EPL Season 2019/2020 – Gameweek 18 Predicted Lineups – Clubs in 1st to 3rd

Every week this new series will take a look at the predicted starting line-ups for clubs in the English Premier League. Knowing which players are expected to play each weekend is a crucial element for every active Fantasy Football manager. The starting XIs for the EPL clubs is increasingly hard to predict, due to congested fixture calendars and the quality of squad depths as a result of the vast amounts of money the EPL clubs generate.

For the moment, we will consider the lineups of the top-10 teams in the Premier League as it stands by the start of the upcoming gameweek, divided over three articles. This part 1 covers the teams in positions 1 to 3, part 2 covers the lineups for positions 4 to 6, and part 3 looks at the formations for positions 7 to 10. We might analyse the lineups of all teams at a later stage, based on the interest shown in this series. As far as gameweek 18 goes, we will take a look at confirmed starting lineups for the top-10 teams in gameweek 17, compare those to our predictions for that gameweek, and then predict their lineups for gameweek 18.

For much of the injury news mentioned in these pieces, we consult, among other club-specific sources, the excellent Twitter account and website of Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery). Lineups are written down from left to right, as seen from the goalkeeper’s perspective (so in defence, for example, from left-back to right-back).

Factors potentially affecting lineups per team in the build-up to GW18

Liverpool Ridiculously congested schedule has lead to a blank in GW18
Leicester City League Cup QF vs. Everton (a) on 18/12: 2-2 (victory after penalties)
Manchester City League Cup QF vs. Oxford United (a) on 18/12: 1-3

The Premier League at the start of gameweek 18 (positions 1 to 5)

1 Liverpool 49 pts
2 Leicester City 39 pts
3 Manchester City 35 pts
4 Chelsea 29 pts
5 Spurs 26 pts

Lineups for gameweek 17: Predicted vs. confirmed

LIVERPOOL (home vs. Watford, 2-0)

Form. 4 – 3 – 3   4 – 2 – 3 – 1
FOR Mané, Firmino, Salah   Salah
MID Wijnaldum, Keita, Milner   Mané, Firmino, Shaqiri
DEF MID ///   Wijnaldum, Henderson
DEF Robertson, Van Dijk, Gomez, A.-Arnold   Milner, Van Dijk, Gomez, A.-Arnold
GK Alisson   Alisson
Subs ///   (2nd half) Robertson > Wijnaldum, O.- Chamberlain > Shaqiri, Origi > Firmino
Goals ///   Salah (Mané), Salah (Origi)

LEICESTER CITY (away vs Norwich, 1-1)

Form. 4 – 1 – 4 – 1   4 – 3 – 1 – 2
FOR Vardy   Vardy, Iheanacho
MID H. Barnes, Maddison, Tielemans, Ayoze   Maddison
DEF MID Ndidi   Tielemans, Ndidi, Praet
DEF Chilwell, Söyüncü, Evans, Ricardo Pereira   Chilwell, Söyüncü, Evans, Ricardo Pereira
GK Schmeichel   Schmeichel
Subs ///   (1st half) D. Gray > Iheanacho (2nd half) H. Barnes > Praet
Goals ///   Krul (OG, Vardy)

MANCHESTER CITY (away vs. Arsenal, 0-3)

Form. 4 – 3 – 3   4 – 3 – 3
FOR Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, B. Silva   Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, De Bruyne
MID D. Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne   Foden, Rodri, Gundogan
DEF Angeliño, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Walker   Mendy, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Walker
GK Ederson   Ederson
Subs ///   (2nd half) B. Silva > Foden, Mahrez > Gundogan, Zinchenko > Mendy
Goals ///   De Bruyne (Jesus), Sterling (De Bruyne), De Bruyne (Foden)

Predicted lineups for gameweek 18


Ruled out BLANK
Doubtful BLANK

LEICESTER CITY (away vs. Manchester City)

Form. 4 – 1 – 4 – 1
FOR Vardy
MID H. Barnes, Maddison, Tielemans, Ayoze
DEF Chilwell, Söyüncü, Evans, Ricardo Pereira
GK Schmeichel
Ruled out None
Doubtful None
Notes Considering Leicester’s stellar season so far and the fact that manager Brendan Rodgers has no relevant injuries to deal with, we expect him to line up his strongest eleven for this huge clash, i.e. the starting eleven that has brought the Foxes to where they are at the moment. Something worth taking into account nevertheless is Leicester’s mid-week battle with Everton, when, in comparison to our predicted lineup above, only Söyüncü (came on in the 82nd minute), Tielemans and H. Barnes did not start. This means that the majority of the team will have only had about 2.5 days of rest before the Man City game, but the same goes for the Cityzens to an extent, even though they played an easier opponent and enjoy bigger squad depth. If Leicester make any changes it will surely be to become more defensive knowing how little of the ball they will have.

MANCHESTER CITY (away vs. Arsenal)

Form. 4 – 3 – 3
FOR Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Mahrez
MID Gundogan, Rodri, De Bruyne
DEF Mendy, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Walker
GK Ederson
Ruled out Sané, Laporte
Doubtful Stones, D. Silva, Aguero
Notes In the mid-week League Cup game against Oxford, out of the players that get regular minutes, only Sterling (come off in the 76th minute), Rodri (came off in the 59th minute), B. Silva, and Cancelo started. Manager Pep Guardiola will see the Leicester match as the perfect opportunity to make a move for 2nd, which is why we feel he might pick experience (Gundogan) over Foden (who started GW17) for this one. Despite his man-of-the-match performance as a right winger with freedom to roam around the entire attacking third vs Arsenal, Pep will probably move De Bruyne back into his previous midfield position, where he and Gundogan should be joined by Rodri. In defence, we expect Mendy (rested mid-week, while Angeliño played 90min and Zinchenko just got his first post-injury minutes as a sub) on the left and Walker on the right (he was rested mid-week). The centre is expected to consist of Fernandinho and Otamendi, mainly due to injury limitations. Up front, Gabriel Jesus is expected to keep filling in for the injured Aguero, with Sterling on his right and Mahrez (who was rested mid-week while B. Silva played 90 minutes) on his left.

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