Round up of the press conferences from injury guru Ben Dinnery ahead of FPL Gameweek 34. All the latest team news for fantasy football managers to digest before making those all-important transfers.
A battling performance from Bournemouth at Old Trafford ultimately failed to deliver the points the Cherries so desperately need. Still, Eddie Howe will be encouraged by the offensive display if not their defence. The Cherries were missing four players from their backline through injury and with no guarantees of any returners, then Howe could look to deploy Lloyd Kelly alongside Nathan Ake again. Chris Mepham, knee, did travel to Manchester but in the end, it was felt his involvement was too much of a risk while a scan confirmed Steve Cook suffered a minor hamstring strain against Newcastle. Jack Simpson (calf) and Charlie Daniels (knee) remain out. Junior Stanislas could have a significant role to play during the run-in, but keeping the winger fit has always been the issue. He took his goal excellently on Saturday and Howe believes he could be “massive” in helping the Cherries to beat the drop. Callum Wilson returns following his two-game ban.
The Gunners are back on their home turf having won three consecutive league games without conceding for the first time since November 2017. There’s not much change in the Arsenal treatment room – Leno, Martinelli, Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers remain sidelined – while Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi look set to miss out again: “It’s still the situation as it was before,” Arteta confirmed during Mondays’ press conference. Nicolas Pepe should be back in contention after missing the win at Molineux due to personal reasons – his wife went into labour.
Frederic Guilbert and Henri Lansbury returned to the Villa squad at Anfield on Sunday – there first inclusion since the restart – but given a lack of match fitness neither saw any game time. The Villains battled hard for over an hour against the champions, but ultimately fell short and Dean Smith’s men still find themselves stuck in the bottom three. In terms of personnel, there are no fresh concerns – Wesley, Tom Heaton, Matt Targett and Bjorn Engels are sidelined – but there were scares for Jack Grealish and Tyrone Mings, which thankfully Smith was able to play down. Grealish was seen talking to the medical team on several occasions during the first half of Sundays’ game, but the issue was not injury-related. “[The] strapping was too tight on his calves, so we had to loosen that, there’s no issue,” while Mings took a knock on his calf in a collision with Jordan Henderson.
Brighton and Hove Albion
The win at Carrow Road on Saturday opened up a nine-point gap between them and eighteenth, and with a superior goal difference, it looks like Brighton will be safe for another season. “The only player not available on Wednesday will be Jose Izquierdo,” Graham Potter revealed at his media briefing. “He’s still some way away; he’ll be more for further in the future.” Steven Alzate, who is yet to feature since the restart as he continues to manage an ongoing groin problem, is expected to miss out again. “We’re monitoring him daily; we’ll have to make some decisions. He looked like he was struggling slightly in training today [Monday] so we’ll have to see.”
Chris Wood, Gudmundsson and Robbie Brady all returned to the matchday 20 on Monday, but Sean Dyche admits it would be “foolish” to throw them straight back in without any training spells. “We are being careful, but we will have to use them [at some point].” Kevin Long could see out the season as a thigh strain threatens to end Ben Mee‘s campaign early, and Jack Cork might need surgery on an ankle injury sustained at Crystal Palace. Matt Lowton (foot) is also struggling to return, and although Ashley Barnes (hernia) is working outside again, Dyche is unsure whether the Clarets forward can return within the next two-and-a-half weeks.
N’Golo Kante was sent for a scan following the win over Watford and imaging revealed a “low-level hamstring injury” which will keep him out for around 7-10 days. His absence could see forgotten midfielder Jorginho return to the side after failing to break into Lampard’s plans since his return from suspension. Callum Hudson-Odoi must reach the current levels of Christian Pulisic and Willian to justify a place in the Chelsea line-up. “He really needs to work hard daily in training, do the right things and when he gets his opportunities, whether from the bench or to start, really show input in games and make a difference,” Lampard said. Mateo Kovacic (Achilles) is training, but won’t be considered, and Fikayo Tomori has suffered a minor setback and won’t be considered just yet.
