We’ve got what little Fantasy Premier League (FPL) team news information exists in our injury and Covid summary ahead of Gameweek 20.
The quick turnaround between Premier League match rounds means that there will be precious few standalone Gameweek 20 press conferences; indeed, only three managers faced the media on Monday and there are no guarantees of any more before Tuesday’s deadline.
Nine top-flight bosses instead opted for a ‘two-for-one’ post-and-pre-match presser after their Boxing Day fixtures, some of which have already been aired and some of which remain under embargo.
COVID OVERVIEW LATEST
The Premier League today announced that, between Monday 20 December and Sunday 26 December, 15,186 Covid-19 tests were administered on players and club staff. Of these, there were 103 new positive cases.
The previous weekly high was 90, from December 13-19.
Jurgen Klopp has received two boosts in preparation for the trip to Leicester City: their four first-team Covid sufferers – Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho, Curtis Jones and Thiago – are now available for selection, while Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita will be around for two more league matches before departing for the Africa Cup of Nations.
“The boys who had Covid are back – Fabinho, Virgil [van Dijk], Curtis [Jones] and Thiago. Thiago was the latest, he came back and trained first time yesterday with the team. We have one young player who is now isolating and two staff. Every morning when you come in, it’s a little bit like a lottery. You hope it’s all fine, then one case and ‘oof, OK’. That’s the situation. But apart from that, we are fine.” – Jurgen Klopp
Divock Origi (knee) is still a doubt, alongside the other injuries of Nathaniel Phillips (cheekbone), Harvey Elliott (ankle) and Adrian (calf). This will be the second leg of Andrew Robertson‘s three-match suspension, after the left-back was sent off at Tottenham Hotspur in Gameweek 18.
Thomas Tuchel gave us a post-match quote on what forced N’Golo Kante (knee) and Thiago Silva (hamstring) to be replaced at Aston Villa.
“N’Golo [Kante] is very painful on exactly the same spot where he had his injury versus Juventus. Thiago [Silva] came off with hamstrings, hopefully he went out before it became an injury. From there we try to continue and find a new squad and strong squad on Wednesday.”
Ben Chilwell remains unavailable due to his knee and Covid problems, while Kai Havertz and Timo Werner haven’t yet joined Romelu Lukaku and Callum Hudson-Odoi in returning from their illnesses.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (ankle) is still a doubt to face Brighton and Hove Albion after missing the last three matches in league and cup.
The only word on absentess Kyle Walker and Rodri is that they “weren’t fully fit” to face Leicester City, hinting at a Covid or illness as a possible reason. John Stones missed out on Boxing Day with an unspecified injury, whilst Ferran Torres – who is set for a Barcelona transfer – remains sidelines with a foot injury.
Thomas Frank said on Monday that Bryan Mbeumo (calf) wasn’t likely to recover in time for the visit of Manchester City, so the “out of position” midfielder will join Rico Henry (hamstring), Josh DaSilva (hip), David Raya (knee), Kristoffer Ajer (hamstring), Zanka (muscle) and Charlie Goode (hamstring) on the injury list for Gameweek 20.
Also missing is Christian Norgaard through suspension, while Vitaly Janelt tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of the Brighton game and will sit this one out, too.
Mads Roerslev has an “outside chance” of being back in the matchday squad after recovering from coronavirus but won’t, according to his manager, be able to last 90 minutes as match-fitness is an issue.
BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION
Sunday night’s win over Brentford produced a hamstring worry for Leandro Trossard, who was withdrawn at half-time for the returning Danny Welbeck. Head coach Graham Potter doesn’t know if he’ll make the Chelsea trip.
“He just had a tightness in his hamstring. [His availability for Chelsea] will depend on the recovery, so we’ll see how the next 24, 48 hours go. We’ll have to make a last-minute decision.” – Graham Potter on Leandro Trossard
Potter will have Yves Bissouma back from suspension but Shane Duffy‘s availability is unknown, with his manager refusing to say whether the Irishman’s absence on Boxing Day was Covid-related or injury-enforced.
