The early kick-off on Friday brings forward the FPL deadline, so don’t get caught out!
We heard from seven managers on Thursday, but with a host of press conferences still to take place, plus updates from those involved in the Europa competition. You need to make sure you’re following throughout for the latest news.
We’re at the business end now, with only a few weeks remaining and every decision matters… Good luck!
The Gunners will be without first-choice full-backs Kieran Tierney (knee) and Takehiro Tomiyasu (calf), with the former out for the rest of the season following surgery. Nuno Tavares is an option, although his last two performances have been poor, and Mikel Arteta may be tempted into a tactical reshuffle. A lot will depend on the fitness of Thomas Partey (thigh), who was forced off at Selhurst Park. Sambi Lokonga is likely to come into the team regardless as Granit Xhaka could be deployed at left-back… Gabriel Martinelli is also pushing for a recall.
Danny Ings is in contention after missing the West Midlands derby due to the birth of his child, and Douglas Luiz could return after his international involvement for Brazil, which meant Steven Gerrard was only prepared to put him on the bench at Molineux (GW31). Lucas Digne should be fine; his early withdrawal last time out was illness-related and not another injury, while Marvelous Nakamba has an outside chance of making the squad after featuring for the Under-23s.
Joshua Dasilva (hamstring) was injured on the eve of his return from a three-game suspension, and as it stands, he is the only player at risk of missing out through injury. After outclassing Chelsea last weekend, Thomas Frank could name an unchanged side following an inspired display by Christian Eriksen, who scored his first goal for the club.
Brighton and Hove Albion
After suffering a setback in training, Adam Webster has made some progress, and the defender “might be involved”, although any minutes would come from the bench. Adam Lallana has taken a “step forward” this week after hamstring troubles, and he will come into Graham Potter‘s thinking. However, the Seagulls are another side that could be unchanged after a “dominant performance” against Norwich. “It was important to stop the run of defeats; of course, we didn’t get that goal, but now we need to build on that.” Moises Caicedo has returned from Ecuador after illness, and Jakob Moder is at risk of missing the World Cup in Qatar after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) last weekend. “Apart from that, we’re pretty much as we were.”
The Clarets edged a five-goal thriller on Wednesday to keep their hopes of survival alive, and Sean Dyche will assess his players with another six-pointer at Norwich. A win could see Burnley climb out of the Bottom Three with their hosts all but relegated. Ben Mee is making progress, but he “still has a bit to go”, and I’m not expecting to see Johann Berg Gudmundsson for several weeks. Erik Pieters is the closest of those currently sidelined, but Sunday may come too soon.
Thomas Tuchel is likely to freshen his side after another heavy loss at home. The Blues followed up last weekends’ 4-1 defeat to Brentford with a disappointing showing against Real Madrid, which saw the home side concede another three goals, all to Karim Benzema. Mateo Kovacic, Hakim Ziyech, Marcos Alonso and Timo Werner were all benched midweek and will be pushing for a recall. Romelu Lukaku has slipped way down the pecking order, and you would have to go back almost two months for the strikers’ last start in the Premier League. Ben Chilwell and Callum Hudson-Odoi are the only known injury casualties at the time of writing.
The Eagles are brimming with confidence after a comfortable 3-0 victory over rivals Arsenal lifted them into the top half of the table, and I suspect Patrick Vieira will be tempted to leave his side unchanged. Michael Olise is struggling to overcome the foot problem that forced him out of the France U21 squad, and Nathan Ferguson lacks fitness after his most recent injury, a hamstring strain. Otherwise, Palace will be at full strength.
Michael Keane and Allan return from suspension to help bolster the ranks, while Fabian Delph is also back with the group, although his involvement will be nothing more than bit-part until his fitness improves. Injury rules Donny van de Beek out of this weekend, although the terms of his loan agreement mean he wouldn’t have been able to face Manchester United anyway. Yerry Mina is around 7-14 days away, and everyone else is long-term. Andros Townsend (ACL knee) and Nathan Patterson (ankle) will have season-ending surgeries. The only uncertainty we have currently is the status of André Gomes, and there has been no mention from Frank Lampard in any of his recent press conferences.
Tyler Roberts, Júnior Firpo, and Patrick Bamford are all making “good progress”, while Jamie Shackleton (calf) is “almost ready” to train. “Most of the other players, I think, are available and ready to go.” Leo Fuhr Hjelde is training normally, having missed close to two months after knee surgery, and Joe Gelhardt is hoping to be OK after picking up a dead leg playing for the Under-23s on Monday night. “He has not trained every day this week, but we think he trains [Friday] and then is available at the weekend.”
