Premier League Press Conference Round-Up: Blank Gameweek 18

Arsenal

Mikel Arteta said that he was still unsure on the extent of Gabriel Martinelli‘s ankle injury. The Brazilian was said to be “in a lot of pain” after appearing to roll his ankle in the warm-up before Saturday’s victory over Newcastle in the FA Cup:

“We have a scan today so let’s hope it’s not as serious and we can have Gabi back really soon. We will know more tomorrow, certainly.”

Arteta also said that Gabriel would train with the team in the next couple of days after his isolation period ended, following the centre-back’s positive test for coronavirus.

The Gunners boss said he would “make an assessment on whether we can have him or not” for Thursday’s game against Crystal Palace, which suggests that Gabriel is available, but his involvement will depend on his fitness after two weeks away from the team.

Thomas Partey is likely to be available for the visit of Palace to the Emirates after returning to full training 5 days ago. The Ghanaian midfielder has not featured for the Gunners since suffering a thigh injury away at Tottenham on December 6th.

Burnley

Sean Dyche said that he hopes the four players who missed Saturday’s FA Cup win over MK Dons due to coronavirus protocols would be “in and around it” for their BGW18 fixture against Manchester United.

Nick Pope will be fit to start against United after rolling his ankle in training on Friday. On Charlie Taylor, however, Dyche was more cautious. He said that the left-back was “touch and go” to play, and gave a similar prognosis to Dwight McNeil and Jay Rodriguez. Burnley are also waiting on news on Kevin Long‘s ankle knock.

In more positive news for the Clarets, Dyche said that he was “hopeful” about having Ashley Westwood, Josh Brownhill and Bailee Peacock-Farrell available for the game against United. The return of Westwood and Brownhill in particular would be a real boost for Burnley, who also have Jack Cork back fit to further bolster their midfield.

On the developing Covid-19 situation at the club, Dyche said this:

“They [the players] have been double tested so hopefully, we will have people available. The only issue we have, which many will, is that we will have players coming out of a 10-day lockdown period as such and then going straight into games.”

Everton

The big news in the Everton camp is that Dominic-Calvert Lewin is out of Tuesday’s game against Wolves with a hamstring injury. Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti didn’t give a specific time-frame on when he expected the England international to return, but did say that he hoped he could recover “soon”:

“He had a little problem during the week before the West Ham game [on 1 January] but, because of the fact he has not had this type of injury before, he was not able to judge his fitness with 100 per cent [accuracy]. 

He played all the game against West Ham, which means this is not a really important injury. But we want to keep him safe and, when he comes back, to be 100 per cent fit.”

Everton will also be without Allan for their trip to Molineux. The midfielder is continuing his recovery from a hamstring injury, and Ancelotti said that he should be ready to return to action in “10-15 days”.

Jordan Pickford is available for selection after missing Saturday’s FA Cup game against Rotherham, whilst Richarlison will have to pass a late fitness test if he is to take his place in the team. Ancelotti said that Everton will “take a decision” on him after training on Monday.

Fabian Delph and Jean-Phillippe Gbamin remain sidelined with hamstring and achilles injuries respectively.

Manchester United

Ole Gunnar Solksjaer will be able to call on Edinson Cavani for Tuesday’s trip to Turf Moor, after the Uruguayan striker served a 3 match domestic ban. Cavani hasn’t played since United beat Wolves on December 29th, but Solksjaer said that he has trained well during his ban period and is “ready to go”.

There is also positive news for United on the injury front. The Reds were without Victor Lindelof, Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw for their FA Cup tie against Watford last weekend due to “fitness issues”, and were forced to substitute Eric Bailly during the first half because of a neck issue. However, all four players took part in training to some extent on Monday, with Shaw and Lindelof completing the full session and Bailly and Pogba sitting some of it out.

Solksjaer said he will make a decision on Bailly and Pogba tomorrow, bit added that he had a “decent amount of players” to choose from as United look to climb to the top of the Premier League table with a win.

Wolves

Leander Dendoncker is available for selection for the game against Everton in midweek, having returned to action in Wolves’ FA Cup win over Crystal Palace on Friday night.

The Wolves squad remains injury hit, however, with Willy Boly, Marcal, Jonny and Daniel Podence all out of Tuesday’s game, according to the Wolves official website.

On Jonny, Nuno said:

“He is improving, he’s doing very well, but he still has time until he can rejoin us again.”

