Round up of the press conferences from injury guru Ben Dinnery ahead of FPL Gameweek 26. All the latest team news for fantasy football managers to digest before making those all-important transfers.
Bournemouth will be looking to make it three on the spin but face a tough trip to Bramall Lane; one of only four league games to be played this weekend. Josh King and Jack Stacey could return to the matchday squad with Eddie Howe looking to decide after the final session on Saturday. Jefferson Lerma serves a one-match ban following his dismissal in GW25 which means Lewis Cook or Andrew Surman could return to the line-up. Arnaud Danjuma (foot) is still "some way" off a return-to-play, and although David Brooks ran on grass for the first time on Thursday; the Cherries boss insists that the Wales international still has a long way to go.
The Gunners will be looking to avoid a fifth league draw in a row against Newcastle next Sunday, and the omens are good with Arsenal winning 11 of the previous twelve encounters at home. The mid-season break affords the players sometime in the sun, and Mikel Arteta will expect his fully refreshed squad to start picking up points having seen them slide to 10th in the table. Cedric Soares and Bukayo Saka (both knee) should be close while Sead Kolasinac (thigh) and Reiss Nelson (hamstring) won’t be too far away either. Kieran Tierney (shoulder) – due back in March - and Calum Chambers (ACL knee) – out until 2020/21 – are the only definite absentees.
Mbwana Samatta became the first Tanzanian to score in the Premier League at Bournemouth last weekend, but his goal was little more than a consolation, as Villa couldn’t recover from conceding two first-half goals, a result which leaves them just one point above the drop zone. The break will allow Dean Smith’s men to refocus and should provide Danny Drinkwater and Ezri Konsa with enough time to recover although the loss of the recently returned Keinan Davis is a blow following his setback for the under-23s. Jed Steer (Achilles) is the closest of those players out long-term, but it could still be March before the back-up goalkeeper is available.
Brighton and Hove Albion
Those players involved in the 3-3 draw at West Ham came through the game unscathed. "We have no new injury news after last weekend," confirmed Graham Potter. Shane Duffy trained and is expected to be added to the matchday squad having had surgery to remove a blood clot from his leg. "Dan Burn (fractured clavicle) is making good progress, and we'll see how he goes." Jose Izquierdo (knee) remains sidelined. The Brighton boss "hopes" to have new signing Alexis Mac Allister available after the winter break. "Maybe in the lead up to [GW27]. He'll be coming to a whole new environment and, as with any new player, we have to be patient and help him - he's an exciting individual."
Southampton have failed to score against Burnley at St Mary’s in their last two attempts (0-0 and 0-1), so for those looking for a differential in defence, then Nick Pope could be the call. No Premier League goalkeeper has more clean sheets this season (9, level with Alisson and Dean Henderson). In terms of bodies, Sean Dyche may be able to call upon the services of Ashley Barnes (hernia) and Johann Berg Gudmundsson (hamstring) although their involvement will be determined by their progress on the training pitches next week.
At 38 years 126 days, Chelsea keeper Willy Caballero became the oldest player to appear in the Premier League so far this season when Frank Lampard decided to drop Kepa following a string of poor performances. “You make decisions every week and every day in this job. No decision is easy,” he said. Christian Pulisic’s hopes of stepping up his recovery were dealt a blow when the US international was pulled from the session after suffering a setback – there is no news on a potential return. Ruben Loftus-Cheek played 60 minutes of a bounce game versus a Brentford (B) select side on Tuesday – his first since May 2019 – and the midfielder will be looking to kick on with a possible return by the end of February.
Roy Hodgson believes his side are “completely capable” of going to Everton and getting a result on Saturday following a good week on the training pitches. A “minor calf strain” will keep Martin Kelly out along with Mamadou Sakho and Jeffrey Schlupp. Vicente Guaita is set to retain his place despite an uncharacteristic error which handed Sheffield United the only goal of the game last weekend. "He’s been very good. We made it perfectly clear to him – the whole club, really: ‘listen, mistakes happen. It's good you hold your hand up, and admit the mistake is yours. But the fact is we are not concerned about that because you've done so many good things for us, and we are where we are in the league largely thanks to some of your performances.” Cenk Tosun is carrying a hamstring injury although he is ineligible under the terms of his loan arrangement.
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