All 20 Premier League teams were in FA Cup action at the weekend, with 14 of them progressing to the fourth round.
We’ll be bringing you our pre-match press conference updates as usual on Thursday and Friday but with the early Fantasy Premier League (FPL) deadline on Friday leaving little time to dissect any fresh information, it’s worth taking an initial look at the fitness situations around the country.
Here we recap the stand-out injury and line-up information from the FA Cup third-round games, also rounding up anything we’ve heard ahead of the midweek Premier League and EFL Cup ties.
For a list of players currently involved at the Africa Cup of Nations, click here.
Already without four players due to Africa Cup of Nations commitments, Arsenal had to make do without another quartet of squad members on Saturday – three of whom are first-team regulars.
Emile Smith Rowe was absent against Nottingham Forest due to a tight groin, while Takehiro Tomiyasu has a calf issue. Granit Xhaka and the Middlesbrough-bound Folarin Balogun, meanwhile, tested positive for Covid-19.
Gabriel Magalhaes served his one-match ban following a Gameweek 21 red card and is now available for selection.
“I don’t know. It will depend on the next few games and how he’s feeling.” – Mikel Arteta on if Granit Xhaka has any chance to be back for the EFL Cup tie on Thursday
“Again, it depends. They were injured and they couldn’t play. I’ll have to see in the next few days how they were.” – Mikel Arteta on if Emile Smith Rowe and Takehiro Tomiyasu will be in contention to play on Thursday
Ollie Watkins returned to playing action on Monday night after his mystery absence in Gameweek 21, lasting 90 minutes of Villa’s cup defeat to Manchester United.
Leon Bailey (thigh), Marvelous Nakamba (knee) and Ashley Young (toe) remained on the injury list but there were no known fresh issues picked up ahead of Gameweek 22.
Steven Gerrard provided an update about whether Phillippe Coutinho would be involved against the Red Devils on Saturday and hinted where he would be playing:
“Philippe, he’ll be with us tomorrow (Tuesday) in terms of arrival. We’ll analyse him Wednesday morning to see where he’s at in terms of a physical point of view but, all being well in terms of how he’s feeling and what return we get with the physical data, will depend on how much he plays at the weekend.
“We knew we’ve got an injury with Leon Bailey in that area, and we knew we were going to lose two to the African Cup of Nations. We knew we would have been short in that area – and yes we’ve got some bright academy players but they’re still developing. It’s not fair to throw them in at the deep end at this level of competition and we’re still deciding on whether some of them will go out on loan. I’m still waiting to find out what Carney’s going to do in terms of his future – so there’s a lot going on in that No.10 area that we’re discussing and analysing at the moment.” – Steven Gerrard
The Bees were among four clubs who had another Gameweek 21 fixture to come before they considered their options in Gameweek 22.
Sergi Canos and Mathias Jensen were passed fit for Tuesday’s clash with Southampton but Canos suffered a recurrence of his hamstring injury and was substituted.
Rico Henry (hamstring) didn’t make it but the defender could return in Gameweek 22. Zanka (hamstring) is also partly back in training.
Enock Mwepu (muscle) joined Lewis Dunk (knee) and Jeremy Sarmiento (hamstring) on the Brighton injury list after complaining of tightness in the win over West Brom but the Zambian’s problem isn’t thought to be serious.
“I don’t think it’s too serious with the caveat that I have just come from the changing rooms. He didn’t feel anything go, it was more tightness I think, so fingers crossed for the next 24 to 48 hours. I think it was more precaution that he came off.” – Graham Potter on Enock Mwepu
Burnley aren’t in great shape heading into Double Gameweek 22 and could only call upon 12 senior outfielders (the threshold for a Premier League postponement is 13) for their cup tie with Huddersfield.
Nathan Collins, Dwight McNeil, Charlie Taylor, Matej Vydra and Erik Pieters were all absent because of coronavirus while Johann Berg Gudmundsson (unspecified) and Ashley Barnes (thigh) were sidelined through injury and Maxwel Cornet is away at the Africa Cup of Nations.
The seemingly Newcastle-bound Chris Wood (groin) was also substituted as a precaution, while Connor Roberts was again missing but at least racked up minutes with the under-23s on Monday after an infection.
“He felt his groin and it was touch and go but at the present time we can’t be gambling too much with our centre forwards.” – Ian Woan on Chris Wood
Thiago Silva and N’Golo Kante have both returned to training following the end of their Covid-19 isolation period, though Thomas Tuchel has admitted he will take a late decision on their involvement in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final at Spurs.
