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21 Dec 2018 by Tim Blackwell

FPL Gameweek 18 – Fixtures, Team News, Press Conference Quotes & Predicted Line-ups

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Ahead of Friday's 7:00pm deadline, we have combed through all 20 Premier League press conferences to bring FPL managers the need-to-know team news, injury updates and predicted XIs for GW18.

The Stats Zone's other Gameweek 18 FPL content includes Captain Picks, Fixtures, Projections & Team TSZ Discussion.

GAMEWEEK 18 FIXTURES

Friday 21st December

Wolves vs Liverpool (20:00)

Saturday 22nd December

Arsenal vs Burnley (12:30)

Bournemouth vs Brighton (15:00)

Chelsea vs Leicester (15:00)

Huddersfield vs Southampton (15:00)

Man City vs Crystal Palace (15:00)

Newcastle vs Fulham (15:00)

West Ham vs Watford (15:00)

Cardiff vs Man Utd (17:30)

Sunday 23rd December

Everton vs Spurs (16:00)

TEAM NEWS & PREDICTED LINE-UPS

ARSENAL

  • Arsenal’s defence continues to fall foul of the injury bug with Hector Bellerin (£5.5m) the latest to get struck down having been ruled out for a fortnight with a calf injury. The Spaniard has joined Shkodran Mustafi (£5.4m), Rob Holding (£4.4m) and Konstantinos Mavropanos (£4.7m) on the sidelines.
  • With all of the absentees Sokratis (£5.1m) looks guaranteed to start at the back alongside Laurent Koscielny (£5.4m), who had his minutes managed midweek.
  • Sead Kolasinac (£5.1m) and Henrikh Mkhitaryan (£6.7m) are also set be assessed ahead of this weekend. Given Arsenal’s injury troubles if Kolasinac is injured, Granit Xhaka (£5.3m) could drop in the back three, with Nacho Monreal (£5.4m) lining up at left wing-back.
  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.5m) started and played the full 90 minutes midweek meaning Alexandre Lacazette (£9.6m) could be in line for a return to the starting XI for the visit of Burnley.

    BOURNEMOUTH

    • Callum Wilson (£6.9m) is fit to start after completing 90 minutes in the Carabao Cup midweek: "As for Callum Wilson, it seems as though he has come through a minor hamstring injury OK. He came through the Chelsea game well so we’re hopeful he’ll be fine."
    • Howe also believes that Tyrone Mings (£4.3m) will be fit for the weekend but doubts are circling over Simon Francis’ (£4.4m) fitness after the club captain failed to train this week. The Englishman is set to join Adam Smith (£4.4m), Dan Gosling (£4.8m) and Lewis Cook (£4.7m) in the treatment room.

    BRIGHTON

    • Hughton has confirmed that Mathew Ryan (£4.6m) will be available for the Boxing Day match against Arsenal, with an update expected shortly regarding his departure for the AFC Asian Cup. When the Australian does eventually leave, one of David Button (£4.0m) or Jason Steele (£4.0m) will step to replace him though there is little information on which as of yet.
    • Jose Izquierdo (£5.9m) is set to miss out once again while Alireza Jahanbakhsh (£6.7m) will not be risked following a minor setback: “He is close but we still have to make sure that we do everything right.”
    • Shane Duffy (£4.6m) will miss the final game of his three-match ban. Leon Balogun (£4.2m) is expected to continue at the heart of the defence alongside Lewis Dunk (£4.5m).
    • The Brighton boss is extremely satisfied with his options up front but that has only muddied the waters with who he plans to play up top this weekend: “We have good competition in forward areas - nobody is guaranteed a place. Florin Andone (£5.0m) had a tough period with injuries and the form of Glenn Murray (£6.6m) but his contribution in the last few weeks has been very good.”

        BURNLEY

        • Burnley have been boosted by the return to training of both Johann Berg Gudmundsson (£5.7m) and Stephen Ward (£4.7m) with the manager “hopeful” that Gudmundsson will return for the match against Arsenal.
        • Gudmundsson’s return would be useful given Aaron Lennon (£5.0m) is set for a spell out following the knee injury he picked up last time out. Manager Sean Dyche confirmed: “I will find out more accurate information later, but he has a chance of needing an operation. We had it checked out and it looks like there was something there, and they will deal with that accordingly.”
        • After fielding a back five last time out against Spurs, Dyche could revert to his traditional 4-4-2 formation. If he does, Phil Bardsley (£4.2m) will be the one likely to miss out, with Chris Wood (£6.2m) or Sam Vokes (£5.3m) being recalled to the starting XI.

