We round up the key injury updates and stand-out manager quotes ahead of Gameweek 33+ in our weekly summary of the pre-match press conferences.
We have heard from 18 Premier League managers so far, with Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho the only two outstanding head coaches – although there is the possibility of embargoed sections from last night’s post-game pressers being released later in the day.
Liverpool v Aston Villa
There wasn’t much in the way of injury news from Jurgen Klopp’s press conference but the Liverpool boss did respond forcefully to a question on whether he would field fringe players and academy products in the run-in, saying:
They are so close, they are really good. And they are our future, 100%. But they will not play now because I want to see them in a Premier League game.
We don’t give Premier League games as Christmas presents. We cannot do that.
We have to make sure that the best XI on that day are on the pitch.
Matt Targett (hamstring) has been ruled out for the Villans, with boss Dean Smith saying:
He’s struggling. It’s not going be the reported three weeks, it’s not as bad as we first feared. We’re hopeful that he should be back for Crystal Palace [in GW35+].
Everybody else is OK at the moment.
Manchester United v Bournemouth
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer didn’t report any new serious fitness concerns but did hint at a change or two, saying:
Of course, there are a couple of knocks. You do start feeling things now after a little bit, so there might be a couple of changes but let’s see today. The boys who didn’t play on Tuesday want to play and are ready to step in if they have to.
I’ve got to wait and see because there’s a couple that’s got some knocks and bruises, so if there’s a couple of changes – don’t be surprised. Just because of fitness but there’s also so many games, I’ve got to look after them.
It’d be nice to play the team that performed so well against Sheffield United at home last time and played so well against Brighton but let’s wait and see how everyone is. I’ve got many reasons to play the same team but also reasons to rotate one or two.
Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe remain sidelined with unspecified injuries, with Jones not expected back in training for another couple of weeks and Tuanzebe out for the season.
Eddie Howe says he will make a late check on a “couple of players” ahead of Bournemouth’s trip to Old Trafford but, true to form, refused to name names.
Callum Wilson is still suspended.
Southampton v Manchester City
As mentioned above, we await news from Pep Guardiola following City’s comprehensive victory over Liverpool on Thursday.
Given that any comments would have been made straight after full-time, however, they may be of little use regarding any fresh fitness issues.
We do know that Sergio Aguero (knee) is out, at least, while Fernandinho returns from suspension.
Sofiane Boufal (thigh), Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (ankle), Jannik Vestergaard (muscle), Nathan Tella (unspecified) and Yan Valery (unspecified) all look set to miss the visit of the Citizens but Ralph Hasenhuttl is at least boosted by the return of Jack Stephens and Moussa Djenepo from suspension.
The Southampton said ahead of the game:
We have a few problems, still with Pierre and also Sofiane. Not available for the weekend. Jannik Vestergaard has a few problems with a muscle injury. Yan Valery also has problems and Nathan Tella.
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Arsenal
Calum Chambers (knee), Pablo Mari (ankle), Gabriel Martinelli (knee) and Bernd Leno (knee) remain out, while Mesut Ozil (back) faces a late fitness check ahead of Saturday’s match at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Mikel Arteta also reported “a few issues” from the win over Norwich City, adding that the Gunners have been “playing a lot of games in the last few days and some players are recovering”.
Lucas Torreira is fit, at least, and could feature in the matchday squad for the first time since early March.
Nuno Espirito Santo has a clean bill of health ahead of the visit of Arsenal so his main decision will likely once again be over his starting formation and the inclusion of Adama Traore, with the Wolves boss having frequently alternated between a 3-4-3 and a 3-5-2 from match to match and indeed during games.
Tottenham Hotspur v Everton
Carlo Ancelotti sounded positive about Richarlison‘s (knock) chances of recovery ahead of Monday, saying in his pre-match presser:
Richarlison didn’t train today but I think he will be able to train tomorrow, so he is not going to have problems to play on Monday. I think he will be fine.
We have Sidibe back for this game. Out, Walcott and Delph.
We haven’t heard from Jose Mourinho apart from his post-Sheffield United press conference but there is the chance that more quotes from that media online gathering will be released from embargo on Friday or Saturday.
Japhet Tanganga (back) and Juan Foyth (knee) remain out.
