After a hectic Christmas period in which we often had to make do without pre-match press conferences and up-to-date injury news, we are at least back to some semblance of normality ahead of Gameweek 22.
All 20 Premier League managers held media gatherings either on Thursday or Friday, with some well-owned players among the players discussed by their respective bosses.
There was positive news on James Maddison, who sustained a blow to the head against Aston Villa.
Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers said today:
Just a knock, he had some tests after the game. He’s fine, he’s trained the last few days.
Kevin De Bruyne also took a whack to his upper body in the EFL Cup on Tuesday but when asked whether the Belgian has had any ill-effects since, Pep Guardiola said:
No, no, I think it is fine.
Jurgen Klopp brought us up to date on Liverpool’s injury situation, saying on Friday:
James [Milner] and Naby [Keita] are not available, both are muscle injuries. We’ll see how quick, we don’t have to put a timeframe on it. For sure not for this weekend, not for next week, but then we will see.
Joel [Matip] was not part of all parts of training, he was outside on the pitch which looked really good but then he had to do his own stuff again. Yesterday was part of the first part of training. Shaq [Xherdan Shaqiri] trained completely normal since he was in.
Dejan [Lovren] and Fabinho we expect to be back next week in full training. If’s that then early enough for the United game I don’t know but we will see.
A start away at Tottenham Hotspur would seem a tall order for new signing Takumi Minamino but Klopp gave us an idea of where the versatile Japan international might feature in future, saying:
He played [as a striker v Everton] because we thought it was the most natural to him in the first place, especially defending-wise against the ball it was most natural to him.
He played the position the year before, not this season but the season before, when my former player was manager at Salzburg. I watched a couple of games and they played a lot in a diamond and he was the no.10 very often. He can play second striker, all that stuff, for Japan he plays as no.9, he can play on the wing.
But we thought from a defending point of view it’s the most natural position for him that he knows because I don’t want to give him kind of a playbook: read it and now you know what you have to do.
So he could defend naturally actually, but it’s not the only position he can play, no, no no. He played in a 4-4-2, both wings, second striker, for Japan the only striker – a lot he has to offer and I loved the game.
For Spurs, Harry Kane (hamstring) and Moussa Sissoko (knee) will now be missing until April.
Ben Davies (ankle), Tanguy Ndombele (hip) and Hugo Lloris (shoulder) remain out but Danny Rose (calf) is back in training.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said that Harry Maguire (hip) has “got a chance” of featuring against Norwich City tomorrow, despite previous media reports hinting at a long absence.
The United boss explained:
He’s got a chance for tomorrow. It was a minor thing, don’t know where the reports are coming from. He’s going to go through training today and see how he reacts for tomorrow. He was close to playing against City, just not fit enough.
Scott McTominay (knee) and Paul Pogba (ankle) remain sidelined, while Jesse Lingard was ruled out of Saturday’s match due to illness and Eric Bailly (knee) and Tim Fosu-Mensah (knee) will feature for the reserves on Friday night.
Daniel Farke ruled Teemu Pukki (hamstring) out of the trip to Old Trafford, so, with Josip Drmic (hamstring) also sidelined for the game at Old Trafford, teenage forward Adam Idah could potentially be handed a chance up front.
Christian Pulisic‘s stock is set to fall further in Fantasy Premier League, with Frank Lampard saying today:
Christian Pulisic is out, he’ll be out for a few weeks. He was injured in training last Saturday. It’s an injury in the adductor, so he’s got a tendon injury. It was quite a nasty injury, he was in pain when it happened.
On Chelsea’s other injury news, Lampard added:
Marcos Alonso is recovering, he’s trained today but he won’t be ready for tomorrow. Ruben [Loftus-Cheek] is still out.
Johann Berg Gudmundsson (hamstring) will miss the trip to Stamford Bridge while Sean Dyche said on Thursday that the Clarets will “almost definitely” be without Ashley Barnes, who is set to see a specialist on a recurring groin problem.
Jay Rodriguez and Phil Bardsley have missed almost a full week of training due to illness so may also not feature, with their manager explaining that their ailment was “a deeper thing than just a bug”.
