Here are the Ben’s likely line-ups as we near the end of the season…
Southampton – vs – Hull City
The Saints (4-2-3-1)
Predicted XI: Forster; Bertrand, Yoshida, Stephens, Soares; Romeu, Davis; Ward-Prowse, Redmond, Tadic; Gabbiadini.
- The Saints started brightly at Stamford Bridge before Gary Cahill’s goal, just before the break, took the wind from their sails. Arguably the visitors were on top for long periods in the first half but Chelsea’s class shone through eventually.
- Sofiane Boufal picked up a slight knock, but he should be fine, and Sam McQueen could return to the squad after missing the defeat due to a groin injury.
- Matt Targett and Charlie Austin were involved in Thursdays session and Claude Puel “hopes” the pair can play before the end of the season.
The Tigers (4-2-3-1)
Predicted XI: Jakupovic; Dawson, Ranocchia, Maguire; Robertson, Elmohamady, N’Diaye, Huddlestone, Clucas; Evandro; Mbokani.
- A hard-fought and well-deserved three-points against Watford last weekend didn’t reap its rewards as Swansea kept the pressure on with their own 2-0 win.
- No fresh injury concerns for Hull who have Oumar Niasse at their disposal after his red card was rescinded. Michael Dawson was named on the bench in GW34 as Elmohamady started at right-back with Harry Maguire playing in the heart of defence.
- Tom Huddlestone was a little unfortunate to miss out but he may struggle reclaim his place. Hull will once again be without Elabdellaoui. The Norwegian international hasn’t featured since mid-March because of a back problem.
Stoke City – vs – West Ham United
The Potters (4-4-2)
Predicted XI: Butland; Shawcross, Martins Indi, Johnson, Pieters; Allen, Cameron, Arnautovic, Shaqiri; Berahino, Crouch.
- Mark Hughes maintains the mood inside the Stoke camp is good despite the disappointing loss at Swansea. The Potters are hoping for their fourth consecutive Top Ten finish [for the first time in the club’s history].
- Jack Butland has ended his 13-month injury nightmare and the England stopper is expected to keep Lee Grant out for the remainder of the campaign.
- Jon Walters [knee] “has not done a lot” of training this week but Hughes is “hoping” he can come through Fridays session unscathed.
- Glenn Whelan is better placed for minutes following his recovery from illness. In addition, Joe Allen will have benefitted from another week of training.
The Hammers (3-4-2-1)
Predicted XI: Adrian; Fonte, Collins, Reid; Masuaku, Byram, Kouyate, Noble; Ayew, Lanzini; Sakho.
- The Hammers have a few knocks from the 0-0 draw with Everton which Slaven Bilic will check on in training on Friday. Robert Snodgrass has re-joined the group.
- Stoke “will come too soon” for Andy Carroll who is struggling to shake off a niggling groin problem which means Calleri could start once again or Bilic may opt for Diafra Sakho if he feels the forward is fit enough.
- Mark Noble “is definitely going to be back in the squad” after completing his two-game ban while Sam Byram also returns after his suspension. Noble could replace Nordtveit with Byram playing in an advanced role if West Ham start with three at the back [Collins / Reid / Fonte].
Sunderland – vs – AFC Bournemouth
The Black Cats (3-5-2)
Predicted XI: Pickford; Kone, O’Shea, Denayer; Pienaar, Ndong, Cattermole, Khazri, Jones; Anichebe, Defoe.
- Last chance saloon for Sunderland who still have a mathematical chance of staying up, but it won’t happen. A midweek defeat to rivals Middlesbrough and another blank effectively condemned the Black Cats to Championship football.
- David Moyes’ men are 12-points from safety and have scored just twice in their last 9 Premier League matches.
- Sunderland were unchanged at the Riverside but I’d expect Moyes to rotate for one last roll of the dice.
The Cherries (4-4-1-1)
Predicted XI: Boruc; Francis, Cook, Daniels, Adam Smith; Arter, Cook, Pugh, Fraser; King, Afobe.
- Following a recurrence of a calf problem, Dan Gosling “won’t make” the game at the Stadium of Light, which could hand Lewis Cook his second PL start of the season.
- Andrew Surman is progressing “but he is also out.”
- Changes will probably be kept to a minimum following a week of rest on the back of a win over Middlesbrough.
West Bromwich Albion – vs – Leicester City
The Baggies (4-2-3-1)
Predicted XI: Foster; Dawson, McAuley, Brunt, Evans; Livermore, Fletcher; McClean, Chadli, Morrison; Rondon.
- It’s been almost two weeks since West Brom last played, and a fully refreshed Baggies side will be hoping to use that to their advantage having won just once in their last six.
