Laurent Koscielny (£5.4m) will not be available for GW24, though a timescale has not been put on his recovery, while fellow centre-half Sokratis (£5.1m) is not expected back
until mid-February at least. Unai Emery said: “[Koscielny and Sokratis] are not OK for tomorrow. But it is good news for example for Laurent Koscielny because he didn't break his jaw. Sokratis doesn't have a big injury but he isn't OK [to face Cardiff], I don't know how long but I think maybe two or three weeks. Dinos Mavropanos (£4.7m) has been working with us for the past month and has been playing with the under-23s. He is in the squad with the possibility to play. Our challenge every day, every match, is to take a better balance in the attacking and defensive moments. We are scoring a lot, that’s a good statistic, but we are receiving a lot more [goals against] than we want. Every match we are working, between us, we need a clean sheet and we need also this balance to be better. But the first idea in our mind is to win.”
Regarding his injury crisis in defence, Emery added: “We have enough players who can play centre-back in the squad. The problem is we’re having a lot of injuries in this position. We have enough players. If we can bring another player, and all the other players we have are well to play, then we could maybe have a problem in the future.”
Nacho Monreal (£5.4m) and Stephan Lichtsteiner (£4.5m) are the other candidates to fill in at the heart of defence. The Swiss defender or Ainlsey Maitland-Niles (£4.4m MID) will take over from long-term injury loss Hector Bellerin (£5.4m) at right-back. Emery could also use a back three and pair two of Monreal, Lichtsteiner and Mavropanos with Shkodran Mustafi (£5.4m). Henrikh Mkhitaryan
(£6.7m) is only ‘being integrated back into full training’ ahead of GW24.
A knee injury could keep Callum Wilson (£6.5m) out of Bournemouth’s home clash against Chelsea. Eddie Howe said: “Callum is going to be a doubt for the game. It’s a knee problem but we’re going to wait and see. We’re going to give him all the time he needs to try to get fit for this game.”
On January signing Dominic Solanke (£4.7m), Howe added: “Dominic has done well. He’s been back on the grass with us and I’ve been pleased with his progress. I think I said he would be ready in February when he first signed. We will wait and see whether that’s going to be any earlier.”
Artur Boruc (£3.9m) displaced Asmir Begovic (£4.4m) in GW23, with Bournemouth shutting West Ham out in a 2-0 win. The 38-year-old may continue between the sticks for the Blues’ visit.
Mat Ryan (£4.4m) is available for selection after returning from the Asian Cup. On the battle between the Australian and David Button (£4.0m) for the No 1 jersey, Chris Hughton said: “Maty Ryan is back and with us now. I haven't named the team for tomorrow yet, and I have a decision to make now in the goalkeeping position. Maty trained yesterday and he will do again today - he's fine and fit. David Button has come in and done very well and taken his chance.”
On injuries, Hughton added: “Jose Izquierdo (£5.9m) is still out, as is Bernardo (£4.2m). Bernardo is very close to being back fit – we anticipate he'll train on Thursday. He's done good rehab work and made a good recovery – it's about when we feel he's ready for matches.” Ezequiel Schelotto
(£3.8m) has joined Chievo on loan for the rest of the season. Alireza Jahanbakhsh (£6.7m) remains on international duty.
Matt Lowton (£4.6m) is out for Burnley, while fellow right-back Phil Bardsley (£4.2m) is a doubt. Sean Dyche said
on Monday: “We are waiting on Johann Berg Gudmundsson (£5.5m) and Phil Bardsley. I’ll also find out more about Robbie Brady’s (£5.4m) injury today. There are a number of situations in the balance. We’ll see if those bodies are back tomorrow. It will be helpful if they are.”
Dyche used a 5-4-1 formation in the Clarets’ 5-0 FA Cup fourth round defeat to Man City at the weekend. Charlie Taylor (£4.4m) moved to the right-hand side of defence, with Stephen Ward (£4.7m) on the left. The Burnley boss may have to employ the same use of his left full-backs if Bardsley is not passed fit. Nick Pope (£4.8m) started in that cup tie, with Tom Heaton (£4.8m) expected to return between the sticks for the Old Trafford trip.
Considering the tragic circumstances around the disappearance of Emiliano Sala, there were naturally no updates on trivial things such as team news at Neil Warnock’s press conference. Sean Morrison (£4.7m) may miss out again after undergoing appendix surgery recently, while Harry Arter (£4.9m) is the only other first-team regular in doubt for GW24.
