Jack Grealish (£7.7m) is absent from the Aston Villa squad for the visit of Leicester City this afternoon.
Rumours had swirled about the midfielder’s potential absence over the last 48 hours and grew louder closer to kick-off, with the Athletic’s Gregg Evans reporting that Grealish will also miss the first part of Villa’s Gameweek 26 double-header against Leeds United, too.
The England international is owned by 37.0% of Fantasy Premier League managers overall and just over 35.0% in the top 10,000, so his absence will be keenly felt and cause a headache or two ahead of next Saturday’s deadline.
Anwar El Ghazi (£5.3m) is the man who benefits from Grealish’s absence and will line up on the left flank of Villa’s attack.
Dean Smith’s other alteration from Gameweek 23 is also enforced, with Matty Cash (£5.0m) ruled out for several weeks due to injury.
Ahmed El Mohamady (£4.3m) makes just his second league start of the campaign in Cash’s place at right-back.
Brendan Rodgers has also made two changes from the side that beat Liverpool last weekend.
The fit-again Timothy Castagne (£5.7m) and Luke Thomas (£4.2m) are recalled, with Daniel Amartey (£3.9m) and Marc Albrighton (£5.2m) dropping to the bench.
Aston Villa XI: Martinez, Elmohamady, Konsa, Mings, Targett, Luiz, McGinn, Traore, Barkley, El Ghazi, Watkins.
Leicester City XI: Schmeichel, Pereira, Evans, Soyuncu, Thomas, Ndidi, Tielemans, Castagne, Maddison, Barnes, Vardy.
DOUBLE GAMEWEEK 25 SO FAR…
West Ham United defeated Tottenham Hotspur in the first Premier League game of the day, with Jesse Lingard (£5.9m) continuing his purple patch of form in east London.
Lingard’s goal was his fourth attacking return in as many appearances for the Hammers and turned out to be the match-winner, which looks set to secure him maximum bonus points and a double-digit haul.
Michail Antonio (£6.6m) was passed fit to play and marked his return with an early goal, although his comeback was ever-so-slightly tainted with a second-half booking.
Tomas Soucek (£5.3m) also picked up a yellow card en route to a one-pointer, with FPL’s most-owned defender, Aaron Cresswell (£5.8m), losing his clean sheet when Lucas Moura (£6.6m) nodded home Gareth Bale‘s (£9.3m) corner.
Soucek and Vladmir Coufal (£4.7m) were involved in separate collisions but recovered to finish the game.
Son Heung-min (£9.5m) and Harry Kane (£11.1m) both blanked but came within inches of a return: the former striking the woodwork late on with a freak, looping touch, with the latter seeing a potential assist go up in smoke in the process.
Kane had also teed the impressive Bale up for a second-half attempt that clipped the bar.
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