Round up of the press conferences from injury guru Ben Dinnery ahead of FPL Gameweek 27. All the latest team news for fantasy football managers to digest before making those all-important transfers.
Bournemouth have lost seven of their last eight Premier League away games – winning just once – and losing four on the bounce. Only Jefferson Lerma will be added to the squad having served his ban, but there was good news on the training pitches as David Brooks “has probably had his best week yet,” although he still has a long way to go in his recovery. Arnaut Danjuma and Lloyd Kelly are making “good progress” and have stepped up their rehab on the grass, although Saturday comes too soon for the pair. Josh King and Jack Stacey returned to the matchday squad at Bramall Lane, and following another two weeks of work, both players will feel they are ready to start.
Arsenal have kept back-to-back Premier League clean sheets for the first time in 10 months, but the Gunners could be forced into one change after Shkodran Mustafi was seen limping during the latter stages of Thursday nights’ Europa League tie in Greece. There was no specific mention of an issue post-match from Mikel Arteta, although he did say that three of his players were suffering badly from cramp. If that is the case, then the German should be fine. However, Sokratis looks set to miss out after twisting his knee, which means Rob Holding is likely to provide back up from the bench with Pablo Mari not fully match fit. "He hasn't competed since the end of December,” but the defender is "looking good" and will join the group fully very soon. Lucas Torreira did not travel midweek due to illness, but in Mattéo Guendouzi, Arteta has a readymade replacement despite being dropped versus Newcastle for his poor behaviour in Dubai. Meanwhile, Mesut Ozil was omitted from the squad that faced Olympiakos because of personal reasons, although I fully expect a return on Sunday. Alexandre Lacazette grabbed the only goal of the first-leg tie and having scored 28 of his 33 Premier League goals at the Emirates - including each of his last nine – then the Frenchman is worthy of some love. Cedric Soares and Kieran Tierney remain sidelined for the Gunners. Both players are hoping to return in early March. Calum Chambers (ACL knee) is a long-term absentee.
Tyrone Mings is “fine” after missing last Sundays’ loss at home to Tottenham. "He had a touch of tonsillitis,” revealed Dean Smith, but the defender has been back in training since Wednesday. “It's been unfortunate. He's been a big player for us so, to miss him on Sunday was difficult. He'll be back ready for Southampton.” Keinan Davis (hamstring) is looking to step up his recovery after suffering a setback with the Under-23s, and John McGinn could train outside over the weekend. “His return will be looked at day-by-day to see how he continues his rehabilitation." Villa sit just one point above the drop zone and will need Jack Grealish to continue his excellent form - seven goals and six assists – this term if the Villains hope to remain in the top-flight.
Brighton and Hove Albion
The Seagulls have won just once in 11 Premier League matches (drew six, lost four) and remain winless since a 2-0 victory against Bournemouth in December; Graham Potter may look to his new signings to give his side some fresh impetus. Alexis Mac Allister "has trained well this week," and a decision on his involvement will be made on Friday. "He's had a busy time, but he's an intelligent player and has good quality." Meanwhile, the Brighton boss describes Tariq Lamptey as "explosive and sharp" and a player who brings something new to the squad. Dale Stephens remains a concern due to the hamstring issue which ruled him out of GW26, and while long-term absentee Jose Izquierdo (knee) did join the group on their warm-weather training camp in Tenerife, there are no guarantees that the winger will play again this season.
Sean Dyche would’ve liked Johann Berg Gudmundsson to have played a bounce game before returning to the first-team squad, but this weeks’ lousy weather saw the Clarets friendly cancelled. However, the winger has been training normally for the past two weeks, and he is in contention for Saturday. Chris Wood is rated as “touch and go,” but after last weekends’ goalscoring cameo at St Mary’s, if there are any concerns, Matej Vydra could make his first Premier League start since November 2018. “We were pleased with his performance, scored a fantastic goal. So, he's got a chance of figuring, of course." Matt Lowton met with a specialist, and while Dyche chose not to disclose the details of the assessment, he did confirm the defender would remain on the sidelines due to knee inflammation. Ashley Barnes is progressing following groin surgery, and Ben Gibson continues to train with his former club – Middlesbrough – after a deal to leave in January failed to materialise.
Chelsea will be looking to bounce back from defeat to Manchester United at the Bridge on Monday; that was the Blues seventh home defeat across all competitions this season, their most in a single campaign since 1994-95. But rivals Tottenham lack some serious firepower, and defensive assets could be this weekends’ big money-spinner. However, I’d stay away from the goalkeeper as once again; Frank Lampard was giving nothing away: “I will continue to pick the team I see as the strongest.” There are also question marks over Andreas Christensen, who travelled to Italy after breaking his nose on Monday night. Although he can wear a protective mask, Kurt Zouma could come straight in alongside Antonio Rudiger. The big news is that Ruben Loftus-Cheek will return to the matchday squad, that despite not playing for the Under-23s on Monday. The England international has completed just two bounce games since his Achilles rupture back in May 2019. "He won't be fit to start but it's another positive step in the midfielder's comeback from a long-term injury." N’Golo Kante (groin) could miss around three weeks, and although Tammy Abraham has trained, it was only at 70 per cent and a decision will be made on whether he is fit enough to start. The clubs’ leading goalscorer will at least make the bench with Michy Batshuayi and Olivier Giroud also vying for a place in the XI. No word on Callum Hudson-Odoi but the winger was seen on the training pitches which is just with Christian Pulisic out for the foreseeable.
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