Under pressure boss Slaven Bilic won’t appreciate welcoming Liverpool to the London Stadium owing to a growing injury list with the West Ham defence being hit particularly hard. Fortunately, the absence of Philippe Coutinho will help to soften the blow although Sadio Mane looks set for a brief cameo following his early return to full training.
European football is beginning to take its toll on those involved and Tottenham are the latest side struggling to keep players fit as resources become stretched across three competitions. The return of Harry Kane on Wednesday provided a major boost, but the victory over Real Madrid came at a cost after Toby Alderweireld and Hugo Lloris suffered muscular strains.
Billed as the weekend of the season so far, round 11 leads us nicely into the final international break of 2017 with a cracking set of fixtures.
Stoke City – vs – Leicester City
The Potters will be looking to win back-to-back Premier League games following an excellent result at Watford. However, problems in defence continue to hamper Mark Hughes who has struggled throughout 2017/18 to name a settled back four. Ryan Shawcross has a "little" thigh issue which is yet to resolve itself and the skipper will be a late decision. “He didn’t feel it during the game but came in Sunday and Monday and felt a bit of discomfort, and as a result he hasn’t trained so much this week." If he does miss out, then Bruno Martins Indi should be OK following his recovery from injury. Geoff Cameron remains on the side-lines after suffering concussion during the build-up to last weekend’s game: “There is protocol and he has had to undertake some tests, which have come back showing he still isn’t quite ready to [be] considered.” Peter Crouch [back] re-joined his teammates on Thursday and Glen Johnson is over the bout of illness which ruled him out of the game at Vicarage Road. Stephen Ireland is hoping to play again this year.
Claude Puel confirms Ben Chilwell picked up a slight injury against Everton and a decision on the defender won’t be made until Friday: "He feels a little pain in his knee. We’ll see tomorrow if he can participate in the session. It’s not too bad.” Fresh from his man-of-the-match display, Demarai Gray will be brimming with confidence having signed a new four-year contract with the Foxes this week. “It’s good news, of course. He can make the difference. We will see if he can continue to perform.” Matty James and Robert Huth remain out.
Huddersfield Town – vs – West Bromwich Albion
No fresh injury concerns for the Terriers after Rajiv van La Parra was passed fit – previous doubt after limping off at Anfield: "He had some groin problems, but we took him off early enough to make sure he’s okay." David Wagner reveals “we’ve had a good training week and there’s lots of competitions for places." Kasey Palmer [hamstring] and Michael Hefele [Achilles] should return later this month while Jon Stankovic is likely to be back in 2018. Steve Mounié is poised to start the game from the bench once again following his recent return from injury: "He isn’t at the fitness level he was at before. The international break will help him."
Tony Pulis began with a positive update on James Morrison [Achilles] who had been ruled out for the foreseeable future after suffering a setback. However, after meeting a specialist in Holland, the midfielder will be in contention ahead of Chelsea in game week 12. Oliver Burke [hamstring] is pushing to be included in the match-day squad following his involvement with the U23s. Craig Dawson is ruled out and is said to be targeting a return around Christmas after suffering a serious injury to his knee capsule and damage to his thigh a fortnight ago.
Newcastle United – vs – AFC Bournemouth
Rafa Benitez confirms Mikel Merino will miss the Bournemouth game with a back injury. The Spanish under-21 met with a specialist and could return within 2-3 weeks. No way back for Jack who continues to train with the development side. The United boss says Chancel Mbemba will play ahead of Colback in midfield if needed. "He knows the situation and I only concentrate on players I actually have." Paul Dummett [hamstring] is training individually but is looking to join the team again soon. "He is getting closer." Isaac Hayden had some "little problems" during the build-up to the Burnley match “but for this game, he is fine."
Afobe will miss out due to an unspecified muscular problem but Eddie Howe insists the forward “should” be back after the international break. Stanislas is another absentee, although the severity of his groin injury is still unknown as the player is waiting to get a second opinion. However, there maybe be some good news as “at this stage, we believe it's not as serious as we first thought.” Ryan Fraser returned to training this week and Josh King is expected to feature despite Howe insisting he will make a late decision on his involvement. No change regarding injured trio - Adam Federici, Tyrone Mings and Brad Smith.
