Round up of the press conferences from injury guru Ben Dinnery ahead of FPL Gameweek 23. All the latest team news for fantasy football managers to digest before making those all-important transfers.
Aaron Ramsdale has only been involved in light training this week, and Saturday could come too soon for the goalkeeper who picked up a hamstring injury on the eve of GW22. Lloyd Kelly (thigh) is not far away but lacks sharpness after more than two months out. Junior Stanislas (calf) remains sidelined, and Danjuma (foot) is being treated in his homeland. Eddie Howe insists that he won't hide behind his squads' current injury crisis. "The team I picked against Watford was a strong team. That's why I can't look at it and use it as an excuse." Joshua King and Jack Stacey (both hamstring) are still a few weeks away based on their initial timeline. "Nathan [Ake] [and Adam Smith] came through [last weekend] okay and have trained well." Jefferson Lerma took a “blow to his knee”, but he should be fine; however, Chris Mepham could be sidelined for around three months following knee surgery.
Hector Bellerin is looking “much better [and] much sharper” according to Mikel Arteta, and the full-back is nearing a return: "He has been training with us for the past few days [although] he needs a little chunk of sessions before he is ready to compete.” Lucas Torreira is flagged as a doubt after picking up an injury during the draw at Selhurst Park. The midfielder is in “a very similar situation” to Sead Kolasinac in that both have worked this week, but neither is 100 per cent. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang begins his three-match ban which could open the door for Reiss Nelson. Kieran Tierney (shoulder) and Calum Chambers (ACL knee) remain out long-term.
Pepe Reina arrived at Villa this week on loan until the end of the season with Tom Heaton, and Jed Steer both sidelined. Manager Dean Smith said the veteran stopper could make his debut after settling in fine. “We're very fortunate to get someone so vastly experienced." His arrival could spell the end of Ørjan Nyland’s brief foray into the first team. Jonathan Kodjia will miss out again as he struggles to overcome the illness which ruled him out of the Carabao Cup tie at Leicester. "He hasn't trained with us this week, so he won't be involved on Saturday." Wesley, John McGinn and Keinan David are out, but Matt Targett has been spotted back on the training pitches and should be in contention.
Brighton and Hove Albion
Shane Duffy is managing a minor groin issue, but after missing training earlier in the week, the centre-back has rejoined the group and will be in Graham Potter’s plans. Adam Webster and Ali Jahanbakhsh have overcome “little bumps and bruises", and the pair will be available for the visit of Villa. Aaron Mooy is back in contention after sitting out of the defeat at Goodison Park due to a knee injury. "Dan Burn and Jose Izquierdo are the only two [players] missing."
The Clarets have collected just one point from 11 league games against Top Half teams, and Burnley will do well to add to that tally with Leicester – who have won 6 of their last seven away – arriving at Turf Moor. Sean Dyche will be without Ashley Barnes who had surgery on Friday to remedy an ongoing groin issue. "Hopefully he will have a smooth recovery. You don’t like losing good players but, equally, it allows other players to come in and perform and that’s what we’ll be looking for them to do.” Jay Rodriguez is in contention after missing the loss at Stamford Bridge through illness, and Chris Wood is hoping to be fit to face his former club after he had his nose re-set after tests confirmed he suffered a break in the FA Cup. Johann Berg Gudmundsson is out, but Robbie Brady has been back on the grass.
If you’re looking for a Chelsea defender on Tyneside, then Cesar Azpilicueta (3 goals, 3 assists) could be your go-to as he offers potential returns at both ends. Speaking to ESPN midweek, Christian Pulisic believes it won’t be “too long” before a return to play following a “nasty” groin injury in training. “I’m just rehabbing every day. I’m doing my best to be back in the next couple of weeks.” However, Frank Lampard suggested it could be after the winter break. There was no mention of N’Golo Kante during Fridays’ update, but his absence against Burnley was more of a precautionary measure due to an "awareness in the hamstring" and he is expected to return to the matchday squad.
Roy Hodgson confirms Max Meyer has not recovered as hoped and the midfielder will not be available on Saturday. Joel Ward is back and “ready for selection” along with Scott Dann who was named on the bench against Arsenal. Christian Benteke, Patrick van Aanholt, Andros Townsend and Jeffrey Schlupp are all injured while Luka Milivojevic serves the second game of his three-match ban.
Yerry Mina has been passed fit despite missing training earlier in the week due to a “little problem.” Alex Iwobi (hamstring) won’t be back with the group until Monday, but he could return to the 18 when the Toffees entertain Newcastle. Richarlison has twisted his knee – a minor issue - and he could return midweek after Ancelotti ruled the Brazilian out of GW23. Gylfi Sigurdsson is another player sidelined although the extent of his groin injury is not yet known. Jean-Philippe Gbamin trained with the squad for the first time on Friday following injury, and Andre Gomes is back at Finch Farm in the hope of a return to play this season.
