For the final time this season, we’ve got all the key team news and injury updates from Friday’s Premier League pre-match press conferences.
Key issues still need deciding throughout the league, with the winners, fourth Champions League qualifier and final relegation spot all to be settled on a dramatic Sunday afternoon.
Only one manager spoke to the media on Thursday – Brentford‘s Thomas Frank. However, several managers were involved in last night’s fixtures, so there will likely be embargoed post-match quotes to come.
GAMEWEEK 38 TEAM NEWS – FRIDAY
FPL managers will be frustrated by the uncertainty given by Jurgen Klopp over Mohamed Salah (groin) and Virgil van Dijk (knee). Both were hurt in last Saturday’s FA Cup final and subsequently missed the midweek trip to Southampton. For Sunday, Klopp is optimistic that both they and Fabinho (hamstring) could play but he hasn’t decided if they will actually be risked.
“It looks all good. What we do with them for the weekend, I have no idea. My preferred solution would be they all could play at the weekend for rhythm reasons, stuff like this, or at least could be on the bench and then we can bring them on or not. If not, then we take it from there. I cannot say 100%.”
As well as fighting for the Premier League title, Salah is only one goal ahead in the Golden Boot race. Not that this will affect Klopp’s decision.
“I understand 100% [Salah’s] goalscoring battle with Heung-min Son but there is no chance that we take any risk.”
There is also a chance that Joe Gomez (ankle) could play – another late decision to be made.
There was a brief panic amongst the FPL community just after lunchtime, as Gary Lineker tweeted that he heard that there was a food poisoning outbreak at Spurs. Although he was serious about this – and not joking about the infamous lasagne incident of 2006 – journalists quickly clarified that only Harry Kane was a doubt.
Then, Antonio Conte confirmed that stomach problems from this week have been overcome and Kane is very likely to start at Norwich City.
“We have the same players as the last game against Burnley. Not less, not more. In the last game we had Kulusevski – he had this problem and he didn’t train with us on Saturday but on Sunday was good to play. For sure, Harry [Kane] doesn’t want to miss this type of game. If you remember the last game against Burnley, we had three or four cases of stomach problems. In this week, I have to be honest, we had a couple of cases but we overcame the situation.”
So their absentees are the same as last weekend: Sergio Reguilon (groin), Cristian Romero (hip), Matt Doherty (knee), Japhet Tanganga (knee) and Oliver Skipp (groin).
The defensive injury pile-up has eased for Pep Guardiola, as both Kyle Walker (ankle) and John Stones (muscle) have been seen back in training. They can face Aston Villa on Sunday, although Ruben Dias (hamstring) cannot.
“We have incredible doctors and physios. They have trained today. We will see tomorrow. It is good for us to have them back.”
Mikel Arteta wasn’t asked about injuries in the broadcast section but could reveal more in the embargoed portion, later on. At least we know Rob Holding is back from suspension, whereas Kieran Tierney (knee) and Thomas Partey (thigh) remain out. There is uncertainty over Takehiro Tomiyasu, after being withdrawn in the first half at Newcastle United.
It has been a couple of weeks since Ralf Rangnick’s team news but there appears to be a few doubts for the match with Crystal Palace. Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho have recently had an illness, with Phil Jones (knock) and Eric Bailly (back) also having problems.
Luke Shaw‘s wife has just given birth to their second child, only giving him an outside chance of making Sunday’s squad. There will not be a farewell for midfielder Paul Pogba (calf).
“We, once again, unfortunately, have quite a few players missing and another couple of players with question marks. We have to wait for tomorrow’s last training session.”
Having only played late on Thursday, Thomas Tuchel has not yet hosted a pre-match press conference for Sunday. What’s already known is that Callum Hudson-Odoi (Achilles) and Ben Chilwell (knee) will return in pre-season, whilst Andreas Christensen has chosen to withdraw from recent squads.
“[We’re] not sure yet, and at the weekend. [He] came on the morning of the [FA Cup final] and told me he was not ready. He had his reasons, they stay private and confidential, but it was not the first time.”
Furthermore, there will still be doubts over the availability of Timo Werner (hamstring) and Mateo Kovacic (ankle).
It’s the same silence from Villa, who drew 1-1 with Burnley on Thursday. Ahead of that, Steven Gerrard spoke about the injuries to centre-backs Ezri Konsa (knee) and Kortney Hause (abdominal). In more positive news, there’s a slight chance that Leon Bailey (ankle) will be given some minutes.
“Konsa has had a scan and it’s confirmed that he has a knee injury, he’ll be missing for up to 16 weeks. When someone leaves the pitch and you see the challenge, you’re fearing that it could be an ACL, a six to nine-month injury but thankfully it wasn’t.”
Brendan Rodgers did speak about injuries after yesterday’s draw at Stamford Bridge. Ricardo Pereira (thigh) was an unused substitute, although both Youri Tielemans (knee) and James Justin (illness) missed out completely.
“Youri [Tielemans] had a clash of knees in the Watford game, so it was just too sore for him this evening. Hopefully, he will be okay for the weekend. Justin was sick. Again, hopefully he recovers for the weekend. Fingers crossed.”