In much more positive news for the Black Country club, Nuno expressed his delight at seeing Raul Jimenez back in the gym after the Mexican suffered a fractured skull in their win over Arsenal in GW10:

“It’s very good to have Raul [Jimenez] around. It’s very good to see him improve. It’s very nice to see him smile and already doing some exercising in the gym and having the positive thought that he’s going to continue and rejoin us. This is what pleases me and everybody around the club more, that we’re going to have Raul back.”

Sheffield United

Blades boss Chris Wilder says he hopes to have “some” of Enda Stevens, George Baldock, Billy Sharp, Lys Mousset and Phil Jagielka fit for a must-win home game against Newcastle, but added that it was “touch and go” for a couple of them.

After their win over Bristol Rovers in the FA Cup on Saturday, Wilder confirmed that both Sharp and Jagielka had only returned to training last Thursday after isolating following positive tests for coronavirus. Wilder described the pair as “bench fillers” for the trip South in the cup.

French striker Mousset appeared to limp off at the Memorial Ground, but the hope is that he will at least be able to play some part against Newcastle.

Newcastle United

Steve Bruce said that he will have “a few players back” for their midweek trip to Brammall Lane. You would expect captain Jamaal Lascelles to be one of those players, after he played 45 minutes in their FA Cup defeat at Arsenal on the weekend.

Bruce also confirmed that Fabian Schar, Karl Darlow and Federico Fernandez were all rested for the trip to the Emirates, which Newcastle’s boss hopes will add a “certain freshness” to the Magpies team in Yorkshire on Tuesday.

Martin Dubravka will be challenging Karl Darlow for the number 1 jersey after returning from injury to play against Arsenal on Saturday. Darlow has been in sensational form in Dubravka’s absence, and Bruce admitted that it will be a “tough decision” regarding who gets the nod on Tuesday:

“I’m delighted with the goalkeeping situation we’ve got. We have two quality goalkeepers and Martin again has reminded us how good he is, while Karl has been very good all season. It’s a tough decision.”

Ryan Fraser also looks set to make a return to the side after missing the home defeat against Leicester last time out, with Bruce saying that he was left at home for the Cup game with Tuesday in mind. Newcastle’s official Twitter page shows him in training on Monday with the rest of the squad.

Brighton and Hove Albion

Brighton will take a depleted squad to face Manchester City on Wednesday evening, with Graham Potter confirming that Adam Lallana, Danny Welbeck, Tariq Lamptey and Aaron Connolly are all out if the trip to the Etihad.

Potter went on to say that midfielder Steven Alzate was a “possibility for the bench” but wouldn’t start against City, whilst Alireza Jahanbakhsh would be assessed after “feeling something” following Sunday night’s penalty shoot-out victory over Newport County in the FA Cup.

Young Polish midfielder Jakub Molder had his first day with the Brighton squad on Monday after arriving from Lech Poznan. The highly rated 21 year old completed light training and it is unclear whether he will be involved on Wednesday.

On the challenges of playing a formidable City outfit just 3 days after being taken the distance by Newport in the cup, Potter admitted that it will be a tough week, but he will look to utilise his squad to keep things as fresh as possible.

Tottenham Hotspur

Jose Mourinho reported no new injury concerns in his pre-match press conference before Wednesday’s game against Fulham.

Mourinho said that Erik Lamela is “legally available” for the all-London clash, but he would have a decision to make after the Argentine winger was photographed at a party over the Christmas period, despite London being under strict lockdown rules.

The Tottenham boss also confirmed that Harry Winks would stay at the club in January, and dropped a big hint that he will play against Fulham.

He (Winks) played the last matches. He didn’t play the last one (Marine) because it was a chance to let players like Gedson get minutes. Tomorrow he’s selected again. If someone’s talking to other clubs I’d say don’t waste your time.”

Fulham

Scott Parker has a full squad to choose from for the visit to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and added that the players that returned from injury in the FA Cup win over QPR last weekend all came out unscathed.

On the late notice of the re-arranged fixture, Parker had this to say:

“The possibility of playing Spurs on Wednesday came on Saturday. We didn’t think that was realistic and we were informed Monday morning at 9:30. To confirm that on Monday morning is scandalous. I accept we have to play the game, but it’s the notice.”

Manchester City

Sergio Aguero will miss the game against Brighton due to coronavirus protocols. The Argentine striker is isolating but should be back in “9 or 10 days”, according to City boss Pep Guardiola.

City defenders Aymeric Laporte and Nathan Ake will also miss the visit of the Seagulls through injury, whilst youngsters Eric Garcia, Adrian Bernabe and Cole Palmer are also isolating.

Raheem Sterling has been passed fit to play against Brighton, with Guardiola reporting no injury concerns other than Ake and Laporte.

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