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Team News

Late Fitness Check - GW10

by Ben Dinnery
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Its derby weekend as City and United fight for bragging rights in the North West while the Mackems and Magpies face off in the North East. Expect two adrenaline fuelled, highly entertaining match-ups despite the often [lack of] quality as skill and technique make way for passion and desire. You can’t beat the blood and thunder of a fierce local rivalry.


“It’s not a game that decides the title. For the city it’s always a special game - it's the same for the team and the manager,” said Pellegrini.


“The talk of the town is this match," announced Louis van Gaal. "I think all great players love this kind of match. Not only Wayne Rooney, but also the other big players we have."


Steve McClaren tries to maintain focus “We have to play the game and not the occasion. It’s an old saying but it’s true.”  


"My job is to remind the players of the importance of the game and control their emotions." Take note Mr Cattermole, your manager has spoken.


West Ham – vs – Chelsea

West Ham will be without Victor Moses under the terms of his loan agreement while Winston Reid is also absent "He is improving and running again, but he still has a few more boxes to tick." Enner Valencia “could start," after the Ecuadorian played [and scored] for the under-21s on Monday night "we will see,” said Bilic. Alex Song should re-join the group next week and a return in game week twelve is realistic. The Hammers climbed to the dizzy heights of fourth after last weekends’ win at Selhurst Park, a victory which marked their best top-flight start to a season since the 1970s.  


Mourinho confirms there is "no change" to the current injury situation. Pedro and Loic Remy [who were not involved in Kiev due to minor problems] have not recovered sufficiently. They remain out along with Branislav Ivanovic and Thibaut Courtois. If Jose Mourinho is to be believed then Chelsea stock is on the rise. A win over Villa was followed up by a solid performance in Russia and if it wasn’t for that “……… weak and naïve referee” the Blues would’ve taken all 3-pts in the Champions League. The big news from game week nine was the surprise omission of Eden Hazard - a shot from the Mourinho bows suggesting no-one is guaranteed a place in his side. However, Hazard did return midweek although the manager would not be drawn on whether the Belgian will start on Saturday. Baba Rahman came in for his first PL appearance last weekend while Diego Costa grabbed 2-goals to hopefully kick start his season.



Leicester City – vs – Crystal Palace

"Leonardo Ulloa is not ready yet. I don't want to risk him. Maybe he's ready for the cup. Others are OK," confirmed Ranieri. The Argentine suffered a thigh injury during the build-up to last weekends’ match. Riyad Mahrez was named on the bench for the second successive game at St Marys’ but the winger continued his rich vein of form by turning provider from the bench. An inspired Ranieri double substitution helped the Foxes comeback from two-goals down for the third time this season to share the spoils. Jamie Vardy took his tally to nine [9] topping the PL goal scoring charts. The England international notched for the sixth consecutive game and made it 10 goals from his last 10 Premier League appearances.


"The usual players are missing," confirms Pardew. "Chamakh, Wickham. Everybody else is available." Joel Ward will be a part of the squad that travels to the King Power after joining the group in the training on Thursday. Fraizer Campbell could lead the Eagles attack as Dwight Gayle will sit this one out through suspension - Patrick Bamford is another option. "Connor is running. We don't think he's too far away. He had a break down with his calf injury, but is nearly back," said Pardew. “Marouane is close to a return. We're having to be very careful. He’s worked hard to improve the strength of his hamstrings." Mile Jedinak and Damien Delaney returned to the bench against West Ham and following a disappointing home defeat will be pushing for a recall.



Aston Villa – vs – Swansea City

The wolves are beginning to circle. Villa have only taken just 1-pt from a possible twenty-four and are now in the bottom three. Despite a host of changes last time out, Tim Sherwood is yet to find that winning formula and could make further alterations following the return of Gabby Agbonlahor and Ciaran Clark. Even the lesser spotted Charles N’Zogbia is rumoured to be hankering for a place on the bench. A massive game for both sides and one which may just favour the home team on current form.


Garry Monk remains hopeful that Routledge can overcome the calf problem which kept him out of Mondays' defeat to Stoke. “Everyone’s fit apart from Wayne, but he will join back in with training on Friday, so we’ll make a decision then." Swansea are winless in six and the pressure is beginning to mount as the natives become restless. The main concern for Swansea is their lack of goals. Only Gylfi Sigurdsson [1], Andre Ayew [4] and Bafetimbi Gomis [4] have scored this season. Ki Sung-Yueng has struggled to recapture anything like the form which earned him last seasons’ player of the year while Jefferson Montero has cooled his jets after blazing a trail during the early part of the campaign. Kyle Naughton is pushing for a recall after losing his place to Angel Rangel following the birth of his daughter.  



