We all remember the dreaded international breaks... you know, the ones where your greatest fantasy asset would play an away game in Romania or Bolivia and come away with torn knee ligaments.
We are now navigating through a similar minefield — one where our greatest fantasy assets have to play against lower division squads in games no one is actually watching (FA Cup or Carabao Cup anyone? anyone?) only to come away with scary-sounding injuries.
It is in times like these that we really need to keep an eagle eye on who’s hurt, who’s getting healthy, who’s suspended, who’s coming off suspension, and who’s on the tightrope.
If you play fantasy EPL, regardless of format, and you don’t know the name Ben Dinnery, well... get to know Ben Dinnery! Just Google the name and have a read through his Twitter account. Simply put, Mr. Dinnery is the authority on FPL player status reports.
Rather than copy/paste Mr. Dinnery’s good work, I will share my views on some of the most relevant players who’ve been in the news ahead of GW 25.
Injured and Out of Contention
Leroy Sane - Manchester City
The productive (and popular) City left winger is out following a nasty tackle by a Cardiff City butcher. Following the match, Pep Guardiola confirmed it could be a 2-4 week injury. This bit of news likely cements Sergio Aguero’s place in the starting XI, as Bernardo Silva can cover on the left until Gabriel Jesus is healthy (he’s coming back soon!). I think Jesus will likely play on the left until Sane is fit for action.
Manuel Lanzini, Marko Arnautovic and Pedro Obiang - West Ham
Meet David Moyes, war zone infirmary director. Lanzini and Arnautovic were white hot for a resurgent Hammers squad so are huge losses. Lanzini is likely out 6 weeks with a torn hamstring, and Arnautovic is said to be out for 3 weeks with a milder hamstring injury. Obiang is likely lost for the season with suspected medial ligament damage.
Willian and Alvaro Morata - Chelsea
There are conflicting reports as to their availability for the Bournemouth clash. I’d err on the side of caution here.
Returning from Injury and Back in Contention
Vincent Kompany - Manchester City
City’s centre back, Mr. Glass, is back in the squad. It’s anyone’s guess how long he’ll be fit to stay on the pitch. It is possible that he’ll get the start in the favorable match against West Brom as stalwart defender Nicolas Otamendi likely needs a rest.
Toby Alderweireld and Christian Eriksen - Tottenham
Another Belgian defender is likely back in contention. It is not yet clear if he will get the start in place of the struggling Davinson Sanchez in the matchup against visiting Manchester United, but he will surely be somewhere on the roster.
The Danish Maestro (Eriksen) is expected to return following a bout with the flu. I’d be a bit hesitant to rely on him too much this week as it may take him a bit longer to fully regain his energy and strength. If you haven’t faced this year’s flu, consider yourself lucky.
Cesc Fabregas and Thibaut Courtois - Chelsea
The Blues Brothers are said to be in contention for the Bournemouth match, but Conte makes me nervous, so I’d stay away from the pair in Official and other formats with a hard lineup lock. Togga is the exception as both the Perfect XI and head-to-head draft game allow managers to change players up to about 5-minutes before their respective matches kick off.
Seamus Coleman - Everton
I know, I know, he’s been a very good fantasy option in recent seasons. But expecting much of anything from a fullback returning from a horrific leg double fracture is one hope too many for me.
Arthur Masuaku - West Ham
To add insult to injury (pun intended!), Masuaku is starting a six-game ban following a despicable and inexcusable spitting incident.
Players with New Teams
Alexis Sanchez - Manchester United
I think the entire world expects him to get the nod for the match at Wembley Stadium.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan - Arsenal
Mkhitaryan looks a very promising signing for the Gunners. When asked about his chances for the starting XI, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger gave a typical reply that can best be summarized and paraphrased as: “We shall see.”
Guido Carrillo - Southampton
The new striker is not super likely to get the start for GW 25 as he acclimates to his new surroundings and battles a minor knock. He could be one to monitor if he can connect with the Saint’s crossing fullbacks Cedric Soares and Ryan Bertrand, as well as set piece maestro James Ward-Prowse.
Joao Mario - West Ham United
The Internazionale loanee is widely expected to walk right into the Hammers’ XI as the team is decimated by injuries and suspensions.
Jurgen Locadia and Leonardo Ulloa - Brighton
Locadia is out a few more weeks with a slight injury; Ulloa is perhaps lacking match fitness but he’s come in from the cold before and produced when called upon. He could get a run off the bench this week.
Alrighty then! This is a good summary of what I’m paying attention to ahead of GW 25. As always I encourage you to check in with NMA regularly for all the latest news and scoops, and also visit @BenDinnery for all the latest player injury updates. By the time this is published there may be a piece of big news or two, so be sure to update the NMA community in the comments section below!