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04 Dec 2018 by Colm Hayes

FPL Gameweek 15 – Fixtures, Team News & Predicted Line-ups

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Ahead of Tuesday's 6:45pm deadline, we have combed through all 20 Premier League press conferences to bring FPL managers need-to-know team news, injury updates and the notoriously-hard-to-predict midweek XIs for GW15.

The Stats Zone's other Gameweek 15 FPL content includes Captain Picks, Fixture Analysis, Projections & Team TSZ Discussion.

GAMEWEEK 15 FIXTURES

Tuesday 4th December

Bournemouth vs Huddersfield (19:45)

Brighton vs Crystal Palace (19:45)

West Ham vs Cardiff (19:45)

Watford vs Man City (20:00)

Wednesday 5th December

Burnley vs Liverpool (19:45)

Everton vs Newcastle (19:45)

Fulham vs Leicester (19:45)

Wolves vs Chelsea (19:45)

Man Utd vs Arsenal (20:00)

Spurs vs Southampton (20:00)

TEAM NEWS & PREDICTED LINE-UPS

ARSENAL

  • A back problem could rule Mesut Ozil (£8.2m) out for a second consecutive gameweek. Unai Emery said at his press conference yesterday: “I said on Sunday that he’s had backache since last Tuesday. He couldn’t play in Kiev or on Sunday. At the moment, I don’t know if he can play in Manchester. Today he was working alone, I don’t know if he’s OK for Wednesday.”

  • The Arsenal boss used a three-man central defence again in GW14 as the Gunners beat Spurs 4-2 in the North London derby. Shkodran Mustafi (£5.4m) came off after 70 minutes of that tie with injury. If the German does not make GW15, Stephan Lichtsteiner (£4.5m) could deputise or Emery – who did not mention Mustafi in his presser – could revert to four at the back, which happened at the Emirates as Matteo Guendouzi (£4.5m) replaced the defender. Laurent Koscielny (£5.4m) and Nacho Monreal (£5.4m) are being assessed ahead of GW15.

  • Aaron Ramsey (£7.3m) and Alexandre Lacazette (£9.6m) were introduced at half-time in GW14 to devastating effect and are in line to start at Old Trafford tomorrow. Alex Iwobi (£5.5m) and Henrikh Mkhitaryan (£6.7m) were the players withdrawn. Those substitutions saw a minor change in formation from 3-4-2-1 to 3-4-1-2 as Ramsey played as the No 10 behind the Frenchman and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.1m).

  • Granit Xhaka (£5.3m) misses the clash against Manchester United with a one-game suspension. Guendouzi could replace the Swiss midfielder, though Ramsey is also an option in that deeper role.

BOURNEMOUTH

  • After using a three-man backline in the 3-1 loss away to Manchester City on Saturday, Eddie Howe could revert to his favoured 4-4-1-1/4-4-2 for the home clash with Huddersfield. David Brooks (£5.1m) may earn an instant recall, with Tyrone Mings (£4.3m) likeliest to make way. Junior Stanislas (£6.0m) and Jordon Ibe (£5.0m) present further options in wide midfield.

  • On the Cherries’ injury situation, Howe said: “Dan Gosling (£4.8m) is a concern for us. We've sent him away for a scan on his knee so we'll see how he is. He didn't feel comfortable during the warm up at the weekend. We have a couple of niggles. You’re always going to have a few niggles at this time of the season, so we’ll see how those guys are.” The Bournemouth boss unfortunately declined to name “those guys”.

  • Jefferson Lerma (£4.5m) returns from suspension and could replace Andrew Surman (£4.6m) or Lewis Cook (£4.8m) in central midfield.

BRIGHTON

  • Apart from Alireza Jahanbakhsh (£6.7m), who remains out with a hamstring injury, Chris Hughton has a fully-fit squad to choose from. Bruno (£4.4m) is available after going off on 77 minutes in the 2-1 win away to Huddersfield on Saturday.