Knee injury victims Wilfred Ndidi and Ryan Bertrand will not be seen until next season.
Official injury updates could be released later on – having just played – but it’s being reported in The Athletic that Marc Guehi is unlikely to feature for England next month because he supposedly suffered another ankle injury on Thursday night.
Also absent from the match against Manchester United are Michael Olise (foot) and Nathan Ferguson (hamstring), with doubts over James McArthur (calf) and James Tomkins (muscle).
Whilst Jarrad Branthwaite has served his suspension from the red card against Brentford, Salomon Rondon remains banned. The forward joins Fabian Delph (muscle), Yerry Mina (calf), Andros Townsend (knee) and Nathan Patterson (ankle) on the unavailable list, with Donny van de Beek (groin) and Ben Godfrey (thigh) unused substitutes on Thursday night.
“A couple of players who maybe haven’t had opportunities will get opportunities, but we’ll be going full pelt to try to get the right result.” – Frank Lampard
A late assessment will be made on Patrick Bamford (foot) and whether he can try becoming a final day hero after missing most of the season through injury.
Daniel James and Luke Ayling are suspended, with the latter using this time off to have successful knee surgery. There will also be no Stuart Dallas (leg), Adam Forshaw (knee), Tyler Roberts (hamstring) or Crysencio Summerville (ankle) for their trip to Brentford.
“(Patrick) Bamford has looked really good this week. Not made a decision on Sunday yet. Had a day off today, hopefully can make a decision in next couple of days.” – Jesse Marsch
After missing out against Arsenal with a minor hip problem, Chris Wood could recover and have the chance to relegate former side Burnley. Meanwhile, defender Fabian Schar went off with a concussion and Ryan Fraser tweaked a hamstring again during his cameo. Both will be 50/50 decisions.
“We’re following concussion protocols. He may be doing something outside today but we’re following the protocols closely so it’ll be a late decision on him.” – Eddie Howe on Fabian Schar
Jonjo Shelvey (calf), Joe Willock (knee) and Javier Manquillo (illness) will not travel to Turf Moor.
WEST HAM UNITED
After missing the 2-2 with Man City, Said Benrahma (ankle) is available for the trip to Brighton and Hove Albion. Centre-backs Angelo Ogonna (knee) and Issa Diop (ankle) are not.
“Benrahma should be fit for the game. Diop’s ankle is not quite right yet. [Noble] has played well enough to play in the team and be involved, so if the right opportunity comes along, then yes, but I’ll only do what I think’s right. Obviously, it’ll be a big day for him.” – David Moyes
It’s just Tino Livramento (knee), Fraser Forster (back) and Romain Perraud (foot) out for the Saints’ trip to Leicester City.
“He has a fracture in foot, and he is out for five to six weeks.” – Ralph Hasenhuttl on Romain Perraud
BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION
There also wasn’t much to say from Graham Potter, with Jeremy Sarmiento (hamstring) and long-term absentee Jakub Moder (knee) missing. Although Enock Mwepu has recovered from a groin strain, Potter is unlikely to use him.
“He will be in Sunday’s squad but probably won’t start.” – Graham Potter on Enock Mwepu
Mike Jackson thinks Burnley have a good chance of overturning Matthew Lowton‘s red card from Thursday night. Otherwise, he’ll be suspended on Sunday.
Jay Rodriguez (hamstring) has the best chance of making the Newcastle match, with Ben Mee (leg) and Erik Pieters (knock) doubtful.
Yet Matej Vydra (knee), Ashley Westwood (ankle) and Johann Berg Gudmundsson (calf) have been ruled out.
“We’re in the process [of appealing Matt Lowton’s red card]. We think we’ve got a strong case. [Jay Rodriguez] has been with the physios today, out on the grass again. I think that’s probably a 50/50.”
Kiko Femenia and Joshua King have recovered from illness in time for the Hornets’ trip to Chelsea. Tom Cleverley (knock) and Cucho Hernandez (hamstring) could also feature, whilst Nicolas Nkoulou (groin) is a doubt.
Ruled out are Emmanuel Dennis (knee), Ismaila Sarr (knee), Juraj Kucka (knee), Imran Louza (knee), Peter Etebo (knock) and Shaq Forde (ankle).
Dean Smith remains hopeful that Billy Gilmour (ankle) and Ben Gibson (back) could make Sunday’s squad, whilst Mathias Normann (thigh) is fine following a return to training.
Confirmed to be out are Josh Sargent (ankle), Kenny McLean (foot), Adam Idah (knee), Ozak Kabak (hamstring), Christoph Zimmermann (groin) and Andrew Omobamidele (back).
Confirmation came from Bruno Lage that Max Kilman (knee), Romain Saiss (knock) and Nelson Semedo (hamstring) will not take part in Gameweek 38. No other injuries have emerged.
Although Frank Onyeka (ankle) might participate, the Bees’ seven wins from ten games have them safe in mid-table and not needing to take risks. That’s why Ethan Pinnock (hamstring) is absent, alongside Zanka (thigh) and Saman Ghoddos (ankle).
“Ethan [Pinnock] will not make it for this game; he is not far away but there’s no point rushing him back.” – Thomas Frank
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