Given the quick turnaround between fixtures, Roy Hodgson said that “one or two” players were still being monitored following the loss at Leicester. Christian Benteke could be one of those having just recovered from a hamstring strain – the striker played 82 minutes at the King Power – but the decision to replace Patrick van Aanholt was a tactical switch. “It was nice to give Tyrick [Mitchell] a game. It was only a question of at 2-0 we didn’t look like we were going to get those two goals to get a point from the game, so it was a chance to spare Patrick for ten minutes.” Jeffrey Schlupp and James Tomkins are “long-term injuries”, but Martin Kelly is edging closer to a return after his first session back on Monday. “It would be a bit early to throw him into the deep end.”
Carlo Ancelotti said his side must “change their mentality” against the top teams after Everton were edged out 1-nil at Tottenham on Monday. It was a pretty drab affair in which the Toffees lost Mason Holgate early on to a knock and Alex Iwobi (hamstring) at the break. The former could have a chance for Southampton, but Yerry Mina is waiting in the wings if there are any problems. Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin failed to spark Everton into life, and their hopes of a European qualification spot are slipping away. Theo Walcott has an outside chance of returning to the matchday squad while Djibril Sidibe is back and pushing for a recall.
Brendan Rodgers switched to a 3-4-1-2 which “worked well” and in the likely event that James Maddison will miss out again, then the Foxes boss could be tempted to leave things as they are. Marc Albrighton was asked to fill in as a wing-back, while James Justin was impressive up against Wilfried Zaha. Kelechi Iheanacho opened the scoring with Jamie Vardy adding two late strikes, sealing the win, and taking his Premier League career goals tally to 101. Ben Chilwell is managing a painful foot condition – plantar fasciitis – and he will seek further specialist guidance. It is possible that he could play, following a pain-killing injection, although Ryan Bennett is poised to come for his first start since arriving on-loan from Wolves. No mention of an issue for Ayoze Perez – who took a whack on the ankle against Palace – so, presumably the Spaniard is fit. Ricardo Pereira and Daniel Amartey are the only confirmed absentees.
Jurgen Klopp is expected to make minor tweaks to his line-up after Roberto Firmino, Gini Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson made way for the visit of Villa on Sunday. Rotation will be kept to a minimum as the Reds look to maintain rhythm combined with fresh legs. Andy Robertson was quick to allay injury fears on Sunday: “I’ve just got a bit of a dead calf just in the challenge with Jack Grealish with about 20 minutes to go, I’ll be good to go,” he said. But James Milner remains a concern after complaining of a hamstring problem in training on the eve of Sundays’ game.
Pep is likely to roll out the big guns after making six changes at St Mary’s. Kevin De Bruyne was among those to drop to the bench along with Gundogan, Phil Foden and Rodri. Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker were rested entirely and did not travel to the south coast. All the players have a chance of earning a recall with Sergio Aguero the only known injury casualty. The Argentine is targeting a return in the Champions League next month.
There has been no official update from the club at the time of writing as United don’t play again until Thursday and the additional recovery days could allow Ole to stick with the same side which stuck 11-goals past Brighton, Sheffield United and Bournemouth. The only known injury doubt is Victor Lindelof: “He struggled with his back but hopefully won’t be too bad,” Solskjaer told BT Sport after the win on Saturday. Eric Bailly is his likely replacement with Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe both injured. Greenwood continues to impress the United boss: “Mason is one of the best if not the best finisher I have worked with and seen. He is so calm. He knows where to finish if it is on the training ground, here or in his garden at home.”
“Five games in 15 days in the Premier League is a tough ask,” said Steve Bruce who suggested there will be changes at The Etihad. “Unfortunately, I don’t think I could ask Allan [Saint-Maximin] to go again on Wednesday, that’s for sure.” There are also concerns over Miguel Almiron due to an ongoing thigh issue while captain Jamaal Lascelles aggravated an ankle injury during the 2-2 draw with West Ham. Andy Carroll “picked up a groin strain” on Sunday. Sean Longstaff and Isaac Hayden, arguably two of United’s fittest players have both suffered hamstring injuries which “probably” rules them out of the run-in. Florian Lejeune is in a race against time to feature again this season.
Todd Cantwell aggravated his hamstring after coming on against Brighton, and Daniel Farke has ruled him out of the must-win game at Vicarage Road. “I hope Todd will be available for the West Ham game. It doesn’t seem too bad, but he doesn’t feel 100 per cent comfortable.” Late decisions will also be made on Kenny McLean (ankle sprain) and Alex Tettey who has some problems with his knee. “We’ll see how they are. Both should be fine, but they are question marks.” There were four changes in the early kick-off on Saturday, and Farke could recall the likes of Teemu Pukki, Tom Trybull and Lukas Rupp to freshen his side. Grant Hanley, Moritz Leitner, Sam Byram and Christoph Zimmermann will play no further part in the 2019/20 campaign.
