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08 Feb 2019 by Colm Hayes & Tim Blackwell

FPL Gameweek 26 – Fixtures, Team News, Press Conference Quotes & Predicted Line-ups

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Ahead of Saturday's 11:30am deadline, we will be combing through all 20 Premier League press conferences to bring FPL managers the need-to-know team news, injury updates and predicted XIs for GW26.

The Stats Zone's other Gameweek 26 FPL content includes Captain Picks, Fixtures, Projections & Team TSZ Discussion.

We also have two featured pages which will be updated regularly, so make you sure bookmark them!

FPL – Eligibility, Suspension & International Duty

FPL – New Signings In January

GAMEWEEK 26 FIXTURES

Saturday 9th February

Fulham vs Man Utd (12:30)

Crystal Palace vs West Ham (15:00)

Huddersfield vs Arsenal (15:00)

Liverpool vs Bournemouth (15:00)

Southampton vs Cardiff (15:00)

Watford vs Everton (15:00)

Brighton vs Burnley (17:30)

Sunday 10th February

Spurs vs Leicester (13:30)

Man City vs Chelsea (16:00)

Monday 11th February

Wolves vs Newcastle (20:00)

TEAM NEWS & PREDICTED LINE-UPS

ARSENAL

  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.2m) and Laurent Koscielny were both ill this week but are expected to be available tomorrow. Unai Emery said on Thursday: “Today, Aubameyang is sick but I think he's okay for Saturday. Also yesterday, Laurent Koscielny was sick but today he is training well. I think the other players are well and will be OK for Saturday. Ainsley Maitland-Niles (£4.4m) today is training with us as normal. Henrikh Mkhitaryan (£6.7m) also played 45 minutes on Monday with the Under-23s.”
  • Shkodran Mustafi (£5.4m) is in full training for the Gunners, though Granit Xhaka (£5.3m) requires assessment ahead of the trip to Huddersfield. Sokratis (£5.1m) is not expected back on the training pitches until the end of this month. If Maitland-Niles is deemed fit enough he could well start ahead of Stephan Lichtsteiner (£4.5m) at right-back or right wing-back.
  • On Mkhitaryan’s match fitness, the Arsenal boss added: “We thought last week that with two training sessions after six weeks being injured, it was not enough to play against Manchester City. But after this week, playing with the under-23s and working with us, I think it is the first time I can think about him being with us.”
  • Asked if new signing Denis Suarez (£6.5m) might start in GW26, Emery remained coy. He stated: “The first day last week was adaption to us and also with 25 minutes against Manchester City. But already from the first day with us, he was already with good performance, but this week he worked Monday with our coaches and also yesterday. Today he is working with different adaptation and better than last week. I hope he will continue, he is improving every day with us. Then I hope he can show in the next matches how he can help us better than in the first match against Manchester City.”

    BOURNEMOUTH

    • Eddie Howe has confirmed that Callum Wilson (£6.4m) and David Brooks (£5.1m) will miss the match, with both set to be sidelined for up to the next four weeks: "David has been to see a specialist and has had scans so I think around the four-week mark for him. Callum had a clean-out in his knee so, again, probably around the same mark but we are not going to be able to get them back earlier than that.” The absence of the pair should see Joshua King (£6.4m) continue with the main striking role and Junior Stanislas (£6.4m) continue to rack up minutes on the pitch.
    • Howe is also sweating on the fitness of midfielder Jefferson Lerma (£4.5m) with the Colombian set to have a late fitness test ahead of the clash against Liverpool: "He’s had a niggling ankle injury for a few weeks so has been on and off with his training this week. We will wait and see whether he’s fit.” If Lerma is unavailable, Andrew Surman (£4.6m) and Dan Gosling (£4.7m) are set to continue in the centre of midfield.
    • Bournemouth will be forced to make at least one change to their starting line-up with loan signing Nathaniel Clyne (£4.4m) ineligible to face his parent club. Adam Smith (£4.3m) seems the most likely to fill in at right-back for Clyne, with Charlie Daniels (£4.1m) set to be recalled at left-back. Chris Mepham (£4.5m) could come into a back three if Howe decides to bolster his defence.