  • Glenn Murray (£6.7m) is expected to return to the Seagulls’ starting XI for the derby clash against Crystal Palace this evening. On Florin Andone (£5.0m), who started as Murray was rotated in GW14, Hughton said: “He’s pushed hard, and it’s been difficult for him – he’s had a few small problems in his lead up to getting fit, but I want as many options and challenges as possible. I’m really pleased for him now and he deserved it – I have a competitive squad at the moment which is what I want, and around that there will be challenges for everybody. There will be players who are disappointed and ones who are happy, on any one particular circumstance I have numerous decisions to make in every game.”

  • Anthony Knockaert (£5.5m) and Beram Kayal (£4.4m) will also be looking to regain their places in Hughton’s starting line-up, while Gaetan Bong (£4.5m) and Martin Montoya (£4.3m) are options in the full-back slots.

BURNLEY

  • Sean Dyche rates Steven Defour (£5.4m) as “touch and go” for Liverpool’s visit tomorrow night. If the Belgian does not make the GW15 tie, Ashley Westwood (£4.5m) could deputise. Dyche said: “His knee is just a little bit niggly. It’s nothing too serious we don’t think. He’s just at game six (into his comeback) now and when people have been out that long it takes a bit more than that. I’m always thinking around that nine or 10 mark when you really get that grounded fitness and you get your eye in and get used to what’s going on again in the Premier League. He’s making good headway towards getting back there, but we have to be a little bit careful all the way.”

  • James Tarkowski (£4.7m) may return in place of Kevin Long (£4.2m) after making the bench in GW14. Jeff Hendrick (£5.3m) could start again if Dyche opts for more bodies in midfield against the Reds. Robbie Brady (£5.4m) replaced Aaron Lennon (£5.0m) at half-time in GW14 but limped off with an ankle issue in the closing stages of the 2-0 defeat to Palace. The club’s press release states that the Clarets have no new injury concerns – Stephen Ward and Nick Pope are long-term absentees – so Brady and Lennon will fight it out for a wing berth. Sam Vokes (£5.3m) will look to earn an instant recall up front ahead of Chris Wood (£6.2m), while Ashley Barnes (£5.6m) and Matej Vydra (£5.7m) are further options in attack.

  • On the GW15 clash against Jurgen Klopp’s men, Dyche added: “We've had our fair share of results against the big sides, but everyone loves an underdog story. We have to play well, that's for sure, but the bigger thing for me is putting out a performance. Last weekend wasn’t good enough. We know that. But then a short number of days before against Newcastle I thought it was a good performance and I thought we deserved more than we got. So, there’s a balance to the workload and how we’re performing. I know the players we are working with and I know the honesty and the endeavour and I know some of the quality. That sometimes gets pushed aside when results aren’t going your way. The players are still working and have been good around the place. We’ve had disappointments before and pushed them aside quickly and we’ve got to do that again.”

CARDIFF

  • On the team news front, Neil Warnock said: “We’re struggling a bit injury-wise. Another couple of lads had knocks. I was going to change it and rest players but I don’t think I can now. I’ll have to ask the lads to perform three times in a week. All the usual ones who were out on Friday. Jazz Richards (£3.9m) is definitely out, Greg Cunningham (£4.2m) isn’t as bad as we thought, he did some light work on Saturday. Kenneth Zohore (£4.7m) is stepping up from Monday. He’s pain free for the first time and has done some work with the rehab guys.”

  • Neil Warnock switched to a 3-1-4-2 formation in GW14 as Cardiff beat Wolves 2-1. The manager’s comments about Junior Hoilett (£5.0m) suggest the wing-back system could remain in place. Warnock said on the winger: “He’s deserved it. He’s been on fire in training last two weeks. I had to get my faith back in him. I’ve been a bit disappointed sometimes. He’s our best defensive winger. Sometimes, he doesn’t create things in games but neither does the full-back he’s marking. That’s something that the fans don’t always notice, but the manager does. Even if he hadn’t scored, I’d have been happy with his performance. I didn’t want to put Kadeem Harris (£4.5m) or Josh Murphy (£4.8m) on the left because of the defensive situation. Murphy’s lost a bit of spark, but that’s what happens with wingers.”

  • Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (£4.8m) is another attacking option for Cardiff, while Bobby Reid (£5.2m) played 24 minutes last Friday. On Callum Paterson (£5.3m midfielder), Warnock added: “He’s not the full shilling. He’s the Scottish version of Sol Bamba. He moans and moans and moans. We’d be in trouble [up front] without him. Gary Madine (£4.4m) isn’t fully fit, Danny Ward (£4.3m) isn’t either. He put a shift in [against Wolves].”

CHELSEA

  • Asked if the Blues had any injuries, Maurizio Sarri said: “No. I spoke with the doctor ten minutes ago, but we have no injuries at the moment. We had a little problem with Mateo Kovacic (£5.8m) and Marcos Alonso (£7.1m) in the last match. The doctor says they can play. We just need to see the last training session, if someone's tired.”

  • On Alonso's showing at home to Fulham in GW14, Sarri added: “Kovacic, ankle. Alonso, back. I don’t know (if it made a difference to Alonso’s performance). I don’t think you can say that after the match. Maybe during the match the back worsened, this is possible. I want to speak to him, he didn’t play very well. I know this, but I think he knows this. It can happen and today we will see the reaction and the situation of the back.” Davide Zappacosta (£5.1m) replaced the Spaniard on Sunday, while Emerson Palmieri (£5.2m) is another option.

  • With Kovacic struggling and Ross Barkley (£5.8m) not featuring on Sunday due to a knock, Ruben Loftus-Cheek (£5.2m) could earn a first league start in midfield. ‘RLC’ grabbed Chelsea’s second in the 2-0 win against the Cottagers in GW14. Sarri said of the England international: “He has played in the Europa League and League Cup, some in the Premier League but not starting. At the moment he is very important for us. He had some problems to understand what I wanted, but he is improving and in the last two matches I have been very happy with him.”

  • Willian (£7.4m) could return to the starting line-up after Pedro (£6.3m) began in GW14, though the Spanish winger’s goal could keep him in the team. Alvaro Morata (£8.7m) is perhaps favourite to begin up front ahead of Olivier Giroud (£7.7m) as Sarri switches back and forth between the strikers. The Italian manager anticipates a tough game at Molineux tomorrow. He explained: “I expect a very difficult match. They have technical players, they were unlucky in the last two matches, but it is not easy to play there.”

CRYSTAL PALACE

  • Roy Hodgson has no fresh injury worries ahead of the derby clash against Brighton. The Palace boss said: “We were lucky we didn't pick up any real injuries at the weekend, just the usual knocks and bruises of Premier League matches. At the moment it looks like the same players are available again. It's a three-game week, so you'll likely see changes in teams. Outside of those playing European football most teams aren't used to it. Most managers are anxious to make changes if things are going well.”

EVERTON

  • Ademola Lookman (£5.1m) could oust Theo Walcott (£6.3m) for Newcastle’s visit after the young attacker put in an impressive cameo against Liverpool. Marco Silva said: “100 per cent Lookman is in contention to start. I can tell you now the game has passed, he had a small issue and only trained with us on Saturday.”

  • Asked about Richarlison (£7.0m), the Everton boss added: “You are asking me about Richarlison because he has not scored in two games. Let’s see what he does tomorrow and then there will be no questions on him.”

  • Silva revealed that Morgan Schneiderlin (£4.3m) is carrying a knock, while merely stating that the rest of his squad will be assessed ahead of tomorrow’s tie.

FULHAM

  • Calum Chambers (£4.2m defender) looks set to retain his place in midfield for the Cottagers. Claudio Ranieri said of the Arsenal loanee: “I spoke with Scott Parker and he told me he [Chambers] could play there. I believe he is a very good midfielder, he’s intelligent tactically which is good for the team, and it’s good for me to have this kind of player. He linked the defensive line and the forwards very well. He has good movement, he’s very attentive.”

