The first Friday night Fantasy Premier League deadline of the season is almost upon us, so we’re bringing you a bonus, earlier-than-usual team news article this week with a careful eye on the last-minute mayhem tomorrow.
The managers of Leeds United, Aston Villa, Fulham, Brighton and Hove Albion, Sheffield United, Burnley and West Bromwich Albion all held their official pre-Gameweek 6 press conferences either on Wednesday or Thursday, with Jose Mourinho and Brendan Rodgers set to face the media after their UEFA Europa League ties later this evening.
The headline injury news so far doesn’t come from any of those pressers, however, but from an interview that Carlo Ancelotti conducted with everton.tv.
We’ll round up the key updates below.
Carlo Ancelotti will face the wider media on Friday but he has already delivered an injury bombshell in an in-house interview, revealing that James Rodriguez (knock) is a major doubt for the clash with Southampton.
Seamus Coleman (hamstring) is also sidelined, with his manager saying:
Unfortunately, James [Rodriguez] had a problem during the [Liverpool] game. He had a mistimed tackle with Virgil van Dijk. I think he will not be available for the game against Southampton.
Seamus Coleman had an injury during the [Liverpool] game, I think he will be out for two or three weeks. Jonjoe Kenny is back, he started training with the squad yesterday and I think he will be available for the next game.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE/EUROPA LEAGUE CLUB UPDATES
Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola will face the media again on Friday but there were noteworthy comments from the Liverpool and Manchester City managers after their UEFA Champions League matches on Wednesday.
On Sadio Mane having an ice pack on his leg after being substituted, Klopp said:
Sadio has since a few days a dead leg and deals with that in that area. That’s the only thing why it’s still painful but it’s not a problem. When he doesn’t play, he puts ice on it.
Guardiola’s post-match comments raised the prospect of Kevin De Bruyne (muscle) and Aymeric Laporte (muscle) featuring in Gameweek 6, meanwhile, although Fernandinho (leg) has been ruled out for up to six weeks and Nathan Ake (groin) has a “niggle”.
I think Kevin [De Bruyne] and [Aymeric] Laporte will start training tomorrow. But I don’t know how it will be tomorrow and the next days. We will see.
It is bad news [for Fernandinho]. It is a problem in his leg. I think he will be out for four to six weeks. It is a big blow for us, with the amount of games.
De Bruyne and Laporte were indeed spotted training in pictures released by the club on Thursday.
Jamie Vardy (calf), Dani Ceballos (ankle) and Willian (calf) will miss their respective clubs’ Europa League ties on Thursday and be assessed ahead of the clash between Arsenal and Leicester City on Sunday.
Rob Holding (hamstring) is out for three weeks for the Gunners but Shkodran Mustafi (hamstring) is back in full training and available for selection.
Eric Bailly looks set for a spell on the sidelines with Manchester United, meanwhile.
Marcelo Bielsa said that budget FPL defender Pascal Struijk will replace Kalvin Phillips (shoulder) in midfield for the trip to Aston Villa on Friday. Liam Cooper (groin) is still a doubt while Diego Llorente (muscle) remains out.
On Phillips, Bielsa said:
It is not defined how long he will be out for. It could be more or it could be less [than six weeks]. And the one who will play in his place is Pascal Struijk.
Asked if his squad was too small, the Leeds boss added:
The squad is not small, as we have two players per position. For example, we have Bamford and Roberts [up front], Moreno and Pablo [in attacking midfield], Costa and Poveda [on the right], Raphinha and Harrison [on the left].
Almost all of them, barring Bamford and Cooper, play in more than one position. The wingers play on both sides, the full-backs a lot of times do this as well, the defensive midfielders can act as centre-backs.
Reserve striker Keinan Davis (calf) is expected to train on Thursday and come back into contention for Aston Villa’s clash with Leeds but Kortney Hause (muscle) remains out and joins longer-term absentees Wesley (knee) and Tom Heaton (knee) on the sidelines.
Dean Smith said of his improving defence, meanwhile:
I feel the energy and enthusiasm of Matt Cash has improved us. Ezri Konsa has got better and better, along with Tyrone, they’ve got a really good understanding now. Matt Targett has really improved and [we have] the steadiness behind them of Emi.
Chris Wilder confirmed that Jack O’Connell (knee) is out for the season and estimated that Lys Mousset (toe) will be “back on the grass” in six to eight weeks.
John Fleck (back) will be out for the next month, while the Blades are waiting on a medical report on Max Lowe, who suffered a concussion in last week’s game against Fulham.
The Sheffield United boss said of Rhian Brewster‘s chances of starting, meanwhile:
It was a difficult decision last week as I talked about, but he has put himself right in the frame to be involved at the weekend and start. He’s at the forefront of our thinking.
His natural ability and talent is there, we have seen that already but it’s just the physical and fitness side not opening him up to injury too soon.
There’s always a decision about the timing of that – he’s been bright and bubbly and in our thoughts to start on Saturday evening.
BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION
New signing Danny Welbeck will be assessed for match fitness ahead of Brighton’s clash with West Brom, while goalkeeper Christian Walton is also back in training following his recovery from an ankle injury sustained in pre-season.
Alireza Jahanbakhsh (hamstring) and Jose Izquierdo (match fitness) aside, however, the fitness situation is rosy for the Seagulls.
Graham Potter said:
Only Alireza, just still recovering from his hamstring. Hasn’t trained today, so we’ll see how he is tomorrow and the upcoming days. So he’s probably the doubt at the moment, everybody else seems to be OK.
Jose Izquierdo is having another spell with the under-23s tomorrow to build up some game-time. Apart from that, we’re fully fit.
[Welbeck] has had two good days training with us and there will be two more sessions before the game.
He’s kept himself in really good shape and we’re delighted with how he’s fitted into the group on and off the pitch. We’ll make a decision on Danny for Monday nearer the time.
Lewis Dunk begins a three-game ban.
Sean Dyche brought us up to speed on the fitness latest with the Clarets, saying:
Matt Lowton is making good progress so he will be considered. Erik Pieters managed to get through the game (at West Brom) but he has got a minor calf injury, so he is a doubt – certainly, touch and go I think.
Ben Mee’s getting better. He is not there yet but he’s back on the grass. He will need a bit of an extended period because he has been out quite a long period of time, so we will have to look after that side of things.
Jack Cork (ankle), Bailey Peacock-Farrell (hip) and Phil Bardsley (illness) remain out, along with Mee.
FULHAM AND WEST BROMWICH ALBION
Scott Parker told reporters on Thursday:
Injuries practically stay the same. Harrison Reed has trained with us the last couple of days.
Kenny Tete (calf), Josh Onomah (unspecified), Terence Kongolo (foot) and Joachim Andersen (ankle) remain out.
Slaven Bilić will be without Sam Field for “four to five weeks” after the midfielder suffered an injury to his left knee.
More detailed information and predicted line-ups can be found in the Team News tab, which will be refreshed before the Gameweek 6 deadline at 18:30 BST on Saturday.
Keep an eye on our Twitter feed, too, for any late-breaking updates.
A video round-up with Andy and Neale will be filmed tomorrow.