The Foxes have a Europa Conference League encounter against PSV to navigate first before their focus switches to the visit of Crystal Palace. Wesley Fofana and Jonny Evans both started in the quarter-final tie, and given their recent long-term absences, Brendan Rodgers may look to Çaglar Soyuncu or Daniel Amartey due to the quick turnaround. Patson Daka will compete with Kelechi Iheanacho for a starting berth in attack, with Jamie Vardy seemingly destined for more time out after complaining of discomfort in his knee. Ryan Bertrand and Wilfried Ndidi will not play again this season.
Jurgen Klopp made six changes for the Champions League win in Benfica on Tuesday, and the Liverpool boss has vowed to manage player minutes (load) as his side are still fighting on four fronts. Joel Matip, Jordan Henderson and Diogo Jota were among those to make way, while Joe Gomez, who was named man of the match in GW31, is expected to step aside for Trent Alexander-Arnold. Fabinho took a slight bump to the head in Portugal, drawing blood, but the Brazilian completed 90 minutes, and he has since trained normally.
Rúben Dias is likely to be another 7-10 days as City manage his hamstring recovery with care. Cole Palmer is the only other player currently receiving treatment meaning Guardiola is free to play Pep Roulette with the top of the table clash and potential title decider against Liverpool, scheduled as the final fixture of the round.
Ralf Rangnick will be hopeful of a return for Cristiano Ronaldo (virus) after he missed the disappointing draw with Leicester. Despite being named in the matchday squad last weekend, Jesse Lingard was also a non-starter, having fallen ill with a stomach bug prior to kick-off. Edinson Cavani could be sidelined for at least the next month, and Alex Telles is on standby for Luke Shaw, who aggravated an old injury, his leg fracture site while playing for the national team.
United kick-off GW32 on Friday evening with a home game against Wolverhampton Wanderers, and Eddie Howe will check on several players before deciding on his XI. Joe Willock has been managing a “slight knee problem” for a couple of weeks, and his involvement cannot be guaranteed. “He’s become a bit more aware of it in training, so it’s something we need to stay on top of. We’ll make a late call on him. We don’t think it’s anything serious.” There has also been a “bit of illness in the camp”, and some players have been affected in the build-up. Miguel Almirón is fine after missing out at Tottenham, while Joelinton, forced off at Spurs, has been pictured in the gym. Federico Fernandez is also back with the group.
Brandon Williams is working outside on the grass and stands a good chance of returning to the squad, but Dean Smith couldn’t offer any guarantees on Max Aarons, who missed sessions due to injury and illness. The game is likely to be too soon for Joshua Sargent with Przemyslaw Placheta (ankle) and Lukas Rupp (hamstring) facing a late test. Andrew Omobamidele, Ozan Kabak and Adam Idah are the three known absentees who have question marks over their availability in the remaining weeks.
Lyanco has rejoined team training, although Saturday could be a little early for the defender who has spent over two months recovering from a severe hamstring strain. Shane Long picked up an ankle injury at Leeds, and Ralph Hasenhüttl will make a late call on the Irishman who trained for the first time on Thursday. Long is touted as a possible replacement for Armando Broja as the striker cannot face his parent club. Alex McCarthy is “building up his qualities” with the goalkeeping coaches.
Sergio Reguilón (knee) will return to the matchday squad, but Antonio Conte admits they must “pay attention” to Ryan Sessegnon following his latest return from injury. The 21-year-old has been hampered throughout due to ongoing hamstring issues, and Tottenham won’t risk another setback by throwing him in too early. Oliver Skipp (groin) is no nearer a comeback, and Japhet Tanganga is out for the season.
Following the news that Kwadwo Baah (ankle) and Nicolas Nkoulou (hamstring) are training normally, Roy Hodgson reveals The Hornets “basically, have a fully fit squad!” Watford can consider themselves a little unfortunate last time out at Anfield, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar looking line-up which would mean Emmanuel Dennis and Joshua King starting on the bench.
West Ham United
The Hammers played in the Europa League on Thursday, and David Moyes made just one change from the win over Everton, with goalkeeper Alphonse Aréola replacing Lukasz Fabianski between the sticks. Ben Johnson returned to the matchday squad, and Vladimir Coufal was also named on the bench despite concerns over his fitness. Jarrod Bowen made it two goals from two starts since his return – at the time of writing – and the West Ham forward will be pivotal to the side’s hopes domestically and in Europe. Manuel Lanzini has trained after missing out in GW31 following a car accident.