- Matty Phillips and Robson-Kanu “will struggle to be fit for tomorrow.” Both players pulled up in training with hamstring problems.
- Salomon Rondon will be back to lead the Baggies attack while Pulis could also look to James McClean.
The Foxes (4-4-2)
Predicted XI: Schmeichel; Simpson, Fuchs, Morgan, Huth; Albrighton, Ndidi, Drinkwater, Mahrez; Okazaki, Vardy.
- Wes Morgan is rated as “touch and go” to line-up at West Brom. He is yet to train with the squad: “I am giving him every opportunity [but] knowing his character. He will want to play.” Yohan Benalouane would be the player to make way.
- Islam Slimani looks to have recovered from a niggling groin problem and he is expected to feature following a return to training.
Crystal Palace – vs – Burnley
The Eagles (4-5-1)
Predicted XI: Hennessey; Kelly, Delaney, van Aanholt, Ward; Milivojevic, Cabaye, Zaha, Puncheon, Townsend; Benteke.
- Defensive problems for Big Sam after Mamadou Sakho was stretchered off [vs Spurs]. Fortunately, the damage is not as bad as originally feared and the centre-back has an outside chance of playing the in the final game. Martin Kelly and Damien Delaney will play centrally.
- Scott Dann is targeting a return before the end of the season as he steps up his recovery from a knee ligament injury, but the news on James Tomkins is not so good: “It’s a bad injury, I’m very pleased there’s nothing broken [but] he may not be fit again this season.”
- Palace were unlucky to lose midweek, a result which left Allardyce bemoaning the fact that his side were at a “severe disadvantage” because the opposition had more rest time.
The Clarets (4-4-2)
Predicted XI: Heaton; Ward, Lowton, Mee, Keane; Defour, Brady, Hendrick, Boyd; Barnes, Gray.
- Joey Barton has been suspended from all football activity for 18 months after admitting a misconduct charge relating to betting. That should see Scott Arfield, who is over his recent injury, or Steven Defour return to the side.
- Ben Mee faces a fitness check after he was replaced at half-time during the home defeat to Man United with a shin problem. James Tarkowski is poised for his first Premier League start of the campaign if Mee fails to recover.
- Stephen Ward is making “good progress” from a knock to the knee while Sam Vokes has trained well as they look to return from injury.
Manchester United – vs – Swansea City
The Red Devils (4-3-3)
Predicted XI: De Gea; Valencia, Blind, Bailly, Shaw; Rooney, Herrera, Carrick; Lingard, Mkhitaryan, Young.
- The 0-0 derby draw at the Etihad ruled two more players out of Sundays game vs Swansea. Marouane Fellaini will serve a three-match ban for headbutting Sergio Aguero while Fosu-Mensah is being treated for a suspected dislocated shoulder.
- Mourinho has not hidden the fact that the Europa League remains United’s priority and he could make wholesale changes with a trip to Celta Vigo four days later.
- It remains to be seen whether Jones or Smalling return. The defensive duo were originally ruled out until mid-May but Mourinho has urged them to play through the pain.
- Antonio Valencia will be assessed with such a quick turnaround between games while Paul Pogba was described as “dead” at Burnley due to a “super” accumulation of fatigue.
The Swans (4-2-3-1)
Predicted XI: Fabianski; Naughton, Olsson, Fernandez, Mawson; Fer, Carroll, Britton; Ayew, Sigurdsson, Llorente.
- We’re almost approaching must-win territory for Swansea and the visitors have a great chance of securing three-points as United struggle due to injuries / suspension / fatigue.
- Leroy Fer and Martin Olsson are available but Paul Clement must decide whether either is fit enough to start. “We are almost at full strength,” with Jack Cork also coming back into the mix.
- Swansea initially started out with a 4-3-3 in GW34, but Clement quickly changed things after Fer was forced out: “In this league if you repeat things then the other team are ready and I know as a coach when you are not sure what the opposition are going to do it makes you think more.”
Everton – vs – Chelsea
The Toffees (4-3-3)
Predicted XI: Stekelenburg; Holgate, Jagielka, Williams, Baines; Davies, Gueye, Schneiderlin; Mirallas, Barkley, Lukaku.
- Last weekend’s game at the London Stadium was a bit of a drab and dour affair and Ronald Koeman could freshen things with one eye on a Top Six finish.
- Stekelenburg looks set to retain his place having ousted Robles at West Ham.
- Calvert-Lewin, Lookman and Barry are all options from the bench but introducing any of the trio is likely mean a slight change in formation. Potentially to a 4-2-3-1
The Blues (3-4-2-1)
Predicted XI: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Luiz; Matic, Kante, Alonso, Moses; Costa, Hazard, Pedro.
