With Jose Mourinho’s departure from Chelsea finally confirmed, their legion of stars can start preparing for life under Guus Hiddink by winning against Sunderland. There’s plenty of other pre-Christmas treats on offer including an intriguing clash between Everton and Leicester plus the other basement battle that pits Newcastle against Aston Villa. We’ve got the latest on every game.
Chelsea v Sunderland
Did someone say relegation six pointer? That’s exactly what we have right here after Chelsea’s loss to Leicester on Monday night proved the final nail in the coffin for Mourinho, the manager biting the bullet with Chelsea a point off the drop zone. For what it’s worth, Chelsea didn’t actually look that bad on Monday Night Football in the East Midlands. Up until Eden Hazard went off injured and after Loic Remy’s goal, Chelsea were on top. Even so, there has been an inevitability to Chelsea conceding goals this season and whilst Branislav Ivanovic and John Terry are part of the back line that threat remains. Despite Sam Allardyce earning Sunderland their first three wins of the season, the Black Cats are still 19th and staring at the barrel. The North East club did end Chelsea’s long unbeaten home league run under Mourinho two seasons ago although Allardyce’s defensive 3-5-2 is there to frustrate and draw away from home. Not win games.
Who to pick
Willian, Chelsea ($6,600)
Pedro, Chelsea ($5,800)
Yann M’Vila, Sunderland ($3,600)
Jermain Defoe, Sunderland ($4,200)
Everton v Leicester City
They don’t come anymore exciting than this. Two of the sides that are easiest on the eye going forwards. The top two goal scorers in the Premier League plus second and third in the assists column. It immediately shouts seven-goal thriller at you. Everton’s defence has been desecrated by injuries for the entirety of the season, although Leighton Baines’ return does a lot for fantasy managers. Leicester will be sweating on the fitness of Danny Drinkwater, who limped out of Monday’s win against Chelsea due to a hamstring injury, plus Jeffrey Schlupp has been ruled out for up to six weeks. The last three games at Goodison Park between these two have seen four or more goals scored and, even though Leicester haven’t won here since 1985, they haven’t lost an away game all season.
Who to pick
Romelu Lukaku, Everton ($8,000)
Leighton Baines, Everton ($3,900)
Riyad Mahrez, Leicester ($8,300)
Jamie Vardy, Leicester ($7,900)
Manchester United v Norwich
United welcome Norwich to Old Trafford after a surprising loss at Bournemouth last weekend, which was only their third defeat of the season and the first since being dismantled by Arsenal in October. United’s problem is in front of goal. Louis van Gaal’s men have scored just six goals in their last seven games and that owes a lot to having just 178 shots all season – 15th in the Premier League. That’s less than Saturday’s opponents Norwich and expect Alex Neil to stack the midfield and play for a draw. Andre Wisdom’s absence means that there will be some very affordable options at right back for the visitors, although Norwich haven’t won here since 1989. Their last two visits have resulted in heavy 4-0 losses, however, you’d be surprised were United to get four shots on target this time. Let alone four goals. Wayne Rooney, Ander Herrera and Chris Smalling could all return for the home side and that in mind, the chance of Norwich being well beaten increases even further.
Who to pick
Anthony Martial, Man Utd ($6,200)
Juan Mata, Man Utd ($6,500)
Declan Rudd, Norwich ($3,100)
Robbie Brady, Norwich ($6,200)
Southampton v Tottenham
Tottenham’s unbeaten run finally came to an end against bogey side Newcastle last Sunday and things don’t get any easier this weekend with a visit to a Southampton team desperate for a win. Spurs have won five out of their last six against the South Coast side and three of the last four have involved four or more goals scored. Southampton haven’t beaten Spurs at St Mary’s since 2005 and their rotten form coming into this doesn’t suggest that run is ready to end. Graziano Pelle is 100% fit for the game and can be expected to start. Maarten Stekelenburg is out and Paolo Gazzaniga will continue in goal. Mousa Dembele remains a big doubt for Spurs and it will be interesting to see who replaces him as Nabil Bentaleb is now fit again.
Who to pick
Graziano Pelle, Southampton ($6,500)
Sadio Mane, Southampton ($7,200)
Harry Kane, Tottenham ($7,400)
Erik Lamela, Tottenham ($4,500)
Stoke v Crystal Palace
Two clubs formerly managed by Tony Pulis that have a very different look to when he was in charge and both have a legitimate chance of upsetting the balance by qualifying for the Europa League. Palace are back on the winning trail after a torrid run during November and have no fresh injury worries. Stoke sit three points behind and it has been at home where they have come unstuck, registering just 10 of their 23 points. Bad news in that regard is that Palace have lost just twice away from home this season – to league leaders Leicester and high-flying Spurs and even then it was by the odd goal.
Who to pick
Xherdan Shaqiri, Stoke City ($4,600)
Bojan, Stoke City ($3,500)
Yannick Bolasie, Crystal Palace ($5,700)
Connor Wickham, Crystal Palace ($3,800)
West Brom v Bournemouth
Things are starting to click for both Albion boss Tony Pulis and Bournemouth counterpart Eddie Howe with all signs pointing towards a draw. Only Aston Villa have a worse home record this season than West Brom, though their two home wins have come in the last four games thus suggesting they have turned a corner under Pulis. Bournemouth come into the game on a lovely little run of form that has included wins at Chelsea and at home to Manchester United, and those were preceded by draws against Swansea and Everton. Pulis expects Stephane Sessegnon to be fit enough for a place on the bench but has no fresh worries beyond that. Bournemouth don’t expect to welcome back any of their long term absentees just yet but haven’t struggled thus far and will definitely put up a good fight.
Who to pick
Salomon Rondon, West Brom ($4,300)
James McClean, West Brom ($4,000)
Matt Ritchie, Bournemouth ($6,400)
Junior Stanislas, Bournemouth ($4,500)
Newcastle v Aston Villa
Relegation battles don’t come much more important this weekend than Newcastle v Aston Villa at St James’ Park. The home side have been very good when live on TV so far this season and Georginio Wijnaldum and co will be licking their lips as a result. Villa have won just once so far this season and haven’t been victorious on Tyneside since 2005, which is actually eight games due to the sheer number of times they’ve faced off. Micah Richards is still side-lined for Villa and may not even be back until after the festive period.
Who to pick
Georginio Wijnaldum, Newcastle ($4,800)
Daryl Janmaat, Newcastle ($3,700)
Jordan Veretout, Aston Villa ($3,300)
Rudy Gestede, Aston Villa ($3,300)