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FPL team news: Walcott injury may keep Sanchez wide

The Scout 30 Dec 2016
Arsenal v Stoke City, Theo Walcott

Arsenal asset set to miss Crystal Palace visit as FPL managers brace for rotation over busy Gameweek schedule

Part of 12.4% of Fantasy Premier League squads, Arsenal's Theo Walcott (£7.7m) looks set to miss out again for the visit of Crystal Palace as he continues to be troubled by a calf problem.

The forward sat out the Gameweek 18 meeting with West Bromwich Albion having been acquired by more than 73,000 FPL managers.

Arsene Wenger remains doubtful on Walcott’s return, which could mean Alexis Sanchez (£11.9m) retained in a role down the flank with Olivier Giroud (£8.5m) as the central striker.

The news that Shkodran Mustafi (£5.8m) is in line for a return against Palace is a boost to Arsenal and their fans but will cause consternation for the 14,000 FPL managers who swooped on the value offered by Gabriel (£4.8m).

The Brazilian may give way and looks unlikely to offer FPL managers assured pitch time in the coming Gameweeks.

Tottenham Hotspur will likely make the trip to Watford with Toby Alderweireld (£6.3m) returning to their defence. The Belgian has recovered from the virus that forced him to miss the Gameweek 18 victory at Southampton.

While that will boost the chances of a clean sheet for Spurs, with both Kyle Walker (£6.2m) and Jan Vertonghen (£5.7m) suspended, Danny Rose (£5.9m) remains the only other first-choice defender likely to appear at Vicarage Road.

Tottenham's Son Heung-min scores their third goal
Son Heung-min looks set to start after scoring from the bench at Southampton

Rose could even be considered for a rest, with Ben Davies (£4.7m) available to start as manager Mauricio Pochettino considers the meeting with Chelsea on Wednesday 4 January.

That could also mean Son Heung-min (£7.1m) will be in the frame for a first start since Gameweek 15, having scored from the bench at St Mary's.

Spurs' opponents are nursing a string of injuries, with both Valon Behrami (£4.5m) and Daryl Janmaat (£4.6m) ruled out.

Miguel Britos (£4.4m) is suspended and Craig Cathcart (£4.3m) is available but is unlikely to complete 90 minutes. Such concerns indicate Walter Mazzarri's men may struggle to contain a Spurs side confident after Wednesday's 4-1 victory.

Pep Guardiola is expected to recall Sergio Aguero (£12.8m) for Manchester City's trip to Anfield after the end of the Argentinian's four-match ban.

Liverpool will be without both Joel Matip (£5.4m) and Philippe Coutinho (£8.2m), with Ragnar Klavan (£4.6m) continuing to deputise at the back, offering FPL managers a cut-price route into a defence with four clean sheets in seven Gameweeks.

Manchester United's Henrikh Mkhitaryan scores their third goal
After his spectacular goal against Sunderland, Henrikh Mkhitaryan is a contender to start at home to Middlesbrough

Jose Mourinho will be pondering unleashing midfield differential Henrikh Mkhitaryan (£8.9m) against Middlesbrough at Old Trafford.

His stunning goal from the bench in the Gameweek 18 victory over Sunderland means the Armenian has scored in back-to-back appearances. He resides in just 2.5% of FPL squads.

Leicester City will host West Ham United reinforced by the return of Robert Huth (£4.9m) and Christian Fuchs (£5.3m), who have served one-match bans.

Riyad Mahrez (£9.0m) and Danny Drinkwater (£5.3m) could also earn recalls from Claudio Ranieri.

Sunderland v Middlesbrough - Premier League
Vito Mannone looks set to replace Jordan Pickford in the Sunderland goal

Sunderland begin life without goalkeeper Jordan Pickford (£4.2m) at Burnley.

David Moyes is set to turn to Vito Mannone (£4.3m) to deputise, offering FPL bosses a possible replacement for the popular Pickford who is thought to be sidelined for 6-8 weeks.

Despite recent sales, Pickford is still found in 14.8% of FPL squads.

The Gameweek 19 deadline is 7pm GMT, 30 December.

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