We’ve got all the confirmed team news so far for Gameweek 12 of Fantasy Premier League (FPL) in our first injury round-up of the pre-match press conferences.
Seven Premier League managers faced reporters on Thursday, with Dean Smith staging his first media gathering as Norwich City boss on Wednesday. The former Aston Villa manager will host another press conference on Friday.
The other dozen top-flight head coaches – including the recently appointed Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe – will also be on Zoom duties on Friday.
We’ll summarise the key updates from Thursday’s pressers involving the managers of Brentford, Brighton and Hove Albion, Burnley, Leicester City, Southampton and Watford in the article below, plus round up the best of what Smith and new Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard had to say.
We also had a bonus, lengthy injury update from Jurgen Klopp, who was speaking to Liverpool‘s in-house media ahead of Friday’s press conference, and a bulletin from Arsenal‘s medical department.
Sadio Mane has been passed fit after suffering a rib injury while on international duty with Senegal, while Andrew Robertson‘s (hamstring) chances of featuring against Arsenal look brighter than what they did earlier this week – and kills any hope that budget FPL defender Kostas Tsimikas might be set for an extended run in the side.
“Sadio is fine – painful but fine. Everybody who had a rib bruise knows it’s an annoying thing. But Sad trained here with us now in all sessions. We took him out a little bit earlier here and there when we knew now it will be full contact, stuff like this, just to give it a bit more time to settle. But he looks fine.
“Robbo was lucky, we can probably say. It was a little bit DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), the intensity of all the games he played probably, rather than anything else. He was smart enough to [make] the right decision, he went off early, which he usually is not doing. But in this case, it was absolutely right, and so there’s a good chance that he can be involved at the weekend.” – Jurgen Klopp
Jordan Henderson (knock) is more of a doubt, while Roberto Firmino (hamstring), Joe Gomez (calf), Naby Keita (hamstring), James Milner (hamstring), Harvey Elliott (ankle) and Curtis Jones (eye) remain out.
Firmino’s ongoing absence will be of interest to Diogo Jota‘s owners but Klopp was thin on the details with regards to the Brazilian’s fitness.
“Hendo, a little bit more [injured] than Robbo but a chance for the weekend. So we are working on that. It’s not a serious injury but in this short period of time, we have to see if he is ready for Saturday. But after that, 100%.
“Joe [Gomez] is obviously still not available. He is in a good way and it looks pretty good. It was clear he will need a few weeks and that’s still [the case], the rehab is not finished. But in a good place actually.
“Naby [Keita] and James [Milner] are in a good way as well, getting closer. Probably next week we expect them being back in team training, let’s see what that means for the Porto game – but not for the weekend.
“Bobby [Firmino], getting closer but not for the weekend. We’ll see, that will take a little bit longer still.
[Jones] is good, he is just not allowed to do a lot of things in the moment, we have to wait until the doctors give us a green light. Curtis is completely fine, he has his eyesight back, all these kinds of things, but the eye is still recovering.” – Jurgen Klopp
Tino Livramento was seemingly given a clean bill of health by Ralph Hasenhuttl on Thursday, following his withdrawal from the England under-21 squad last week.
There was also positive news on James Ward-Prowse (illness), Armando Broja (ankle) and Nathan Redmond (illness).
“Not much different to the past. We have only Jack Stephens out. Everybody else is fit, everybody is on the pitch.” – Ralph Hasenhuttl
A near-fully fit squad means welcome selection headaches for the Saints boss ahead of a busy festive period.
“I have very good alternatives up front, with Broja, Arma, Che Adams, Nathan Tella. In the 10, a lot of options. Nearly in every position, I have this issue. But it’s a positive issue.
“Everybody is fit apart from Jack Stephens, so I have a massive headache for who I should play. This is what I need to have at this time of the year.” – Ralph Hasenhuttl
Youri Tielemans will be missing for “a few weeks” after picking up a calf problem in Gameweek 11 but Leicester don’t have any fresh concerns ahead of the visit of Chelsea.
“I think that most of the guys have come back all okay. We obviously had the issue with Youri [Tielemans] before he left, so that puts him out for a few weeks. But apart from that, the players have trained well, worked well since they come back and we’re fit and healthy otherwise.
“He’ll be back before Christmas.” – Brendan Rodgers on Youri Tielemans
James Justin (knee) and Wesley Fofana (leg) are long-term absentees who haven’t featured in 2021/22 so far but both are nearing a return, with Justin likely to be back very soon.
Marc Albrighton has returned to training after missing the last month.
“Marc has been back training so that’s really good news.
“JJ (James Justin) is looking really, really good in training but it’s probably just a little too early for him. We probably want to get him some minutes with the Under-23s team, so we’ve got a plan in place for that. But he’s looking so good in training and he’s obviously physically very strong, he’s a natural athlete. He’s worked ever so hard during his rehabilitation, so we are seeing the rewards of that. In training, he’s been absolutely first class but we’ve just got to make sure with him. There’s still a lot of the season to go and we just want to make sure he’s fit and that he’s ready before he goes into some game time.
