We’ve got the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) team news information in our second press conference summary ahead of Gameweek 23, which also includes a big Double Gameweek 25 hint from Ralf Rangnick.
You catch the headline updates from Thursday’s pressers – featuring Leeds United, Southampton, Watford, Brentford and Norwich City – via this link here.
Az and Neale’s video round-up is below, meanwhile:
And for other help and advice, from our weekly Scout Picks to team reveals, head to our complete Gameweek 23 guide here.
As well as African Cup of Nations (AFCON) trio Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita, manager Jurgen Klopp is unsure whether Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will face Crystal Palace after being forced off against Brentford last weekend with a foot problem. He also explained Thursday night’s half-time withdrawal of Joel Matip:
“Joel [Matip’s substitution] was not tactical, we thought something was not 100% right. We had Ibou and Joe on the bench, so that’s why we changed it. The rest, as far as I know, were only knocks.”
Divock Origi (knee), Thiago (hip) and Nathaniel Phillips (cheekbone) are on the sidelines but Harvey Elliott may return from his ankle injury after the winter break.
Cristiano Ronaldo (neck) is a doubt for Manchester United’s clash with West Ham United and faces a late check to determine his availability.
“Cristiano is a question mark because he has a problem with his neck. He received treatment yesterday for two-three hours and we will have to wait to see how he feels today.” – Ralf Rangnick
Full-backs Luke Shaw (hamstring) and Aaron Wan-Bissaka (illness) won’t be available, suggesting that Diogo Dalot and Alex Telles will retain their places. With Eric Bailly at AFCON and Victor Lindelof (personal reasons) also unavailable, there should be a return for Harry Maguire (rib) at centre-back. Jadon Sancho might not be in the right frame of mind to take part, however.
“He [Lindelof] said to me that he right now needs to stay at home. He doesn’t want to leave his wife and family on their own. We agreed that he will not be training today and also not be on duty tomorrow for the game. Jadon [Sancho] didn’t train because he still asked to be able to not train. He attended the [family] funeral on Wednesday. It’s still affected him quite a lot. Right now, I’m not sure if he will be available.” – Ralf Rangnick
Paul Pogba (thigh) is getting closer to a return. Both Scott McTominay (back) and Edinson Cavani (muscle) should be declared fit.
As for the Double Gameweek 25 tease we mentioned earlier…
“”On top of my list is how can we win the game against West Ham, then after the international break, the upcoming games: in the cup against Middlesbrough, Burnley, playing Southampton at home, playing Brighton at home.” – Ralf Rangnick
Alongside the suspensions of Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey, Mikel Arteta will be without AFCON representatives Nicolas Pepe and Mohamed Elneny this weekend. He wasn’t comfortable with having to play Takehiro Tomiyasu against Liverpool on Thursday, despite a calf issue, but felt the knocks to Cedric and Calum Chambers forced his hand.
“We didn’t want to play him, we had to push him because Cedric and Calum [Chambers] were out and we didn’t have any full-backs. He didn’t have any training sessions with us, and still was willing to play.”
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was sent home from AFCON by Gabon because they found some heart lesions during a scan.
Not much to say from Thomas Tuchel, who is still without Ben Chilwell (knee), Edouard Mendy (international duty) and Trevoh Chalobah (hamstring). He hopes Andreas Christensen (Covid) will be back in training next week, with good news on the progression of Reece James‘ hamstring injury.
“He is back on the pitch but is in individual training, so far away from being part of the squad in Sunday’s game. Nobody is coming back, it’s the same squad.” Thomas Tuchel on Reece James
Oleksandr Zinchenko is out because of a knock but Nathan Ake should be passed fit. Although Algeria were eliminated after the AFCON group phase, Pep Guardiola is giving Riyad Mahrez a week’s holiday.
“He has holiday for a week. After African Cup (of Nations), he [has] permission for [a] week off. He’ll come back next week.”
As expected, Son Heung-min (muscle) will not be back for this Gameweek and, like Cristian Romero (hamstring), is aiming to return after the imminent international break. Eric Dier (muscle) is likely to start against Chelsea.
“We are trying to manage a couple of situations, fresh injuries. Eric Dier had a good training session for us and is available. Sonny [Heung-min] not yet. We have to wait. He’s recovering very well but I’m sure we have to wait until after the international break.” – Antonio Conte
James Justin returned from a long-term injury to play his first competitive minutes of the season in Gameweek 22. The squad crisis that Brendan Rodgers recently faced is starting to ease up, aided by the return of Daniel Amartey from international duty. Still out there are Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi, with the likes of Jamie Vardy (hamstring), Wesley Fofana (leg), Ricardo Pereira (leg) and Jonny Evans (hamstring) not able to play.
