On Sunday evening, Leicester City Football Club confirmed their Chairman, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, tragically lost his life when the helicopter carrying him, and four other people, crashed outside the King Power Stadium. The news rocked the football community and our thoughts are with everyone at the Club, the Srivaddhanaprabha family and the families and friends of all those on-board following their unspeakable loss. Claude Puel said his players could attend the funeral – which will begin on Saturday – and several members of the squad will fly to Thailand after the game against Cardiff City.
The season has just past the quarter point, but already we’re seeing some familiar faces scrapping for survival with Newcastle United and Huddersfield Town – separated by goal difference – the only sides yet to register a win. Both teams head into this weekend with a relatively clean bill of health knowing that three-points is vital.
With a growing injury list, Arsenal will do well to maintain their unbeaten run – 13 across all competitions – against a Liverpool side who have pushed the current champions hard during the first ten weeks.
The Premier League treats us to a late Saturday night kick-off but are Pochettino’s men beginning to feel the summer strain from having so many players involved in the latter stages in Russia. Danny Rose, Jan Vertonghen and Eric Dier are all out while Dele Alli is still working his way back to full fitness. Nuno Espírito Santo will see this as an excellent opportunity to end Wolves’ mini losing streak.
AFC Bournemouth – vs – Manchester United
"We're okay for team news," Eddie Howe said despite an ankle problem keeping Josh King out of the early kick-off. "He's not going to be ready. It's not a long-term injury, he is disappointed to miss out and is fully focused on his recovery." Simon Francis faces a fitness test after tweaking his groin during the Carabao Cup win over Norwich City. "We'll have to make a late call on him. He's had a scan on the injury and it's not a pull, so we're quietly confident he'll make the game, but we can't say definitely until we've seen him train."
Diogo Dalot [knee] and Marouane Fellaini [groin] are "still out" although both players are progressing from their respective injuries. Jesse Lingard and Alexis Sánchez are "ready" to return, but it could be from the bench as they're "not yet at a good level [of fitness]." Antonio Valencia "went one step behind" this week and is not working with the main group after picking up an injury in training.
Cardiff City – vs – Leicester City
"We’ve only got a couple of injury problems," Neil Warnock confirmed during Friday's press conference. "Harry Arter is back [after missing the defeat at Liverpool], but Jazz Richards isn’t going to make it this week." There are no problems with Aron Gunnarsson who has featured in the last two after his recovery from a knee injury. "We’ve got a decent squad with Harry back - fortunately this week he hasn’t got booked in training!" Lee Peltier [shoulder], Nathaniel Mendez-Laing [knee], Joe Ralls [suspended] and Danny Ward are still missing for the Bluebirds.
Daniel Amartey has had ankle surgery. “It was a success, but he will not be available normally for four months," revealed Claude Puel. Matty James re-joined the group for their warm-up this week. "It was a good feeling," following a long-term Achilles problem. Wes Morgan returns after serving a two-match ban." All of the other players are okay."
Everton – vs – Brighton and Hove Albion
Phil Jagielka and Jonjoe Kenny have "small problems" which will keep them out of this weekends’ fixture. "They'll be okay for training next week." Colombian international Yerry Mina could be handed his debut. "We know that Kurt Zouma can't play against Chelsea [GW12]," said Marco Silva. "Yerry Mina is ready to play if I make the decision. Our ambition, and focus, is on tomorrow’s match. The friendly [against Kenyan outfit Gor Mahia] next Tuesday could be a good solution.” James McCarthy ended his nine-month injury nightmare by completing 90-minutes in a PL2 game against Manchester United last weekend. The Republic of Ireland international will continue to build fitness with the development side before Marco Silva considers him for a first-team return.
Pascal Gross is set to miss the next two games. "He's close but he's not back in training yet - he's done some really good rehab. We're confident he'll be back after the international break.” Davy Propper is also unavailable for the game at Goodison Park. "He is the same as Pascal - he'll miss Saturday but he's close."
Newcastle United – vs – Watford
Florian Lejeune [ACL knee] continues his rehabilitation and the defender has taken part in the warm-up sessions this week. Newcastle are hoping for a return in early 2019. Ciaran Clark is over his recent thigh problem, although he has missed days due to illness, which means “he is not in the squad.” Everyone else is available apart from Jamie Sterry.
Nathaniel Chalobah will be included in the travelling squad to Newcastle. “He is fit,” said Javi Gracia. “He was disappointed after he came back from [the] national [team] because he felt a little pain. This week he has trained and is fit and ready to play." A hamstring injury is expected to keep Deeney out for a third successive match. “Troy is training but out of the team at this moment. We'll see tomorrow, but it's difficult for him to be available for the next game.” Sebastian Prödl is definitely out having failed to recover from the leg problem he picked up as a second-half substitute at Molineux. Daryl Janmaat and Tom Cleverley remain side-lined. “They are players in a different process and I don't know when they are going to come back." Jose Holebas and Christian Kabasele are hoping to force their way into the starting XI, but Gracia could once again name an unchanged side after Craig Cathcart managed to shake off a minor knock.
