FPL GW26 news – Arsenal face test, Man Utd duo back, Chelsea crisis

Arteta discusses title race ahead of Arsenal v Bournemouth

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After the double gameweek in GW25 brought big rewards for Fantasy Premier League managers, this week’s round of fixtures present some challenging issues in terms of team selection. Arsenal are facing more injury problems in attack, while struggling Chelsea have been hit by further absences in their backline that will no doubt require some managers to make some last-ditch alterations. Ahead of the 11am deadline on Saturday, Express Sport brings you the most essential team news regarding team news, injuries and suspensions.

Arsenal sweat over late fitness test

Eddie Nketiah faces a late fitness test as Arsenal are left to sweat over his availability for their encounter with Bournemouth. Mikel Arteta confirmed that Gabriel Jesus is nearing a return to action but is not quite ready – and now his understudy Nketiah may also be out too.

The 24-year-old has an ankle injury that has hampered the forward over the past two games, indicating why he has started on the bench for both. It is not expected to be anything serious, but it could keep Nketiah out for tomorrow’s game against the Cherries, and it could see midfielder Leandro Trossard (£6.6m) once again deputise in the false nine role, flanked by Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli in a fluid front three.

Jesus, meanwhile, has yet to return to contact training and his recovery from knee surgery is expected to become clearer in the next week. “He’s not far now,” said Arteta. “I don’t want to give a timeline but certain things are with the team and certain things are outside the team. He’s not very close but he’s not far at all.

Man Utd handed double boost

Erik ten Hag could be set to welcome back Luke Shaw into the fold after the defender missed the 3-1 win over West Ham United in the FA Cup in midweek. The Dutchman has said he is confident the left-back will be in the squad to feature against Liverpool on Sunday.

A late check will be done to examine Jadon Sancho, who also missed the clash through illness, with Ten Hag hoping to have the 22-year-old available for selection.

“I think we will have players back,” he told reporters. “[On Wednesday] Luke Shaw was not available, so we expect him back. Sancho was ill, but we will have to wait and see how that develops but I think [he could be available] as well.”

The obvious replacements if there are doubts over Shaw and Sancho would be Argentinian pair Lisandro Martinez (£4.5m) and Alejandro Garnacho (£4.2m), with the latter coming off the bench to score in that game at Old Trafford.

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Chelsea defensive crisis

Graham Potter’s problems continue to mount after being dealt a double blow at the back. Thiago Silva’s knee injury sustained in the 2-0 defeat to Tottenham is set to keep him out for six weeks at least, while Reece James is again absent – this time with a hamstring problem.

Trevoh Chalobah (£4.5m) seems the most likely candidate to fill in for James as Cesar Azpilicueta is not ready to return due to concussion protocols. In replacing Silva, it is likely to be between Wesley Fofana (£4.3m) and Benoit Badiashile (£5.0m) to partner Kalidou Koulibaly.

Potter faces a must-win clash against Leeds at Stamford Bridge without Mason Mount, who is unavailable through injury. And the 47-year-old could be tempted to make wholesale changes after their latest defeat last Sunday.

Injury round-up

Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola has confirmed John Stones and Aymeric Laporte are ready to return to action against Newcastle in the lunchtime kick-off on Saturday: “They have already trained, these days. They feel better – much better,” he said.

Erling Haaland was rested in their 3-0 win over Bristol City in midweek but the Norwegian is set to return to the starting XI, while Kevin de Bruyne is fit again after missing their previous game.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is still without Joe Gomez, Thiago Alcantara and Luis Diaz for the game against Manchester United and suggested his squad would be unchanged: “We had little [knocks] – should be [the same],” he said on Friday.

“The last message I got, it’s now early and I didn’t see them this morning – a lot of things can happen overnight – but yesterday evening they were all fine apart from the players who are out: Thiago and Luis Diaz. Joe obviously I think is closer, but not close enough.”

Tottenham, who will be without Antonio Conte as he continues his recovery from gallbladder surgery, have been boosted after Emerson Royal was passed fit to face Wolves. Rodrigo Bentancur, Hugo Lloris and Ryan Sessegnon all remain sidelined, however, and will not make the trip to Molineux.

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