The duo tested positive last week and missed the 2-0 first-leg victory as well as the FA Cup win over Chesterfield.
“Right now I would say we have the guys we had in the FA Cup and no new injuries, which is good news for us.
“We have to wait on last-minute decisions on Thiago and N’Golo. They have cardiac tests and Covid tests to follow the protocols so we can bring them back to training so we have to wait to see if they can be involved and then see how they respond. It’s a gamble to play them so I’m not sure if we can do it and how much responsibility we can take there. We have to go step by step. I’m not even sure they will come to training but if they do, we can decide then.” – Thomas Tuchel
Reece James (hamstring), Trevoh Chalobah (hamstring) and Ben Chilwell (knee) remain out.
Conor Gallagher returned to playing action in the FA Cup at the weekend but James McArthur (hamstring) is still on the sidelines for now.
“He started working on the field but the [FA Cup tie] is too early for him.” – Patrick Vieira on James McArtur
Demarai Gray was “playing through pain” in the extra-time win over Hull, eventually being substituted after 105 minutes.
Andros Townsend returned to fitness, meanwhile, after a recent spell out.
“You have to praise all the players but Demarai Gray was playing in pain until we made the substitution, he was working so hard.
“And Andros Townsend was injured but playing because he wants to help the team and that is the spirit we are expecting from our players.” – Rafael Benitez
Yerry Mina (calf), Richarlison (calf), Jarrad Branthwaite (hamstring) and Tom Davies (hamstring) were all sidelined, while Dominic Calvert-Lewin wasn’t risked after his Gameweek 21 comeback following a four-month absence.
“Dominic, we knew 90 minutes could be difficult for him, you are losing and you keep our striker on the pitch, that is what you have to do. We have to manage him so I don’t think he will be available for tomorrow but he is doing well, he is training and hopefully he can be ready for the next game.” – Rafael Benitez
On the cusp of a return from a hamstring injury, the luckless Patrick Bamford sustained a hip injury ahead of Leeds’ FA Cup defeat to West Ham and missed out.
Media reports suggest that the striker and Rodrigo (heel) should be back this weekend, however.
That still leaves Kalvin Phillips (hamstring), Liam Cooper (hamstring), Jamie Shackleton (Achilles), Charlie Cresswell (shoulder), Joe Gelhardt (ankle) and Pascal Struijk (knee) on the sidelines, while Diego Llorente and Tyler Roberts are suspended; Roberts is also out for a number of weeks with a hamstring injury.
Junior Firpo was substituted after a blow to the head last weekend but is expected to be fine for Gameweek 22.
All eyes and ears will be on Brendan Rodgers’ pre-match press conference later in the week to see if there has been an easing of Leicester’s injury and illness crisis.
The Foxes were down to eight senior outfielders in their FA Cup tie against Watford at the weekend, five short of the threshold for a Premier League postponement – so Saturday’s match against Burnley may hang in the balance.
Wesley Fofana (leg), Jonny Evans (hamstring), Ricardo Pereira (leg), James Justin (match fitness), Ryan Bertrand (knee) and Jamie Vardy (hamstring) plus a trio of AFCON-bound players are all missing but there is a chance that Leicester could recover Caglar Soyuncu (hamstring), Patson Daka (hamstring), Timothy Castagne (thigh), Luke Thomas (unknown), Boubakary Soumare (illness) and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (calf) in the coming days.
“Patson Daka, Cags, Luke Thomas, Kiernan, we were hoping more towards Burnley for them. And then some of the other boys.
“We had good news, James Justin played 45 minutes for the Under-23s, which is great news for us, but of course he won’t be ready for the next game. We need to go back in there with the medical team, analyse where we’re at, and take it from there.” – Brendan Rodgers
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Alisson were back in training as of Tuesday after their recent Covid-enforced absences.
There was more good news elsewhere, too, with Jurgen Klopp reporting a raft of false positives after last Thursday’s EFL Cup tie against Arsenal was called off.
Harvey Elliott (ankle), Divock Origi (knee) and Thiago Alcantara (hip) remain out but Elliott is back on the training ground.
“Trent [Alexander-Arnold] and Ali[sson] trained yesterday, Div [Origi] and Thiago not. All the others should be available. Robbo got a little knock in the Shrewsbury game but is fine.” – Jurgen Klopp, speaking on Wednesday
As a side note, Fabinho scored a penalty in the absence of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, who were away at AFCON, and with James Milner and Roberto Firmino not on the field.
