Ten Hag reaches historic milestone ahead of derby weekend
The Premier League season nears its halfway point with a plethora of intriguing storylines.
Erik ten Hag became the quickest Manchester United manager to 20 wins in all competitions after their home victory over Charlton midweek, doing so in just 27 games.
The January transfer window is also in full swing, thus new opportunities for Fantasy managers. A few strong options this weekend include Brentford goalkeeper David Raya, as well as Newcastle midfielder Miguel Almirón.
Aston Villa v Leeds United (4pm)
Aston Villa have lost just one of their last five matches to climb to mid-table.
Midfielder Leander Dendoncker is suspended following his red card in the FA Cup last weekend, and Diego Carlos out with an achilles injury, while Matt Cash, Ludwig Augustinsson and John McGinn are doubtful this weekend.
Leeds United remain just two points above the relegation zone, but came from two goals down to keep themselves in the FA Cup with a draw against Cardiff City.
Stuart Dallas is out with a leg injury, while Luis Sinisterra, Archie Gray, Patrick Bamford and Adam Forshaw are doubtful.
The West Midlands club edge this contest, with ten wins to eight for the Yorkshire side.
Manchester United v Manchester City (8.30am)
Manchester United have won their last seven matches in all competitions, losing just once since the last Manchester derby.
Donny van de Beek is out with a knee injury, while Jadon Sancho and Diogo Dalot are doubtful.
City are still fighting for their third-straight league title, cutting the deficit to leaders Arsenal to just five points. Ruben Dias is the only injury worry for the visitors this weekend.
United hold the upper hand in this derby, with 24 wins to 18 for City.
Brighton & Hove Albion v Liverpool (11am)
Brighton continued their push for Europe this season, after away victories over Everton and Southampton.
Jakub Moder is out with a knee injury, while Leandro Trossard is doubtful with a calf injury this week.
Liverpool have taken four wins from their last five league games, edging them within seven points of the top four.
Virgil van Dijk, Luis Diaz, Arthur Melo and Diogo Jota remain out injured, while James Milner and Roberto Firmino are doubtful with calf and hamstring injuries.
Liverpool have won seven of the 11 overall league meetings between the clubs.
Everton v Southampton (11am)
Everton will be encouraged by the performance, but were still eliminated by Manchester United in the fourth round of the FA Cup last week.
Nathan Patterson, Andros Townsend, Alex Iwobi, and James Garner are out for the Toffees, while Michael Keane is doubtful with a knee injury.
Southampton are without a win in their last seven league games, and are now bottom of the table and three points from safety.
Armel Bella-Kotchap is out with a knee injury, while Alex McCarthy, Tino Livramento, Juan Larios Lopez, Theo Walcott and Stuart Armstrong are doubtful for Saints this week.
Everton hold the advantage in this series, winning 21 of the 47 league encounters.
Nottingham Forest v Leicester City (11am)
Nottingham Forest are on a solid run recently in all competitions, moving three places above the drop zone.
Giulian Biancone, Moussa Niakhaté, Omar Richards, Jesse Lingard and Cheikhou Kouyaté are out injured, while Neco Williams remains doubtful.
Leicester are just above their hosts on goal difference, but are struggling with three straight defeats.
Jonny Evans, Ryan Bertrand, Ricardo Pereira, James Justin, and Boubakary Soumaré are out for the Foxes, while James Maddison, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and Dennis Praet are doubtful.
Forest are slightly ahead historically in this Midlands derby, with three wins to Leicester’s two.
Wolverhampton Wanderers v West Ham United (11am)
Wolves started their reign under new manager Julen Lopetegui with victory at Everton, but have since drawn two of three games in all competitions.
Pedro Neto, Francisco Oliveira, Boubacar Traore and Sasa Kalajdzic are out this weekend, while Daniel Podence is doubtful.
West Ham are only clear of the bottom three on goal difference.
Kurt Zouma, Maxwel Cornet, Vladimir Coufal, Manuel Lanzini and Gianluca Scamacca are doubtful for the Hammers for the trip.
This is an evenly balanced match-up, with each side winning six times through 13 overall meetings.
Brentford v Bournemouth (1.30pm)
Brentford remain in contention for Europa League football next season, after consecutive victories lifted the West London side to ninth place.
Pontus Jansson, Frank Onyeka, Shandon Baptiste, Ivan Toney, and Aaron Hickey are doubtful this weekend.
Bournemouth are just one point clear of the bottom three.
Adam Smith is suspended, while Neto, David Brooks, Marcus Tavernier, Ryan Fredericks and Junior Stanislas are doubtful this weekend for the Cherries.
These teams battled to a goalless draw on their first top-flight meeting last October.
Chelsea v Crystal Palace (10am)
Chelsea have just one win in their last six games, falling ten points behind fourth place.
Injuries are also mounting for manager Graham Potter, with Ben Chilwell, Reece James, Wesley Fofana, N’Golo Kante, Christian Pulisic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and Armando Broja all out on contention this weekend, while Edouard Mendy is doubtful with an abdominal injury.
Crystal Palace are going through a transition in their second term under head coach Patrick Vieira.
James McArthur is out with a hip injury, while Nathan Ferguson is doubtful owing to lack of fitness.
Chelsea dominate this rivalry, winning 21 of their 27 league meetings.
Newcastle United v Fulham (10am)
Newcastle continue to thrive under Eddie Howe this season, holding onto a top-four spot at this point.
Emil Krafth, Matt Targett and Jonjo Shelvey remain out for the Magpies.
Fulham have recorded four straight wins to pull into a Europa Conference League spot.
Neeskens Kebano is out with an Achilles injury, the only injury absentee for the Cottagers.
This is another evenly balanced match-up, with each club winning 12 of their 29 overall encounters.
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal (12.30pm)
Tottenham remain on the edge of the top-four race, currently sitting two points adrift in fifth.
Rodrigo Bentancur, Richarlison, Lucas Moura, and Dejan Kulusevski are doubtful this weekend.
Arsenal were held to a goalless home draw by Newcastle last time out, but remain five points clear at the top of the table.
Reiss Nelson and Gabriel Jesus are out for Mikel Arteta’s charges.
The Gunners have the edge in the North London rivalry, with 23 wins to 15 for Spurs.
Wednesday, January 18
Crystal Palace v Manchester United (4pm)
Crystal Palace may remain safe in mid-table, but three defeats in five league matches, ahead of their trip to Chelsea, could be a cause for concern at Selhurst Park.
Manchester United could field expected new recruit Wout Weghorst, who is set to join on loan from Burnley until the end of the season.
United dominate this series, with 18 wins in 26 encounters between the clubs.
Thursday, January 19
Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur (4pm)
Tottenham forwards Kulusevski and Richarlison could realistically return for Antonio Conte’s side, giving the manager a major boost up front.
Spurs took the points from this fixture last season in an epic comeback, courtesy of two second-half goals by Kane.