With team news often playing a pivotal part in FPL decisions, we have put together an assessment of how open or closed each Premier League manager was when facing the media over the course of the 2018-19 season. Part two assesses Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Everton and Leicester.
As with Unai Emery, there can sometimes be translation issues at Maurizio Sarri's press conferences. But apart from benching Eden Hazard in the first of Chelsea’s DGW32 fixtures, the Italian manager did not cause too many rotation headaches for FPL bosses.
The Blues’ participation in next season’s Champions League should also be good news for investors. Often this campaign, Sarri’s post-Europa League pressers doubled as his pre-Premier League offering. While Arsenal were in the same situation, the Gunners’ Friday injury bulletin provided some updates. Chelsea did not follow suit in this regard but UCL football should erase this FPL issue.
Ahead of Gameweek 14, Hazard owners were slightly worried over whether the Belgian would feature against Fulham that Sunday. Chelsea took on PAOK Salonika at home on the Thursday before GW14, with Hazard only returning to training that Wednesday following an injury. The Blues boss said before the UEL fixture: “Hazard of course it is not a serious injury. He will not be able to play tomorrow but I think he will be able to recover for the Premier League match [vs Fulham].”
Brief summary of today’s press conference from Sarri.— FPL Partridge (@FPL_Partridge) November 28, 2018
Basically Hazard will either play or not play at the weekend, depending on whether you own him or not.
The aforementioned post-UEL presser issue cropped up that week, with no further update offered by Sarri or Chelsea before the GW14 deadline. But true to the manager’s word, the Blues’ star attacker did indeed start against the Cottagers – providing an assist in a 90-minute showing.
With a move to Real Madrid moving inexorably towards completion, it seems very likely that FPL bosses will not need to fret over Hazard’s availability next term. But the uncertainty over Sarri’s preferred option at left-back between Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmieri may continue in 2019-20, with Chelsea unlikely to offload many players while under a transfer ban (which is being appealed). However, Alonso may have differing thoughts on the matter.
#Alonso doesn't rule out move away from #cfc this summer despite being happy at the club. Also explains his dip in form this season was partly due to #Sarri changing his role. More here: https://t.co/h35VMIcerV— Simon Johnson (@sjstandardsport) May 24, 2019
And now it seems that Sarri may not even be the one deciding who will play left-back for Chelsea in the coming campaign. The ex-Napoli chief appears to desire a return to his homeland with Juventus, so there may be a new boss sat in the Iron Throne that is the Stamford Bridge hotseat.
Roy Hodgson is too old for any sort of press conference antics. The Eagles boss, 71, tells it like it is and is not prone to any random benchings of star assets – as you might expect at clubs with smaller squads and less resources.
Good to know that Roy Hodgson plays FPL 😁— Colm Hayes (@ColmVHayes) February 7, 2019
On Batshuayi against Fulham: "He got the assist as the goalkeeper couldn’t take the shot and Jeff did ever so well to follow it up and tap it in"#FPL #GW25 #cpfc #GW26 https://t.co/dqeagZepW5
However, Hodgson echoed the thoughts of every other PL boss ahead of Gameweek 17 when he said: “Anyone in the squad has a chance of playing. I don’t intend to give you the team.”
Marco Silva is another manager unlikely to offend his FPL counterparts. The ex-Watford boss was usually straight up with team news and operated with a largely-settled XI for the majority of the season.
Of course, double gameweeks mean rotation and the well-owned Richarlison was a victim of that in DGW25. Silva benched the Brazilian for Everton’s midweek clash against Manchester City.
I dont know for this Fpl ting walahi..when I put Sane in & captain him in a double game week he’s playing like Gary Mabbutt & only starts the second game.. Richarlison back in my team in a rare week when he doesn’t start because Marco Silva tryna do tough guy..im tired mate 😢— Wavy Boy Smith (@MrBigzOfficial) February 6, 2019
Asked about the decision before GW26, the Toffees boss explained: “We cannot 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 condition.”
Having only taken over at the King Power stadium in Gameweek 29, Brendan Rodgers requires further assessment when the 2019-20 season begins on August 10. Having said that, the signs are promising for FPL managers, with the former Liverpool boss not throwing any spanners in the transfer works so far.
Marc Albrighton returned from injury to oust Harvey Barnes in Gameweek 35, though Rodgers did signal the former’s return in his pre-West Ham presser. The Leicester boss said: “I don’t think Marc's ready yet for 90 minutes. It depends if he starts the game and plays around 60 minutes or comes on in a game. It’s just great to have him back fit and available and to have someone of that quality.”
Albrighton played 63 minutes at the London stadium that weekend and kept his place in the starting XI for the rest of the season. Demarai Gray joined Barnes on the bench the following gameweek, with the wing positions an unsettled area of Rodgers’ line-up.