A decimated Manchester City squad saw off Swindon last Friday in the FA Cup, with positive Covid tests depriving the current league leaders of a number of key players.
“At the moment we have seven players unavailable and up to 14 staff, so it’s quite a big outbreak.” – Rodolfo Borrell ahead of the FA Cup win at Swindon
Phil Foden and Oleksandr Zinchenko had previously tested positive for coronavirus ahead of Gameweek 21 and were again unavailable, while Raheem Sterling, Ederson, John Stones, Fernandinho and Jack Grealish were also notable by their absences.
Cristiano Ronaldo (hip) missed out on Manchester United’s FA Cup win over Aston Villa on Monday evening, although his omission, and those of Jadon Sancho (hamstring) and Phil Jones (calf), 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 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
Allan Saint-Maximin made a return from injury in Saturday’s embarrassing cup exit but the Magpies will have to do without Callum Wilson (calf) for the next eight weeks.
Jamal Lewis (hamstring), Federico Fernandez (thigh) and Isaac Hayden (knee) are also on the treatment table, while Javier Manquillo will be suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season.
Karl Darlow and Ciaran Clark missed the match against Manchester United over two weeks ago through either Covid-19 or injury and weren’t involved against Cambridge.
Billy Gilmour could miss up to four weeks of action with an ankle injury, head coach Dean Smith revealed at his pre-West Ham United press conference on Tuesday morning.
Lukas Rupp (hamstring), Andrew Omobamidele (back), Christoph Zimmermann (ankle) and Mathias Normann (pelvis) remain out.
Todd Cantwell, who was absent on Sunday through illness, is expected to be available for the West Ham game.
“Gilmour has an ankle injury that puts him out for 3-4 weeks. He’s gone back to Chelsea for them to assess it and I hope he’ll be back for treatment over the next few days.” – Dean Smith
Tino Livramento didn’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
Kyle Walker-Peters (Covid-19), Alex McCarthy (hamstring) and Will Smallbone (calf) also missed the thrashing of Brentford.
Armando Broja impressed yet again in a goalscoring display, eventually being substituted shortly after receiving a blow to the face – although there was no mention of his withdrawal by Ralph Hasenhuttl in his post-match presser and all seemed OK with the Chelsea loanee as he left the field.
Antonio Conte reaffirmed the prognosis on Son Heung-min ahead of Spurs’ EFL Cup tie against Chelsea on Wednesday, saying that the Korean wouldn’t feature before Gameweek 24.
“The update on Sonny is that for sure we have to wait until after the international break. It was a muscular problem and it was strange because he came off during the game and had no problem; the day after he felt a bit of pain.” – Antonio Conte
Cristian Romero (hamstring) and Steven Bergwijn (calf) are nearing a return, according to Conte on Tuesday.
“Bergwijn is… very close to coming back. I think that after the game against Chelsea, he can start having training sessions with us.
“Today Cristian had a little part of a training session with us. He’s very close, very close to coming back. We’re talking about anther important player for us.”
Eric Dier‘s availability remains uncertain but he was spotted in training on Monday.
Emmanuel Dennis (knock) is expected to be back for Double Gameweek 22 despite not featuring in the FA Cup.
“Emmanuel took a kick in the match against Tottenham, then I prefer to preserve him for the next matches. It’s not too serious but I want to preserve.” – Claudio Ranieri
Ben Foster (groin), Christian Kabasele (calf) and Kiko Femenia (hamstring) are all back in training but Nicolas Nkoulou (hamstring), Kwadwo Baah (ankle) and Peter Etebo (quad) remain out.
David Moyes confirmed on Tuesday that Kurt Zouma wasn’t far from a return from a hamstring tendon injury.
“Kurt’s doing well. I couldn’t give you an idea exactly of when he’s going to be back, but I’ve got to say he’s doing very well and I’m looking forward to getting him back shortly if I can. We’re just trying to get him correct and in the right condition as well. Hopefully he’s not too far away.” – David Moyes
Angelo Ogbonna (knee) and Aaron Cresswell (back) were again missing during the FA Cup win over Leeds.
Moyes had previously said that Vladimir Coufal would be “close” to a return against Norwich on Wednesday after he sat out the weekend’s cup tie.
There’s nothing much new to report on the Wolves injury front, with Jonny (knee), Yerson Mosquera (muscle), Pedro Neto (knee), Hwang Hee-chan (muscle) and Willy Boly (calf) all missing the FA Cup tie against Sheffield United.
With Romain Saiss away representing Morocco, Marcal moved to centre-back and Rayan Ait-Nouri was brought in at left wing-back.
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