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We’ve now played three rounds of EPL matches in the two weeks since Project Restart kicked off, and round four is just hours away. The fixture tempo demands meticulous attention from fantasy managers, but we at NMA are here to support you with all the news and advice you need to stay on top of your teams.
Let’s run through the match-ups and team news ahead of the week’s opening whistle, and then hang around to enjoy the live back-and-forth in the Comments as the matches unfold.
Saturday 4 July
Norwich vs Brighton
The Canaries are on a six-game losing streak, sport the league’s worst offense and joint-worst defense, and are nailed to the bottom of the table. But the Seagulls have safety in their sights and will face the two best teams in the league after this, so they’ll surely want to bank three points at Carrow Road. Given Norwich’s awful form, they probably will.
Note: this is the week’s early game — For what it’s worth, we will have confirmed lineups in the countdown hour before the Fantrax deadline so you Fantrax managers can load up on… oh who am I kidding anyway?
Norwich outs and doubts: Christoph Zimmerman, Moritz Leitner, Grant Hanley, and Sam Byram are all unavailable.
Brighton outs and doubts: José Izquierdo is a long-term absentee. Davy Propper (calf) and Adam Webster (hamstring) are struggling with muscle issues but are expected to be available.
Leicester vs Crystal Palace
Leicester are winless since the restart, managing only two pitiful points from twelve since returning to play. They still cling to third place, but if they can’t pull out of their tailspin they could find themselves tied on points with 5th-place Manchester and 6th-place Wolves after this round is over. Palace are safe from relegation and have little left to play for, so the Foxes will hope the Eagles bring an air of complacency with them when they visit the King Power tomorrow.
Leicester outs and doubts: Daniel Amartey and Ricardo Pereira remain unavailable. James Maddison is a doubt after aggravating a pre-existing hip issue.
Crystal Palace outs and doubts: Jeffrey Schlupp, Martin Kelly, and James Tomkins are out. Christian Benteke is a doubt with a muscle issue.
Manchester United vs Bournemouth
Manchester United haven’t lost since Bruno Fernandes started pulling the levers in midfield, climbing into 5th place and in serious contention for Champions League football next season. The Red Devils will therefore relish the visit of the 19th-place winless-restart Cherries… Who were also winless in four games before the lockdown, to be exact.
Manchester United outs and doubts: Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe are not expected to feature.
**NOTE: The Mirror is reporting that Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba are both doubts for the Bournemouth match after Pogba accidentally clattered into the Portuguese in training. The club has made no comment. Monitor this thread for further developments. Fake news.
Bournemouth outs and doubts: Callum Wilson will serve the second game of a two-match ban for yellow-card accumulation. Simon Francis is struggling with a knee injury and is a serious doubt. Charlie Daniels continues his long recovery from surgery to repair a dislocated patella.
Wolves vs Arsenal
This will be a crucial match in the race for European tournament positions, with Wolves in 6th and Arsenal in 8th, separated by six points. Wolves have lost three times in 2020 while Arsenal have lost only twice. But both of Arsenal’s defeats have come since the restart, while Wolves have enjoyed a perfect record since returning to play.
Wolves outs and doubts: none
Arsenal outs and doubts: Mesut Ozil is a doubt with a back problem. Calum Chambers, Bernd Leno, and Gabriel Martinelli will all miss out with season-ending knee injuries. Pablo Mari is also out for the season after suffering a severe ankle injury.
Chelsea vs Watford
Chelsea’s European dreams were dealt a blow on Wednesday, when the Blues fell to the Hammers at London Stadium. But they’ve otherwise been in fine form, winning every one of their other matches since the restart. On the other hand, Watford are winless since returning to play, so Frank Lampard will surely be targeting a victory when the Hornets visit Stamford Bridge tomorrow.
Chelsea outs and doubts: Mateo Kovacic will miss out with an Achilles problem, and Tomori Fikayo is unavailable with a lingering muscle issue.
Watford outs and doubts: Gerard Deulofeu, Isaac Success, and Daryl Janmaat will all miss the remainder of the season.
