We’re rounding up what we know on the team news front ahead of Blank Gameweek 28 in Fantasy Premier League (FPL).
Summaries of the pre-match press conferences on Thursday and Friday will supersede this piece and help finalise our predicted line-ups but in the meantime, this article takes an early look at the injury situation across the top flight.
NOTTINGHAM FOREST V NEWCASTLE UNITED
We’ve actually already had one pre-match press conference as of Wednesday evening, and that was held by Nottingham Forest’s Steve Cooper.
The Forest boss said that Brennan Johnson (groin) was “unlikely” to face Newcastle on Friday, although he didn’t completely rule out the prospect of that happening and we know from experience that Cooper can be economical with the truth.
“He had his scan. It’s unlikely that he will be involved at the weekend but he has a small chance.
“We’re not completely ruling him out, but when you walk off with a muscle injury it can take a bit longer than a week to recover.” – Steve Cooper on Brennan Johnson, speaking on Wednesday
Loanee Chris Wood is ineligible to face his parent club, while Willy Boly (hamstring), Scott McKenna (hamstring), Dean Henderson (thigh), Giulian Biancone (ACL) and Omar Richards (leg) remain unavailable. Wayne Hennessey (knee) will also have a fresh problem assessed but Cheikhou Kouyate (hamstring) and Taiwo Awoniyi (groin) should be much closer to involvement after recent returns to training.
Joelinton completes a two-match ban, while Anthony Gordon (ankle) will now be out until April and joins Emil Krafth (knee) and Harrison Ashby (hamstring) on the sidelines.
ASTON VILLA V BOURNEMOUTH
Philippe Coutinho (hamstring) and Boubacar Kamara (ankle) are still out, while it remains to be seen if Leander Dendoncker is any nearer to recovery after he sustained a hand injury in a recent domestic incident.
Illia Zabarnyi (ankle) has been back in training as he awaits his first appearance since joining in January, while Junior Stanislas (knock) and Marcus Tavernier (hamstring) were both hoping to recover before the March international break so may feature.
Hamed Traore‘s (muscle) availability is unknown at the time of writing, while Adam Smith may need assessing after appearing to struggle with injury before being replaced in the win over Liverpool. Jordan Zemura was left out of the squad last weekend amid an ongoing contract stand-off.
BRENTFORD V LEICESTER CITY
Vitaly Janelt came off with a knee injury in the first half of Brentford’s 2-0 win over Southampton and will be assessed in the next few days, while Mads Roerslev missed both of the Bees’ Double Gameweek 27 fixtures with a “slight” hamstring issue.
Thomas Strakosha (ankle) and Keane Lewis-Potter (knee) are the only other Brentford players on the sidelines.
Victor Kristiansen (ankle), Youri Tielemans (ankle), James Justin (Achilles) and Sammy Braybrooke (knee) remain out for the Foxes, while Wout Faes serves a one-match ban after his dismissal last weekend.
SOUTHAMPTON V TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
Tino Livramento (knee) and Juan Larios (muscle) are the only definite Southampton absentees for the visit of Spurs but the Saints will have to check on Kyle Walker-Peters, who got a “kick” on his hamstring in the midweek defeat to Brentford.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles missed both Double Gameweek 27 fixtures with an unspecified issue but was at the “late fitness test” stage in midweek so might not be far away.
Ryan Sessegnon (hamstring), Rodrigo Bentancur (knee), Hugo Lloris (knee) and Yves Bissouma (ankle) all remain on the medium-to-long-term injury list but Emerson Royal (knock) could return after missing last Saturday’s clash with Nottingham Forest; he was spotted back in training this week.
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS V LEEDS UNITED
Diego Costa (knee), Hugo Bueno (hamstring), Chiquinho (knee) and Sasa Kalajdzic (knee) are still on the injury list, while it remains to be seen if the “little problem” that forced Pablo Sarabia to miss the Newcastle game still keeps him out.
Boubacar Traore (groin) could be back after a return to training.
Adam Forshaw (hip) and Stuart Dallas (knee) are still out, while it’s been a month since Liam Cooper (muscle) was in a matchday squad as the club captain’s availability remains in question.
Tyler Adams is the newest addition to the injury list with a hamstring problem that will keep him out until after the international break.
CHELSEA V EVERTON
Reece James should be back after returning to training, while Mason Mount (abdomen) was also sighted on the grass this week so could return alongside his compatriot.
Edouard Mendy (finger), Cesar Azpilicueta (head) and N’Golo Kante (hamstring) have all been back in training of some variety; Kante, indeed, has been pencilled in for a return this weekend.
That only leaves the availability of Raheem Sterling (hamstring) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (back) in question, after they were named big doubts for the win over Leicester and ultimately missed out.
Thiago Silva (knee) and Armando Broja (ACL) are the only players definitely on the sidelines at the time of writing.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (hamstring) should be a lot closer to featuring after a positive-sounding update from Sean Dyche ahead of the Brentford game, while only match fitness is between Nathan Patterson (knee) and a competitive playing comeback.
Andros Townsend (ACL) remains unavailable.
ARSENAL V CRYSTAL PALACE
Mohamed Elneny (knee) is out long term, while Eddie Nketiah (ankle) will miss Gameweek 28 as he remains a “few weeks away” from a return.
“He’s getting better. He’s still in the boot so still a few weeks away. We need to be patient – it was a nasty injury. It’s a challenge that Eddie’s got ahead of him, but thank God he could have been worse so he’s not in a bad place.” – Mikel Arteta on Eddie Nketiah, speaking on Wednesday
Will Hughes and James McArthur missed all of Palace’s Double Gameweek 27 due to illness, while Vicente Guaita (hamstring) sat out the midweek clash with Brighton.
Guaita’s absence, plus that of medium-term absentee Sam Johnstone (calf), saw teenage goalkeeper Joe Whitworth line up to face the Seagulls.
Loanee Albert Sambi Lokonga is ineligible to face his parent club, meanwhile.