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Conte gone and Hodgson returns – managerial merry-go-round continues

Antonio Conte left Tottenham during international break (Photograph by Alastair Grant/AP)

The Premier League returns for the final few months of the season with every race still up in the air.

Tottenham have relieved manager Antonio Conte of his duties, with assistant Cristian Stellini taking charge and Roy Hodgson returned to Crystal Palace after the South London side called time on the tenure of Frenchman Patrick Vieira.

Fantasy managers have some intriguing selection choices, especially as 12 of the 20 teams come back from the international break with a double gameweek.

Congratulations to March winner Owen Darrell, whose team Hello Summer FC made 251 points across the month. Jorge Sanchez and Poinciana Road FC leads the overall standings with 1,864 total points.


Manchester City v Liverpool (8.30am)

Manchester City have to overturn an eight-point deficit if they are to win their third title in a row. Phil Foden is out as he recovers from appendicitis, while Erling Haaland is doubtful with a groin injury for their first league game in nearly three weeks.

Liverpool will be without Calvin Ramsay, Thiago Alcantara and Stefan Bajcetic to a variety of injuries, while Darwin Nunez and Luis Diaz are doubtful.

Three of the last five league meetings between these clubs have ended in draws, although Liverpool lead the overall series with 21 wins to City’s 11 through 51 encounters.

Prediction: 2-1

Bournemouth v Fulham (11am)

Illya Zabarnyi, Junior Stanislas, Marcus Tavernier and Jefferson Lerma are doubtful with various injuries for Bournemouth this weekend.

Aleksandar Mitrovic and Willian are suspended, Layvin Kurzawa (knee) and Neeskens Kebano (Achilles) out through injury, and Shane Duffy is doubtful with a calf injury for the Cottagers.

This is an even rivalry, with each side winning once from their three meetings, and their lone draw coming in the reverse fixture last October at Craven Cottage.

Prediction: 1-2

Arsenal v Leeds United (11am)

Arsenal have Takehiro Tomiyasu and Mohamed Elneny out with knee injuries, while Eddie Nketiah and William Saliba are doubtful.

Leeds have scored at least once in three of their last five league games. Stuart Dallas, Adam Forshaw and Tyler Adams are out, while Max Wober and Wilfried Gnonto are doubtful for the Yorkshire club.

The Gunners dominate this series, winning 16 of their 29 league meetings.

Prediction: 2-1

Brighton & Hove Albion v Brentford (11am)

Brighton could climb within one point of the top four after this round of games, depending on other results. Adam Lallana and Jakub Moder are out with muscle and knee injuries respectively, while Jeremy Sarmiento and Tariq Lamptey are doubtful.

Brentford are in the same situation as their hosts but have played two games more. Kristoffer Ajer, Vitaly Janelt and Keane Lewis-Potter are out. Shandon Baptiste is suspended, while Mads Roerslev is doubtful with a hamstring injury.

Brighton edge this rivalry, taking two of the previous three battles with Brentford.

Prediction: 1-1

Crystal Palace v Leicester City (11am)

Crystal Palace appointed Roy Hodgson for a second spell in charge as the South London club remain winless this calendar year. Nathan Ferguson, Vicente Guaita, Sam Johnstone and Joachim Andersen are doubtful for the 75-year-old’s first game back at Selhurst Park.

Leicester are on a terrible run of two wins in 11 league games and sit just one point above the bottom three. James Justin, Youri Tielemans, and Sammy Braybrooke are out for the Foxes, while Ryan Bertrand, Jonny Evans, Victor Kristiansen and Harry Souttar are doubtful this weekend.

Each side has won eight of their 21 league meetings, with five draws.

Prediction: 1-1

Nottingham Forest v Wolverhampton Wanderers (11am)

Nottingham Forest continue to struggle for victories, their lone wins coming in early January, when they defeated Southampton and Leicester. Dean Henderson, Giulian Biancone, Willy Boly and Omar Richards are out, while Scott McKenna, Taiwo Awoniyi, Ryan Yates, Andre Ayew, Brennan Johnson and Emmanuel Dennis are doubtful.

Wolves are finding some scoring consistency, netting ten goals in their last nine games, but they still lost five of those. Jonny Otto is suspended for a terrible challenge on Luke Ayling in their defeat to Leeds before the break. Hwang Hee-Chan, Francisco Oliveira, and Sasa Kalajdzic are out, while Hugo Bueno, Boubacar Traore and Nelson Semedo are doubtful.