“I’m not sure of the exact date [of Fofana’s return] yet, but I was just watching him rehabbing on the field and he was moving really well with our medical and sports science team, so he’s building up his fitness. He’s building up the contact with the ball. It’s just that progression for him. It’s great news, he’s way ahead of where we thought he’d maybe be. He’s absolutely devoted everything into his rehabilitation and initially, we were thinking the early part of January. It still might be that, he’s still got a way to go, but he’s doing very, very well.” – Brendan Rodgers
There was no specific word on Harvey Barnes, who was withdrawn in Gameweek 11 with what his manager said was a “nasty knock on his knee”, although Rodgers did say that Leicester were “fit and healthy otherwise”.
BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION
Graham Potter confirmed that Enock Mwepu (muscle strain) won’t be available for the Aston Villa game but will hopefully return for the visit of Leeds.
Aaron Connolly has trained after a heel problem and is available, while Dan Burn is also up for selection after recovering from a knee injury.
Robert Sanchez serves a one-match ban, so Jason Steele will – as previously reported – deputise between the posts.
“Really confident [in him]. Jason trains really well every day, supporting Rob [Sanchez]. Whenever he’s come in, he’s always done well for us. He’s ready to play, he’s ready to fight for the team. I’m looking forward to seeing him play.” – Graham Potter on Jason Steele
Arsenal’s medical team confirmed on Thursday that Sead Kolasinac suffered a “significant ankle injury” on international duty and has commenced rehab while continuing to be assessed.
Granit Xhaka (knee) is now running outside with the aim to be back in full training in January.
The Gunners revealed that, bar Xhaka and Kolasinac, “all other players in the men’s first-team squad are currently fit and available for selection.”
That presumably spells good news for Thomas Partey, who missed the win over Watford with a muscle problem.
Steven Gerrard appeared to clear Danny Ings (unspecified injury/illness), Bertrand Traore (thigh) and Marvelous Nakamba (groin) for duty in his pre-match presser, saying that Douglas Luiz (hamstring), Morgan Sanson (knock) and Trezeguet (knee) were his only issues.
“I think it’ll be too soon for Douglas Luiz and for Morgan Sanson. Trezeguet is off the back of a long-term injury but we are trying to integrate him into team sessions now which is positive. The rest are good to go.” – Steven Gerrard
The former Rangers boss also shed some light on the style of football he wanted to implement in the Midlands.
“We are going to play slightly different than what’s been before, I want to put my own stamp on things. That will take time, so you will see some changes in how we go about that at the weekend.
“I want my teams to be exciting to watch and entertaining. We will become a possession-based team. When we can transition into that, time will tell.
“The stats don’t lie. Aston Villa are the eighth top scorers in the league, which shows that we have got very talented, exciting players in the forward areas. The creation has been OK, it can still be fine-tuned and be better.
“But the club is conceding too many goals, 18th in the Premier League, so it’s quite clear that we need to tighten up. We need to become a little bit more organised, more compact, hard to play against – and that’s what we need to improve in the short term.” – Steven Gerrard
There was little in the way of injury updates from Dean Smith on Wednesday – although Grant Hanley (groin) and Ozan Kabak (illness) were pictured in training.
Todd Cantwell and Billy Gilmour, two players who had been out in the cold under Daniel Farke, were namechecked, however.
“They have a big role along with the rest of the squad. It’s a new start for them in terms of a new coaching team coming in. We will get to see them tomorrow [Thursday] in training and it is down to them to impress us now to get into the team.” – Dean Smith on Todd Cantwell and Billy Gilmour
Smith also echoed Gerrard’s comments about tightening up at the back.
“Top of the in-tray is to not concede goals. We have conceded too many already and defensively we want to make our structure and organisation a lot stronger.
“We have got talented players and we also need to go and score more goals obviously. We have not scored as many as we would have liked to but there are certainly players there who can do both sides of the job.” – Dean Smith
Thomas Frank said that Shandon Baptiste (shoulder) has a strong chance of being involved at Newcastle on Saturday, having played 60 minutes for the under-23s over the international break.
Mathias Jensen (illness) and Zanka (muscle) will be assessed, while Yoane Wissa (ankle) is “getting closer”.
Kristoffer Ajer (hamstring) and David Raya (knee) are out until the New Year.
Ashley Barnes (muscle) is Burnley’s only fresh concern for the clash with Crystal Palace, with Dale Stephens (match fitness) expected to remain out despite playing 45 minutes for the under-23s over the international break.
Aaron Lennon (illness) is available.
“Maxwel [Cornet] was a longer journey [back from international duty], so he’s back in later today, ready for tomorrow. [Aaron Lennon] is good [after illness]. Barnesy’s got a little niggle, so we’ll have a look at him.
“Dale Stephens has been out on the grass, had another reserve game; he’s not there yet but he’s getting back to real fitness.” – Sean Dyche
Ozan Tufan (knock) faces a fitness test ahead of the Manchester United game after receiving a knock to the leg while away with Turkey, while Francisco Sierralta (hamstring) is a fresh addition to the injury list at Vicarage Road.
“I am very happy with these 10-15 days because they come back and only Sierralta is out, I don’t know if it’s a little injury and tomorrow we check.” – Claudio Ranieri on his returning internationals
Christian Kabasele (hamstring), Ken Sema (knee), Kwadwo Baah (ankle) and Peter Etebo (thigh) are still missing, while Juraj Kucka is banned.
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