The quarter-finals of the EFL Cup were completed last night and there were some key takeaways for Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers, from fitness issues to possible Blank/Double Gameweek repercussions.
BLANK GAMEWEEK 27… AND LIVERPOOL TO HAVE A DOUBLE GAMEWEEK 22?
Liverpool and Arsenal both progressed to the semi-finals of the EFL Cup last night and were drawn against one another.
With one of the two sides guaranteed to be in the final, which clashes with Gameweek 27, the scheduled league meeting between the Gunners and the Reds on February 26 will have to be rescheduled.
There is still the possibility that the Gameweek 27 fixture between Arsenal and Liverpool is moved to the following midweek but that would require both sides being eliminated by the FA Cup fifth-round stage.
There is another possibility, as seen in Legomane‘s excellent fixture matrix above – that Liverpool might now also get a Double Gameweek 22, something that wasn’t on the cards before last night’s cup developments.
ANTONIO’S POSITIVE COVID TEST
The internet rumours turned out to be true regarding Michail Antonio‘s positive Covid test.
David Moyes confirmed ahead of kick-off in the EFL Cup quarter-final between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United that his forward tested positive for coronavirus but all might not be lost for Gameweek 19.
Moyes explained that Antonio had returned his positive test “about a week ago” (he was last in playing action on December 15), so with the new UK government protocol allowing for the 10-day self-isolation period to be cut short on the production of two negative tests on days six and seven, the striker could be at least available for selection on Boxing Day – if short on training time.
“[Michail] Antonio tested positive last week, probably about a week ago now so we’re closer to getting him back but obviously not available tonight [against Tottenham].
“With testing every day there’s uncertainty like every other team but I have to say, at the moment we’ve been pretty good with Covid.”
“The answer is I don’t know [if he’ll be available for Southampton], he has no symptoms and is double vaccinated, hopefully there is a good chance we have him back.” – David Moyes
Thomas Tuchel confirmed that the previously positive Romelu Lukaku and Callum Hudson-Odoi had also returned one negative test each, so will be able to return to training today if they reproduce that same result on a second test.
There were also injuries to report.
Charlie Goode missed out on Brentford’s defeat to Chelsea with a hamstring injury, while Rico Henry was taken off as a precaution with the same issue.
Brendan Rodgers, who welcomed back most of the players who last week tested positive for Covid, went full strength against Liverpool and may live to regret it, seeing Ricardo Pereira, Caglar Soyuncu and Jamie Vardy pick up problems of varying natures.
“We couldn’t take [Vardy] off. Probably the last half-hour his hamstring felt a bit tight so he couldn’t really move. He’d usually be our number one (penalty taker).” – Brendan Rodgers
Owners of players from the seven Premier League clubs in EFL Cup action would have been hoping for managed minutes ahead of a frantic Christmas period but there were mixed fortunes for Fantasy managers.
We’ve teamed up with Anna Woodberry, producer of some superb line-up graphics, for this section, and you’ll be able to see a detailed breakdown of each club by clicking on the gallery above.
A summary is below:
- Nine changes from Gameweek 18
- Leno, Soares, Holding, Tavares, Elneny, Pepe, Smith Rowe, Balogun & Nketiah in
- White & Odegaard kept their places
Arsenal are unchanged over the last four Gameweeks and most of their regulars were handed a breather, with Ben White and Martin Odegaard racking up the most significant minutes (73 each). Emile Smith Rowe, without a league start since Gameweek 14, was given 80 minutes.
- Three changes from Gameweek 16
- Canos, Pinnock & Sorensen in
- Fernandez, Jansson, Henry, Jensen, Janelt, Bapiste, Wissa & Mbeumo kept their places
Ivan Toney was only handed 25 minutes as a substitute as Thomas Frank managed his fitness following a return from coronavirus.
- Eight changes from Gameweek 18
- Kepa, Simons, Sarr, Kovacic, Saul, Vale, Soonsup-Bell & Barkley in
- Azpilicueta, Chalobah & Alonso kept their places
There were widespread changes from Thomas Tuchel, with the likes of Reece James, Antonio Rudiger and Mason Mount either handed the night off or limited minutes as substitutes. Marcos Alonso was given a 90-minute run-out, however.
- Three changes from Gameweek 16
- Pereira, Soumare & Vardy in
- Schmeichel, Soyuncu, Ndidi, Thomas, Tielemans, Maddison, Dewsbury-Hall & Daka kept their places
Harvey Barnes, Caglar Soyuncu and the injured Jonny Evans were the only notable absences from a strong Leicester side, with Jamie Vardy completing 90 minutes despite the aforementioned hamstring issues.
- Ten changes from Gameweek 18
- Kelleher, Bradley, Gomez, Koumetio, Tsimikas, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Minamino, Firmino & Williams in
- Morton kept his place
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Trent Alexander-Arnold were among the big names given a rest last night, while Diogo Jota was only present for the second half. Roberto Firmino‘s first start since October saw the Brazilian last 90 minutes.
- Six changes from Gameweek 18
- Doherty, Reguilon, Hojbjerg, Skipp, Moura & Bergwijn in
- Lloris, Sanchez, Dier, Davies & Kane kept their places
Son Heung-min was given only half an hour as a substitute as Harry Kane kept up his 100% record under Antonio Conte, a run that has seen him last 90 minutes in each game. The 5-3-2/3-5-2 of Gameweek 18 made way to the 3-4-3/3-4-2-1, while Sergio Reguilon was back in the starting XI.
West Ham United
- Four changes from Gameweek 18
- Areola, Ashby, Johnson & Vlasic in
- Dawson, Diop, Masuaku, Soucek, Rice, Lanzini & Bowen kept their places
Jarrod Bowen scored up front in Michail Antonio‘s absence, while Ben Johnson returned from injury at right-back as Vladimir Coufal served a one-match ban.
Full-year memberships, monthly subscriptions and a FREE trial are all now available.
Join now to get the following:
- Plot your transfer strategies using the fully interactive Season Ticker.
- Get projections for every Premier League player provided by the Rate My Team statistical model.
- Use Rate My Team throughout the season to guide your selections and transfers.
- Get access to over 150+ exclusive members articles over the season.
- Analyse our OPTA-powered statistic tables specifically tailored for Fantasy Football Managers.
- Use our exclusive tool to build custom stats tables from over 100 OPTA player and team stats.
- Enjoy our Flat-Track Bully feature which introduces an opposition filter to your tables.
- View heatmaps and expected goals data for every player.
- Use our powerful comparison tool to analyse players head-to-head.