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Fulham midfielders could prove ideal festive signings

Willian could prve shrewd signing for Fantasy managers

The Premier League is approaching the halfway point of the campaign and the title race now has a further contender after Aston Villa beat Arsenal to win their fifteenth straight home match, the third-longest in top-flight history.

Fantasy managers also have some fascinating choices to make for the festive period, with Fulham’s midfield duo of Harry Wilson and Willian are strong candidates.


Nottingham Forest v Tottenham Hotspur (4pm)

Forest bounced back nicely from the humiliation at Fulham with a draw away to Wolves last weekend. Serge Aurier (calf) and Taiwo Awoniyi (groin) are out through injury, while Murillo is doubtful.

Spurs got back to winning ways in dominant fashion against Newcastle. Alfie Whiteman, Eric Dier, Ivan Perisic, Ryan Sessegnon, Micky Van de Ven, Ashley Phillips, Rodrigo Bentancur, James Maddison and Manor Solomon are out through injury this weekend.

Forest edge this rivalry with six wins to Tottenham’s five through 11 league contests.

Prediction: 1-2


Bournemouth v Luton Town (11am)

Bournemouth stunned Manchester United to claim their first Premier League win at Old Trafford. Ryan Fredericks, Lloyd Kelly, Max Aarons, Alex Scott and Tyler Adams are out to injury this weekend, while Emiliano Marcondes and Hamed Traore are doubtful.

Luton produced a spirited effort in the home defeat to Manchester City. Marvelous Nakamba is suspended for yellow-card accumulation; Dan Potts is out with an ankle injury; while Cauley Woodrow and Reece Burke are doubtful.

This is the first top-flight meeting between the two clubs.

Prediction: 2-2

Chelsea v Sheffield United (11am)

Chelsea have made a disastrous start to their first Premier League season under Mauricio Pochettino with the away defeat to Everton plummeting them to twelfth in the table.

Trevoh Chalobah, Ben Chilwell, Wesley Fofana and Carney Chukwuemeka are out injured this weekend, while Reece James, Lesley Ugochukwu, Romeo Lavia, Christopher Nkunku, Malo Gusto, Robert Sanchez and Marc Cucurella are doubtful.

Sheffield United got their first win under the returning Chris Wilder against Brentford. Jack Robinson is suspended this match for yellow-card accrual; Chris Basham, John Egan, Tom Davies and Daniel Jebbison are out to injury or illness, while Rhys Norrington-Davies, Rhian Brewster and George Baldock are doubtful.

Chelsea have five wins to Sheffield’s four in ten league meetings.

Prediction: 2-2

Manchester City v Crystal Palace (11am)

Manchester City came from behind to beat Luton and prevent their first five-match winless league run under Pep Guardiola. Kevin de Bruyne is out with a hamstring injury, while Erling Haaland and Jeremy Doku are doubtful for the champions.

Crystal Palace continue to struggle for results with the Eagles winless in five league games, losing four of those. Jordan Ayew is suspended and Dean Henderson, Rob Holding, Cheickh Doucoure and Jesurun Rak-Sakyi are out to injury. Sam Johnstone, Tyrick Mitchell, Eberechi Eze, Jefferson Lerma and Odsomne Edouard are doubtful.

City have won 16 of their 26 league meetings with Palace.

Prediction: 3-1

Newcastle United v Fulham (11am)

Newcastle were heavily beaten at Tottenham to lose ground on the top four. Kieran Trippier is suspended and Nick Pope, Sven Botman, Dan Burn, Matt Targett, Elliott Anderson, Jacob Murphy and Harvey Barnes are out through injury. Javier Manquillo and Joe Willock remain doubtful starters.

Fulham have scored five in consecutive games for the first time in club history after the win over West Ham. Issa Diop and Tyrese Francois are out to injury, while Matthew Dibley-Dias, Willian and Adama Traore are doubtful.

Newcastle edge this series with 13 wins to Fulham’s 12 through 30 Premier League meetings.

Prediction: 1-1

Burnley v Everton (1.30pm)

Burnley snatched a draw at Brighton to keep their survival push alive last weekend. Charlie Taylor is suspended, Luka Koleosho, Josh Cullen and Jack Cork are out to injury; while Lyle Foster and Aaron Ramsey are doubtful.

Everton cruised past Chelsea at home, with youngster Lewis Dobbin scoring his first top-flight goal. Jarrad Branthwaite and Idrissa Gueye are suspended, Dele Alli is out with a hip injury, while Andre Gomes, Seamus Coleman and Ashley Young are doubtful.

Everton lead this match-up with eight wins to Burnley’s seven from 16 contests.

Prediction: 1-2


Arsenal v Brighton & Hove Albion (10am)

Arsenal were beaten at Aston Villa and fell one point behind leaders Liverpool. Takehiro Tomiyasu, Jurrien Timber, Fabio Vieira and Thomas Partey are out through injury, while Mohamed Elneny and Gabriel Martinelli are doubtful.

Brighton dropped points at home to Burnley to make their push for European qualification slightly harder. Pervis Estupinan, Tariq Lamptey, Adam Webster, Julio Enciso, Solly March and Ansu Fati are out this weekend, while Danny Welbeck is doubtful.

The Seagulls edge this rivalry with five wins to Arsenal’s four through 12 meetings.

Prediction: 2-0

Brentford v Aston Villa (10am)

Brentford have lost consecutive away games after starting the month with victory over Luton. Kristoffer Ajer, Rico Henry, Aaron Hickey, Josh DaSilva, Bryan Mbeumo and Kevin Schade are out with various injuries, while Mathias Jensen and Nathan Collins are doubtful.

Aston Villa showed their title credentials last week with home wins over fellow challengers Arsenal and Man City. Lucas Digne and Douglas Luiz are suspended for yellow-card accrual, Tyrone Mings and Emiliano Buendia are out with knee injuries, while Bertrand Traore has a minor knock.

Each team has won one of the four overall league meetings between these clubs.

Prediction: 1-3

West Ham v Wolverhampton Wanderers (10am)

West Ham were thrashed at Fulham in their first league defeat in six weeks. Michail Antonio and Alphonse Areola are doubtful this weekend for the Hammers.

Wolves have had a mixed start to the season, most recently drawing with Nottingham Forest at home. Joe Hodge and Pedro Neto are out with knee and hamstring injuries, while Rayan Ait-Nouri is doubtful with an ankle injury this match.

Wolves lead this rivalry with seven wins to West Ham’s six after 14 encounters.

Prediction: 2-2

Liverpool v Manchester United (12.30pm)

Liverpool are unbeaten in eleven games, winning eight of those to climb to the summit of the table. Joel Matip, Andy Robertson, Stefan Bajcetic, Diego Jota and Thiago Alcantara are out to injury, while Alexis Mac Allister is doubtful with a knock this week.

Manchester United were eliminated totally from Europe for the first time since 2006 in midweek after losing at home to Bournemouth for the first time. Bruno Fernandes is suspended to yellow-card accrual, Tyrell Malacia, Lisandro Martinez and Casemiro are out through injury, while Mason Mount, Amad Diallo, Christian Eriksen, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are doubtful this weekend.

United lead this Northwest derby with 29 wins to Liverpool’s 19 through 62 meetings.

Prediction: 3-1

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Published December 15, 2023 at 7:56 am (Updated December 15, 2023 at 7:34 am)

Fulham midfielders could prove ideal festive signings

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