EPL Season 2019/2020 – Gameweek 22 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-6 teams in the Premier League as it stands by the start of the upcoming gameweek, divided over two articles. This part 1 covers the teams in positions 1 to 3 and part 2 covers the lineups for positions 4 to 6. We might analyse the lineups of all teams at a later stage, based on the interest shown in this series. As far as gameweek 22 goes, we will take a look at confirmed starting lineups for the top-6 teams in gameweek 21, compare those to our predictions for that gameweek, and then predict their lineups for gameweek 22.

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 GW22

Liverpool FA Cup 3rd Round vs. Everton (home) on 05/01/20: 1-0
Leicester City League Cup SF vs. Aston Villa (home) on 08/01/20: 1-1
Manchester City League Cup SF vs. Manchester United (away) on 07/01/20: 1-3

The Premier League at the start of gameweek 22 (positions 1 to 5)

1 Liverpool 58 pts
2 Leicester City 45 pts
3 Manchester City 44 pts
4 Chelsea 36 pts
5 Manchester United 31 pts

Lineups for gameweek 21: Predicted vs. confirmed

LIVERPOOL (home vs. Sheffield United, 2-0)

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

LEICESTER CITY (away vs. Newcastle, 0-3)

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

MANCHESTER CITY (home vs. Everton, 2-1)

Form. 4 – 3 – 3   4 – 2 – 3 – 1
FOR B. Silva, Aguero, Mahrez   G. Jesus
MID Gundogan, Rodri, De Bruyne   Foden, De Bruyne, Mahrez
DEF MID ///   Rodri, Gundogan
DEF Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Otamendi, Cancelo   Mendy, Fernandinho, Garcia, Cancelo
GK Ederson   Bravo
Subs ///   (2nd half) D. Silva > Foden, Sterling > Mahrez
Goals ///   Jesus (Gundogan), Jesus (Mahrez)

Predicted lineups for gameweek 22

LIVERPOOL (away vs. Spurs)

Form. 4 – 3 – 3
FOR Mané, Firmino, Salah
MID Wijnaldum, Henderson, Lallana
DEF Robertson, Van Dijk, Gomez, Alexander-Arnold
GK Alisson
Ruled out Keita, Clyne, Fabinho
Doubtful Lovren, Matip, Shaqiri, Milner
Notes After resting practically the entire starting eleven for the League Cup tie against Everton (only Gomez was included), we largely expect manager Jurgen Klopp to turn up with his strongest lineup against Spurs, bar any current injuries. Gomez keeps his place in the back, with the rest of defence set up as usual. With Fabinho and Keita out, and Milner a doubt, Lallana could find himself in the starting eleven once again, next to Wijnaldum and Henderson in the middle. Up front, the three usual suspects should start.

LEICESTER CITY (home vs. Southampton)

Form. 4 – 1 – 4 – 1
FOR Vardy
MID H. Barnes, Maddison, Tielemans, Ayoze Perez
DEF MID Choudhury
DEF Chilwell, Söyüncü, Evans, Ricardo Pereira
GK Schmeichel
Ruled out Ndidi, Morgan, D. Amartey
Doubtful Maddison, M. James
Notes The injury of Ndidi is a big blow to Leicester, potentially comparable to if Kanté would miss a game during the legendary 2015-16 season. We still expect manager Brendan Rodgers to pick his usual and strongest possible eleven, with Choudhury probably filling in for Ndidi in the middle. Maddison looked fit against Villa in the League Cup on Wednesday, so we expect him to start against Southampton this weekend. Winger H. Barnes seems to be prone to a bit of rotation of late, with the likes of D. Gray, Praet waiting in the wings to show what they’ve got. We’ve still gone with H. Barnes for this one though, as Rodgers might be given him a chance from the get-go again.

MANCHESTER CITY (away vs. Aston Villa)

Form. 4 – 3 – 3
FOR Sterling, Aguero, Mahrez
MID D. Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne
DEF Mendy, Fernandinho, Stones, Walker
GK Ederson
Ruled out Laporte, Sané
Doubtful None
Notes After a bit of experimenting with an alternative 4-2-3-1 lineup, we think manager Pep Guardiola will revert back to his usual 4-3-3 for the game against Villa as the skyblue treatment room has emptied considerably. In the back, we feel Pep will pick Stones to partner Fernandinho in the middle, with Mendy and Walker flanking them. In the middle, D. Silva will probably get a run again after returning to fitness, with Rodri and the ever-present De Bruyne joining him. In attack, Sterling should get his spot back after being rested in GW21, with the in-form Mahrez on the opposite after having seemingly convinced Guardiola of his prolong starting-eleven potential. All the way up top, it’s between Aguero and Jesus. The former was benched in GW21 and saw the latter net a brace, and rumour goes that Aguero will focus on Champions League games. It could be, but we’re not so sure about this yet, so we’ve gone with the lethal Argentinian this week.