    BRIGHTON

    • Chris Hughton has no new injury worries after the Seagulls’ extra-time win against West Brom in an FA Cup fourth-round replay on Wednesday. The Brighton boss said yesterday: “At the moment we have no fresh injuries from last night. The two that come to mind are Jose Izquierdo (£5.9m) – who we hope will train this morning – and Dale Stephens (£4.4m). We'll assess Dale today and we hope he'll train either today or tomorrow. We have lots of options now, particularly in forward areas with players returning. Competition wise we're in good shape.”

        BURNLEY

        • Fully-fit pair Johann Berg Gudmundsson (£5.5m) and Robbie Brady (£5.4m) are set to battle for wing starts with Dwight McNeil (£4.4m) and Jeff Hendrick (£5.2m). On competition in his squad, Sean Dyche said: “The team that played last week, when you can affect it with two quality players coming off your bench like Robbie and Johann, and then Peter Crouch (£4.5m) as well, another quality player who knows his way around the Premier League, it’s fair to say it’s a good situation to be in. We’ve had spells this season when we’ve had three or four defenders on the bench. That’s a different kind of affecting a game by putting a defender on. It’s unlikely you very often put defenders on, unless you have to through injury. Whereas attacking players, it’s very likely you put them on, so the more attacking players you have fit and available, you hope that bodes well for any given gameday.”
        • Steven Defour (£5.3m) is likely to miss out again for the Clarets, while Matt Lowton (£4.6m) faces a late fitness test.

        CARDIFF

        • Warnock has provided an injury update on his Cardiff players: “Harry Arter (£4.9m) is back.” Victor Camararsa (£4.6m) is also nearing a return to the first team but Warnock stated that they need to be “a little bit careful” in how quickly the Spanish midfielder returns to action. Sean Morrison (£4.7m) continues to be unavailable with a March return date being reported.
        • With a 2-0 victory last time out, Warnock may decide to keep faith with the same XI.

        CHELSEA

        • Maurizio Sarri has a fully-fit squad to choose from for their trip to the Champions: "We have only some little problems. Callum Hudson-Odoi (£4.2m), he had the fever but only for one day. Yesterday we had a little problem with Gary Cahill (£5.0m) with his back but nothing serious. So I think that every player will be available."
        • Sarri has been delighted with the initial impact of Gonzalo Higuaín (£9.5m) and in particular is relationship with Eden Hazard (£10.9m): “He is a great player and he is very useful for Eden. They are really very suitable to play together I think. It is important for us he is determined, the impact is really very good for us.”
        • The Chelsea boss provided little update on the future of talisman Hazard: "I speak every day with Eden but about his position on the pitch. I will really be very happy with him if he wants to stay because he is the best in Europe. So I would be really very happy, but it is up to him. I want to see him happy. He has to decide."
        • Both Antonio Rudiger (£6.0m) and Mateo Kovacic (£5.7m) were dropped for the 5-0 mauling of Huddersfield last time out. They will both be hoping for a recall at the expense of Andreas Christensen (£5.0m) and Ross Barkley (£5.1m) respectively.

        CRYSTAL PALACE

        • Following reports that Wilfred Zaha (£6.7m) had received an additional one-match ban for his dismissal against Southampton, Hodgson has confirmed that the club has appealed the decision and therefore the forward will be available Saturday: “We’ve appealed and the FA have suspended the ban. We won’t know until next week and he will be available for tomorrow.”
        • On the injury front, an ankle injury will keep Cheikhou Kouyate (£4.7m) out again. Julian Speroni (£4.0m) has a minor injury, but Hodgson has started Vicente Guaita (£4.2m) in each of the last two Premier League games. Papa Souare (£4.2m) is out until March but more importantly for FPL managers "James Tomkins (£4.3m) doesn't look like he'll be able to play." With Tomkins out, Hodgson declared Scott Dann (£4.4m) “fit and ready” should he be called upon.
        • After registering an assist from the bench, Michy Batshuayi (£6.5m) will be hoping to earn his first start since his loan move to Palace. Should Batman come in, expect to see one of Jordan Ayew (£5.7m) or Christian Benteke (£6.3m) drop to the bench.