  • On the injury front, Cottagers boss Ranieri added: “Floyd Ayite (£4.3m) has a little problem with his groin and is not with us. Coming back is Andre Schurrle (£5.9m) who’s ready to play.”

HUDDERSFIELD

  • Steve Mounie (£5.8m) begins a three-game ban after being sent off in GW14. Huddersfield saw an appeal rejected. Before that decision was known, David Wagner said at his press conference: “Laurent Depoitre (£5.1m) has put in some good performances. If we are unsuccessful in our appeal, then he will be in contention. Chris Lowe (£4.4m) won’t be in the squad even though he was in training yesterday; there is a slight chance he could be back on Saturday. There are some other knocks but nothing serious, I can only answer after training today.”

LEICESTER

  • Harry Maguire (£5.4m) is out for GW15 but could return at the weekend, while Jamie Vardy (£8.9m) is battling for fitness ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Fulham. The striker went off with a muscle issue on 71 minutes in GW14, having scored a penalty as Leicester beat Watford 2-0. Claude Puel said: “At the moment, I do not know my starting team as we have some injury problems with different players. We will see tomorrow. He [Jamie Vardy] felt something, but I will see with our medical staff. Maguire and Rachid Ghezzal (£5.1m), we will see for Saturday.” Kelechi Iheanacho (£5.9m) or Shinji Okazaki (£5.2m) could earn a start if Vardy is not passed fit.

LIVERPOOL

  • On GW15 injury doubts Sadio Mane (£9.8m) and Andy Robertson (£6.5m), who sustained a dead leg in the Merseyside derby win on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp said: “Sadio and Robbo we need to have another look at today. Sadio really had an awful cut on his foot. It needed to be stitched; he is OK but walking around here now in flip-flops and you don’t play in flip-flops! That means in this moment he is not ready, but we will see later. With Robbo it is not that serious as with Sadio, but we need to have a look.”

  • On the form of Roberto Firmino (£9.2m), Klopp added: “It's completely normal. It's not that he's playing his best football in every second. You have moments when you fly and moments when you have to work and come again - nothing to worry about, just a normal football season.”

  • Divock Origi (£5.0m), who got that freak late winner at Anfield in GW14, could be in line for further minutes but it may be Daniel Sturridge (£5.8m) that profits if Firmino is rotated. That could see Klopp opt for a 4-3-3 system at Turf Moor, particularly if Mane is not risked.

  • Jordan Henderson (£5.3m) is available after suspension, James Milner (£5.6m) has not started in three gameweeks and Naby Keita (£7.2m) will also be pushing for a midfield start. Georginio Wijnaldum (£5.5m) has been a mainstay for Klopp so Fabinho (£5.5m) is a more likely bench candidate if the German gaffer moves his troops around.

  • In defence, Alberto Moreno (£4.2m) may earn a rare start if Robertson is not passed fit. Joel Matip (£4.9m) and particularly Dejan Lovren (£4.9m) will threaten the starts of either Trent Alexander-Arnold (£5.3m) or Joe Gomez (£5.1m).

  • On GW15 opponents Burnley, Reds chief Klopp said: “We know about the specific challenge - Burnley is a tough place to go. We have to make sure we are ready. Burnley had the killer competition of playing in the EL qualifiers. Now they are 100% in the league. No easy games.”

MAN CITY

  • Kevin De Bruyne (£9.7m) remains out for Manchester City. Pep Guardiola failed to reveal at his presser yesterday whether or not Sergio Aguero (£11.4m) would be fit for the clash at Watford tonight. The Argentine was absent from the GW14 matchday squad with “muscular disturbance”. On Oleksandr Zinchenko (broken nose) and Aguero, the City manager said: “I don’t know. We have training at the moment. Kevin is not ready but the other two I don’t know.” Reports today suggest Aguero did not travel to Watford with the City squad, while Jamie Jackson of the Guardian says the striker is also a doubt for GW16 after suffering a setback in training.

