Around the Grounds – FPL Team News – GW38
Welcome to Around the Grounds – FPL Team News – GW38. Here we at last, GW38 upon us and a rest from all things fantasy wise (sports at least) awaits us – unless of course you fancy playing Fantasy Euros, Fantasy Tour de France, Fantasy Cricket or anything else that Init will try and beat you at.
The craziness of the last few months comes to a conclusion on Sunday and we’re going from one extreme to the other in terms of fixtures. From being used to one match at a time and a game-week being stretched across numerous days, GW38 sees all the matches being played concurrently, namely at 4pm. Or 5pm if you’re AJW. Or 11am if you’re Mito. Possibly 8.40pm if you’re Constatine? 4pm UK time it is. Sunday.
The league is of course decided, as is second place and relegation. What is not decided is who will snatch the final two Champions League places. Chelsea and Liverpool are in pole position as they sit third and fourth respectively, while Leicester will need one of their rivals to drop points or otherwise beat Spurs by a ridiculously large margin to qualify for the CL. That would be very Spursy, so never say never.
West Ham need just a point to confirm sixth place and a Europa spot while Spurs, Everton and Arsenal are battling for a spot in the new Conference League.
For the first and only time this season, let’s go Around the Grounds to preview each match.
The Gunners come into the game on the back of four league wins on the bounce and a fifth would result in Spurs or Everton needing to win to stop Arteta’s men reaching the Conference League. Hector Bellerin misses out this weekend, while David Luiz is also expected not to feature before he leaves the club in the summer.
Brighton, fresh from their midweek win over the Champions look lighter than ever up front. Neil Maupay misses out through suspension and Danny Welbeck limped off vs City with a hamstring injury and won’t feature vs his old club. Joel Veltman also continues to miss out, but the Seagulls can at least welcome back Lewis Dunk from suspension.
Arsenal have failed to win either of their previous two matches at home to Brighton.
Chelsea know a win at Villa Park will guarantee them Champions League football next season and will therefore not have City’s luxury of being able to rest/play whoever they like in front of next week’s big final. Tuchel has said that N’Golo Kante is ‘close’ to a recovery and he and Kai Havertz could feature if they can train on Saturday. Defender Andreas Christensen is back in the squad, meaning Tuchel could have a full squad to choose from.
The Blues have won six and drawn one of the last seven meetings between the two teams.
Ross Barkley is ineligible to face Chelsea as part of his loan deal with Villa also missing the injured Matty Cash and Trezeguet. Having played 72mins vs Spurs in the week Jack Grealish looks good for another start as he seeks to make a late claim to be part of England’s Euros squad.
Fulham will be without Tom Cairney, Antonee Robinson and Aleksandar Mitrovic for the weekend, while Harrison Reed faces a late fitness test.
Newcastle could be without Joelinton, Allan Saint-Maximin and Martin Dubravka for the trip to the capital. The trio will face late assessments ahead of the game. In form midfielder Joe Willock should be fine, despite being labelled ‘fatigued’ by Steve Bruce after scoring the winner against Sheffield United in midweek and Fabian Schar is available after serving his 3-match ban.
Since relegation was confirmed, Fulham are 20th in the league for big chances conceded, while Newcastle are (amazingly) 3rd in the league for big chances created.
Diego Llorente will miss out after picking up an injury in the first half at Southampton and keeper Illan Meslier is expected to remain on the bench for the final game of the season. Kiko Casilla will again be between the sticks.
Leeds are much stronger defensively at home, conceding an average of just 1.2 big chances at Elland Road vs 2.6 when on the road.
The Baggies could travel to Leeds without playmaker, best player and only hope Matheus Pereira who is believed to be suffering with a knock. Or maybe the club don’t want to risk their only sellable asset in a dead match. You decide.
Leeds are much stronger defensively at home, conceding an average of just 1.2 big chances at Elland Road vs 2.6 when on the road and with Pereira potentially absent, Stuart Dallas owners won’t be benching him this week!
Brendan Rodgers admits they can only focus on winning their match and hope that either Chelsea or Liverpool slip up – I mean, it wouldn’t be the first time would it?! Crucially for Leicester, Jonny Evans misses out with a foot injury, but there are no other new concerns. Long term absentees Harvey Barnes and James Justin continue to miss out.
Spurs only absentees are defenders Ben Davies and Japhet Tanganga, while Harry Kane hopes this is his last match for Tottenham.
This is a fixture that has produced action of late with 33 goals scored in the last eight league meetings between the two. Harry Kane has scored ten of those and didn’t even play in two of those eight matches!