In hindsight, Chris Wilder believes he should’ve changed his side but felt that his players “deserved to go again” following the 3-1 win over Tottenham. Oli McBurnie “ran himself into the ground” while Chris Basham looked dead on his legs, and Jack Rodwell may be in-line for his first Premier League start since arriving in January. Jack O’Connell returned to the squad on Sunday and Wilder has a decision to make having seen Jack Robinson deputise in recent games. John Lundstram, John Fleck and Luke Freeman are still a few weeks away from a potential return.
The Saints showed a togetherness and belief in beating the former Premier League champions that was so far removed from the 9-0 drubbing by Leicester earlier in the season that the two are unrecognisable. Jack Stephens and Jan Bednarek were excellent in the heart of the defence, and even if Jannik Vestergaard does recover from a muscle strain, then he is likely to be named as a substitute. Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (ankle) could be an option from the bench, but Sofiane Boufal (thigh) and Yan Valery have been ruled out. Che Adams rewarded Ralph Hasenhüttl’s faith with a superbly taken goal catching Ederson off his line from fully 39-yards, so expect another start with Michael Obafemi and Shane Long backing up from the bench. Moussa Djenepo, who only recently returned from suspension, has picked up another [calf] injury and won’t be available on Thursday. “We didn’t train the last two days, only recovery,” revealed Hasenhüttl. “We have a few injuries at the moment, and I cannot say how many changes I will make.”
Jose Mourinho played down the on-field spat between Hugo Lloris and Heung-Min Son which was the highlight of a pretty poor game with Everton: “Son is an amazing kid, everybody likes Son, but the captain told him you have to do more and give more to the team. It’s something needed for the team to grow up – to grow up; you need big personalities. When you have that reaction, I had no doubts.” Despite saying that Juan Foyth and Japhet Tanganga were expected to see out the season on the sidelines, Mourinho revealed that the latter could rejoin the squad in training this week. However, it remains unclear when, or indeed, if, he will be considered for a return. Dele Alli is a worry after aggravating his hamstring – any decision on his involvement will be left until the last moment.
Nigel Pearson still believes that Watford can beat the drop despite taking just one-point since the resumption: “I look at our players in training, look in their eyes, and I get lots of positive signals back. There is a desire to improve upon our performances and results, for sure.” Craig Cathcart and Roberto Pereyra are among those who could return to the XI with the games coming thick and fast. There are no new injury concerns ahead of Tuesdays’ game. Gerard Deulofeu (cruciate ligament), Daryl Janmaat (knee) and Isaac Success (Achilles) remain sidelined for the Hornets.
West Ham United
Sebastian Haller has trained, and the Hammers forward has a chance of making the game with Burnley: “He’s better, and he’s certainly getting closer to being available, but whether he’s ready to play is a different matter,” said David Moyes who confirmed that Felipe Anderson is likely to miss the next two fixtures: “He’s got a grade one hamstring tweak which normally keeps you out for ten to 14 days, so he won’t be available tomorrow.” Michail Antonio scored again on Sunday, and Moyes believes the 30-year-old is in his “best spell of games” following an injury-plagued year. The performances of Tomas Soucek – two in two – has been a major contributor in West Ham’s recent upturn in form. “He has had an impact on the team, he is well-liked, and he’s definitely contributing to what we’re doing at the moment.”
Wolves suffered their first Premier League defeat in nine games when they lost at home to Arsenal, a first league defeat by more than a 1-goal margin since September. Adama Traore partnered Raul Jimenez in attack, and it was the Spaniard who managed the home sides only shot on target after just 17 seconds. Diogo Jota was the player that made way on Saturday. Daniel Podence had a personal matter to resolve in Portugal last week, and due to government guidelines, he was unavailable. However, he will return to bolster numbers. Despite the fixture volume, don’t expect wholesale changes from Nuno, the Wolves boss has made just one change in each of his sides four games since the restart. Neto will be checked ahead of Wednesday: “During the match, we had a strong kick on a player we have to assess for tomorrow. We have to wait and see how he is.”