  • After Saturday's 3-1 win over Bournemouth, Guardiola opined on the performance of Gabriel Jesus (£10.1m): “He helped us today. Today we needed runs behind and he made a thousand million in many circumstances. Gabriel was so important and he will be so important for next Tuesday.”

  • On rotation, the Spanish boss added on Monday: “I have a deep squad, I trust a lot with the players, of course there are a lot of games and they are going to be involved with that. Always what we do in the right moment is to do well today, in the game we are going to play.”

  • Riyad Mahrez (£8.5m) will be pushing for a start after finding himself on the bench in the past two gameweeks. Raheem Sterling (£11.5m) and Leroy Sane (£9.4m) are at risk of rests. David Silva (£8.7m) is expected to return to Guardiola’s starting XI after being rotated at the weekend. The Spaniard could replace Ilkay Gundogan (£5.4m) or Bernardo Silva (£7.5m) in midfield, or Fernandinho (£5.4m) could get a first league rest of the season.

  • John Stones (£5.3m) could regain his place at centre-back after Nicolas Otamendi (£6.1m) began the last two league ties. Vincent Kompany (£5.2m) is another option if ever-present Aymeric Laporte (£6.1m) gets a night off. Kyle Walker (£6.5m) should also return at right-back in place of GW14 deputy Danilo (£5.1m). Fabian Delph (£5.3m) will likely take up the left-back role if Zinchenko (£4.8m midfielder) is unavailable.

MAN UTD

  • Ashley Young (£5.7m) is suspended for Manchester United, while there were no updates provided on players who either missed GW14 or were substituted with knocks. United’s official website states that “there will be more United news from Mourinho, including an update on the injuries situation, on ManUtd.com at 22:30 GMT tonight (Tuesday).”

  • The rest of that ‘injury update’ reads as follows: “Ashley Young is definitely ruled out for the Reds, through suspension, which could open the door to Antonio Valencia (£6.4m), Diogo Dalot (£5.3m) or Matteo Darmian (£4.6m) at right-back. Luke Shaw (£5.0m) was withdrawn at Southampton with a knock, as was Romelu Lukaku (£10.7m), while Scott McTominay (£4.3m) and Nemanja Matic (£5.0m) were drafted into a three-man defence alongside Phil Jones (£5.1m). This was because Chris Smalling (£5.7m) and Eric Bailly (£5.1m) were unavailable, although Marcos Rojo (£4.9m), who is working his way back to full fitness, was on the bench.”

  • Jose Mourinho told MUTV: “We are going to be in difficulties again to build the team. We are again going to have to make adaptations and compensations to try to give some balance to the team. But then I believe we are again going to have the spirit to fight and to try to win the match.”

  • When asked could he provide an update at all, the United manager added tersely: “No. I don’t want to update you. Arsenal TV [ask] the same questions but they don’t hide everything from the inside, so why should I answer to you; why should I give anything to you.”

  • Anthony Martial (£7.6m) and Jesse Lingard (£6.7m) will be pushing for recalls after being rotated to the bench for the 2-2 draw away to Southampton on Saturday. Mourinho also refused to comment on speculation of a falling out with Paul Pogba (£7.9m).

  • Dalot replaced Shaw at St Mary’s and could earn a first league start tomorrow night in a back four. Mourinho could also stick with a three-man central defence to match up with Arsenal’s likely formation; particularly if neither Rojo, Bailly nor Smalling can start.

NEWCASTLE

  • Paul Dummett (£4.4m) remains out for the Magpies. Rafa Benitez said: “Dummett is still not ready – getting better, but not ready. (Isaac) Hayden also is not available, like (Karl) Darlow – they had the problem the last week. The other players are more or less – (Florian) Lejeune is training, (Jamie) Sterry is training, so everybody is training but we have two or three players who are not available and we have to make a decision later on about a couple of them. We said before, we don’t have another specific left full-back so it’s more important for us. Paul is a great professional, he’s always doing well, but if he’s not there we have to manage. We did well against Burnley but we have to manage these games and hopefully the players that will play in his position will do well.”

