We’ve got the latest Fantasy Premier League (FPL) team news information in our first press conference summary ahead of Double Gameweek 22.
The managers of Leicester City, Watford, Brighton and Hove Albion and Crystal Palace all faced the media on Thursday, while Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.5m) gave an update on his own fitness in a stand-alone interview with the Premier League.
We’ll have the latest on the other 16 top-flight clubs in Friday’s recap but in the meantime, check out what we learned on the fitness front following last weekend’s FA Cup third-round ties.
Ralf Rangnick will face the media tomorrow to hopefully give us the full lowdown on the Manchester United team news ahead of their Double Gameweek 22 but Ronaldo provided an update of his own on Thursday, saying that he was “confident” of recovering from a hip muscle issue in time for the weekend.
“I hope so. We will try on Thursday. I will try to train as normal. Let’s see how the body reacts. Fingers crossed. I’m confident.
“I’m good. I just have a little touch but, you know, it’s part of my work. You know, we have to feel some pain sometimes. It’s nothing big and I hope to be good soon.” – Cristiano Ronaldo on whether he will be fit to face Aston Villa
Emmanuel Dennis (knock), Ben Foster (groin), Christian Kabasele (calf) and Kiko Femenia (hamstring) are all back in training ahead of the Newcastle game.
Watford initially said that the quartet would be “assessed before a decision is made about their involvement at the weekend” but Claudio Ranieri was a lot more confident when asked about these players in his pre-match presser.
“Available is Ben Foster, Christian Kabasele and Kiko Femenia, and Dennis. Everybody is available and we are ready.” – Claudio Ranieri
Ismaila Sarr (knee), Nicolas Nkoulou (hamstring), Kwadwo Baah (ankle) and Peter Etebo (quad) remain out but new signings Hassane Kamara, Edo Kayembe and Samir have all trained this week and are in contention.
Imran Louza, Adam Masina and William Troost-Ekong are representing their nations in Cameroon.
The chances of Leicester City’s match against Burnley going ahead were boosted after Brendan Rodgers’ press conference, with the Foxes’ head coach revealing that he is expecting at least five of his squad to return this weekend.
“We’ve got Patson Daka back. Luke Thomas will be back. Çağlar Söyüncü will be back. Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and James Justin too, which is great news for us. He will be available, maybe not to start, but he’s back in the squad again.
“Over the last games, for the FA Cup game, the rules are different. You have to play under-23s and under-18s players and that’s what we did do. In all the games, we’ve been trying to put out a team that is competitive.
“For Everton, according to the Premier League rules, we had to have 13 players and goalkeeper, but we had eight, so the game didn’t go ahead. The return of players gives us a chance to get on with the fixtures.” – Brendan Rodgers
Wesley Fofana (leg), Jonny Evans (hamstring), Ricardo Pereira (leg), Ryan Bertrand (knee) and Jamie Vardy (hamstring) plus a trio of AFCON-bound players are all missing, while there was no update on Timothy Castagne (thigh) or Boubakary Soumare (illness).
BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION
Graham Potter confirmed on Thursday that Enock Mwepu (hamstring) is set to be absent for “a few weeks”, with the Zambian joining Jeremy Sarmiento (hamstring) and Lewis Dunk (knee) on the sidelines for the M23 derby.
Yves Bissouma is also unavailable thanks to international duty.
Dunk will rejoin team training on Sunday and has an outside chance of recovering for Brighton’s second Double Gameweek 22 fixture against Chelsea but Potter indicated that the clash with Leicester in Gameweek 23 is a likelier target.
Patrick Vieira confirmed that James Tomkins (unspecified) and James McArthur (hamstring) are out of tomorrow’s game against Brighton. The Palace boss added that McArthur still has a “long way to go” and will remain out for a few weeks.
Vieira declared that everyone else was fit (Conor Gallagher returned against Millwall in the FA Cup last weekend), although did have some cautionary words about Vicente Guaita.
“He wasn’t ready and he wasn’t fit enough to play the [Millwall] game. Hopefully [he’ll be ready for Brighton]” – Patrick Vieira on Vicente Guaita
Wilfried Zaha, Jordan Ayew and Cheikhou Kouyate are all away at AFCON.
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