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Chris Wood and Anthony Elanga solid budget options

Chris Wood, centre, celebrates scoring against Newcastle United

The Premier League season has passed the halfway stage and Nottingham Forest players could be worthy of consideration after Chris Wood became their first striker to score a Premier League hat-trick since Kevin Campbell in 1996 when netting three times against Newcastle.

Fantasy managers need to prepare for the conclusion of the festive period with Wood and his team-mate Anthony Elanga solid budget options in midfield and attack respectively


Luton Town v Chelsea (8.30am)

Luton have racked up consecutive wins for the first time this campaign to edge within one point of safety.

Dan Potts is out with a hamstring injury along with skipper Tom Lockyer, who suffered cardiac arrest at Bournemouth a few weeks back. Reece Burke, Issa Kabore, Marvelous Nakamba and Jordan Clark are doubtful this weekend.

Chelsea lost at Wolves last weekend before bouncing back against Crystal Palace in midweek.

Raheem Sterling and Cole Palmer are suspended to yellow-card accumulation. Trevoh Chalobah, Marc Cucurella, Wesley Fofana, Reece James and Carney Chukwuemeka are out through injury, while Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo are doubtful.

The Blues won the reverse fixture 3-0, the only previous Premier League meeting between these clubs.

Prediction: 2-1

Aston Villa v Burnley (11am)

Aston Villa were punished for their over-confidence at Old Trafford on Boxing Day, squandering a two-goal half-time lead to drop points in consecutive league matches for the first time this campaign.

Boubacar Kamara remains suspended and Tyrone Mings, Emiliano Buendia, Youri Tielemans and Bertrand Traore are out to injury. Lucas Digne is doubtful with a hamstring injury.

Burnley lost at home to Liverpool on Boxing Day, their third defeat in their last six games. Jack Cork and Hjalmar Ekdal are doubtful with minor injuries this weekend for the Clarets.

These clubs have drawn five of their 11 league meetings, although Villa edge it with four wins to Burnley’s two.

Prediction: 2-0

Crystal Palace v Brentford (11am)

Both these teams are sliding down the table and Crystal Palace must do without Rob Holding, Joel Ward, Cheikh Doucoure and Jesurun Rak-Sakyi with injuries, while Odsonne Edouard and Sam Johnstone are doubtful.

Brentford went down at home to Wolves in midweek for their fourth straight defeat. Frank Onyeka is suspended for yellow-card accumulation, Ben Mee is suspended after being sent off against Aston Villa earlier this month, while Kristoffer Ajer, Rico Henry, Aaron Hickey, Josh Dasilva, Bryan Mbeumo and Kevin Schade are out through injury.

These clubs have drawn all five of their Premier League encounters.

Prediction: 2-2

Manchester City v Sheffield United (11am)

Manchester City cruised past Everton despite going behind early at Goodison Park. Kevin de Bruyne, Jeremy Doku and Erling Haaland are doubtful this weekend.

Sheffield United conceded two late own goals to fall six points from safety after losing to rivals Luton. Loanee James McAtee is not eligible to face his parent club due to league rules, Anel Ahmedhozic and Gustavo Hamer are suspended, while Chris Basham, John Egan, Tom Davies and Daniel Jebbison are out to injury or illness.

City are unbeaten in 11 league encounters, winning eight of those.

Prediction: 4-0

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Everton (11am)

Wolves destroyed Brentford to continue a solid run of just one defeat in five games, and three defeats in eight. Joe Hodge, Craig Dawson, Pedro Neto, Jean-Ricner Bellegarde, Boubacar Traore and Fabio Silva are doubtful for this game.

Everton have lost consecutive games after a run of three straight victories to start the month. Dele Alli (hip) is out through injury, while Ashley Young, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Seamus Coleman and Idrissa Gueye are doubtful.

Wolves edge a tight rivalry with seven wins to Everton’s six through 19 contests.

Prediction: 1-1

Nottingham Forest v Manchester United (1.30pm)

Nottingham Forest returned to winning ways with an impressive away result at Newcastle. Ibrahim Sangare is suspended and Taiwo Awoniyi is out with a groin injury, while Serge Aurier and Felipe are doubtful.

Manchester United came from two down to grab their first home win in four league games on Boxing Day over Aston Villa. Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Tyrell Malacia, Lisandro Martinez, Mason Mount and Casemiro are out to various injuries, while Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw, Amad Diallo and Sofyan Amrabat are doubtful.

United have won ten of 13 top-flight meetings with Forest.

Prediction: 1-2


Fulham v Arsenal (10am)

Fulham will be looking over their shoulder after their third straight defeat, a 3-0 loss at Bournemouth on Boxing Day. Tim Ream is out for this match with a calf injury, while Matthew Dibley-Dias, Adama Traore and Willian are doubtful.

Arsenal could return to the top. Kai Havertz is suspended having accrued five yellow cards, while Takehiro Tomiyasu, Jurrien Timber, Fabio Vieira and Thomas Partey are out to injury.

The Gunners dominate this series, winning 23 of 33 battles with their westerly neighbours.

Prediction: 0-2

Tottenham Hotspur v Bournemouth (10am)

Tottenham's Yves Bissouma serves the second of a three-match suspension; Alfie Whiteman, Ivan Perisic, Cristian Romero, Ryan Sessegnon, Micky van de Ven, Rodrigo Bentancur, James Maddison and Manor Solomon are out to injury.

Bournemouth are the form team in the division, taking 13 points from their last five matches. Ryan Fredericks, Lloyd Kelly, Milos Kerkez and Tyler Adams are out to injury, while Hamed Traore, Lewis Cook and Emiliano Marcondes are doubtful owing to injury or lack of fitness.

Spurs have won nine of 13 league meetings with the Cherries, although they did lose their last encounter when the South Coast club last came to their new stadium in April.

Prediction: 2-1


Liverpool v Newcastle United (4pm)

Liverpool took top spot with the away victory over Burnley to remain perfect in six Boxing Day matches under head coach Jurgen Klopp. Joel Matip, Andy Robertson, Konstantinos Tsimikas, Stefan Bajcetic, Thiago Alcantara and Ben Doak are out to injury this match, while Alexis Mac Allister is doubtful with a knee injury.

Newcastle are winless in seven matches in all competitions, sliding to eighth in the standings after losing to Forest at home on Tuesday. Nick Pope, Matt Targett, Elliot Anderson, Jacob Murphy, Joe Willock and Harvey Barnes are out through injury for the Magpies, while Javier Manquillo and Jamaal Lascelles are doubtful.

The Reds have taken 34 wins from their 57 encounters with Newcastle, narrowly edging the reverse fixture in late August.

Prediction: 3-1


West Ham United v Brighton & Hove Albion (3.30pm)

West Ham dominated Manchester United to make it three wins from five, before visiting Arsenal on Thursday. Michail Antonio, Nayef Aguerd and Maxwel Cornet are doubtful to injury or illness.

Brighton could be above their hosts on goal difference before this match should results go their way on Thursday, when they host Tottenham. Tariq Lamptey, Joel Veltman, Adam Webster, Simon Adingra, Julio Enciso, Solly March, Kaoru Mitoma and Ansu Fati are out with various injuries this match.

The Seagulls have lost just one of 13 contests with the Hammers, winning six and drawing six.

Prediction: 2-1

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Published December 29, 2023 at 7:58 am (Updated December 29, 2023 at 7:41 am)

Chris Wood and Anthony Elanga solid budget options

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