  • Ciaran Clark (£4.5m) was used in a three-man central defence for that GW13 win away to Burnley, with DeAndre Yedlin (£4.5m) and Matt Ritchie (£5.8m) operating as wing-backs. The latter serves a one-match ban in GW15, so Kenedy (£4.9m) may be used in a more defensive role should Benitez opt for that formation. Javier Manquillo (£4.4m), who played at left-back on Saturday as Newcastle lost 3-0 at home to West Ham, is another option on that side. If the Spaniard starts, Christian Atsu (£5.1m) may have to settle for a bench role once more. Jonjo Shelvey (£5.3m) and Joselu (£4.9m) will also be pushing for spots in Benitez’s starting XI.

SOUTHAMPTON

  • Kelvin Davis will take charge of the Saints for the away tie at Spurs after Mark Hughes was sacked yesterday. On the club’s injury situation, the caretaker boss said: “We’ve got some bumps and bruises. Obviously we’ve got a suspension (for Mario Lemina) as well. I haven’t completely gone through the body count but Michael Obafemi (£5.0m) left the pitch not in a great state on Saturday so we’ll be working on him over the next couple of days. We’re working on Ryan Bertrand (£4.8m), Matt Targett (£4.2m) and Danny Ings (£5.4m) daily. We had a brief update from the physios today, we’re hopeful but by no means will they be at 100 per cent so we’ll have to make a decision on that late in the day. I don’t expect to have a full squad available.”

  • Considering those quotes and the fact that the Wembley fixture will be Davis’ first game in charge, the Southampton line-up on Wednesday could take many forms. The stand-in manager’s biggest decision may be whether to retain a three-man defence or revert to a flat back-four. Davis added: “I’m expecting the players to be committed; I want everyone – as a Southampton man myself – to be mindful that when you have that badge on your chest, you must give 100 per cent. Hopefully that’s something that can rub off on the guys in the next couple of days.”

TOTTENHAM

  • Kieran Trippier (£6.1m) is available for Spurs but may not immediately displace Serge Aurier (£5.8m) if Mauricio Pochettino wants to ease the England defender back in. Kyle Walker-Peters (£4.2m) is another option at right-back. Jan Vertonghen (£5.9m) serves a one-match ban in GW15, while Davinson Sanchez (£5.8m) remains out. Juan Foyth (£5.0m) looks set to continue in central defence, with Toby Alderweireld (£5.9m) poised to make an immediate return after being rotated for the North London derby defeat in GW14. Danny Rose (£5.8m) could earn a start if Ben Davies (£5.6m) is rested.

  • Asked about Alderweireld returning to the starting XI and rotation, Pochettino said: “We'll see. There are different options. Dier can play there [at centre-back]. It's about trying to be right and in the end win the game. That's the most important but of course we come from a competitive week and we are going to face another competitive week. Wednesday Southampton, Saturday Leicester and a must-win game against Barcelona and keep going. We're going to play a lot of games before January. It's so important to keep all involved and in the best condition to compete. Some players maybe we cannot rotate for different circumstances. But players that we believe we can rotate we will give the possibility, players who maybe need to rest. You know me, I'm not going to change my mind because we win or lose. Always it's so important the health of the squad and the players and because we believe we can win with one or another names on the pitch.”

  • Erik Lamela (£6.3m) is undergoing rehab on a “minor muscle injury”, so Lucas Moura (£7.0m) will be the main threat to the starts of Dele Alli (£8.9m), Christian Eriksen (£9.2m) and Heung-min Son (£8.3m). Harry Winks (£5.5m) provides an alternative in central midfield to Moussa Sissoko (£4.9m) and Eric Dier (£4.8m). The latter could also be used in defence if Pochettino switches to three-man backline. Victor Wanyama (£4.9m) is in the treatment room. Fernando Llorente (£5.6m) has managed just 13 minutes of league action so far this season.

WATFORD

  • Alberto Penaranda (£5.0m forward) is Watford’s only injury absentee. Etienne Capoue (£5.1m) will sit out GW15 after picking up a fifth yellow in the process of getting sent off at Leicester in GW14. That red card is under appeal but Nathaniel Chalobah (£4.5m) looks set for one start at least.

