There were only four pre-Gameweek 2 virtual media gatherings on Thursday afternoon, with the bulk of the conference calls set to follow on Friday.
With there being four Premier League teams in Carabao Cup action on Thursday evening and Tottenham Hotspur starting their UEFA Europa League campaign in Bulgaria, however, not all 20 top-flight managers will give stand-alone press conferences ahead of Saturday’s Fantasy Premier League deadline.
Jose Mourinho, for example, is only scheduled to face the media immediately after full-time in Plovdiv, so any fresh injury concerns that only become apparent between then and Sunday’s clash with Southampton may well go unreported.
Here’s what we know so far.
The managers of the three newly promoted clubs and Crystal Palace were all facing the media on Thursday afternoon.
Two of the sides who came up from the Championship last season, Leeds United and Fulham, meet each other this weekend.
Adam Forshaw (hip) remains unavailable for that match but Marcelo Bielsa revealed on Thursday that he expects Liam Cooper to be fit, with the Scotland international having missed out on the opening weekend with a minor calf problem:
We think Cooper will be ready to play the game on Saturday, there are no new injuries from the last few days. Forshaw he’s been taking part in collective training today apart from any actual playing of football. Next week his rehabilitation will continue.
New signing Rodrigo was among the 11 changes that Bielsa made for the Whites’ EFL Cup defeat to Hull City in midweek.
When asked about the Spaniard’s match-fitness, the Argentinean strongly hinted at another start for Patrick Bamford at the weekend:
He’s already ready [for the Premier League]. He won’t start the game at the weekend but he’s in a good condition to start if we want him too.
Aleksandar Mitrovic was among the starters in Fulham’s win over Ipswich Town in midweek, following his benching in Gameweek 1.
All of the Cottagers’ players appeared to come through unscathed from that encounter, with boss Scott Parker saying:
Everyone pulled through last night. We got back late, the players have just been in the gym for recovery. We’ll have a gauge on it tomorrow morning on exactly where everyone is. At this moment there’s nothing jumping and I suspect we’ll be ok.
A number of Fulham’s new signings also featured in the EFL Cup and, when asked about whether any of them would feature against Leeds this weekend, Parker said:
We’ll have to see really. We got back in the early hours, players are just reporting in to do their recovery so the first time we will see the boys on the training field will be tomorrow. We’ll make a judgement on where we see the players physically.
This is a league where you can’t afford to carry players. When you’re us you need to be at your peak of fitness. With the quick turnaround in pre-season and players late coming into the building, some are just a little bit short at the moment.
Hopefully, we can get some out there because that will make us stronger but I’m not going to risk long term injury of the players.
Nathan Ferguson (knee), Gary Cahill (hamstring), James Tomkins (thigh) and Patrick van Aanholt (shoulder) remain sidelined ahead of the trip to Manchester United, while Connor Wickham (unknown) and Christian Benteke (foot) have only just returned to training and won’t be considered for selection.
Roy Hodgson also said that Mamadou Sakho isn’t yet match-fit enough despite featuring in the EFL Cup in midweek but Jairo Riedewald is expected to be back in training on Friday after a minor muscle problem forced his absence in Gameweek 1.
The Palace boss said:
We are starting to get players back from injury. Mamadou Sakho, of course, is the latest to be able to take part in training sessions. Christian Benteke and Connor Wickham took part in today’s training session, albeit with Connor it was more modified than with Christian.
We hope also that Jaïro Riedewald will train tomorrow – he didn’t train with the first-team today – but we hope he will tomorrow having recovered from the injury he picked up last week.
In terms of fitness of players, we are in a much healthier position than we have been in some time.
There was another mention of budget FPL defender Ferguson when Hodgson discussed free agent Nathaniel Clyne, who is training with the Eagles:
He’s hoping to show to us and maybe other clubs his fitness. It might be [something we’re interested in], but a lot hinges on Nathan Ferguson and how his injury situation pans out over the next few weeks.
Matt Phillips and Conor Townsend both made a playing return for West Bromwich Albion in midweek but Ahmed Hegazi was absent, with Slaven Bilic explaining:
Hegazi was on the bench on Sunday. He came in on Monday, the guys who didn’t play against Leicester had training. He did his hamstring in training, that’s the reason why he wasn’t involved tonight.
Monday or even yesterday they didn’t know how big it is. It shouldn’t be big, he didn’t do it in a sprint or anything like that. Hopefully, it’s a smaller one.
Kenneth Zohore (calf) remains sidelined.
EFL CUP LINE-UPS AND INJURIES
|Team||Number of changes from Gameweek 1||Gameweek 1 starters who started in the EFL Cup|
|West Bromwich Albion||10||O’Shea|
|Southampton||1||everyone bar Smallbone|
|West Ham United||10||Diop|
|Wolves||6||Saiss, Boly, Coady, Traore, Dendoncker|
There were 11 Premier League clubs in Gameweek 1 action who subsequently played in the EFL Cup second round in midweek – and eight of them made 10 or more changes to their starting XI.
Southampton were the only top-flight side who went (almost) full strength, although Wolves’ three first-choice centre-halves, Adama Traore and Leander Dendoncker all kept their places from Monday night; ironically, those two clubs bowed out of the competition.
An ankle injury to Jarrad Branthwaite meant that Lucas Digne was thrown on as a 24th-minute substitute in Everton’s 3-0 win over Salford City, while Nathan Redmond was forced off in Saints’ 2-0 loss to Brentford.
With James Tarkowski ruled out with a “toe injury” amid mounting speculation over his future, Burnley lost another body when Johann Berg Gudmundsson was stretchered off after quarter of an hour in Burnley’s match with Sheffield United.
Dale Stephens limped off with five minutes to go in Brighton’s 4-0 win over Portsmouth on Thursday evening.
Meanwhile, in the Europa League, Mourinho made only four changes for Spurs’ 2-1 win over Lokomotiv Plovdiv.
Son Heung-min, Harry Kane and Matt Doherty all got 90-minute run-outs but Dele Alli didn’t make the trip.
Giovani Lo Celso made his return from injury and lasted the entire game.
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