Asked if he had any injury news to report, Maurizio Sarri said: “I don't know exactly at the moment. Yesterday the players who played in the last match [against Sheffield Wednesday] had only recovery training, so I have to speak to the doctor. But I think nothing serious. David Luiz (£5.9m) is okay, I think. He rested in the last match. The day before the last match he was okay, so he's okay.”
Marcos Alonso (£6.6m) lost his place to Emerson (£5.2m) for Chelsea’s EFL Cup semi-final win on penalties against Spurs last Thursday. The Spaniard then played the full FA Cup game against the Owls on Sunday, with the Italian in-line for a first Premier League start.
Queried on how Gonzalo Higuain (£9.5m) can adapt to the Premier League and how long it might take, Sarri explained: “It's not easy, of course. It's not easy to adapt. In this championship, the Premier League, it's so difficult. At the end of the game on Sunday, Higuain said 'It's so aggressive'. It's not easy, but I think he has the right experience. He is a very great player, so he has to run, to adapt in a few matches. He has to do everything in less than one month, otherwise it's [too] late.”
Olivier Giroud (£7.7m) could earn a start if Chelsea’s new signing is not picked to start a second game in four days. Pedro (£6.3m) and Willian
(£7.2m) will battle it out for the right-wing spot if Sarri decides to use a striker against Bournemouth. Ross Barkley (£5.1m) will compete with Mateo Kovacic (£5.7m) for a midfield berth.
The Chelsea manager also said
at his press conference that the club have told him Callum Hudson-Odoi (£4.2m) will remain at Stamford Bridge in this transfer window, despite interest from Bayern Munich.
Stoppers Vicente Guaita (£4.2m) and Wayne Hennessey (£4.5m) are both available for the Eagles, with Julian Speroni (£3.9m) potentially making way in GW24. Roy Hodgson said: “All goalkeepers are fit now, so I'll have a selection to make. All three senior goalkeepers are fit and available.”
On the availability of his strikers, the Palace boss added: “I was prepared to play Connor Wickham (£4.9m) against Tottenham in the cup, so there would be no reason why he wouldn't be ready for the league. The same goes for Christian Benteke (£6.3m). It was a big moment for Connor being back in that Palace shirt, leading the line and it ended very happily with a goal and a win. I wouldn't like to put pressure on him, but we hope it continues.”
Yerry Mina (£5.4m) requires assessment on a foot injury picked up in the Toffees’ 3-2 defeat to Millwall in the FA Cup. Marco Silva said: “He's been doing some exams for us to be more sure about what is happening with him. Let's see what comes of the new exam.”
With Everton on a poor run of form, the Portuguese boss could be tempted into both line-up and formation changes for the trip to Huddersfield. He added: “It’s up to us to do our job. There could be a new formation, we don’t know.” The Toffees' double gameweek 25 means the club play four league games in the next 12 days, with Silva set to make use of his squad over that period.
Reports suggest Idrissa Gueye (£4.8m) has handed in a transfer request following a PSG bid, so Tom Davies (£5.1m), Morgan Schneiderlin (£4.2m) or James McCarthy (£4.4m) could earn a start in central midfield.
On injuries, Claudio Ranieri said: “Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (£4.4m) has come back training with the first team, but he’s not ready yet. And Alfie Mawson (£4.8m) will have a check in six weeks. He’s not finished for the season, I wait for him to be ready at the end of the season. We’ll check on his surgery in six weeks. Then we can restart with him for the last month. The last five matches I think he’ll be ready.”
Asked if Aboubakar Kamara (£4.5m) is available, Ranieri stated: “In this moment, no. He’s suspended from the club, and we are waiting, I am waiting. I don’t know what’s happened here. Now there is a club investigation and I am waiting, but if he comes back it’s no problem for me. For the team there is no problem. It’s had no influence [on team morale]. Everybody is working well, there’s no problem.”
Aaron Mooy (£5.0m) could return for the Terriers in GW24. New Huddersfield boss Jan Siewert, who is thought to favour a 4-3-3 formation, said: “I don’t want to give the details of my line-up away before the Everton game, but Aaron Mooy is close to a return. It’s been great to have him on the pitch with us. Philip Billing (£4.5m) still has some problems, so tomorrow will be too soon for him. Hamid Sabiri (£4.3m) is back on the pitch with us, which is great.”
