Marko Arnautovic retains the lone striker role and continues to profit by netting a tenth goal of the season in West Ham’s defeat at Arsenal. Paul Lambert rolls out a 4-4-2 as Stoke go on the offensive in their bid to beat the drop, while the in-form Salomon Rondon denies Liverpool the points at The Hawthorns.
After assessing the first eight teams yesterday, we turn to part two of Line-up Lessons, checking out the teamsheets and formations from the Gameweek 35 encounters and FA Cup semi-finals, with an eye on what’s to come from the midweek European ties and beyond.
Starting XI: Pickford; Coleman, Jagielka, Keane, Baines; Schneiderlin (Davies 52), Gueye; Walcott, Rooney, Bolasie (Calvert-Lewin 59); Tosun (Niasse 85). Subs not used: Robles; Martina, Funes Mori, Baningime.
- What we saw: Sam Allardyce named name the same side that drew 1-1 with Swansea City for the home encounter against Newcastle United. Everton lined up in a 4-3-3, with Wayne Rooney and Idrissa Gueye stationed in central midfield in front of Morgan Schneiderlin. Having started on the right and left respectively, Theo Walcott and Yannick Bolasie switched flanks during the second half.
- What we learned: Schneiderlin was forced off with a dead leg shortly into the second half, and will be assessed ahead of Saturday’s trip to Huddersfield Town, although the midfielder himself is confident of being available. Tom Davies and Beni Baningime provide the alternative options should they be required. Meanwhile, Dominic Calvert-Lewin is pushing for a recall out wide in place of Bolasie, but other changes appear unlikely as Everton bid to end the season strongly.
Current Status: Settled
Risk Areas: Central midfield, left flank
Starting XI: Dubravka; Yedlin, Lejeune, Lascelles, Dummett; Ritchie (Murphy 79), Diame, Shelvey (Merino 83), Kenedy; Perez; Slimani (Gayle 63). Subs not used: Darlow, Clark, Hayden, Manquillo.
- What we saw: Rafa Benitez only made one alteration for the trip to Everton, but it was significant, with Islam Slimani handed his first start in place of Dwight Gayle in the lone striker role in the usual 4-4-1-1 system.
- What we learned: With the Magpies facing a short turnaround before entertaining West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, Benitez may decide to restore Gayle to the starting line-up in place of Slimani. If the Newcastle boss does decide to introduce some fresh legs elsewhere, Jacob Murphy could be an option out wide, while Mikel Merino provides an alternative in the middle of the park.
Current Status: Very Settled
Risk Areas: Lone Striker
Starting XI: Butland; Johnson (Zouma 59), Shawcross, Martins Indi, Pieters; Shaqiri, Allen, Ndiaye, Bauer (Ireland 69); Diouf (Campbell 75), Crouch. Subs not used: Haugaard, Cameron, Fletcher, Ramadan Sobhi.
- What we saw: In what was a crucial match for the Potters at home to Burnley, Paul Lambert opted for an attacking 4-4-2 formation, pairing Mame Biram Diouf and Peter Crouch up front. Xherdan Shaqiri (right) and Moritz Bauer (left) started out wide, while Glen Johnson returned from injury to replace Kurt Zouma at right-back.
- What we learned: The Potters are still four points from safety following their 1-1 draw with Burnley, and also boast an inferior goal difference, while up next is a testing trip to Liverpool in Gameweek 36. Therefore, Lambert faces a tough decision as to whether to stick with the attacking 4-4-2 or to switch to either a 4-4-1-1 or perhaps a 4-3-3 formation at Anfield. Ramadan Sobhi provides a more attacking alternative to Bauer on the left wing, and if the Egyptian does start, Bauer could shift to his natural position at right-back. Johnson’s departure just before the hour-mark may indicate that he continues to be troubled by injury, so Zouma could well be forced to deputise at Anfield. Should Lambert opt to bring in a holding midfielder, Geoff Cameron could return to the starting XI, perhaps given Joe Allen more freedom to join the attack. Youngster Tyrese Campbell is the main alternative up front for the Potters, with Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting yet to return following a groin injury.
Current Status: Slightly Unsettled
Risk Areas: Right-back, left wing, forwards
Starting XI: Fabianski; van der Hoorn, Fernandez (Bartley 67), Mawson; Naughton, King, Ki Sung-yueng (Clucas 65), Carroll, Olsson (Abraham 75); J Ayew, A Ayew. Subs not used: Dyer, Nordfeldt, Routledge, Roberts.
- What we saw: Carlos Carvalhal reverted to a defensive 5-4-1 system for the trip to Manchester City. The Swans boss handed a recall to Mike van der Hoorn in central defence, with Kyle Naughton moving to his usual position at right-back. Andre Ayew started on the right side of midfield, with Tom Carroll stationed on the opposite flank. Sam Clucas made his return from injury as a second-half substitute, playing on the left wing, allowing Carroll to move into central midfield. Swansea ended the match in more of a 3-4-3, with Tammy Abraham brought on to join Andre Ayew and Jordan Ayew in attack, with Carroll then moving to left wing-back, and Clucas to central midfield.
- What we learned: Federico Fernandez had to be withdrawn after taking a kick to his knee, but the defender is hopeful he will be available for Saturday’s home clash against Chelsea. Kyle Bartley will be on standby to replace the Argentine in central defence. After getting 25 minutes under his belt, Clucas could return to the starting XI against the Blues, with either Ki Sung-yueng or Carroll likely to drop to the bench. Tammy Abraham will be ineligible to face his parent club, limiting Carvalhal’s options in attack.
