We round up the key Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points of the day in FPL Daily, a weekday series that serves non-Premier League matchdays and days when we don’t bring you a team news/press conference round-up.
RONALDO INJURY LATEST
Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.5m) missed out on Manchester United’s FA Cup win over Aston Villa on Monday evening, although his omission, and those of Jadon Sancho (£8.9m) and Phil Jones (£4.5m), sounded very much precautionary in nature.
“They are having problems. I wouldn’t say that they are injured, but they have muscular problems.
“I spoke with Cristiano yesterday before training, he told me that he’s had some problems for the last couple of days. Minor problems, but in the end, we decided that it made more sense to not take any risks in a game that could easily last 120 minutes, so we just decided to rest him, not play him at all.
“I suppose he will be in the stadium but he had some problems with his hip, with his hip muscle, and we just decided that it would be better for him not to play this game.
“I don’t think it’s anything serious. He’s told me that he’s had that problem for the last couple of days. Again, in a cup game when you can play 120 minutes, I thought it would be better to not take any risks.
“With Phil Jones, he’s having some minor problems on the calf. Again in a cup game like the one tonight it doesn’t make any sense [to risk him] – even more so if it’s the calf muscle.
“[Jadon] was supposed to be in the squad. He had some issues with hamstrings on both sides so again it doesn’t make sense to take any risks.” – Ralf Rangnick
Harry Maguire (£5.4m) also sat the game out with a rib problem but he is expected back for Double Gameweek 22.
“He’s still suffering a little bit from his rib contusion and again I hope to have him back for the Villa [Premier League] game on Saturday, but for tonight he was not available.” – Ralf Rangnick on Harry Maguire
Ollie Watkins (£7.7m) returned and played 90 minutes for Aston Villa, meanwhile.
FIRST BLANK GAMEWEEK 30 FIXTURE CONFIRMED… AND ANOTHER DOUBLE GAMEWEEK IN THE PIPELINE?
Aston Villa’s elimination from the FA Cup means that we have our first Gameweek 30 fixture confirmed as being on – Covid-permitting, of course.
Gameweek 30 will be a blank for a number of teams, as it clashes with the FA Cup quarter-finals and there is no prospect of the games being held in the subsequent midweek as an international break follows.
But Villa and Arsenal are both out of the competition, so their planned league meeting on the weekend of March 19/20 will go ahead.
As for matters a lot sooner, six Premier League sides were knocked out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle and the elimination of three of them, Villa, Burnley and Leeds, is something worth mentioning.
Aston Villa v Burnley and Leeds v Aston Villa are two of the many outstanding fixtures that still have to be rearranged and it’s possible that one of them (the former being the favourite, as it is not a televised fixture that would clash with broadcasted FA Cup ties) could be housed on the Saturday/Sunday immediately before Gameweek 24. Only the FA Cup fourth round is taking place that weekend, so sides eliminated from the competition could theoretically fulfil a league game.
We may have a mini-Double Gameweek involving Villa and Burnley or Leeds, then – and that would mean the game either being tagged on to the end of Gameweek 23 or the deadline for Gameweek 24 being brought forward a few days.
LIVRAMENTO FITNESS UPDATE
Tino Livramento (£4.3m) won’t play a part in Southampton’s one and only Double Gameweek 21 fixture on Tuesday but is at least back on the grass after his recent knee issue.
“We are looking from day to day, the first steps in training now have shown no reaction from the knee which is good, there’s no new fluid and that gives us a little bit of hope. He’s still not in team training so we will have a look from day to day.” – Ralph Hasenhuttl
Che Adams (£6.8m) and Mohammed Salisu (£4.5m) are available but Thierry Small (£4.0m), Kyle Walker-Peters (£4.8m) and Yan Valery (£3.9m) are absent – the first two because of illness, the latter due to a one-match ban.
As for Brentford, Thomas Frank confirmed that Sergi Canos (£5.5m) and Mathias Jensen (£4.9m) will be available on Tuesday. Rico Henry (£4.5m) won’t make it but could return in Gameweek 22, while Zanka (£4.5m) is partly back in training.
AFCON GETS UNDERWAY
The Africa Cup of Nations got underway on Sunday night and four more matches took place on Monday, with a late, late Sadio Mane (£11.8m) penalty ensuring that Senegal got off to a winning start.
A Premier League player’s nation would have to be eliminated from the group stage in order for him to have any chance of returning to the UK in time for Gameweek 23 but the prospects look slim for most FPL assets as 16 of the 24 competing nations progress to the knockout rounds.
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