Harry Maguire (£5.4m) is fit for the Foxes. Claude Puel said yesterday: “Harry is match fit. He will be present. No other injuries.”
After conceding four times to Wolves in GW23, the Frenchman may be tempted into line-up alterations. Ricardo Pereira (£5.3m) could revert to right-back, while Jonny Evans
(£4.8m) and Caglar Soyuncu (£4.9m) are options in central defence. James Maddison (£6.7m) and Marc Albrighton
(£5.1m) will be pushing for starts in attack, with Harvey Barnes (£5.5m) a possibility to continue in the starting XI depending on the chosen formation. Hamza Choudhury (£4.3m) or Adrien Silva (£4.7m) could be drafted in if Puel opts for a three-man midfield against league leaders Liverpool.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (£5.2m) has been ruled out of GW24, while Virgil van Dijk (£6.5m) may be available for the Reds. Jurgen Klopp said: “Virg was a little bit ill but he trained yesterday and will train today, so we will see. Dejan Lovren (£4.9m) is fine, Gini Wijnaldum (£5.5m) trained [and] Fabinho (£5.5m) will train today. Trent is getting closer and closer and it all looks very positive, but he will not be ready for tomorrow.”
With James Milner (£5.6m) serving a one-game suspension, Fabinho or Rafael Camacho (£5.0m) could slot in at right-back. On the lack of recognised options in the position, Klopp exclaimed: “We will play with a right-back or maybe even a wing-back!”
Benjamin Mendy (£6.1m)
could be available for the Citizens after not being fit enough to make the club’s FA Cup squad at the weekend. Pep Guardiola said: “Benjamin is much better.” The City boss did state that he will not rush the defender back into action, adding: “It can't be game, game, game 90 minutes, because he will not survive.” On Saturday evening, Guardiola had reported: “[Mendy] has a little bit of swelling in the knee, and that’s all. It’s a danger you can have sometimes when you come back. He needs time. It is a problem, but it’s OK. We move forward and hopefully he can come back soon.”
Vincent Kompany (£5.2m) remains out for the champions. Considering the options at Guardiola’s disposal and City’s congested fixture list for the next three gameweeks, rotation should come as no surprise to FPL managers. Kevin De Bruyne (£9.7m) started in GW23 and began both of the Citizens’ cup victories since then, so may have to settle for a place on the bench at St James’s Park.
Chris Smalling (£5.6m) is closing in on a first-team return. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said: “Chris has trained for a week now, so he’s looking good. It’s about when do we get him into the team.”
Asked about rotation among his forwards, the United interim boss explained: “So far, it's been no problem. We've got so many games. As soon as it becomes one game a week, it might be a problem. We rotate even during games. When we can put Anthony Martial (£7.3m) and 'Rashy' [Marcus Rashford (£7.7m)] on for Alexis Sanchez (£10.0m) and Romelu Lukaku
(£10.7m), who did a fantastic job [at Arsenal], it is only going to help us. The players have been very, very good at staying ready and being ready when they get on.” On Jesse Lingard
(£6.8m), Solskjaer added: “He's got energy. He's got a steel about him. I'm so pleased for him — his development has been fantastic.”
On his backline, OGS said: “We've turned a corner ourselves. I think we looked really good against Arsenal. Defensively I think we defended the box really well and that's going to be important against Burnley as well.”
Rafa Benitez is short on bodies in midfield ahead of Man City’s visit. The Newcastle boss said: “The midfielders are still very close, but not ready for this game so it's more or less the same. The only one we have lost is Joselu, with a twisted ankle. No Jonjo Shelvey (£5.3m), no Ki Sung-yueng (£4.7m), no Mohamed Diame (£4.8m).” Sean Longstaff (£4.5m) looks set to continue in the centre of the park alongside Isaac Hayden (£4.3m).
On injury news in the Saints’ squad, Ralph Hasenhuttl said: “Ryan Bertrand (£4.8m) is a part of training at the moment and he is getting closer. For now, it is a pity that Mario Lemina (£4.7m) is not as well since he has a few problems with his stomach. Matt Targett’s (£4.2m) knee injury wasn’t as bad as we first feared in the beginning so he has been training since Saturday so has a good chance to play this week.”