Stoke City – vs – Watford

"Jon Walters has trained,” after a minor groin issue kept him out of GW9. “Shay Given has also had a couple of sessions and will most likely be available too," said Hughes. "Diouf is back, but we're mindful where he is physically and mentally. We have three games in a week. He'll play a part somewhere." The same can also be said of Ryan Shawcross who is likely feature on Tuesday and not against Watford "The back four have been good recently. There's no reason to change it." Bojan took all the plaudits at Swansea – the Spanish attacker cleverly drew the foul from Ashley Williams to win a penalty before calmly slotting home the resultant spot-kick. Stoke have now won back-to-back away games.


Valon Behrami will have a late fitness test as a niggling calf complaint threatens to side-line the Swiss international once again “I don’t know if he is 100 per cent,” confirmed Flores. "Friday I will know if he is ready or not. We will see.” Jurado is out of the clash at the Britannia Stadium "Jose isn’t ok. Hopefully he will be back next week." Joel Ekstrand has stepped up his rehab following an ACL rupture earlier this year. The defender is on schedule to return at around Christmas time. Tommie Hoban is the only other injury concern “He is doing well. He should be back in around eight weeks.” Flores has kept a relatively settled side this season but following Watford’s fifth blank of the campaign - against Arsenal - the Italian may be tempted to tinker with plenty of credible options at his disposal. Lloyd Doyley joined Charlton on trial this week.



Norwich City – vs – West Brom

Alex Neil confirms Saturday will probably come too soon for Youssouf Mulumbu. “It’s unlikely he will be thrown straight into the action this weekend," after spending almost 3-months on the side-lines due to a fractured metatarsal. Lewis Grabban and Gary Hooper [both ankle] will have a late fitness tests. No team has conceded more than Norwich [20] who are now winless in four so the manager may look to shake things up. Matt Jarvis and Wes Hoolahan were benched at St James’ Park, but following a [6-2] drubbing - the pair could be in line for a recall.


James Morrison is still struggling with an ongoing ankle complaint. The Scottish midfielder trained on Thursday “but didn’t look comfortable” and only has an "outside chance" of making the squad. Saido Berahino is not as fit as last season “he’s carrying a little bit of weight” but the forward – along with Rickie Lambert - “is looking a lot sharper” following extra sessions over the past fortnight. James McClean received a warning after he was involved in a post-match altercation with a number of Sunderland players last weekend. Danny Graham in particular, didn’t take too kindly to his overzealous celebrations in front their away support. “He's not the sharpest tool in the box, and that's not being disrespectful to him,” Pulis said.



Arsenal – vs – Everton

Arsene Wenger believes Aaron Ramsey and David Ospina "will be out until after the next international break." Ramsey suffered a hamstring tear during the Champions League game versus Bayern while Ospina injured his shoulder playing for Colombia. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is expected to be handed his chance to shine. Mikel Arteta won’t get the opportunity to face his former club after the Spanish midfielder turned his ankle in training on Thursday ruling him out. Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and Danny Welbeck should be back "around the New Year." Gabriel has returned to full training following illness. Wenger hinted that Sanchez could be rested for the visit of Everton as the rigours of the past few weeks begin to take their toll “Alexis, you could see that he was a bit jaded physically. He still pushes himself so much but he finished exhausted – the two games with Chile, plus the travelling, plus Watford, plus tonight, it’s too much.”


The return of Tom Cleverley, Bryan Ovideo and Steven Pienaar for the under-21s this week "was a significant boost," said Martinez. Cleverley will be assessed during training and could make the bench but a fully fit Oviedo is unlikely to oust Brendon Galloway. Martinez will manage the first team integration of Pienaar very carefully given his injury problems over the past twelve-months. Leighton Baines is training “really well” and progressing along with Mo Besic and Tony Hibbert. Barring setbacks, the Toffees should have a full complement of players within the next two-weeks. Everton were uncharacteristically flat against Man United and may have been affected by the emotional Goodison atmosphere following the sudden death of their former manager Howard Kendall. Expect, a much-improved performance at The Emirates.



Sunderland – vs – Newcastle United

Sam Allardyce confirms "Fabio Borini picked up a [ankle] knock against West Brom and hasn't trained with the team. He has a fitness test on Saturday." Jermain Lens and Seb Coates return after missing out last weekend through suspension. Ola Toivonen was back in training following his recent groin problem. A win in the Wear-Tyne derby would elevate Big Sam to instant hero status. Jack Rodwell is close to overcoming a niggling ankle injury but Duncan Watmore and Adam Matthews won’t be considered. 


