A quick turnaround and another Fantasy Premier League deadline is upon us, with managers only having until 11.00am on Saturday to lock in their teams. More injuries will be plaguing teams with flags galore, as Express Sport runs the rule over which players will be available for GW23.
The name on everyone’s lips is Erling Haaland. Manchester City’s talisman was out of action for nearly two months before returning off the bench in his side’s 3-1 win over Burnley on Wednesday. However, he played just 19 minutes and with a tough trip to Brentford ahead, there will be fears over whether he is worth transferring in if he is not going to get another start.
Pep Guardiola on Friday said “he’s ready” when asked if Haaland could start in west London, but he did give the same verdict when Kevin De Bruyne was building his fitness back and the Belgian took his spot on the bench once again.
Guardiola will be wary that the Gtech Community Stadium is a potential banana skin fixture and will be determined to put out the best team possible. But even if Haaland was to get another start it is unlikely that he would complete 90 minutes given the severity of his previous injury.
Many FPL managers jumped on the Brighton train with a sea of green fixtures on the Fixture Difficulty Rating, only for Joao Pedro to fail to score since his brace against Tottenham on December 28 and pick up an injury in the Seagulls’ 4-0 thrashing at Luton.
Roberto De Zerbi will make a matchday call on the Brazilian, who could see his minutes reduced in the weeks to come regardless when Kaoru Mitoma and Simon Adingra return from international duties, while Ansu Fati could make the squad to face Crystal Palace.
Trent Alexander-Arnold has come off the bench in Liverpool’s last two games but he is owned by a fifth of FPL managers ahead of a potentially tricky test at Arsenal on Sunday. Jurgen Klopp did not address the England right-back’s fitness directly in his pre-match press conference, but did indicate that those returning were progressing well.
However, a bigger concern would be the emergence of Conor Bradley. The young Northern Ireland star has deputised for Alexander-Arnold more than ably and was named man-of-the-match in the recent 4-1 rout of Chelsea.
Klopp may go for Alexander-Arnold’s experience at the Emirates, but Bradley’s displays have ensured that he can be cautious regarding the vice-captain’s injury return.
When Alexander Isak was forced off in the first half of Newcastle’s win at Aston Villa in midweek, his FPL owners would have been fretting that the Swede was set for a long spell on the sidelines.
However, Magpies’ assistant coach Jason Tindall, who stepped in for an unwell Eddie Howe at his press conference, indicated that Isak has a chance to play a plum home fixture against Luton.
“He’s a lot better, he’s improved,” Tindall said regarding Isak. “He’s improved Wednesday, Thursday and this morning again there is an improvement. He will be one we have to assess after today to see if he makes tomorrow’s game or not. He’s got a chance to be involved tomorrow but that’s one we’ll have to assess today, take advice from the medical team and see where we are.”