There was no mention of Diogo Jota at Klopp’s presser, though the manager muttered in the week that Jota’s injury was ‘not as bad as first feared’. However with Mane and Firmino showing better form or late, Jota is likely to be benched at best.
How nice for Woy to experience his final game as Palace manager at Anfield. A guard of honour from the Liverpool players is expected, although rumours that Andy Carroll and Paul Konchesky have been invited to join the tribute are unconfirmed.
The Eagles have doubts over Christian Benteke, Tyrick Mitchell, Scott Dann and James McArthur with Woy admitting that Palace’s squad may be somewhat depleted after playing three games in a week. Eberechi Eze is a long term casualty.
Liverpool have won their last seven vs The Eagles, scoring 24 goals in the process.
City can of course sit back, relax and rest whoever they like ahead of next week’s Champions League final. Pep says that everyone is fit, which indicates that Kyle Walker, Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling have recovered from minor knocks. Sergio Aguero will want to bid farewell to the Etihad – the striker trained on Thursday but was ‘a little tired’ on Friday. A decision will be made on Saturday as to whether the Argentinian can start vs Everton or come off the bench. Joao Cancelo is the only definite absentee as he is suspended after seeing red vs Brighton.
Without wishing to second guess Pep, it may be worth noting that Mahrez, Foden, Gundogan, Bernado, Dias and Stones all started at Brighton in midweek and could therefore be liable for a rest. KdB, Jesus, Laporte, Ake and Mendy could all then get the nod on Sunday – Pep has confirmed that Ederson will start in goal.
The Toffees will again be without the injured James Rodriguez who is struggling to recover from a calf injury. Captain Seamus Coleman also misses out after picking up a knock in the midweek win vs Wolves.
City always beat Everton, having won the last seven meetings. Everton haven’t won at the Etihad since 2010.
The Blades play their final match before trap dooring into the Championship and will want to go out with a stirring performance vs Burnley. Well, they can dream. United have a long injury list and manager Paul Heckingbottom won’t rush any of them back if they are not 100%. Defender George Baldock missed the midweek loss at Newcastle and is believed to be close and keen to play but it is thought unlikely that Ethan Ampadu, Jack O’Connell, Oliver Burke, Sander Berge, Ollie McBurnie and Billy Sharp will feature.
Burnley’s Nick Pope ‘has a chance’ of being fit to play on Sunday, the keeper will have a late fitness test but Kevin Long, Robbie Brady, Dale Stephens and Phil Bardsley remain unavailable.
These two have only met three times in the Premier League with both teams winning one and the other ending in a draw. For those punting on a Chris Wood final day masterclass, it would be wrong of me not to inform you that both of Burnley’s goals vs The Blades in the Premier League have come from defenders.
Hammers keeper Lukasz Fabianski faces a race to be fit for the season finale – the keeper is recovering from a knee injury which Moyes doesn’t think ‘is quite as bad as it looked’. Darren Randolph stands by again to deputise. No new injuries. Arthur Masuaku and Manuel Lanzini remain out.
Che Adams will miss out with a small groin injury and with Danny Ings having his minutes managed just now, Saints could be weak in attack. Oriol Romeu has trained late this week and could make the bench, but Will Smallbone and Ryan Bertrand continue to sit on the sidelines.
Southampton’s recent record vs West Ham is poor, losing five on the spin before recording an impressive (!) 0-0 draw at St Marys in December.
Wolves have announced that manager Nuno Espirito Santo will leave the club at the end of the season.
Nuno said last weekend that he intended to give as many players as possible some game time over the last two matches. Romain Saiss, Marcal, Ki-Jana Hoever and Rui Patricio were unused subs in midweek and are therefore expected to feature vs United. Jonny, Pedro Neto, Daniel Podence and Raul Jimenez remain out.
United go into the game with 2nd place secured and all thoughts on the Europa final in midweek. Expect plenty of changes to the team that drew with Fulham with Solskjaer unlikely to want to risk any further injuries. Daniel James is likely to get some minutes ahead of the final, but Anthony Martial and Harry Maguire will miss out.
Traditionally a low-scoring fixture with just two goals in the last four meetings which is surprising given that the first meeting between the two in 1892 ended in a 10-1 victory for United (then Newton Heath). You won’t be surprised to learn that when Newton Heath became Man United, the first three matches between the two produced just two goals. You see the pattern emerging. It’s probably not the game to captain Fabio Silva or Daniel James.
Thanks for reading Around the Grounds FPL Team News Gameweek 38. This article was written by Cookie
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