No fresh concerns for Newcastle as their injury problems are beginning to ease. Jack Colback, Daryl Janmaat, Paul Dummett and Massadio Haidara returned last weekend while Cheick Tiote started his second PL game of the year. Emmanuel Riviere, Karl Darlow and Gabriel Obertan aren’t ready just yet but the trio should be back within “four weeks,” confirmed Steve McClaren. Rolando Aarons and Kevin Mbabu have returned to full training and the pair are in contention. The Magpies secured their first win of the season against Norwich. A four-goal haul from Wijnaldum earned him the match ball but he was more than ably assisted by Moussa Sissoko, Ayoze Perez and Mitrovic.  



Manchester United – vs – Manchester City

Paddy McNair and Luke Shaw are the only injured United players. Ashley Young is training again following his recent calf strain but won't be considered for the match. James Wilson – illness – could make the squad though. Louis van Gaal may revert back to the same side which confidently won at Goodison Park after Juan Mata and Matteo Darmian were rested midweek. Phil Jones is back up-to speed along with Marcos Rojo. Daley Blind, Memphis Depay and Michael Carrick all paid the price for the drubbing at The Emirates.


Despite the early optimism, David Silva will not make this weekends’ derby. The Spanish starlet keeps his place in the treatment room alongside Sergio Aguero, Samir Nasri, Fabian Delph and Gael Clichy. “Maybe next week one or two of them can start working with the team," said Pellegrini. Captain Vincent Kompany could be named on the bench once again? "It's crucial to play with the best players for the moment. Now, Mangala and Otamendi are doing well." City have failed to keep a clean-sheet in any of the seven games Kompany has missed. Nasri will be around 3/4 weeks while Kevin de Bruyne could lead the attack “We can play in different ways and we can win. He is not a striker but he could play as a striker if we need him to.” Aleksandar Kolarov made a surprise return midweek and could be recalled to the eleven. Pablo Zabaleta limped off against Sevilla but should be OK.



AFC Bournemouth – vs – Tottenham

Andrew Surman is OK after picking up an injury at The Etihad. The Cherries’ midfielder collided with Wilfried Bony which left him with “a dead calf.” Adam Federici remains on standby as Boruc will have a late fitness test. "We're unsure about the situation with Artur. We had conflicting reports from his scan. We'll have to wait and see." Harry Arter "is progressing and getting stronger, he's looking more like himself every day," and the Irishman could make the bench for the first time this season. Marc Pugh has recovered from the rib injury which restricted him to a cameo appearance from the bench in game week nine while Lee Tomlin has been ill "but should be alright."


Pochettino confirmed that Ryan Mason will be added to the Tottenham squad although the midfielder “may not play many minutes.” Mason hasn’t featured since picking up a knee injury at the Stadium of Light over a month ago. Nabil Bentaleb, Tom Carroll and Son Heung-Min “are close,” but none are ready. Nacer Chadli joins the trio after he was stretchered off against Liverpool. A scan confirmed the midfielder could miss up-to six weeks after damaging ankle ligaments. Harry Kane has overcome a minor knock and should lead the Spurs attack.



Liverpool – vs – Southampton

Daniel Sturridge will be assessed "day-by-day," confirmed Klopp but his knee injury is “not much better.” The striker has a chance if he can train on Saturday but his participation looks unlikely. Sturridge will need another scan and further treatment to remedy swelling around the knee. However, the return of Christian Benteke and Roberto Firmino will help to soften the blow – both players were involved from the bench in Thursdays’ Europa League draw with Rubin Kazan. Dejan Lovren has re-joined the group. Jürgen Klopp will "speak to someone" at the FA after Jordan Rossiter played three-games in five-days for England and suffered a hamstring strain. "It is not OK."


Maarten Stekelenburg trained normally on Thursday and Friday "he will be available for the weekend," but Shane Long [ankle ligaments] remains on the side-lines. "Steven Davis, Victor Wanyama, James Ward-Prowse and Jay Rodriguez had some physical problems this week. But it looks like all these players are available," said Koeman. Jose Fonte and Virgil van Dijk were both on the scoresheet last weekend as the Saints were quick out of the blocks, however, Southampton tired during the second forty-five allowing Leicester to back into the game. Jordy Clasie made his first appearance in the Premier League – 30 minutes – following hamstring and ankle injuries but a start for the Dutchman is unlikely having missed over two-months.