Lewis Dunk (knee) and Jeremy Sarmiento (hamstring) are out but Joel Veltman could be back after a fatigue issue.
The Clarets haven’t played since Gameweek 16, giving Maxwel Cornet extra time to recover from a thigh problem that forced his withdrawal at Newcastle in early December – although he still hadn’t trained with the first team as of last Thursday.
“Maxwel [Cornet] is on the grass, he’s a maybe but he’s had a muscle injury and COVID in between.” – Sean Dyche, speaking ahead of Gameweek 19
Dale Stephens (Covid) should be back but Connor Roberts (illness) and Ashley Barnes (thigh) are unlikely to be.
A big talking point heading into Gameweek 19 was whether or not Crystal Palace could face Spurs following a number of Covid cases at the club, with manager Patrick Vieira among those affected. The club declined to say who else tested positive but they were without Christian Benteke, Michael Olise, Eberechi Eze, Vicente Guaita, Nathaniel Clyne and Luka Milivojevic for the trip across London, with James McArthur also missing – although his absence may still have been linked to his hamstring injury.
The subsequent 3-0 defeat also brought a red card for Wilfried Zaha, who misses out in Gameweek 20 as a consequence, but injury-plagued Nathan Ferguson finally played his first minutes for the Eagles, 18 months after joining them.
Rafael Benitez’s meeting with former club Newcastle United is currently scheduled to go ahead on Thursday night, although the Toffees have had their last two matches postponed.
Ahead of their successful attempt to get the Boxing Day clash with Burnley called off, Benitez stated:
“At the moment, we have nine outfield players available and then three keepers. We have to bring in five young players. The reality is that some of these players like Dominic Calvert-Lewin have been out for two months. Some of these players have knocks and we have to push them. They are not fit and who will take responsibility if something happens?”
Dominic Calvert-Lewin should therefore be ready to play his first match since Gameweek 3, where a thigh injury disrupted his streak of scoring in each match so far.
Lucas Digne was also believed to have been available had the Burnley match gone ahead but Richarlison (calf), Andros Townsend (foot) and Yerry Mina (calf) are thought to remain out.
Tom Davies (knee) could be back, while the reason for Demarai Gray‘s recent absence hasn’t yet been officially confirmed so he too might return to the fray should Covid have been the cause of his no-shows.
Brendan Rodgers was open with his injury updates following the goal-fest at Manchester City. The 6-3 defeat added to a grim situation for a number of his players, with Patson Daka (hamstring), Ryan Bertrand (knee), Caglar Soyuncu (hamstring) and Ricardo Pereira (leg) newly added in the last week.
“Patson [Daka] will be three weeks, Soyuncu will be out for three weeks and Ricardo Pereira will be six to eight weeks. That’s so frustrating for him with how hard he has worked. It’s a fractured fibula and he’s lucky it’s not worse. Ryan (Bertrand) twisted his knee in the warm-up, which was disappointing.”
Wesley Fofana (leg), James Justin (match fitness), Harvey Barnes (unspecified) and Danny Ward (unspecified) are all out, while Jonny Evans (hamstring) remains a question mark for Tuesday’s game.
.Jamie Vardy and Wilfred Ndidi are expected to feature after their Gameweek 19 benchings.
“It was too big a risk (to play against City). They were suffering with tightness after (the Liverpool cup game). Wilf has played a lot of football for us, so he hasn’t had a chance to rest, and Jamie, like I said the other night, he couldn’t really run in the last half-hour, so to put him in today’s game would be really, really tough.” – Brendan Rodgers on Jamie Vardy and Wilfred Ndidi
The team sheet for Monday night’s clash with Newcastle United will be their first since Gameweek 16 and should indicate whether Aaron Wan-Bissaka (knee), Edinson Cavani (tendon), Raphael Varane (hamstring), Victor Lindelof (chest), Juan Mata (illness), Nemanja Matic (illness) and Anthony Martial (knee) are all back from injury, as expected. Paul Pogba (thigh) is the only known absentee.