        CARDIFF

        • Joe Bennett (£4.2m) is an injury doubt for the weekend after picking up a knock last time out. If Bennett can’t go expect to see Lee Peltier (£3.8m) come into the starting line-up as Greg Cunningham (£4.2m) is still a doubt.
        • Warnock offered no updates on how injuries at the club are progressing but does expect to have “a full squad, almost” for the festive period. It is therefore unclear when Jazz Richards (£3.9m) or Danny Ward (£4.3m) will make their return but having made the bench last time, Kenneth Zohore (£4.6m) is an option up top.
        • Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (£4.8m) may be recalled to the starting XI after Josh Murphy was given the hook at half-time last time out.

        CHELSEA

        • Sarri is remaining coy on who will start up front at the weekend. When asked on the matter the manager said, “I don’t know yet. Olivier Giroud (£7.7m) played 90 minutes on Wednesday, Alvaro Morata (£8.5m) has just started training after ten days out.” In which case Eden Hazard (£11.0m) may be set to continue has new/old role up top as a false nine.
        • If Hazard is set to continue up front then FPL managers needn’t be concerned over who will start over Willian (£7.3m) or Pedro (£6.3m) as both should get the nod.
        • Andreas Christensen (£5.0m) is set to be out for the festive period after tweaking his hamstring in the Carabao Cup win midweek: “We have a little injury with Christensen, with his hamstring. The doctor said it is not serious but needs to rest for one week.”

        CRYSTAL PALACE

        • Hodgson has confirmed Wayne Hennessey (£4.5m) is unavailable for selection this weekend but should be back in training by Monday. With Hennessey not recovering from his back spasms Vicente Guaita (£4.2m) is set to continue between the sticks.
        • Martin Kelly (£3.9m) has also been ruled out by the Palace manager. James Tomkins (£4.3m) will likely take back his spot at the heart of the defence, with the Welshman making a return from suspension.
        • Another returning from suspension is mercurial forward Wilfred Zaha (£6.7m). Palace broke the curse of winning without Zaha last weekend and will look to make it back-to-back wins with their main man back in the line-up.
        • Cheikhou Kouyaté (£4.7m) is a slight doubt for the match against Manchester City and may not be risked given the busy festive period coming up: “We don’t think it’s a serious injury. He trained today, so he could be available but the question remains whether we'll take that risk with the run of games coming up.”

        EVERTON

        • Silva confirmed that Richarlison (£7.1m) has overcome the illness he’s been suffering with and will be available for the weekend visit of Tottenham: “Yes, he will be OK. He was a bit ill but he did a session this morning.” He also confirmed Andre Gomes (£5.4m) has overcome his bout of sickness.
        • James McCarthy (£4.4m) is also finally available for his return to the matchday squad: “He is ready and working. He needs games. It is up to me to decide what moment is best.”
        • Everton will assess midfielder Idrissa Gueye (£4.8m) who missed the defeat at Manchester City with a groin problem. Silva didn’t mention the Senegalese international during his press conference but he was replaced in the starting XI by Kurt Zouma (£5.0m) against City as Everton went with a back five. If Silva reverts to a back four he has a plethora of options to come into the centre of midfield including Morgan Schneiderlin (£4.3m) and Tom Davies (£5.1m).

        FULHAM

        • Ranieri has a couple of injuries to contend with ahead of the match against Newcastle. Ryan Sessegnon (£6.0m) will miss the trip to Tyneside but is hoping to return to face Wolves. Andre Schurrle (£5.8m) will hope to keep his place in the starting XI with Sessegnon out.
        • Zambo Anguissa (£4.4m) is available again after his ban, but Ranieri has confirmed the midfielder has been ruled out for "another ten days" after picking up an injury. Maxime Le Marchand (£4.2m) remains sidelined.
        • Aleksandar Mitrovic (£6.8m) is set to face his old club and Ranieri is hoping for goals from the Serbian: "When a player goes back to his previous club, he always wants to show something more. I hope he can have a very good match."
        • Ranieri is desperate for “a clean sheet” and will hope to get one this weekend. In an effort to get this he may be inclined to go with the same back five that started against West Ham so that an understanding can build up through continuity.