Current Status: Fairly Settled
Risk Areas: Central defenders, central midfield, left wing
Starting XI: Vorm; Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies (Lucas Moura 68); Dier, Dembele (Wanyama 78); Eriksen, Alli, Son Heung-min (Lamela 86); Kane. Subs not used: Lloris, Alderweireld, Sissoko, Aurier.
- What we saw: Mauricio Pochettino stuck with his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation for the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United, keeping faith with cup goalkeeper Michel Vorm at the expense of club captain Hugo Lloris. Dele Alli was deployed in the No 10 role, flanked by Son Heung-min (left) and Christian Eriksen (right). After falling 2-1 behind, the Spurs boss switched to more of a 4-1-4-1 system, bringing on Lucas Moura to play on the right wing. The Brazilian’s introduction saw Jan Vertonghen move to left-back, and Eric Dier to centre-back, leaving Mousa Dembele as the holding midfielder before the Belgian was replaced by Victor Wanyama.
- What we learned: With a break until Spurs host Watford next Monday, and given that Pochettino’s side need to win with Chelsea still pushing for a top-four finish, he is likely to name his first choice starting XI once again. So Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies could again be favoured in the full-back positions. Lloris will return in goal, while Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura are possible alternatives to Son, although the South Korean is the favourite to get the nod alongside Alli and Eriksen.
Current Status: Settled
Risk Areas: Full-backs, flanks
Starting XI: Karnezis; Mariappa, Cathcart, Kabasele, Holebas; Hughes (Gray 79), Doucoure, Capoue, Pereyra (Richarlison 55); Deeney, Okaka (Femenia 70). Subs not used: Gomes, Janmaat, Britos, Sinclair.
- What we saw: Having failed to score in three of their previous five matches, Hornets head coach Javi Gracia switched to a 4-4-2 formation for the visit of Crystal Palace. Stefano Okaka was recalled up front, while Will Hughes moved to the right side of midfield. Kiko Femenia and Daryl Janmaat both dropped to the bench, with Adrian Mariappa preferred at right-back, while the fit-again pair Christian Kabasele and Jose Holebas started at centre-back and left-back respectively.
- What we learned: With Watford facing a trip to Wembley in Gameweek 36, Gracia is expected to revert back to a 4-2-3-1 formation. But the Hornets may well be without captain Troy Deeney, who may miss the rest of the season with a foot injury picked up against the Eagles, according to reports. Okaka could start as the lone striker, then, with Andre Gray the other alternative. Roberto Pereyra will be assessed ahead of the Spurs clash after being forced off with a groin injury last weekend, with Richarlison likely to be on standby to start on the left. Hughes could move back into the No 10 role, with Femenia then the likely starter on the right flank. In defence, Mariappa may again be preferred to Janmaat at right-back given the Hornets were able to keep a clean sheet against Palace. Sebastian Prodl missed out against the Eagles due to illness, but the Austrian could struggle to get straight back into the starting XI unless Gracia considers a move to a three-man defence with wing-backs.
Current Status: Fairly Settled
Risk Areas: Right-back, centre-half, flanks
West Bromwich Albion
Starting XI: Foster: Nyom, Dawson, Hegazi, Gibbs (Burke 76): Phillips, Livermore, Brunt, McClean (Evans 71): Rodriguez (Robson-Kanu 89), Rondon. Subs not used: Yacob, Myhill, Krychowiak, Field.
- What we saw: Caretaker manager Darren Moore unsurprisingly named the same side that beat Manchester United 1-0 Liverpool’s visit to the Hawthorns, with the Baggies again lining up in a 4-4-2 system. Jonny Evans made his return from injury coming on as a second-half substitute at left-back.
- What we learned: After another encouraging performance, Moore is likely to stick with a very similar starting XI for Saturday’s trip to Newcastle United. Evans could push for a start in central defence, though, with Craig Dawson moving to right-back in place of Allan Nyom. On-loan forward Daniel Sturridge was ineligible to face his parent club but will be back in contention to face the Magpies. But the form of Salomon Rondon and Jay Rodriguez, combined with his lack of match fitness, mean that he is an unlikely starter.
Current Status: Settled
Risk Areas: Right-back, central defenders
West Ham United
Starting XI: Hart, Rice, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Zabaleta, Kouyate, Noble, Masuaku (Carroll 86), Fernandes (Lanzini 60), Joao Mario (Hernandez 60), Arnautovic. Subs not used: Hugill, Adrian, Evra, Cullen.
- What we saw: David Moyes once again named an unchanged starting XI for the trip to Arsenal, with the Hammers lining up in a 3-4-2-1 system. He resisted the temptation to hand a recall to Manuel Lanzini, although the Argentine was, along with Chicharito, introduced on the hour mark. Lanzini was stationed in a No 10 role behind Chicharito and Marko Arnautovic in a 3-4-1-2 formation. Moyes sent on Andy Carroll as a final roll of the dice, seeing Lanzini (left) and Arnautovic (right) operate out wide in a 4-4-2, while Aaron Cresswell moved to left-back.
- What we learned: After getting 30 minutes under his belt as a substitute, Lanzini should be ready to return to the starting XI for Sunday’s home clash against Man City. He is likely to replace Edimilson Fernandes in a straight swap, although Joao Mario’s start may also be at risk. Other changes appear unlikely unless James Collins is available again following a hamstring injury. If fit, he would be an option to replace Declan Rice in the three-man defence. Joe Hart made a number of impressive saves at the Emirates but will miss out in Gameweek 36 as he is ineligible to face his parent club Man City with Adrian earning a recall.
Current Status: Settled
Risk Areas: Central defenders, attacking midfield