Wes Morgan has worked this week after recovering from a groin injury, and Brendan Rodgers will make a late decision on his involvement. Wilfried Ndidi is making “good progress” after surgery on his knee (meniscus) and the midfielder is already out on the training pitches. Matty James (Achilles) is building fitness, and Daniel Amartey (ankle) remains out after going under the knife.
Liverpool have 61 points in 2019/20 – more than any other side has ever registered after 21 games across Europe's big five leagues. Recent results have been built on a solid foundation - six consecutive clean sheets – with Roberto Firmino finding form at the opposite end scoring five in his last six games (all competitions). And the news keeps getting better. Fabinho and Joel Matip are on course to be available. “They trained completely normally yesterday and the day before. So that means they are likely to be in the squad.” Meanwhile, James Milner, Naby Keita and Dejan Lovren may be out, but the latter should re-join the group from Monday.
Always one to keep FPL managers guessing, Guardiola went with a 4-3-3 at Villa Park which saw Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus start together in the league for the first time this season. While Kun took the plaudits for his three-goal show, the Brazilian quietly went about his business scoring and assisting. He has now started in 76 matches for City (all competitions) and been directly involved in 71 goals. Leroy Sane is back on the training field, albeit in isolation as he continues his recovery from reconstructive knee surgery. Aymeric Laporte “made another week with us training” although Pep would not be drawn on a possible return to action. There are no other concerns.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s decision to risk Marcus Rashford in the cup midweek “backfired” with the United striker considered a significant doubt for the trip to Anfield. "I can’t tell you now, of course,” the United boss said on Friday. “We're gonna give him the absolute amount of time to find out; we’ll do some more checks and treatment with him. I would probably think he wouldn’t be ready but let’s see.” If he does miss out then striking responsibilities could be handed to Anthony Martial, who has been involved in 14 goals in 22 games (all competitions) this season, or teenager Mason Greenwood who will be looking to add to his tally of four Premier League goals in 2019/20. Marcos Rojo and Scott McTominay remain on the sidelines. Paul Pogba is not due back until next month having undergone ankle surgery while Axel Tuanzebe is on the road to recovery. Luke Shaw (hamstring) is a doubt, although Brandon Williams is making a strong case to become the first-choice left-back, and Eric Bailly is building fitness with the Under-23s. The defender played in a behind-closed-doors game on Tuesday.
Miguel Almiron is on the goal trail having scored in three successive games; the South American had only notched once in his first 30 appearances for the club, and Steve Bruce will be hoping for a similar bounce from Joelinton who was back amongst the goalscorers for the first time since August in Tuesday nights’ FA Cup win over Rochdale. Jamaal Lascelles and Matt Ritchie got valuable minutes midweek while Jonjo Shelvey was handed a 20-minute cameo from the bench as United’s injury problems slowly begin to ease. "Allan Saint-Maximin has trained for the past two weeks so we hope that he’s going to be OK for tomorrow,” said Bruce. Fabian Schär is back to bolster the backline. Unfortunately, the news on Dwight Gayle is not good with the striker set to miss between 4-6 weeks while Paul Dummett (hamstring) "looks a nasty one" and will go for a second opinion amid fears he will be ruled out for months. Javier Manquillo, Jack Colback, Sung-Yeung Ki, DeAndre Yedlin and Yoshinori Muto are all out, and Steve Bruce will make a late call on Andy Carroll.
The Canaries are winless in nine league matches (D4, L5) but they received a huge boost ahead of this weekends’ game. Daniel Farke revealed that Teemu Pukki, Josip Drmic and Ben Godfrey are all available for the visit of Bournemouth. New signings - Ondrej Duda and Lukas Rupp – will also be added to the squad. Duda could play in the No.10 role while Rupp can operate out wide.
No goalkeeper has kept more clean sheets than Dean Henderson (8) this season, but the Blades will have it all to do at The Emirates against an Arsenal side who have only failed once in 13 months (all competitions) to find the back of the net. Chris Wilder confirmed all his players are “100 per cent, and I’ll have a full squad to choose from.” That should mean a return to the bench for either Michael Verrips or Simon Moore who have recovered from head and groin injuries respectively.
Ralph Hasenhüttl confirms there are no fresh injury concerns with Yan Valery the only expected absentee due to a viral infection which has kept the defender out since the beginning of December. "Yan is still a little bit ill but [he is] much better now [and] maybe at the end of January, he can step in the [training] session again. The rest are fit." Danny Ings continued his unbelievable goalscoring streak last weekend; he has 14 so far this term, and 10 in his previous eleven league games.
Toby Alderweireld will
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