Round up of the press conferences from injury guru Ben Dinnery ahead of FPL Gameweek 20. All the latest team news for fantasy football managers to digest before making those all-important transfers.
Eddie Howe was forced into changes after his sides late defeat to Burnley. Jack Simpson came in for his first Premier League start while there are recalls for Callum Wilson and Steve Cook following their recovery from respective hamstring and wrist injuries. Diego Rico was serving a one-game ban while defender Simon Francis was in the wars. Firstly, a challenge by Ashley Barnes left him with a head wound which required five stitches, and then, late in the game, he got a kick on the knee. “He was very sore. We took him for a scan to make sure it was nothing more serious than bruising. Thankfully, that’s all it is, but whether he’s okay, for Brighton, I don’t know," said Howe who doesn’t expect any of those currently in the treatment room to be back again until the new year – Nathan Ake, Adam Smith, Arnaut Danjuma, Charlie Daniels, Lloyd Kelly and David Brooks.
Mikel Arteta said he was “pleased” with the attitude and character of his side at The Vitality after they fought back from a goal down to earn a share of the spoils. In truth, the 1-1 scoreline doesn’t tell the whole story as Arsenal dominated for long periods. The new boss promised a clean slate for everyone, and Mesut Ozil, one of three changes to the side that started at Goodison Park, had an excellent game. “He worked and could have been the difference; we could have scored three or four goals from his balls through. The final product wasn’t what we wanted.” Sokratis Papastathopoulos was forced off due to a head injury and having completed his ban, Calum Chambers may be in line for an instant recall. Alexandre Lacazette is poised to start his second consecutive game if Gabriel Martinelli fails to recover from the hamstring injury which ruled him out of GW19. Dani Ceballos and Hector Bellerin (both hamstring) have been training with the group, and it will only be a matter of time before either returns to the squad. Rob Holding is said to be close, but with options at his disposal, Arteta will not look to rush the defender back. Kieran Tierney (shoulder) and Sead Kolasinac (ankle) are confirmed absentees.
It was a much-needed win for Villa on Boxing Day over relegation rivals Norwich City. Following the hugely disappointing home loss to Southampton, manager Dean Smith rung the changes with Ahmed El Mohamady, Ezri Konsa, Marvelous Nakamba and Trezeguet all coming into the side. The loss of John McGinn to a fractured ankle also saw a tweak in formation with Jack Grealish playing in a slightly advanced role. "He played as a 10. I felt it was a good option for us. He’s a terrific player, which you saw with the link-up for the goal. He can still get better.” With such a quick turnaround between matches, Bjorn Engels and Frederic Guilbert will be hoping to force their way back into the XI while Connor Hourihane done his chances no harm with the winning goal eight minutes after his introduction. Tyrone Mings is expected to train ahead of the game, and the defender will face a late fitness test.
Brighton and Hove Albion
Graham Potter looked to have his eye on the upcoming fixtures with his team selection at Tottenham. There were five changes all told which included a first Premier League start of the campaign for Ezequiel Schelotto and a recall for Bernardo who has found himself of the fringes of the squad since August. Leandro Trossard, Davy Pröpper and Neal Maupay were among those to make way while centre-back Lewis Dunk was struck down with illness over Christmas. Solly March may not return until the FA Cup third-round tie with Sheffield Wednesday next month.
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