Wolves won the only top-flight meeting between these clubs.

Prediction: 1-1

Chelsea v Aston Villa (1.30pm)

Chelsea will have most of their focus on the Champions League for the remainder of the season, as winning it equals their best chance of qualifying for Europe’s premier club competition. Cesar Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva and Armando Broja are out through injury this weekend, with Mason Mount, Raheem Sterling, Edouard Mendy, Reece James, Wesley Fofana and Kai Havertz doubtful.

Aston Villa have taken ten points from their last five league games. Boubacar Kamara, Philippe Coutinho and Matty Cash are doubtful for the West Midlands club this weekend.

Chelsea dominate this rivalry with 29 wins to Villa’s 13.

Prediction: 1-1


West Ham United v Southampton (10am)

West Ham dropped back into the bottom three for the first time since January after their latest draw with Aston Villa. Lukasz Fabianski and Michail Antonio are doubtful this weekend.

Southampton bounced back from two goals down to grab a home draw with Tottenham, yet remain at the bottom of the table two points from safety. Tino Livramento and Juan Larios Lopez are out with knee and muscle injuries, while Armel Bella-Kotchap and Che Adams are doubtful.

West Ham hold the upper hand in this series, winning 19 of their 41 meetings.

Prediction: 1-1

Newcastle United v Manchester United (12.30pm)

Newcastle are stumbling in the top-four race, taking five draws from their last ten league games. Emil Krafth and Miguel Almiron are out for this one, while Harrison Ashby, Anthony Gordon, Nick Pope and Sven Botman are doubtful.

Manchester United may also be looking over the shoulder as both their hosts and Spurs are closing them down for third place. Donny van de Beek and Christian Eriksen are out and Casemiro is suspended, while Alejandro Garnacho, Anthony Martial, Raphael Varane and Marcus Rashford are doubtful.

United have won nearly sixty per cent of their league battles with the Magpies (32/55).

Prediction: 1-2


Everton v Tottenham Hotspur (4pm)

Everton have taken three wins from seven games under Sean Dyche. Andros Townsend is out through to lack of match fitness, while Dominic Calvert-Lewin is doubtful for the same reason.

Tottenham pulled the plug on Antonio Conte after the Italian called out the club’s lack of ambition before the break. Rodrigo Bentancur and Yves Bissouma are out with knee and ankle injuries, while Ben Davies, Emerson Royal, Ryan Sessegnon, Hugo Lloris and Richarlison are doubtful for the visit to Merseyside.

Spurs dominate this history, winning 29 of the 61 encounters between these clubs.

Prediction: 1-2

Tuesday, April 4

Bournemouth v Brighton & Hove Albion (3.45pm)

Bournemouth have the better of their South Coast rivals Brighton, winning four of their seven top-flight meetings.

Prediction: 1-1

Leeds United v Nottingham Forest (3.45pm)

Leeds could have key players Max Wober and Wilfried Gnonto back from minor injuries for this relegation six-pointer, but Tyler Adams is out for an undisclosed period following non-invasive hamstring surgery.

Nottingham Forest edge this critical encounter, winning five of 11 meetings, with Leeds winning three.

Prediction: 2-2

Leicester City v Aston Villa (3.45pm)

Leicester lead this series with 11 wins to Villa’s six through 27 meetings.

Prediction: 1-2

Chelsea v Liverpool (4pm)

There have been three draws in the last five league games between these sides, but Liverpool edge the history with 23 wins to Chelsea’s 21 in 61 encounters.

Prediction: 1-1

Wednesday, April 5

Manchester United v Brentford (4pm)

Manchester United had played 25 games in 80 days prior to the international break. They remain the only club in the top European leagues who are still in contention for four competitions.

Brentford are on course to qualify for their first-ever European campaign and sit outside a Europa League spot on goal difference. Shandon Baptiste should return from suspension.

United will aim for revenge from their heavy defeat in the reverse fixture, although they had won the two previous meetings in the Premier League.

Prediction: 2-0

West Ham United v Newcastle United (4pm)

West Ham have split the last five league meetings with Newcastle, although the Tyneside club own the history overall, taking 22 of their 41 total encounters.

Prediction: 1-2

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Published March 31, 2023 at 7:30 am (Updated March 30, 2023 at 3:48 pm)

Conte gone and Hodgson returns – managerial merry-go-round continues

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