Wednesday/Thursday Previews: Part One
Here’s the first part in a look ahead to the matches included in the Wednesday and Thursday tournaments on Footstock. The predicted lineups are not confirmed and are purely the best guess of Footstock’s new partner, WhoScored.
Manchester United vs Sheffield United – Wednesday, 6 p.m.
Last match: Tottenham 1 vs 1 Manchester United
Paul Pogba changed the game against Spurs with his substitute appearance and will thus be hopeful of a start on Wednesday. Unless Ole Gunnar Solskjaer adjusts formation to accommodate him, that would likely mean a benching for either Fred or Scott McTominay. However, given Dan James’ lacklustre performance in the last match, United may opt for a 4-3-1-2 with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and either Luke Shaw or Brandon Williams providing the width. If selected, Pogba and Williams could be useful options in all tournaments, with one-star and two-star ratings, respectively, making them eligible across the board on Footstock.
Injuries: Phil Jones, Axel Tuanzebe (both doubts)
Last match: Newcastle United 3 vs 0 Sheffield United
The Blades were reduced to ten men and convincingly beaten by Newcastle in their return to action post-lockdown. Chris Wilder will be looking for an immediate reaction to keep the unexpected European tilt on track. Simon Moore looks set to deputise between the sticks for the ineligible Dean Henderson and is currently available for 33p* on the Footstock market. The return to full fitness of John Fleck is a boost for the Bramall Lane side, who will be without the suspended John Egan but may welcome back Jack O’Connell, previously thought to be out for the season. Lys Mousset scored in the reverse fixture and will hope to displace Billy Sharp to partner Oli McBurnie up front for the away side.
*At time of writing
Injuries: Jack O’Connell, David McGoldrick, Phil Jagielka (all doubts)
Suspended: John Egan
Unavailable: Dean Henderson (parent club)
Newcastle United vs Aston Villa – Wednesday, 6 p.m.
Last match: Newcastle 3 vs 0 Sheffield United
Steve Bruce will be loath to make changes after Newcastle’s surprise win against high-flying Sheffield United. Legendary-rated forward Allan Saint-Maximin racked up seven successful dribbles and bagged a goal in that match and will likely be a popular choice in the Pro tournament again. However, he was outscored by one-star player Matt Ritchie at the weekend, who should start again here.
Injuries: Jetro Willems, Ciaran Clark, Sean Longstaff, Florian Lejeune (all out)
Paul Dummett, Matthew Longstaff (both doubts)
Last match: Aston Villa 1 vs 2 Chelsea
John McGinn was seen icing his hamstring after being substituted against Chelsea but the talismanic midfielder has not been flagged as an injury doubt. Trezeguet and Jota are both in contention for a start on the right wing, with Keinan Davis possibly preferred to Mbwana Samatta through the middle again. With Jack Grealish the only available Villa player rated above two stars, the Villans offer plenty of options for Beginner tournaments on Footstock.
Injuries: Tom Heaton, Wesley, Björn Engels (all out)
Frederic Guilbert, Daniel Drinkwater (both doubts)
Norwich City vs Everton – Wednesday, 6 p.m.
Last match: Norwich 0 vs 3 Southampton
Norwich are deep in the relegation mire and having failed to score in 5 of their last 6 matches, they badly need Teemu Pukki to rediscover his early season form if they are to hang on to any hopes of Premier League survival. Emi Buendia is a reliable base scorer and at three stars could be an option for Amateur or even Pro lineups, but may be better suited to tournaments with fewer teams in action than this five-game slate. Marco Stiepermann previously tested positive for coronavirus but is back in contention for a start against the Toffees.
Injuries: Sam Byram, Grant Hanley, Christoph Zimmermann (all out)
Marco Stiepermann (doubt)
Last match: Everton 0 vs 0 Liverpool
Carlo Ancelotti’s men looked strong in the Merseyside derby and could have taken all three points, so will be confident going into this battle with the team propping up the Premier League table. Djibril Sidibe is still absent through injury, but Seamus Coleman impressed at right back against the Reds and may have hoped to retain his place regardless. Amateur tourney entrants have a tough choice to make between reliable base scorer Richarlison and top goalscorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin, with only one Epic player selectable.
Injuries: Theo Walcott, Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Cenk Tosun, Djibril Sidibé, Yerry Mina, Fabian Delph (all out)
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Bournemouth – Wednesday, 6 p.m.
Last match: West Ham 0 vs 2 Wolves
Adama Traore and Pedro Neto both impressed off the bench against the Hammers, leaving Nuno Espirito Santo with decisions to make regarding his forward line. “The Postman” Raul Jiminez (Epic) looks the safe pick in that regard, but Wolves’ last match also shows that a benching in not necessarily the end of the story for your tournament picks, especially with five substitutes available. Matt Doherty and Jonny Castro look likely to continue at wing-back, with the latter a tempting option for the Beginner tournament at Common level.
Injuries and suspensions: None
Last match: Bournemouth 0 vs 2 Crystal Palace
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe has insisted Ryan Fraser will not be considered for selection after rejecting a short-term contract extension, but the diminutive winger will be missed in what is fast-becoming a serious relegation battle for the Cherries. Returning from a long injury lay-off, David Brooks suffered cramp against Palace, but was a bright spark in an otherwise lacklustre performance and Howe will want to maximise his minutes in the run-in. The away side may switch to a back three, with one-star Arnaut Danjuma likely to come in at wing back in that case.
Injuries: Charlie Daniels (out)
Philip Billing, Josh King (both doubts)
Not considered: Ryan Fraser (contract rejection)
Part two can be found here!