Charlie Austin (£5.5m) “has a swollen ankle” so is unlikely to feature, while the striker could also be sold before the transfer window closes. On Austin’s future, Hasenhuttl stated: “I think it sometimes comes to a point that you can't give the player what he expects. In this situation we are trying to find a win-win for both sides. It can be a possibility he is leaving.” Cedric has joined Inter Milan on loan with a view to a permanent move, while Wesley Hoedt has also left the club for the remainder of the season.
Ben Davies (£5.6m) is sidelined
for Spurs, while Moussa Sissoko
(£4.9m) is available after returning to training. Harry Kane (£12.4m) and Dele Alli (£8.9m) remain out.
Heung-Min Son (£8.6m) is set to be involved against Watford after his return to training. Mauricio Pochettino said: “Son came back and today was good in training. Maybe after the third game he played [at the Asian Cup] he felt empty because he was so disappointed, but here he’s happy and today he had very good energy. We’re going to decide if he will play from the beginning or the bench but I am very optimistic because he showed very good energy in the training session.”
If the Spurs boss reverts to a 4-2-3-1, Son could slot straight into the left side of an attacking midfield three. The South Korean could also displace Fernando Llorente (£5.6m) up front, with Lucas Moura
(£6.8m) now available too. Sissoko may get the nod over Eric Dier (£4.7m) in midfield, though the France international is also an option higher up the pitch if any of Son, Moura or Erik Lamela (£6.1m) aren’t used from the beginning. Davinson Sanchez
(£5.8m) will earn a start if Pochettino opts for a three-man central defence.
Kiko Femenia (£4.2m) and Abdoulaye Doucoure (£5.9m) are out for the Hornets. Javi Gracia said: “Seabastian Prodl, Kiko and Doucouré are not training with the team at this moment. We are waiting for them to come back. We are trying to help Doucouré recover as soon as possible because he is an important player for us. He has a little problem in his knee, but he feels better day by day but in this moment not enough to train and play with the team. One week ago, I thought he will be ready quicker but it wasn’t possible. I’m sure in the next days he will be ready.”
Daryl Janmaat (£4.9m) will replace Femenia, while Adrian Mariappa (£4.2m) and Christian Kabasele (£4.4m) may continue ahead of Craig Cathcart (£4.5m) and Miguel Britos (£4.3m). The latter pairing were used for Watford’s FA Cup win against Newcastle. Will Hughes (£4.9m) presents a strong challenge to Ken Sema (£4.6m) for the right-midfield spot.
On team news, Manuel Pellegrini said: “We have the same players except Lucas Perez
(£6.2m), who got a kick in the game against Wimbledon so he will be not be available for Tuesday's game. We have Ryan Fredericks (£4.5m) back and Manuel Lanzini (£6.4m) can be available in three weeks or one month more and he is a very important player.”
On the Hammers’ lack of consistency, Pellegrini added: “It's one of the things we must improve. We have played very good games and beaten the best teams but after that we haven't had the consistency to play the same way in three games in a row, except one time when we won four games in a row. We need to find that level of consistency going forward, as you say.”
On Marko Arnautovic (£6.9m), the West Ham boss stated: “I said you can have a lot of excuses and one of those excuses is that transfer speculation can cause a lot of damage in some clubs. A lot of things affect the players, but I don't want to talk about excuses. I am happy for us that Marko has finished his issue and he will stay here and I hope he will be the player we know he can be in the next game. I expect from every player, not only Marko, to see their performance as high as you know that player can give you. That is the most important thing for me. Players must play to 8 out of 10 in every game. Everyone knows that Marko can do. He made an important difference in the second half of last season and I hope he can do so again this season. We will talk about it again at the end of the season. I hope that, when the transfer window closes, players will be able to concentrate on playing for us.”
Nuno has no new injury concerns ahead of GW24. Willy Boly (£4.6m) serves the final game of a three-match ban. Matt Doherty (£5.2m) will battle with Ruben Vinagre (£4.3m) for the right wing-back berth in the Wolves XI.
Regarding his side’s recent defensive record, Nuno stated: “We're pleased (with where Wolves are at) but we know that what is in front of us is more important and we have to improve. It's always our focus, our defensive organisation, and we have to improve and be more solid and compact. We have a chance tomorrow to put things right. Sometimes it's not only when the action (on the pitch) finishes but where it starts. We've been working on that so we expect to not repeat the same mistakes. What I know and I'm sure of is that we have to improve defensively, we're conceding too many goals, especially at home.”
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