Ralf Rangnick said this in some pre-Christmas quotes:
“Today we have 25 players, so quite apart from Paul Pogba, he’s the only one who’s still missing out, everybody was on board. The development of the last week was extremely positive. As far as I could see today in training, they are all in good shape. From what I saw, I can say most, if not all, of them might be available.”
The Magpies play in the final match of Gameweek 19 without Jamal Lewis (hamstring), Federico Fernandez (thigh) and Paul Dummett (calf), while there are doubts over Emil Krafth (illness), Javier Manquillo (illness) and Jonjo Shelvey (muscle).
However, Isaac Hayden will be back from suspension in time to face Everton.
“I don’t think it will be too long. It’s not a major injury but it’s enough to keep him out of the festive period and some games in early January. Hamstring strains are usually 3-4 weeks minimum. I think that’s probably where he’ll be.” – Eddie Howe on Jamal Lewis
Several players returned to action against Arsenal but couldn’t prevent a 5-0 defeat. Goalkeeper Tim Krul (Covid) couldn’t participate, joining Milot Rashica (groin), Mathias Normann (pelvic) and the defensive trio of Grant Hanley (shoulder), Christoph Zimmermann (ankle) and Andrew Omobamidele (back) on the sidelines.
Three previously-unknown Covid sufferers missed out on the Saints’ win at West Ham – Jack Stephens, Lyanco and Nathan Tella.
“[Nathan] Tella has a chance to play. He has tested negative now and by then will have had a whole week out. We may see him on the bench. We invested a lot against West Ham and I must have a real look at how many changes I can make. I think every team will be thinking about substitutions.” – Ralph Hasenhuttl
The Saints’ situation in-between the sticks eased up with the return of Fraser Forster, although Alex McCarthy (hamstring) remains injured. Che Adams (thigh) and Stuart Armstrong (calf) made very brief appearances off the bench to signal their comebacks, with striker Adam Armstrong (calf) unused.
There was very little to report from Spurs, with Cristiano Romero and Ryan Sessegnon out with hamstring worries but nothing else apart from a slight calf strain for Giovani Lo Celso.
Antonio Conte explained that he took off Harry Kane and Son Heung-min once the win over Crystal Palace looked secure, in an attempt to manage their game-time during the tight festive turnaround.
“I tried to give a rest to Harry and Son. Especially Harry because he plays every game but he is such an important player it is difficult to think about keeping him on the bench.” – Antonio Conte
“It is not easy for us, not easy for every team, to play after 48 hours is not simple. When you have this type of situation if you have a strong squad it’s easier because you can make rotation and try to give rest. We will see tomorrow because I want to understand very well the real physical condition of my players. It’s normal when you change many players that it’s not simple. You can have a fresh team on one hand but on the other, you can lose a bit of identity.” – Antonio Conte on rotation
The Hornets are another side who haven’t been seen since Gameweek 16, now armed with three games in hand. Ahead of Tuesday’s match with West Ham, the club released a medical bulletin saying they are “welcoming back to training players previously isolating due to Covid-19 protocols” but also have “some more very recent positive tests”. No names were given.
Ben Foster (groin) remains out but is closing in on a return to training, with Ismaila Sarr (knee), Nicolas Nkoulou (hamstring), Christian Kabasele (knock), Peter Etebo (thigh) and Kwadwo Baah (ankle) all unavailable.
There could be a return for Adam Masina (thigh), however, with Francisco Sierralta (hamstring) also now up for selection.
WEST HAM UNITED
Not only did Michail Antonio overcome Covid to face Southampton, he finally bagged a goal – his first since Gameweek 9.
There was still no appearance from Aaron Cresswell (back) though, with Declan Rice picking up his fifth booking of the season to be suspended at Watford.
Kurt Zouma (hamstring) and Angelo Ogbonna (knee) are out for longer.
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