Content Editor at Free Super Tips, Alex was born in the shadow of Old Trafford and is an avid Man Utd fan. After graduating from university he combined his love of football, writing and betting to join FST and now closely follows goings-on in all of the top European leagues.
After a weekend of international football sandwiched between two bleak midweek fixture slates, the Premier League finally returns on Saturday with a huge clash between Manchester City and Liverpool.
With games being played across the globe and a lengthy period of radio silence from the top-flight managers, there’s a chance you may have missed some big news that could change your outlook on this weekend’s games.
Here’s some of the stories you may have missed:
International Recap injuries acca
Marksman misery in Manchester
The biggest story to break over the last couple of weeks was Erling Haaland’s withdrawal from the Norway squad with a groin problem. The Premier League’s top scorer has been absent from training pictures this week and is a major doubt for the hosting of Liverpool.
Haaland’s 28 top-flight strikes amounts to a league-high of 42% of Manchester City’s goals this season. Some argue that Haaland has made Pep Guardiola’s side worse, but the stats speak for themselves: Manchester City average 2.68 goals per game with their Norwegian sharpshooter up front, with that figure dropping to ‘only’ 1.87 goals per game when he doesn’t play.
City, who are 8/13 to win at the Etihad, can be backed in the Under 2.5 Team Goals market at 2/5, which has landed in five of the eight games in which Haaland didn’t play.
Over in the red half of Manchester, more forward trouble is brewing as Marcus Rashford tries to recover from a toe injury in time for Manchester United’s trip to Newcastle on Sunday.
In an incredible season so far, Rashford has scored 34% of his side’s league goals this term and will be a huge miss if sidelined.
However, he isn’t the only problem for Erik ten Hag, with Casemiro suspended, Christian Eriksen, Donny van de Beek and Alejandro Garnacho injured and Raphael Varane, Marcel Sabitzer and Anthony Martial all doubts.
Newcastle haven’t been at their best recently but their home record remains formidable and they can be backed to win an eighth Premier League game at St James’ Park at 7/5.
Familiar face on the Stamford Bridge sidelines
Yes, it’s Reece James. Again.
The ill-fortuned wingback is yet again on the physio’s table after withdrawing from the England squad with an apparently minor hamstring injury.
While Graham Potter may be used to life without the 23-year-old, Kai Havertz is also a doubt after being sent home ill from the Germany camp.
Chelsea, who have won just ten of their 27 Premier League games this season, are 4/6 to win against an Aston Villa side unbeaten in four. Back the double chance all day.
Forest not out of the Woods yet
I’ll tell you something, it’s a good job Nottingham Forest spent the last two transfer windows snapping up every footballer with a pulse because Steve Cooper is in dire straits right now.
The Tricky Trees have no fewer than 15 players ruled out or doubtful heading into a home clash with Wolves, with Chris Wood ruled out for the season and Serge Aurier, Andre Ayew and Gustavo Scarpa all picking up injuries recently.
I hope they stocked up on physios, too.
Wood is the latest in a long line of striker setbacks for Forest. Emmanuel Dennis, Brennan Johnson and Taiwo Awoniyi are all doubts and they don’t even have any positive momentum to carry them through this rough patch.
Forest have taken just two points from their last six games and are perilously close to the drop zone, which could be disastrous considering they have spent close to £200 million since they were promoted.
Wolves aren’t exactly in the greatest shape, but they did beat Spurs recently and have three wins from their last eight, so they look justified favourites at 13/8.
Back down in London, Antonio Conte left Tottenham ‘by mutual consent’ and Emerson Royal is injured, both of which arguably enhance their chances of beating the relegation-threatened Everton on Monday.
William Saliba, one of the stars of Arsenal’s title-challenge campaign, has undergone scans on an injury. The club believe they can nurse him through the season but he is a definite risk.
Heading up north, Darwin Nunez is a doubt for Liverpool, Nick Pope is out for Newcastle and teammate Sven Botman fell ill during the international break, although he is expected to be fine in time for the visit of Manchester United.
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