There were only six stand-alone Premier League press conferences held in the run-up to Gameweek 21, leaving us in the dark for many clubs ahead of the New Year’s Day deadline.
Pep Guardiola was one of the three managers to hold a media gathering today, with the City boss confirming that David Silva (knock) and John Stones (hamstring) are “back” for the visit of Everton.
Asked about Aymeric Laporte (knee), Guardiola added:
He’s getting better, he’s training alone but already on the pitch. It’s the last part, I think in one week, maybe ten days, he can start to train with us.
The City head coach also had his say on the risk of picking injuries up over the festive period, saying:
We think about that, we have five games in 12 days. Quite similar for the other teams but in this period, to have one or two more days to recover, it is a lot.
We play 80 minutes with ten against 11, a difficult test against Wolves. After less than two days, we come back and play again. It’s a risk but you have to take it.
Carlo Ancelotti brought us up to speed on the Toffees’ fitness situation, saying today:
The injured players are the same, they are almost close to recovery. Schneiderlin has started to train with the team today, I think he will be available for the game on Saturday.
The others we didn’t have problems in these two days, that was good. Andre Gomes and Gbamin need time to recover but everything is going well for them.
Elsewhere, Chris Wilder confirmed that John Lundstram (ankle) will take part in a full training session on Tuesday and will be assessed after it.
The Sheffield United boss said ahead of the trip to Anfield:
Everybody has come through [the Man City game] well, health-wise, so we’ve got a full quota to pick and choose from.
Sitting in for Nigel Pearson yesterday, Craig Shakspeare said of Watford’s walking wounded:
We’re still waiting on five or six players, either with illness or knocks. We’ll have a clearer idea tomorrow but we’re hoping that all of them make it.
[Hughes and Cathcart] are part of that five or six so they’ll be assessed again tomorrow. As players they’ll want to be fit for the Wolves game so we’re going to give them every opportunity to try and make it.
Graham Potter confirmed that Brighton have no new injury problems in his press conference on Monday.
Solly March (groin) has trained but the match against Chelsea will come too soon, while Jose Izquierdo (knee) remains unavailable despite making good progress.
David Moyes’ first West Ham press conference (in his second stint, anyway) was predictably thin on injury updates, with all the talk about his reappointment.
Asked about if he could have much impact in the Bournemouth game:
I have to say it is not easy. I have taken training this morning. But really, I cannot have a massive influence on what I have got [for GW21]. For me, it was about trying to pick up as much as I can from the people around.
I am coming here initially to try and get us wins and away from the wrong end of the table but the bigger picture is to have a strong team, a really good footballing team, attacking team and all those things I have to bring to the table.
As for the other 14 teams in the division, we will have to make do with any late-arriving quotes from embargoed sections of press conferences held after the weekend’s games.
The problem with that, of course, is that the information can quickly become outdated.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, for instance, was positive about Paul Pogba‘s chances of featuring against Arsenal when asked after the Burnley game but the Frenchman reportedly hasn’t travelled to London with the rest of the Manchester United squad.
There were some heartening comments from Brendan Rodgers after the win over West Ham, with the Leicester City boss saying of Jamie Vardy:
His wife went into hospital on Friday and gave birth on Saturday morning. He wouldn’t have played on Saturday anyway, he’d have been on the bench, but we let him stay at home to look after his wife and kids and he’ll be back for Newcastle.
Asked about Ricardo Pereira (hamstring), Rodgers replied:
He should be fine for Newcastle. He just felt it a bit tight, so I didn’t bother taking him [to West Ham]. I gave him a rest at home. He’ll be back in [on Monday] and fine.
The other issue with two or three-day-old comments is that there hasn’t been much thought put into the next game, with managers interviewed soon after full-time – the embargoed section of Nuno Espirito Santo and Roy Hodgson’s pressers, which were masquerading as Gameweek 21 previews, offered precious little in the way of useful information to Fantasy managers.
Injuries need time to settle and be assessed, too, so even if Eddie Howe was the type of manager to offer us clear-cut fitness updates (he isn’t), then the hamstring strains picked up by Josh King and Jack Stacey can’t have been properly appraised.
Keep checking in with our Twitter timeline and the Team News tab throughout the evening as we bring you up to speed on anything else we’ve heard, as some quotes won’t be released until later tonight.
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