West Ham United – vs – Burnley
"Jack Wilshere and Andy Carroll will be working with the squad fully during the international break. We have four other players with long-term injuries - Winston Reid, Manuel Lanzini, Carlos Sánchez and Andriy Yarmolenko - and they will not be able to play for a few months more, at least.” Aaron Cresswell will compete with Arthur Masuaku after recovering from the calf injury that caused him to miss the Carabao Cup versus Tottenham. “We don't have any other new injuries." Manuel Pellegrini confirms Arnautovic is okay. "Marko has no problem - he always has some sort of disturbance with his knee, but it is not an injury." Fit-again Pedro Obiang could replace the suspended Mark Noble following his dismissal at Leicester.
Sean Dyche confirms that there are no new injury concerns ahead of the weekend trip to West Ham. A decision on Jack Cork [ankle] will be made closer to kick-off after he limped off [vs Chelsea] while Aaron Lennon is over his illness. Saturday comes too soon for Ben Gibson [hernia] who will meet with a specialist before returning to the first-team. The centre-back played for the U23s ten days ago. Nick Pope [dislocated shoulder] and Stephen Ward [knee surgery] remain out.
Arsenal – vs – Liverpool
Not a great deal of change for Arsenal ahead of their Premier League clash with Liverpool. However, injuries and suspension mean that up-to eight players are at risk of missing out. "We are playing a lot and injuries are normal. We will wait on full-back(s) - Nacho Monreal / Sead Kolasinac / Hector Bellerin - and will see if a player can make it for tomorrow." Sokratis Papastathopoulos [ankle] faces a late fitness test while Matteo Guendouzi [suspended] is unavailable. Laurent Koscielny [Achilles], Konstantinos Mavropanos [groin] and Mohamed Elneny [thigh] are all ruled out.
Jurgen Klopp confirms Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita [both hamstring] are ruled out of the trip to Arsenal. The pair should return to full training within the next few days, but neither will be ready for the Champions League tie in Belgrade on Tuesday. "They are in the time we expected, we didn’t have to rush, there was no reason for trying to get them ready." Mo Salah has been using a support / splint due to inflammation of the tendons in his wrist. "It's not really serious, the pictures you saw were only for protection." He will feature at the Emirates.
Wolverhampton Wanderers – vs – Tottenham Hotspur
Nuno Espírito Santo made his first change of the season at Brighton last weekend with summer signing Adama Traoré coming in for his first Premier League start. And the winger could retain his place despite a below par performance after Diogo Jota was ruled out due to an unspecified injury. Wolves have no other concerns and will hope to avoid their third successive defeat against the league’s best travellers – Spurs have won five from 6 on the road.
Eric Dier and Danny Rose, thigh and groin injuries respectively, are unlikely to return before the international break. That should be good news for Ben Davies’ owners while Harry Winks could be recalled with Victor Wanyama also ruled out. He becomes the latest addition to the Tottenham treatment room after picking up a knee injury against West Ham on Wednesday. Jan Vertonghen [hamstring] remains a long-term absentee.
Manchester City – vs – Southampton
Kevin De Bruyne is expected to be out for between 5-6 weeks after tests confirm the City star suffered knee [left] ligament damage during Thursday night’s Carabao Cup fourth-round win over Fulham. Thankfully, no surgery is needed. "We are sad for him, nobody likes to have injured players, but he will come back to the player he is, and he will be fine." Ilkay Gundogan is training with the team but he is still not 100 per cent and is likely to miss out again. Nicolás Otamendi has a little problem. "He’s not training, but he is strong and maybe tomorrow he’ll tell me he’s ready." Aymeric Laporte is the only City ever-present outfield player this season. "He’s fresh for us because he has not been selected for the national team."
“We’ve got a clean bill of health,” revealed Saints boss Mark Hughes. “Pierre-Emile Højbjerg is over his illness – he’s trained, so he’s available, and everybody else is fit.” Charlie Austin has managed to shake off a slight shoulder problem.
Chelsea – vs – Crystal Palace
Maurizio Sarri says that he does not know whether Eden Hazard is fit to play for 90 minutes on Sunday. "He trained for a large part of the session [on Thursday]. He can probably play for 40 to 45 minutes." Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have "improved" tactically, but they need to strengthen further in the "defensive phase". Olivier Giroud [muscular fatigue] is expected to return to the matchday squad, but Álvaro Morata is favourite to start after scoring at Burnley. Ethan Ampadu is training fully after overcoming a knee injury.
James McArthur and Cheikhou Kouyate had knocks and were unavailable for the trip to Middlesbrough. "But, all have recovered well." Christian Benteke [knee] and Joel Ward [muscular] are progressing nicely but the former won’t be back until 2019. "Connor Wickham has a new thigh strain which will keep him out unfortunately," Roy Hodgson mused. Wilfried Zaha jarred his shoulder, in a fall last weekend. "But there was never any question that he wouldn't be fit for Sunday. He trained with everybody today."
Huddersfield Town – vs – Fulham
“Apart from Danny Williams [knee] everyone is in contention for the squad. Rajiv Van la Parra and Hamid Sabiri had illnesses but are back in training. I have 22 players, and all are in contention,” David Wagner confirmed. Williams should return after the international break. The US defender has been out since September due to an ongoing knee problem [inflammation]. Terence Kongolo [knee] and Tom Smith [groin] are well-placed for a recall after 10 days with the group.
Kevin McDonald returns to the fold after serving his one-match ban in the Carabao Cup. A hamstring injury will keep Joe Bryan on the side-lines. There are no obvious problems from Thursday night’s game, but players will be assessed throughout Saturday. Tom Cairney is likely to be feeling a little tired following his first 90 minutes since August, however, the extra recovery days will help.