  • Yesterday, Javi Gracia said on the club's injury situation: “Daryl Janmaat (£4.9m) played for the Under-23s and he felt comfortable. He is feeling well and ready and available to play when we need him. Tom Cleverley (£5.0m) is in the process, training day by day and the most important thing is he doesn't feel anything strange. He is training at the same level as the rest of the team and that's good news for us. The rest of the players are available.”

  • Troy Deeney (£5.9m) will be pushing hard for a spot in the Hornets’ starting XI, while Andre Gray (£6.0m) is another option if Gerard Deulofeu (£5.4m) or Isaac Success (£4.6m) are rotated.

WEST HAM

    • Aaron Cresswell (£5.1m) and Fabian Balbuena (£4.4m) are both set to be assessed for West Ham’s tie at home to Cardiff tonight. Manuel Pellegrini said: “From the last team, we have Cresswell, who has a hamstring injury, which is why he couldn’t continue the game. We will see him tomorrow and make the last decision, but it could be difficult. We must see about Balbuena. He had a hard kick on Saturday. Those are the two players that have some problems. We have the same players that weren’t on our list in the last game because all of them have long injuries.”

    • The West Ham boss indicated after Saturday’s win that he could stick with two up front, so Chicharito (£6.2m) may start again after a brace at St James’ Park. Pellegrini explained: “I normally like to play with two strikers, maybe I was so scared to come here before because everyone told me that West Ham haven't won here many times in the last 20 seasons, so I had some doubt of course over who to play. In the end I went with two strikers and finally we played very good.” If the manager reverts to a 4-1-4-1, Pedro Obiang (£4.4m) could earn a recall in central midfield.

    • Felipe Anderson (£7.1m) and Robert Snodgrass (£5.3m) look set to continue in the wide midfield positions. At his press conference yesterday, Pellegrini added on the pair: “I think Felipe is improving in his performance. He is knowing better, in the Premier League, what he can do and what he must not do. He played a very good game and I think we are just, in the first part of the season, to decide which is the best player. He is improving in every game and that is important for us. I spoke with [Snodgrass] at the beginning of the season. I always found him a good player, but it just depended on what he wanted and if he had a spot here in our squad for the season. There were very few words that I spoke with him at the beginning of the season. I gave him some demands about his weight and his work, and I think he is a very professional player who is doing it very well, because he has the desire to be here.”

    • Ahead of GW14, Pellegrini stated that Pablo Zabaleta (£4.3m) would not play every game in the upcoming fixture glut. Michail Antonio (£6.8m) could be used in a more defensive role but that could necessitate a switch to 3-5-2 for the Hammers.

    WOLVES

    • Ruben Neves (£5.0m) serves a one-game suspension this gameweek so Morgan Gibbs-White (£4.3m) could earn a first league start. Diogo Jota (£5.9m) and Ivan Cavaleiro (£5.2m) will push Helder Costa (£4.8m) and Adama Traore (£5.3m) in the wide roles of Nuno’s 3-4-3 formation.

    • On Romain Saiss (£4.2m) starting ahead of Ryan Bennett (£4.2m) as Wolves lost to Cardiff last Friday, Nuno said: “It's not an individual issue. We wanted a different approach individually on that specific position with Saiss. What Bennett gives us, what Saiss gives us, we balanced that and decided for Cardiff.”

    • On the club’s poor run of form, the Portuguese added: “We're not being so solid. When you have this balance, you have to try and find the solution offensively and defensively. The only game we weren't on our standards was Huddersfield at home. The approach cannot change because you believe in the things you do We cannot be obsessed with a big performance to get us out of trouble. No, we have to go step by step, game by game. We have to fix the other things, keep building and working hard. I don't sense a lack of confidence, it has to do with performance. A team is like a player, ups and downs, you have to find solutions to help them, give them good advice and have a good game-plan. It has to do with so many aspects, technical, tactical, mental.”

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