        HUDDERSFIELD

        • Huddersfield have no fresh injury concerns from the defeat at home to Newcastle with Wagner hopeful that both Steve Mounie (£5.8m) and Rajiv van La Parra (£4.7m) will be available: “Steve Mounié is back and in contention." Van La Parra will face a late fitness test.
        • Despite being included in Australia's 23-man squad for next month's Asian Cup, Aaron Mooy (£5.1m) is expected to miss the tournament through injury: “We will rush nothing, no-one wants him to have further injuries. We think he’ll be out for eight weeks.”

        LEICESTER

        • Puel has provided an update on the fitness of Jamie Vardy (£8.8m) after he was rested for the Carabao Cup match midweek due to his on-going groin issue: “I hope he can play with match fitness, with his qualities and aggressiveness. We need Jamie, he is valuable player for us with his character and quality, to give his best.”
        • Ben Chilwell (£5.1m) is also set to be assessed with the club set to “see tomorrow” whether the Englishman “will be fit for the game”. If Chilwell can’t go Christian Fuchs (£4.2m) is set to step in.
        • Wilfred Ndidi (£4.9m) has picked up a knock to his knee Tuesday night and is set to be assessed Friday while Matty James (£4.4m) and Daniel Amartey (£4.3m) continue to make “good progress” but are still a number of weeks away.

        LIVERPOOL

        • After missing the match against Manchester United last time out, Liverpool should be able to call upon the services of James Milner (£5.6m) if required this weekend. On his injury, the player has had to say, “It was the right thing not to risk me at the weekend, so hopefully I’ll be fine for the next game.”
        • Trent Alexander-Arnold (£5.2m) is set to miss out again but should have some involvement over the Christmas period as his injury is not as bad as first feared. Nathaniel Clyne (£4.6m) is likely to continue at right-back in the Englishman’s absence.
        • After his two-goal impact from the bench last time out, Xherdan Shaqiri (£7.1m) will be pushing for a place in the starting XI. His inclusion would likely see Klopp switch to a 4-2-3-1 at the expense of one of his central midfielders.

        MAN CITY

        • Both Sergio Aguero (£11.2m) and Kevin De Bruyne (£9.7m) started the Carabao Cup match against Leicester City and came through it unscathed. While it is unlikely Pep will start them again at the weekend, they are both set to definitely be involved over the festive period.
        • Leroy Sane (£9.7m) was not in the squad for the midweek clash and Raheem Sterling (£11.6m) only came on after 62 minutes seeming to indicate that they could get the start at the weekend, though trying to guess Pep’s plans is never an easy task.
        • David Silva (£8.5m) is stepping up his fitness and has started training again, although he still isn’t ready for tomorrow. The manager is also unsure if he will be ready over the Christmas period.
        • Vincent Kompany (£5.2m) and Benjamin Mendy (£6.2m) remain unavailable for selection though Kompany is “much better”. Danilo (£5.1m) is also set to return to training in the near future.

        MAN UTD

        • A new week and a new face in the dugout out at Manchester United. Ole Gunner Solskjaer takes charge of his first match at Old Trafford and has stated he plans to give a number of players a chance over the festive period so that he can assess his options moving forward.
        • One player he won’t be able to call upon is Romelu Lukaku (£10.7m) who has been absent from training this last week and is not expected to make the squad for GW18. Lukaku’s absence makes Marcus Rashford (£6.9m) United’s only available forward.
        • Luke Shaw (£4.9m) and Anthony Martial (£7.3m) are both back in contention while Chris Smalling (£5.6m) is considered day-to-day with a back injury and will be assessed on Saturday.
        • Solskjaer lined his Molde team up in a 4-3-3 system suggesting little will change in terms of formation at least. One player expected to come back in from the cold is Paul Pogba (£7.8m) who Solskjaer managed when he was in charge of the United reserve team and later stated he would “build the team around" him if he ever got to work with the Frenchman again.

        NEWCASTLE

        • Ciaran Clark (£4.4m) has been ruled out of the match against Fulham but is likely to be replaced in the starting XI by Ferderico Fernandez (£4.4m) who makes his return from injury. Jonjo Shelvey (£5.3) is set to miss out again, as is Karl Darlow (£4.4m).
        • There was no mention from Benitez on the fitness of Kenedy (£4.9m) who has been managing a toe problem in recent weeks.
        • Newcastle will soon be without the services of Ki Sung-yueng (£4.7m) who is set to depart to the AFC Asian Cup next week. On the midfielder the manager had to say, “Ki will play this game then afterwards he will go because he is going to training in Abu Dhabi on December 26. I wanted to keep him longer but no chance.”
        • DeAndre Yedlin (£4.5m) makes his return from suspension and will likely replace Javier Manquillo (£4.3m) in the starting line-up if recalled immediately.