Leicester City v Crystal Palace
Brendan Rodgers says that James Maddison is a doubt again after aggravating his hip problem in the defeat at Everton.
The Leicester City boss said Maddison “hopefully” wouldn’t be out for too long if he does miss out.
Roy Hodgson confirmed that Christian Benteke has recovered for Crystal Palace and said:
Martin Kelly is making big strides, so he joined in with the group for the first time today albeit only a part of the session. That’s a step forward, he’s been out for a long time.
We lost a young player, Nik Tavares, to a muscle injury, earlier this week in training. Jeffrey Schlupp and James Tomkins still remain out, otherwise the rest of the squad are ready.
Chelsea v Watford
Fikayo Tomori (muscle) and Mateo Kovacic (Achilles) are Frank Lampard’s only confirmed absentees ahead of the visit of Watford, with the Chelsea boss saying:
Fikayo is still not fit. He’s hopefully going to be training with us somewhere through next week. He’s doing a lot of work but in terms of the last bit to get him on the training pitch, it’s been tough.
Kovacic is going to be out of this game. He hurt his Achilles during the West Ham game and will miss this one, possibly the next one after that but hopefully, it won’t be too long after that.
Watford assistant boss Craig Shakespeare didn’t report any fresh injury concerns in his pre-match press conference, meaning that Gerard Deulofeu (knee), Isaac Success (Achilles) and Daryl Janmaat (knee) are Watford’s only confirmed absentees for the visit of Southampton.
The Hornets will welcome back Nathaniel Chalobah, Andre Gray and Domingos Quina into the first-team fold, with that trio having been omitted against Southampton “to ensure the health and safety of all players.”
Burnley v Sheffield United
John Fleck (groin), John Lundstram (shoulder) and Luke Freeman (unspecified) will all be missing for the next two weeks, which leaves Chris Wilder short of options in the middle of the park and very likely ensures Sander Berge and Ben Osborn will start again after their impressive performances against Spurs.
Jack O’Connell (knee) seems to be edging closer to a comeback but Wilder remains coy on the matter, having repeatedly said over the last fortnight that he was near to a return whilst also stressing that the Blades wouldn’t take any risks with the player.
Ashley Barnes (hernia) and Matthew Lowton (foot) remain out for the Clarets and Jack Cork (ankle) is a doubt but Jay Rodriguez (hamstring), Chris Wood (Achilles), Robbie Brady (groin) and Johann Berg Gudmundsson (calf) are all possibilities to return.
Sean Dyche told the media:
Woody has been training this week but obviously hasn’t trained a lot. Johann has got a chance to at least be involved in some capacity. Robbie Brady maybe, Lowton definitely not, Corky’s a question mark, and Barnsey definitely not.
[Rodriguez] has got a chance. He’s trained two days after the last game against Palace so I’m hopeful that he’ll come through it and be available.
Newcastle United v West Ham United
David Moyes reports that Mark Noble (hamstring), Arthur Masuaku (ankle) and Sebastien Haller (hip) are back in training and he hopes to have “some of them back” for the trip to Newcastle.
Felipe Anderson is a slight doubt after picking up a muscle problem in the warm-up on Wednesday.
Steve Bruce says that Jamaal Lascelles (knock) and Joelinton (calf) will be assessed ahead of the game, with Sean Longstaff (hamstring) likely to miss out.
Norwich City v Brighton and Hove Albion
Daniel Farke has no new injury concerns after the defeat to Arsenal and Timm Klose returns from suspension.
Moritz Leitner (hernia) has joined Grant Hanley (hamstring), Christoph Zimmermann (back) and Sam Byram (hamstring) in being ruled out for the season, however.
Adam Webster (hamstring) and Davy Propper (calf) are expected to be fit for Albion, leaving only Jose Izquierdo (knee) on the sidelines.
More detailed information and predicted line-ups can be found in the Team News tab, which is being gradually refreshed today.
FPL Lessons Learned from Gameweek 32+
- Aston Villa 0-1 Wolves
- Watford 1-3 Southampton
- Crystal Palace 0-1 Burnley
- Brighton 0-3 Manchester United
- Arsenal 4-0 Norwich City
- Bournemouth 1-4 Newcastle United
- Everton 2-1 Leicester City
- West Ham United 3-2 Chelsea
- Sheffield United 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur
- Manchester City 4-0 Liverpool
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