Tyrone Mings a strong option to replace injured William Saliba
Manchester City have seized the initiative in the English Premier League title race after thrashing leaders Arsenal 4-1 at the Etihad on Wednesday.
Elsewhere, Tottenham sacked interim manager Christian Stellini after their humbling 5-1 defeat away to Newcastle, where they shipped five goals in the first 20 minutes, replacing the Italian with Ryan Mason.
Fantasy managers prepare for the final full month of the league season with injuries to a few key players, including Arsenal defender William Saliba, who could miss the Gunners’ final six games owing to a back injury.
Aston Villa captain Tyrone Mings is a solid replacement, as he has spearheaded the West Midlands club to six clean sheets in their past nine games, as well as securing 17 bonus points so far, the second-most among defenders.
Crystal Palace v West Ham United
Crystal Palace have pulled away from the relegation scrap with one defeat from five games. Nathaniel Clyne, Wilfried Zaha and Nathan Ferguson are out injured, while Joachim Andersen is doubtful with a knock.
West Ham smashed rivals Bournemouth on the road, with four different players scoring at the Vitality Stadium last weekend. Gianluca Scamacca is out with a knee injury for the Hammers this match.
West Ham edge this rivalry through 23 league meetings, with nine wins to Palace’s seven.
Brentford v Nottingham Forest
Brentford found their first win in seven games away to Chelsea. Thomas Strakosha, Pontus Jansson, Kristoffer Ajer, Christian Norgaard and Keane Lewis-Potter are out this weekend.
Nottingham Forest came from behind to defeat Brighton in midweek and jump out of the bottom three. Dean Henderson, Scott McKenna, Giulian Biancone, Willy Boly, Omar Richards and Chris Wood are out with injury, while Serge Aurier, Jack Colback, Ryan Yates, Cheikhou Kouyate and Gustavo Scarpa are doubtful this weekend.
These clubs drew their only previous top-flight meeting at the City Ground last November.
Brighton & Hove Albion v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Brighton suffered a setback on their quest for European qualification next term after losing away to Nottingham Forest. Tariq Lamptey, Adam Lallana, Jakub Moder and Jeremy Sarmiento are out for the Seagulls, while Evan Ferguson and Danny Welbeck are doubtful.
Wolves took their third win in four games against Crystal Palace in midweek to move level on points with the South London side, and eight points clear of the bottom three. Francisco Oliveira and Sasa Kalajdzic are out with knee injuries for the Midlands outfit this weekend.
Brighton lead this series with three wins to Wolves’ two through nine meetings.
Bournemouth v Leeds United
Bournemouth were thrashed at home by West Ham last weekend, but bounced back yesterday by beating Southampton 1-0 in the South Coast derby at St Mary’s yesterday.
Ryan Fredericks and Junior Stanislas are out, while Hamed Traore is doubtful for the Cherries.
Leeds stopped a run of three straight defeats with the home draw with Leicester in midweek. Stuart Dallas and Tyler Adams are out, with Max Wober and Luis Sinisterra doubtful for the Yorkshire team.
Leeds won their only prior Premier League meeting, after coming from behind twice in a seven-goal thriller.
Fulham v Manchester City
Fulham are on an up-and-down run of two wins and three defeats in their past five. Aleksandar Mitrovic remains suspended, while Harry Wilson and Willian are doubtful this weekend with knocks.
Manchester City are flying after a top-of-the-table thrashing of Arsenal put them in pole position to clinch a third straight league title. Defender Nathan Ake is doubtful with a hamstring injury for this visit to West London.
City have won 16 of their 29 encounters with Fulham.
Manchester United v Aston Villa
Manchester United threw away another two-goal half-time lead to draw 2-2 with Spurs yesterday, but the point means they retain a six-point lead over their North London rivals for the final Champions League place. Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez, Donny van de Beek and Alejandro Garnacho are out for the Red Devils, while Bruno Fernandes, Tom Heaton and Scott McTominay are doubtful.
Aston Villa are unbeaten in ten games, temporarily moving into fifth place after their home win over Fulham on Tuesday. Matt Cash, Philippe Coutinho, Leon Bailey and Boubacar Kamara are out for the visit to Old Trafford.
United have won 37 of their 55 meetings with Villa.
Newcastle United v Southampton
Newcastle followed up their second-largest Premier League home victory over Tottenham Hotspur with an equally impressive 4-1 drubbing over relegation-threatened Everton at Goodison Park. Emil Krafth is out with a knee injury, while Allan Saint-Maximin and Fabian Schar are doubtful.
Bottom side Southampton are six points from safety in the relegation race but running out of matches. Mohamed Salisu and Juan Larios Lopez are out for Saints this round, while Jan Bednarek, Tino Livramento and Che Adams are doubtful.
The Magpies edge this series with 18 wins to Southampton’s 16.
Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur
Liverpool have shown signs of life but the form of Newcastle and Man United to a lesser extent means the Europa League may be the height of their expectations. Calvin Ramsay, Naby Keita, Stefan Bajcetic and Roberto Firmino are out to injury, while Ibrahima Konate is doubtful.
Tottenham finished strong to salvage something against Manchester United, but, having played two games more Erik ten Hag’s outfit, are very much on the outside looking in for a top-four finish. Ryan Sessegnon, Emerson Royal, Rodrigo Bentancur and Yves Bissouma are out this weekend, while Hugo Lloris is doubtful with a muscle injury.
Liverpool dominate this rivalry with 30 wins to Tottenham’s 14.
Leicester City v Everton
Veritable relegation six-pointer. Leicester fought back to scrap a point Leeds United midweek, but results elsewhere mean they go into this matchweek in the bottom three. Jonny Evans, Jannik Vestergaard, Ricardo Pereira, James Justin and Sammy Braybrooke are out to injury this weekend, while Ryan Bertrand and Kelechi Iheanacho are doubtful.
Everton, after that disastrous performance at home to Newcastle yesterday, are leading candidates to go down. Ruben Vinagre and Andros Townsend are out, while Seamus Coleman and Amadou Onana are doubtful this weekend.
The Toffees edge this rivalry, taking 11 wins to Leicester’s seven through 33 meetings.
Arsenal v Chelsea
Arsenal are now underdogs for the title, despite still holding a two-point lead, after the defeat at rivals Manchester City. Takehiro Tomiyasu, William Saliba and Mohamed Elneny are out for the Gunners for this match.
Chelsea have nothing else to play for, but the future may look bright, as the Blues appear on the brink of signing Mauricio Pochettino as their new head coach. Reece James, Kalidou Koulibaly, Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and Armando Broja are out this weekend.
Arsenal lead the rivalry with their West London rivals with 24 wins to Chelsea’s 20.
Liverpool v Fulham
Liverpool dominate the history of this fixture, winning 18 of the 31 meetings.
Manchester City v West Ham United
Manchester City dominate the series with the Hammers, winning 26 of 43 meetings.
Brighton & Hove Albion v Manchester United
Brighton will look for revenge for their FA Cup semi-final defeat on penalties, but the Red Devils lead the league history, with seven wins to the Seagulls’ four.
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