        EVERTON

        • Richarlison (£6.8m) is expected to be recalled to the starting XI to face his former club after being named on the bench for the midweek match against Manchester City. When questioned on the Brazilians struggles as of late, Silva had this to say, ““We can not put all the pressure on two or three players. This week will be really tough for us. We have to manage the physical condition of some players. Our job with Richarlison is to put him in the best conditions.”
        • Silva has also been impressed with the recent form of Tom Davies (£5.1m) and the maturity he has shown since being handed the captains armband: “I was happy with his performance in the last match. He did well in two different positions. I saw him taking responsibility and commanding the team in some moments of the match.”
        • On the injury front, the Everton boss has confirmed that both Leighton Baines (£5.0m) and Phil Jagielka (£4.3m) remain out. Yerry Mina (£5.4m) is close to a return and set for a late fitness test.

        FULHAM

        • On team news, Claudio Ranieri said: “Marcus Bettinelli (£4.3m) and Tim Fosu-Mensah (£4.5m) aren't available. I think Lazar Markovic (£5.0m) and Havard Nordtveit (£4.5m) will be ready to play next week.”
        • Tim Ream (£4.2m) was hooked early for the second gameweek in a row last weekend as Ranieri moved from 3-5-2 to a back four. Luciano Vietto (£5.3m) was the American’s replacement in GW25 and will be pushing for a start if the Italian manager opts for 4-4-2 from the off.

        HUDDERSFIELD

        • On injury news, Jan Siewert said yesterday: “Chris Lowe (£4.4m) has had an illness this week. Isaac Mbenza (£5.9m) is out for five or six weeks with a calf injury. Jonathan Hogg (£4.4m) trained today and trained well. Hopefully that will continue tomorrow. Erik Durm (£4.4m) had a small problem last week, but he is ok now. Today he started training.”
        • Having shipped five goals to Chelsea last weekend, Siewert may be tempted to recall players such as Zanka (£4.4m) and Florent Hadergjonaj (£4.4m) in defence.

        LEICESTER

        • Claude Puel has confirmed Marc Albrighton (£5.1m) could miss the remainder of the season after suffering a "serious" hamstring injury on the eve of last weekend's game with Manchester United: “He’s had a serious hamstring injury. It’s bad news for us, for the team, and I think he will not be available until the end of the season.” Along with Albrighton, Daniel Amartey (£4.3m) is the only other injury Puel has to deal with.
        • The absence of Albrighton could mean a start for new loan signing Youri Tielemans (£6.0m), who is fit and ready to make his debut. Puel though has been coy on whether the midfielder will start, stating, “I haven’t taken my decision for the next game, he has worked hard in training and we’ll see if he can bring his qualities.”
        • Harvey Barnes (£5.5m) was Leicester’s best player against United and Puel has been impressed with the youngster’s aggressiveness: “I wanted to take him again with us because I think he can bring his quality. I wanted to see a good aggressiveness and he has shown that in his play at West Brom.”

        LIVERPOOL

        • Klopp provided an update on a number of Liverpool’s injured players during his press conference on Friday. Trent Alexander-Arnold (£5.2m), Jordan Henderson (£5.3m) and Georginio Wijnaldum (£5.5m) all took part in Thursday afternoon’s training session following their respective injuries, with the Reds set to check on their conditions before determining whether they can be involved against Bournemouth: “Trent trained yesterday for the first time and didn’t mention any issues or any problems. After four weeks for a first session, we need to see what we do there. Jordan trained yesterday as well for the first time; Gini trained yesterday completely normal”
        • However, Dejan Lovren (£4.9m) is to remain sidelined with a muscle issue: "Dejan is not available. No [timeframe], we work on the Bayern game, but we don’t know exactly.” Klopp did confirm Joe Gomez’s (£4.9m) surgery was a success and the defender is hoping for a return to play within four to six weeks.
        • Having been on the bench last time, Xherdan Shaqiri (£7.0m) is in-line to start as Liverpool attempt to return to the summit of the Premier League.