- After last weekends’ FA Cup semi-final victory over Tottenham, Chelsea managed to negate the threat of Southampton to take them one step closer to the Premier League title.
- Diego Costa and Eden Hazard both stepped up in what turned out to be a comfortable win in the end.
- Antonio Conte named Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic in the starting XI forcing Pedro to the bench and it remains to be seen on how the Blues will line-up on Sunday.
Middlesbrough – vs – Manchester City
The Boro (4-3-3)
Predicted XI: Guzan; Fabio, Gibson, Chambers, Friend; de Roon, Clayton, Forshaw; Stuani, Negredo, Downing.
- Middlesbrough boosted their slim chances of beating the drop with a narrow victory over rivals Sunderland midweek. The 1-0 win puts them six-points behind Hull, with better goal difference, and four games remaining.
- Marten de Roon recovered from an ankle injury to grab the only goal of the game.
- Fabio could replace Daniel Ayala who was forced off early in the second half and Gaston Ramirez is back after serving his ban.
- No timeline on Victor Valdes [rib] so Brad Guzan will continue in goal. Grant Leadbitter is expected to recover from a slight hamstring issue.
The Citizens (4-2-3-1)
Predicted XI: Caballero; Navas, Clichy, Kompany, Otamendi; Fernandinho, Delph; Sane, De Bruyne, Sterling; Aguero.
- Several players were passed fit on Thursday night – Fernandinho, Sagna and Gabriel Jesus – although Pep could still be missing John Stones and David Silva who are said to be struggling. Caballero looks to be a shoo-in after Claudio Bravo tweaked his calf during the derby, an injury which could end his season.
- Sunday will probably come too soon for Gabriel Jesus to start but he is getting closer following his cameo from the bench. The Brazilian looked sharp after coming on against Man United and was unlucky to have a goal chalked off after he strayed marginally offside.
Tottenham Hotspur – vs – Arsenal
Predicted XI: Lloris; Walker, Davies, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Dier, Wanyama; Eriksen, Alli, Son; Kane.
- Christian Eriksen kept the title race alive with a superb late strike at Selhurst Park but the Lilywhites won’t have it easy in the north London derby if they want to finish above their rivals for the first time in 20 seasons.
- Pochettino reveals an injury to Mousa Dembele [ankle] prompted him to change his system on Wednesday. “Son and Moussa Sissoko worked well,” and the Argentine may be tempted to start that way on Sunday.
- Danny Rose [knee] “has started to reintegrate” with the first team in training but a lack of sharpness will probably mean Ben Davies has at least one more game.
The Gunners (3-4-2-1)
Predicted XI: Cech; Bellerin, Koscielny, Gabriel; Xhaka, Monreal, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey; Sanchez, Ozil; Giroud.
- Wenger confirms Laurent Koscielny [knee] will be assessed ahead of Sunday’s game and gives his centre-back a 60 percent chance of making the match day squad. If he does miss out, then Rob Holding will come into the side with Mustafi expected to be another fortnight.
- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is fit enough to start. He left Wembley on crutches last weekend and was an unused substitute vs Leicester midweek.
- David Ospina and Lucas Perez are challenging to be included in the squad following a return to full training.
Watford – vs – Liverpool
The Hornets (4-5-1)
Predicted XI: Gomes; Britos, Holebas, Janmaat, Prodl; Amrabat, Niang, Behrami, Cleverley, Capoue; Deeney.
- Walter Mazzarri has no fresh injury concerns following the disappointing loss at Hull. The Italian only needs to check on the fitness of Valon Behrami and Craig Cathcart ahead of the game with Liverpool.
- “I don’t know, I’m not sure,” he said when asked if Behrami would start. “There are still three days of training.”
- Cathcart is a major doubt due to a knee complaint: “It doesn’t look so good [for Monday].”
The Reds (4-3-3)
Predicted XI: Mignolet; Milner, Clyne, Lovren, Matip; Can, Wijnaldum, Lucas; Firmino, Coutinho, Origi.
- Jordan Henderson is no closer to a return after the Liverpool skipper was spotted on crutches this week. However, Adam Lallana is back in contention after re-joining the group although a lack of fitness should see Lucas Leiva start in midfield.
- Ragnar Klavan is hoping to face Watford “I have started to train with the squad. The injury is a lot better now. Everything is going as planned.” But, Klopp is likely to stick with Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip as a central pairing.
- The latest in a long line of injuries sees Daniel Sturridge back on the sidelines and he may not play again this season.