Nuno Espirito Santo ruled Willy Boly (ankle) and Diogo Jota (dead leg) out of Saturday’s game against Newcastle but Morgan Gibbs-White (back) is back in contention.
The Wolves boss said of Jota:
He had a strong impact, he has some fluid and blood on the injury, he’s going to be scanned again next week. After this scan we can wait and determine better his return.
Jamaal Lascelles (leg), Allan Saint-Maximin (hamstring), Fabian Schar (hamstring) and Jonjo Shelvey (hamstring) are not quite ready to return despite making good progress in their respective rehabilitations but Paul Dummett (groin), Ciaran Clark (calf), Andy Carroll (groin), Miguel Almiron (groin), Dwight Gayle (hamstring) and Jetro Willems (groin) are all back in training and in contention to feature against Wolves.
Javier Manquillo (hamstring) is sidelined, however, while Steve Bruce seemed to imply on Friday that the Magpies had lost Yoshinori Muto and Ki Sung-yueng to knocks as well.
DeAndre Yedlin will also be assessed for a knee injury.
There’s not much change at Everton, with boss Carlo Ancelotti reporting:
The injured players are the same. Andre Gomes will come back next week and start to train individually here. [Jean-Philippe Gbamin], I don’t know precisely but is working alone in this moment. The same with [Alex] Iwobi. The others are fit.
Dan Burn (shoulder) and Jose Izquierdo (knee) are Brighton’s only two confirmed absentees for the trip to Everton but Aaron Mooy is a fresh doubt, with Graham Potter revealing that the in-form Australian had “not trained in the last couple of days” after picking up a knock.
Roy Hodgson confirmed that new loan signing Cenk Tosun is in contention to be in the Crystal Palace squad against Arsenal, adding that Max Meyer (knock), Jairo Riedewald (knock) and Wilfried Zaha (knock) were all fit.
The Gunners will be without Kieran Tierney (shoulder) and Calum Chambers (knee), while Hector Bellerin (hamstring) looks unlikely to feature, with Mikel Arteta saying on Thursday that the defender was “still not there” despite a partial return to training.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang wasn’t included in the Arsenal medical round-up and has been pictured in training, so the assumption is that he has recovered from the illness that forced his no-show in the FA Cup.
Keinan Davis (hamstring), John McGinn (ankle), Jed Steer (Achilles), Tom Heaton (knee) and Wesley (knee) are all unavailable for Aston Villa, while Jonathan Kodjia (illness) hasn’t trained as of Friday.
There was no update on Matt Targett (hamstring) in Friday’s press conference but Dean Smith had previously expressed confidence of him returning for this weekend.
Eddie Howe said on Friday that the “long-term absentees won’t really change for this weekend” but, without naming names in the broadcast section of his press conference, added that a few of Bournemouth’s sidelined contingent are “getting very close now”.
News broke late on Friday that Chris Mepham would be out for a long period of time after sustaining a serious knee injury.
Danny Welbeck (hamstring), Tom Cleverley (heel), Sebastien Prodl (knee) and Daryl Janmaat (knee) remain unavailable for Watford’s match against the Cherries, although Welbeck has at least resumed training with the rest of the Watford squad.
Kiko Femenia (hamstring) has joined them on the sidelines for this one, while Nigel Pearson said on Thursday that the Hornets “don’t think” Will Hughes (hip) will recover for the trip to the Vitality Stadium.
The Watford boss added that a few of his players had “less-serious” injuries that will be monitored over the coming days.
Michael Verrips (concussion) will miss Sheffield United’s match against West Ham United tonight but Simon Moore (groin) is back in training and could be back among the substitutes after a month-long absence.
Michail Antonio (hamstring), Jack Wilshere (groin) and Andriy Yarmolenko (thigh) remain unavailable for the trip to Sheffield United, while Ryan Fredericks will join them on the sidelines after picking up a hamstring injury that will rule him out for four to six weeks.
Yan Valery (virus) is Southampton’s only confirmed absentee.
Predicted line-ups and more detailed information are found in the Team News tab.
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