Sunday 5 July
Burnley vs Sheffield United
Burnley are smack-dab in the middle of the table, tied on points with Spurs and trailing Arsenal by just a single point. They’ve secured another season in the Prem, but Europe would be a long shot. The Blades’ European chances have been seriously dented by their results since the restart: They’ve collected only four points from five games. But Chris Wilder will hope he can build momentum on the back of yesterday’s memorable 3-1 victory over Spurs.
Burnley outs and doubts: Sean Dyche says Mathew Lowton “almost certainly” will miss out with a foot injury. Ashley Barnes has suffered a setback in his recovery from hernia surgery and will also not feature. Chris Wood, Jay Rodriguez, Johan Berg Gudmundsson, Jack Cork, and Robbie Brady are all doubts.
Sheffield United outs and doubts: John Fleck (groin) and John Lundstram (shoulder) have both been ruled out. Jack O’Connell remains a doubt with a knee injury.
Newcastle vs West Ham
The Magpies are another team who have made it to safety and now have little but pride left to play for. But West Ham are firmly mired in the relegation scrum and need points desperately. Their shock win over Chelsea on Wednesday was a signal of their intent.
Newcastle outs and doubts: Javier Manquillo (muscle), Sean Longstaff (hamstring), Jamaal Lascelles (knock), and Joelinton (calf) are all doubts. Ciaran Clark, Florian Lejeune, and Jetro Willems are all unavailable.
West Ham outs and doubts: Felipe Anderson is a doubt with a muscle injury. Sebastien Haller, Mark Noble and Arthur Masuaku have returned to training and could be ready to feature. Robert Snodgrass remains unavailable with a back injury.
Liverpool vs Aston Villa
Yesterday Manchester City sent a message to this season’s champions, putting a humiliating 4-0 smack-down on Liverpool after offering them a guard of honor prior to kick-off. Will Klopp punish his regulars by benching them for the easy home match against the 18th-place Aston Villa, or will he give a full-strength squad a chance to respond? I think I know which kind of lineup the relegation-threatened Villans would prefer to face.
Liverpool outs and doubts: Joel Matip will likely miss the remainder of the season with a toe injury, and Dejan Lovren is a doubt with a knock. Xherdan Shaqiri has returned to training but is well-short of match fitness.
Aston Villa outs and doubts: Tom Heaton, Bjorn Engels, Wesley, and Matt Targett are unavailable. Frederic Guilbert has returned to training after recovering from a knee injury but remains a doubt to start. Dean Smith says he has moved Anwar El Ghazi out of the squad because the player has underperformed since returning to play.
Southampton vs Manchester City
Southampton’s three points from Watford on Sunday brought them to that critical 40-point milestone that generally ensures Premier League survival, but they now have little left to accomplish. Similarly, City emphatically silenced Liverpool’s EPL championship celebrations yesterday, but with that objective now achieved Pep has admitted he’ll prioritize his cup competitions over the league (could that mean using the run-out to hone his top squad to a razor-sharpness?). This could be a weird and unpredictable match, then, but one thing seems sure: Danny Ings is chasing the Golden Boot and will try hard to add to his goal tally.
Southampton outs and doubts: Sofiane Boufal (thigh) and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (ankle) are both out. Jannik Vestergaard and Yan Valery are doubts.
Manchester City outs and doubts: Sergio Aguero will miss out with a knee injury.
Monday 6 July
Tottenham vs Everton
This mid-table clash sees restart-undefeated Toffees visit a Spurs team that just had its European hopes slashed by the Blades. This game is almost a must-win for Jose Mourinho, but Everton have given no indication that they’re willing to acquiesce.
Tottenham outs and doubts: Troy Parrot and Japhet Tanganga remain unavailable.
Everton outs and doubts: Fabian Delph, Jean-Philippe Gbamin, and Theo Walcott will all miss out. Richarlison is a doubt with an ankle injury, but Carlo Ancelotti expects him to pass fit.
Which matches look ripe for investment? Do any smell like traps to you? Which players do you like for this week? Any you are dropping? Heard any injury or lineup rumors? Please join us in the Comments below!