        SOUTHAMPTON

        • Jack Stephens (£4.3m), Mario Lemina (£4.9m) and Cedric Soares (£4.4m) have re-joined training with Ralph Hasenhüttl confirming he has no fresh injury concerns ahead of the match against Huddersfield at the weekend. Despite stating “five guys re-joined us this week”, there was no mention of specific names and hence there has been no update on Ryan Bertrand (£4.8m) or Nathan Redmond (£5.2m).
        • Hasenhüttl will hope Southampton can build upon their first league win in 13 matches as they face a massive six-pointer against fellow relegation candidates Huddersfield. The Southampton boss is set to keep faith in the majority of the XI that got him that victory against Arsenal.

        TOTTENHAM

        • Spurs are slowly getting fitter but still have a number of injuries to contend with. Jan Vertonghen (£5.9m), Eric Dier (£4.8m) and Moussa Dembele (£4.9m) are all expected to be out until January while there is no return date yet for Victor Wanyama (£4.9m). Serge Aurier (£5.8m) has entered the final stages of his rehab but will likely miss out again.
        • Spurs come into the match against Everton fresh off the back of a League Cup victory against Arsenal in which only Harry Kane (£12.6m) and Hugo Lloris (£5.7m) were rested from what was an extremely strong Tottenham XI. Given Pochettino’s men are about to play four matches in ten days, there will undoubtedly be rotation at some point. The most likely to be dropped for this weekend is Christian Eriksen (£9.3m), who is yet to start both a midweek and weekend game consecutively this season. Erik Lamela (£6.2m), who didn’t start the midweek cup-tie, is the likely starter should Eriksen drop out.

        WATFORD

        • On the injury front, Gracia has a number of players still unavailable: “Will Hughes (£5.0m), Andre Gray (£6.0m), Sebastian Prödl (£4.2m) and Adalberto Peñaranda (£5.0m) are all out of the team. We'll see for the next games if they are ready.” Asked who is nearest to a return, Gracia said “Sebastian and Will are the players closest. Sebastian has a problem in his knee. Maybe tomorrow he is ready and we'll see.”
        • Gracia also reported Tom Cleverley (£5.0m) and Nathaniel Chalobah (£4.5m) “both need more time” before they are properly match sharp.
        • Gracia can call on the services of Étienne Capoue (£4.9m) though as the Frenchman makes his return from suspension. The return of Capoue looks likely to be the only change to the matchday squad as there is no positive news to report on players returning from the treatment room.

        WEST HAM

        • West Ham are “exactly the same” in terms of their personal for the weekend. Andriy Yarmolenko (£6.8m), Winston Reid (£4.4m), Jack Wilshere (£4.8m), Ryan Fredericks (£4.6m), Manuel Lanzini (£6.4m) and Carlos Sanchez (£4.4m) all remain out while Lucas Perez (£6.2m) “is able to at least be in the squad”.
        • Pellegrini thinks that Marko Arnautovic (£6.9m) “will be back working with the team” next week but the Hammers boss has been “happy with the options I've had without Marko. I'm not happy with Marko's injury but I'm happy with my squad.” Chicharito (£6.5m) has started the last two games since the Austrian’s injury.

        WOLVES

        • Diogo Jota has failed to recover from the hamstring injury that forced him off in the win over Bournemouth: “We are sure of Diogo, he is not an option for tomorrow. Let’s see, but tomorrow it’s impossible. He has an injury and hopefully he’s going to be back soon.” Jota was replaced by Helder Costa (£4.8m) last time out, though both Adama Traore (£5.2m) and Ivan Cavaleiro (£5.2m) will be pushing for starts.
        • Other than Jota, Nuno Espirito Santo has no other injury concerns as Wolves attempt to win their fourth match in a row and the boss has been impressed with the teams resilience: “I truly believe that the team spirit, the way we feel, the way we think as a team, is what can push us forward and enable us to achieve the things we want to as a team – always as a team.”
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