The Gameweek concludes with three matches under lights and a cast of Fantasy heavy-hitters on show. Chelsea face QPR at the Bridge with Rafa’s teamsheet much anticipated by all, while Liverpool share the same kick-off tie for their Anfield meet with Sunderland. Meanwhile, the 8pm kick-off is at St James’ Park, where Newcastle, sans Demba Ba, face Everton as they look to stave off talk of a relegation battle.
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Rafa confirms our worst fears: he makes the bravest of moves and rests both Eden Hazard and Juan Mata, along with Ramires: Victor Moses, Oscar and Marko Marin are handed starts, while Frank Lampard is retained and skippers the side. Benitez also opts to preserve Ashley Cole at left-back, drafting in Ryan Bertrand for a start. With Petr Cech stricken by a groin problem, Ross Turnbull is in goal as expected, while David Luiz looks to be in midfield once again.
QPR also make changes in opposition, with Shaun Derry, Fabio and Esteban Granero given starts; Junior Hoilett is also given an opportunity to impress as the likes of Shawn Wright-Phillips, Djibril Cisse, Samba Diakite and Armand Traore all make way. Park Ji-sung is back following injury and on the bench.
Over at Anfield, Brendan Rodgers brings Andre Wisdom back into the fold following Jose Enrique’s hamstring injury. That’s one of two changes as Lucas makes a return to midfield at the expense of Joe Allen. Glen Johnson will presumably shift to left-back.
Martin O’Neill has no option but to make a change at the back with hamstring victim John O’Shea missing out: Danny Rose returns at left full-back, however, after sitting out the Spurs game as part of his loan arrangement.
With Demba Ba embroiled in transfer talk, Newcastle are forced to make changes to their lineup as Shola Ameobi starts up front. Mike Williamson returns from his ban to bolster a defence hit for seven goals at the Emirates, while Vurnon Anita also returns having missed the Arsenal drubbing through injury. The injured Danny Simpson sits out, while Gael Bigirimana drops to the bench.
As for the Toffees, they are able to recall Marouane Fellaini after his three-match ban, while Phil Neville also returns from injury to strengthen their lineup. Both Leighton Baines and Steven Pienaar are fit enough to start despite the scares earlier today; it’s Thomas Hitzlsperger and Victor Anichebe who drop out.