte and Fernandinho were forced off with injuries, so 2 changes will have to be made. Rotation will see the likes of Sane and Mahrez come in, but the game could come too soon for Jesus. Pellegrini is still without the likes of Reid, Sanchez, Wilshere and Yarmolenko but Lanzini and Nasri are back available. Fredericks and Arnautovic, both of whom came off the bench at the weekend, could return to the starting XI.
Prediction MNC 1-0 WHU
Another manic Gameweek ahead then, the state of the title race and the battle to avoid the drop should become a bit clearer after these ones. Many FPL points to be had and the quick turnaround may see layers come in from nowhere to have an impact.
So until next time
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