We round up the key Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points of the day in FPL Daily, a series that serves non-Premier League matchdays and days when we don’t bring you a team news/press conference round-up.
CONTE REVEALS SON INJURY ISSUE
In his pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup tie against Morecambe, Antonio Conte revealed that Son Heung-min (£10.7m) picked up a muscle injury in his leg against Chelsea on Wednesday, which could potentially keep him out of action until the end of the month.
“It was a strange situation. Against Chelsea I made two substitutions together, Lucas Moura and Son. Not for injury, their sub, but to try to give them 15 minutes of rest. The day after, Son felt a bit of pain in his muscle, in his leg and he had a scan. Now we have to make the right evaluations from the doctors. He’s an injury. I don’t know but probably they could stay without training session until the end of this cycle, before the international break.” – Antonio Conte
A new quote then emerged on the official website:
“We’re a bit disappointed for Sonny, because after the game against Chelsea, the day after, he felt a bit of pain in his leg. He had a scan and, probably, he will miss two weeks.” – Antonio Conte
If Son is indeed out until February, he will miss Tottenham Hotspurs forthcoming double against Arsenal and Leicester City, plus their Gameweek 23 clash at Chelsea.
Conte also offered updates on a host of other players including Harry Kane (£12.2m), who he is hoping to rest this weekend:
“Ryan (Sessegnon) is okay, and available for the game on Sunday. For sure, this could be a good opportunity to see him again. That’s good news for us.
Eric Dier had a training session with us today. That’s more good news. He missed Chelsea because he was ill. Today, he had a training session, and he’s available for the game on Sunday.
I have spoken with Steven (Bergwijn) today, and he’s solving the problem in his calf. I think, very soon, we’ll see him with the team.
Cristian (Romero) is improving a lot. Now, we are trying to bring him to a good (level of) fitness. He’s working a lot with our physical coach. We need a bit of patience, it was a big injury, but now he’s working very well. He will be very important when he’s okay again physically.
Honestly, I think Harry (Kane) played six games in 17 days and I think if I have the possibility, I think that it is right to give him a bit of rest. Also, after this game before the break of the international team we have four very difficult games, Chelsea, Arsenal, Leicester and Chelsea again.” – Antonio Conte
DENNIS “PRESERVED FOR NEXT MATCHES”
Emmanuel Dennis (£6.1m) looks set to miss Watford’s trip to Leicester City in the FA Cup on Saturday.
The Nigerian was withdrawn at half-time in Double Gameweek 21 and is unlikely to be risked as he is still struggling with a slight knock.
However, it isn’t expected to keep him out of their forthcoming double.
“Look, Emmanuel (Dennis) took a kick in the match against Tottenham, then I prefer to preserve him for the next matches.” – Claudio Ranieri on Emmanuel Dennis
INJURY PROBLEMS MOUNT FOR RODGERS
Brendan Rodgers has suggested Leicester City could potentially be down to eight fit senior outfield players for this weekend’s FA Cup third round tie.
Luke Thomas (£4.3m) and Boubakary Soumare (£4.8m) are the latest players to be ruled out, while there are also doubts around Timothy Castagne (£5.3m) and Kieran Dewsbury-Hall (£4.4m).
Worryingly, Rodgers also confirmed that Jamie Vardy (£10.4m) and Jonny Evans (£5.4m) are set for extended spells on the sidelines:
“It could be up to eight weeks (for Vardy). It’s the higher end of his hamstring, so you’re looking into March. He doesn’t need an operation, that was the only good news.
Jonny Evans has just had an operation so he will be April. With his hamstring, he’s needed that.”
There is better news for James Justin (£4.9m), however, with the full-back set to begin his comeback for the U23s on Saturday.
OTHER TEAM NEWS
Ralf Rangnick has confirmed that Victor Lindelof (£4.8m) is back in training, but he is still unsure on Harry Maguire’s (£5.4m) availability ahead of Monday’s FA Cup tie against Aston Villa:
“Victor (Lindelof) is back in training, since yesterday, which is very good news for us.
Harry (Maguire) hasn’t been able to train, as yet, and we have to wait and see how this develops, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. With Harry, there is still a question mark but Victor will definitely be available for the game on Monday.”
At Norwich City, Dean Smith spoke to the media prior to his side’s trip to Charlton Athletic on Sunday and had some positive news on the injury front:
“The squad is looking healthier. We have got five or six back. We are looking at Milot Rashica who is going to be back in training with us today and we will see how he is. Grant Hanley is also back, along with Tim Krul, Teemu Pukki, Max Aarons and Todd Cantwell.”
Elsewhere, Patrick Bamford (£7.7m) is likely to play on Sunday and Conor Gallagher (£6.1m) is “back in training”, but Ralph Hasenhuttl has confirmed that Tino Livramento (£4.3m) remains out:
“We have Tino Livramento and Will Smallbone, two players still out with injury. We have Kyle Walker-Peters with a new Covid case, Thierry Small and Che Adams to make it three Covid cases. Against Tottenham we had five but we still played and we are hoping to not get more cases but you never know, but at the moment we are without these players.”
DIGNE WANTS TO LEAVE EVERTON
Rafa Benitez has confirmed that Lucas Digne (£5.0m) has requested to leave Everton.
The Frenchman hasn’t featured since Gameweek 14 after a disagreement over tactics and his role in the team, with the Toffees’ already adding full-backs Vitalii Mykolenko (£5.0m) and Nathan Patterson (£4.5m) to their squad in this window.
“I have no explanation. If someone is happy or not happy, you are paid big money and have to perform. Modern football, maybe the stats and the priorities have changed and maybe people think about themselves before the team.” – Rafa Benitez on why Lucas Digne has requested to leave
Aston Villa have signed Philippe Coutinho on loan from Barcelona for the rest of the season, with an option to buy for £33m in the summer.
The Brazilian joined the Spanish giants from Liverpool back in 2018 but has struggled for form at the Nou Camp and spent the 2019/20 season on loan at Bayern Munich, where he produced 11 goals and nine assists in 38 appearances across all competitions.
Coutinho, of course, played alongside Steven Gerrard when Liverpool almost won the league eight years ago, and the chance to reunite with his former captain hands ‘the magician’ an opportunity to re-ignite his career.
Elsewhere, Kieran Trippier has finally been unveiled as a Newcastle United player, and was subsequently priced up at £5.0m by FPL.
The signing of the England full-back is something of a reunion for both player and manager, with Eddie Howe signing him in 2012 during his time as Burnley boss.
Discussing the player, Howe said:
“He has leadership qualities and a winning mentality that will help us to succeed. On the pitch we have a technical player, a level of calmness on the ball and a top defender too, so I’m delighted with the signing.”
LIVERPOOL REOPEN TRAINING GROUND
After Thursday’s EFL Cup semi-final against Arsenal was postponed due to a Covid outbreak in the Liverpool camp, in a positive development, the Reds’ have since reopened their training ground.
In a short statement, Liverpool said:
“… after consultation with the relevant Public Health authority, operations have now resumed within the first-team set-up at the training ground. Assistant manager Peter Krawietz is currently taking charge of the team and leading preparations for Liverpool’s next fixture, which sees Shrewsbury Town visit Anfield in the Emirates FA Cup third round on Sunday.”
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