        MAN CITY

        • Manchester City will once again be without the services of Vincent Kompany (£5.2m) and Benjamin Mendy (£6.1m) for the visit of Chelsea. Asked on Mendy’s return, the manager said, "Benjamin Mendy is injured and it's not easy. Meniscus. It is not easy. He needs to readapt. You can’t return and train for two days and then you are fit. You have to be careful."
        • Having been brought off early against Everton, Sergio Aguero (£11.4m) is likely to feature from the start again. On the Argentinian, Pep had this to say, “The big players need to appear in the key moments and he does it, in the big games we need big players. The game belongs to the players and important games belong to big players.” Given City have rarely played with two up top this season, that would seem to suggest Gabriel Jesus (£10.0m) is likely to be on the bench.
        • With the big games coming thick and fast, Guardiola has stated, “Some important players will not play.” This may include the previously undroppable Kevin De Bruyne (£9.7m), who Guardiola has stated, “It’s quite possible he might not play against Chelsea, everyone knows that. We judge the players on who they are, there are moments their team mates are in better condition than them.”
        • Raheem Sterling (£11.3m) is in-line for a recall having been dropped to the bench for the midweek match against Everton. It could be in place of Leroy Sane (£9.7m) who Pep again brought off early in that match.

        MAN UTD

        • Having returning from injury last time out against Leicester City, Anthony Martial (£7.2m) will be hoping to earn a recall at the expense of Alexis Sanchez (£10.0m) for United’s trip to Fulham. Fresh off his new contract, Phil Jones (£5.1m) will also be hoping for a recall to the starting XI.
        • On United’s injury troubles in the back line, Solskjaer gave an update on Antonio Valencia (£6.4m), Marcos Rojo (£4.9m) and Matteo Darmian’s (£4.9m) current state of recovery: “Rojo has been training for a few days, so he’s back in training,“ said Ole. ”But we’ve lost Antonio and Matteo through niggles for a couple of weeks.”
        • Other than the defensive trio, Solksjaer has no other injury concerns and gave no hints to his team selection during his press conference.

        NEWCASTLE

        • New signing Miguel Almiron (£6.0m) has an outside chance of featuring against Wolves: “I think he has adapted fine. Training has been OK. He is a fit, mobile, dynamic lad. People talk about the physicality, so we will see how he copes. What I can say about Miguel is that he’s a nice lad, a worker and is very professional. He will be fine.”
        • On fellow new signing Antonio Barreca (£4.5m), Benitez has suggested that Monday night may come a week or two too early for his first start: “Barreca is doing OK. His English is worse than Almiron’s, but we can communicate with him in Italian. He knows what we want and this week away will be a good chance for him to integrate. He is another one who needs time but he is really focused too.”
        • Rob Elliot (£4.3m) and Jonjo Shelvey (£5.3m) look to be the only two players missing through injury. "Everyone else is fit and available." Ki Sung-yueng (£4.7m) and Paul Dummett (£4.4m) are back in contention for Newcastle, whilst Mohamed Diame (£4.8m) is over his recent hip problem. Yoshinori Muto (£5.6m) is back following his involvement at the Asian Cup.

        SOUTHAMPTON

        • Danny Ings (£5.5m) will miss the Saints’ next few gameweeks. Ralph Hasenhuttl said yesterday: “Danny made a big step towards the ball and then a sprint after 20 minutes and then he had a problem with his hamstring [in GW25]. It may take 2-3 weeks until he can come back which is not good. We’ll miss him for sure because he’s a good player and a good striker. The good thing is that we have Pierre Emile-Hojbjerg (£4.4m) back after concussion. It is important for us because we missed him a little bit with his experience in the position. Ryan Bertrand (£4.8m) is back and Maya Yoshida (£4.1m) is back after the Asian Cup so we have a few more options which helps us. It helps to have better training sessions also and more quality in the training.”
        • Hojbjerg’s return could see Callum Slattery (£4.5m) drop out in midfield, while Yan Valery (£4.0m) could earn a start at right wing-back if James Ward-Prowse (£5.1m) is preferred in a more central role. Stuart Armstrong (£5.1m) will keep his place if JWP remains in a wider role.