“It’s a clean bill of health. [James Justin] came through it really well so that was great news for us. Thus far, everyone is okay. [Daniel Amartey] has come back. He’s worked today and he’ll be available for the weekend.” – Brendan Rodgers
Ryan Bertrand (knee) and Timothy Castagne (thigh) also remain injured.
Centre-back Ezri Konsa (hip) may not be available for Villa’s trip to Everton but – apart from known injuries to Leon Bailey (muscle) and Marvelous Nakamba (knee) – there is very little to report.
“There’s nothing in terms of illness, assuming everyone comes through the testing process this morning. We’ve got a doubt with Ezri Konsa, which you’ll know from the previous game. He left the pitch with a severe whack on his hip, so we’ll make a late decision on that. Besides that, we’re in good health.” – Steven Gerrard
Trezeguet and Bertrand Traore are away on international duty, whilst John McGinn‘s suspension has ended.
Frustrated by not securing any new signings this week, Eddie Howe has confirmed that Callum Wilson (calf), Federico Fernandez (thigh) and Isaac Hayden (knee) remain injured. Left-back Matt Ritchie is a doubt.
“We’ve had Dwight Gayle and Jeff Hendrick return to training this week. Matt Ritchie has a knee problem so we’ll have to assess him. We’re still missing the long term injuries in Callum Wilson, Federico Fernández and Isaac Hayden.”
Javier Manquillo returns from a one-match suspension.
Jordan Ayew is back early from the African Cup of Nations after Ghana’s early elimination, so he could take part for the Eagles this weekend. Wilfried Zaha and Cheikhou Kouyate are still at the tournament, with James McArthur (hamstring) and James Tomkins (knock) still injured.
Anwar El-Ghazi is ineligible to debut for Everton against parent club Aston Villa but caretaker manager Duncan Ferguson doesn’t have much to worry about. Only Tom Davies (knee), Alex Iwobi (international duty) and Fabian Delph (illness) are absent, with a probability that Allan (illness) and Jarrad Branthwaite (hamstring) will be passed fit.
“We’ve got a more or less fully fit squad. They’re all on the training pitch. Fabian Delph [is out] and just the long-term injuries.”
WEST HAM UNITED
As with Mahrez, the Algerian elimination means an early return for Said Benrahma, although David Moyes hasn’t said if he’ll go straight into his matchday squad. Elsewhere, Angelo Ogbonna and Mark Noble have knee injuries, Kurt Zouma (hamstring) isn’t yet ready to return and there’s also uncertainty over Tomas Soucek (Covid).
“We’ve had Covid and we have Covid like everybody else. We have injuries as well, which all has an effect on the players you have available. Tomáš [Soucek] has come back from Covid – we’re not quite sure yet if he’s ready.” – David Moyes
BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION
Assistant manager Billy Reid – filling in for the Covid-stricken Graham Potter – confirmed that Shane Duffy (ankle) and Adam Lallana (hamstring) won’t make the trip to Leicester, although Lewis Dunk (knee) has a chance.
Enock Mwepu (hamstring), Yves Bissouma (AFCON), Jeremy Sarmiento (hamstring) and Jason Steele (back) also will not play.
“Shane Duffy won’t make Sunday, and Adam Lallana will be the same. If Lewis Dunk comes through the final session on Saturday. “He could be in the squad.” – assistant manager Billy Reid
Ruben Neves missed the win over Southampton because of Covid but will return to the side this weekend. Hwang Hee-chan (hamstring), Willy Boly (calf), Romain Saiss (AFCON) and Yerson Mosquera (thigh) are still absent but Marcal (knock) has an outside chance.
Pedro Neto (knee) is a “couple of weeks away” from his first training session back, a milestone that full-back Jonny has finally accomplished after missing almost a year with his own knee issue.
“The next step is for him to win confidence and be comfortable. For now, we go day-by-day, then we can push for more. Yesterday, for the first time he did the whole session. I’m very happy.” – Bruno Lage on Jonny
Having only played twice over the last six Gameweeks, Sean Dyche is confident that Sunday’s match with Arsenal will go ahead.
“We’ve got a few who are beginning to come back, we’re looking a bit healthier. It has been a long list but we have different people returning. We had 16 out there today, we should be fine.”
Maxwel Cornet is away on international duty but names like Erik Pieters, Matej Vydra, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Nathan Collins and Dwight McNeil are all likely to feature after recovering from Covid. Ashley Barnes (thigh) remains out and there is a doubt over left-back Charlie Taylor (knock).
“Barnesy is still getting over his injury but he’s beginning to get on the grass with us now. Charlie Taylor is touch and go, got a knock on his foot last weekend. Maxwel [Cornet] is still away until at least Wednesday.”
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