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No time for taking eye off the ball with injuries starting to bite

World Cup heartbreak: Reece James misses tournament through injury. (Photograph by Photo/Ian Walton/AP)

Fantasy managers must make selection changes after key players suffered injuries ahead of the winter World Cup. Chelsea star Reece James (knee) and Liverpool forward Diogo Jota (hamstring) are among a few key stars set to miss the prestigious international tournament with long-term injuries. Instead, Arsenal defender William Saliba is a solid option in defence, while Eberechi Eze is a strong budget midfield choice for the coming weeks.


Nottingham Forest v Liverpool (8.30am)

Nottingham Forest kept their composure to get a goalless draw at Brighton on Tuesday. New recruits Moussa Niakhate and Omar Richards remain out with muscle and leg injuries respectively, while Jack Colback, Harry Toffolo, Renan Lodi and Lewis O’Brien are doubtful this weekend.

Liverpool followed up their impressive home win over Manchester City last weekend with victory over West Ham. Joel Matip, Ibrahima Konaté, Naby Keita, Arthur Melo, and Luis Diaz remain out along with Jota.

Liverpool edge the history of this contest, winning four of their ten overall meetings, although they haven’t played since April 1999, a 2-2 draw at the City Ground.

Prediction: 0-2

Everton v Crystal Palace (11am)

Everton were dominated by Newcastle United in their 1-0 away defeat on Wednesday. Yerry Mina, Ben Godfrey, Nathan Patterson and Andros Townsend remain out this weekend.

Crystal Palace came from behind to edge Wolves 2-1 at home on Tuesday evening. Nathaniel Clyne, Chris Richards, James McArthur, and Will Hughes are out with various injuries, while Jack Butland and Nathan Ferguson are doubtful owing to lack of fitness.

The Toffees enjoy this rivalry historically, winning 12 of their 26 overall encounters, including three of their last five.

Prediction: 1-1

Manchester City v Brighton & Hove Albion (11am)

Manchester City did not play in midweek as their visit to Arsenal was postponed as a result of the Gunners having their home tie with PSV Eindhoven in the Europa League rescheduled for Thursday. Kyle Walker, John Stones, and Kalvin Phillips are out this weekend for Pep Guardiola’s team.

Brighton are yet to record their first victory under new coach Roberto De Zerbi, scoring just three goals in four games since the Italian’s appointment. Jakub Moder (knee) and Kaoru Mitoma (ankle) remain out for the visit to Manchester.

City have won nine of their ten meetings, including four of the last five.

Prediction: 2-0

Chelsea v Manchester United (1.30pm)

Chelsea failed to break down a well-organised Brentford defence in their 0-0 away draw. Wesley Fofana and N’Golo Kanté, along with James, remain out for manager Graham Potter, while Conor Gallagher is doubtful through illness.

Manchester United produced their best team performance under Erik ten Hag in the 2-0 home win over Tottenham on Wednesday. Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Brandon Williams, Donny van de Beek, and Anthony Martial are out with various injuries for the trip to East London, and Harry Maguire is doubtful.

Chelsea edge this rivalry with 18 wins to 17 for Manchester United.

Prediction: 2-2


Aston Villa v Brentford (10am)

Aston Villa lost 2-0 to Fulham last night and remain just outside the relegation zone on goal difference. Lucas Digne, Diego Carlos, Ludwig Augustinsson and Boubacar Kamara remain out, while Tyrone Mings is doubtful with an ankle injury.

Brentford held on for an important 0-0 home draw with Chelsea. Thomas Strakosha, Pontus Jansson, Aaron Hickey, and Christian Norgaard are out this week.

The Bees have taken one victory from their two meetings.

Prediction: 1-1

Leeds United v Fulham (10am)

Leeds are winless in seven games, losing five of those including against Leicester last night. Stuart Dallas and Adam Forshaw remain out, while Leo Hjelde, Archie Gray, and Pascal Struijk are doubtful.

Fulham have lacked consistency this term, most recently winning just one in their last five league matches, and hosted Aston Villa on Thursday. Kenny Tete, Layvin Kurzawa, and Manor Solomon are out, while loanee Daniel James is ineligible to play against his parent club due to league rules.

The Yorkshire side edge this rivalry with four victories to three for the Cottagers.

Prediction: 1-1

Southampton v Arsenal (10am)

Southampton got back to winning ways when Che Adams scored the lone goal in their away victory over Bournemouth on Wednesday. Tino Livramento and Armel Bella-Kotchap remain out, Ainsley Maitland-Niles is ineligible to play against his parent club, and Kyle Walker-Peters is doubtful to a muscle injury.

Arsenal have made their best league start in club history, sitting on top of the division for the first time after eleven completed rounds of matches. Mohamed Elneny and Emile Smith-Rowe are out this weekend, while Oleksandr Zinchenko is doubtful with a calf injury.

The Gunners have won 25 of their 46 total encounters, including nine victories at St Mary’s Stadium.

Prediction: 1-3

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Leicester City (10am)

Wolves failed to retain the early lead afforded to them by forward Adama Traore, instead losing away from home to Crystal Palace on Tuesday. Pedro Neto, Francisco Oliveira, Raul Jimenez, and Sasa Kalajdžić are out, while new recruit Toti (knock) and Rayan Aït-Nouri (illness) are doubtful this weekend.

Leicester host Leeds on Thursday prior to publication. Jonny Evans, Ryan Bertrand, Ricardo Pereira and Wilfried Ndidi are out for this Midlands derby between two of the bottom three, while Caglar Soyuncu is doubtful because of a knee injury.

Each club has won three of their ten total league meetings.

Prediction: 1-1

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Published October 21, 2022 at 6:45 am (Updated October 21, 2022 at 6:45 am)

No time for taking eye off the ball with injuries starting to bite

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