        TOTTENHAM

        • Pochettino has a number of injury concerns ahead of their Sunday clash against Leicester. Harry Kane (£12.4m), Dele Alli (£8.9m) and Ben Davies (£5.6m) continue to be sidelined, though Kane and Alli have commenced on-field rehabilitation in a bid to step up their bid to return to fitness. Eric Dier (£4.7m) and Vincent Janssen (not in FPL) have also joined the list of absentees.
        • Kane in particular is progressing far ahead of schedule with Pochettino hopeful that the striker will be available as early as the fixture against Burnley (GW27).
        • The return of Heung-Min Son (£8.8m) from the Asian Cup has seen Fernando Llorente (£5.7m) drop to the bench for Tottenham’s last match against Newcastle. However, the Spaniard could return to the starting XI after being brought on and registering the assist in that match.

        WATFORD

        • Abdoulaye Doucoure (£5.9m) and Kiko Femenia (£4.2m) are set to return for the Hornets. Javi Gracia said yesterday: “He [Doucoure] is training with the team and I think he is ready for the next game. I think he will be ready, but we’ll decide the line-up tomorrow. He will be in a good condition to compete. We have two players, in Kiko and Doucoure, who have both been injured the last week, but they started training this week and both have possibilities to play.” Doucoure could displace Tom Cleverley (£5.0m) in central midfield if the Frenchman is considered fit enough to start.
        • Roberto Pereyra (£6.2m) remains sidelined. Gracia explained: “It is something in his hamstring. He needs more time to recover. In a couple of days we’ll see if he will be ready. It is always important not to lose one player like Roberto, but you know I don’t like to complain about players I don’t have. I prefer to focus on players I have available.” Isaac Success (£4.6m) is also unavailable.

        WEST HAM

        • Marko Arnautovic (£6.8m) is available for the Hammers. Manuel Pellegrini said on Thursday: “Marko Arnautovic and Aaron Cresswell (£5.0m) worked the complete week but Samir Nasri (£5.4m) needs more time to work on his calf injury. Marko worked the complete week. It is good news, of course. He is a player who makes a difference and important for our team. He needs to recover his best form after not playing and his last injury and I hope he will be an important player for the remainder of the season.”
        • On longer-term injuries, the West Ham boss added: “Andriy Yarmolenko, Winston Reid and Carlos Sanchez will not be back this season. Jack Wilshere, I have some doubts if he will be ready, so we have some players who will not be ready to play before the end of the season. We hope that Manu Lanzini (£6.4m) will be ready for Fulham [in GW27], at least for the bench if he continues working over the next two weeks, and Fabian Balbuena (£4.2m) could be back in a couple of weeks.”
        • Pablo Zabaleta (£4.3m) has a fight on his hands for the right-back spot in Pellegrini’s XI after Ryan Fredericks (£4.5m) impressed on his return from a long-term layoff in GW25, as the Irons held Liverpool to a 1-1 draw at the London Stadium.

        WOLVES

        • With Wolves away at a training camp in Marbella, updates on the squad are difficult to come by. However, with three wins in their last three matches it would be a surprise if Nuno Espírito Santo were to make many changes for the team’s upcoming match against Newcastle.
        • Diogo Jota (£6.0m) is questionable for the match having picked up a knock against Everton last time out. Before their FA Cup replay against Shrewbury, Nuno provided an update in the midfielder: “With Jota, it was a kick in the game against Everton. He didn’t train today, he’s improving, but we have made a decision not to involve him tomorrow [against Shrewsbury].” If Jota is unable to play, any one of Helder Costa, Adama Troare and Ivan Cavaleiro (£5.2m) could be set to replace him.
        • Ruben Vinagre (£4.3m) also missed the victory over Shrewsbury Town midweek with illness but is expected to recover by Monday night. Jonny Castro (£4.4m) would seem the most likely to be rotated out if Nuno decides to play Vinagre.
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