Southampton – vs – Burnley
Lemina [ankle] will miss out again this weekend. “Mario continues in his treatment,” Pellegrino said. “I would expect after the international break maybe Mario can train with the team.” On the other hand, Austin has recovered from the knock which prevented him from making the squad at Brighton. “Charlie is training with us, yesterday and today. He was training well.”
Chris Wood [hamstring] "has a chance for Saturday" and Sean Dyche will decide after training on Friday. Nahki Wells says he is “champing at the bit” following his hat-trick on Thursday evening. The summer signing from Huddersfield has been building fitness with the under-23s having been side-lined since July and he will be in the squad for Saturday: "He is looking fit and sharper. He’s at the end of a pre-season." Dean Marney is looking good but he will take a little longer to get up-to full speed following more than 9 months out. Steven Defour should be okay after he was forced off during the win over Newcastle because of groin complaint. Tom Heaton and Jon Walters will do well to play again this year.
Swansea City – vs – Brighton and Hove Albion
Paul Clement admits “we have some injuries, but the players who are fit are well capable of putting a good performance in on Saturday.” Renato Sanches [thigh] and Martin Olsson [hamstring] have been ruled out while Wilfried Bony faces a late fitness test. "It is going to be tight for this weekend and I rate him at 50/50,” revealed the Swans boss. Leon Britton [groin] was hoping to return following his recent groin problem but the midfielder has been ill this week. Kyle Bartley is the only other confirmed absentee.
Steve Sidwell [back] is out for the Seagulls and Chris Hughton says Sam Baldock will either feature for the under-23s [on Friday] or be included in the first-team squad on Saturday. Beram Kayal is slightly behind in terms of his fitness, although he shouldn’t be too far away from a return to action.
West Ham United – vs – Liverpool
The Hammers treatment room received a sudden influx of players this week following an unfortunate few days at the club. "Injuries are a part of football,” said Bilic. “One week ago, we were talking about having a full squad. Before Palace I had a big headache because everybody apart from James Collins and then Winston Reid were fit. Then this week we've had a few.” Cheikhou Kouyate may be forced to fill-in at right-back with Pablo Zabaleta suspended and Sam Byram set to be out for up-to five weeks. Michail Antonio damaged his ribs again at Palace ruling him out until after the break. Jose Fonte [foot] won’t feature and Saturday will come too soon for James Collins. On the plus side, Winston Reid is well-placed to recover from the calf strain which side-lined him in game week ten while Aaron Cresswell [dead leg] is expected to feature: “They are fit and should be okay for Liverpool.”
As suspected, Philippe Coutinho [groin] is ruled out - Jurgen Klopp said as much following the UCL win over Maribor. "With the rest, it will be close," he confirmed. Gini Wijnaldum [ankle] could still feature. "We have to see. It's painful what he has but maybe he can cope with it." Dejan Lovren [thigh] also faces a late test. "Today is the clearing session and we know that in weeks like this you have to wait until the last second to make the squad or the line-up." Sadio Mane was at Melwood yesterday and he could make a surprise return. "He looked really, really good and [may be] ready for 20-25 minutes." Adam Lallana is close but hasn't trained with the team: "He will start next week. Then hopefully he can have two proper weeks and be available." Nathaniel Clyne suffered a setback explaining the lack of information on the defender recently: "It's not a big problem. We've sent him to specialists all over world. It just needs time - that's all."
Tottenham Hotspur – vs – Crystal Palace
Spurs confirm Hugo Lloris [groin] and Toby Alderweireld [hamstring] are both unavailable and continue to undergo assessment. France manager Didier Deschamps revealed on Thursday that he expects the goalkeeper to miss at least 15 days. Victor Wanyama continues fieldwork training as part of his recovery. "Yesterday he was good - still not with the team, but alone, with the sports science people. The reaction from his knee was good. He needs to feel his knee is safe and good to be ready to compete.” Harry Kane is over the hamstring issue which caused him to miss last weekend's defeat at Old Trafford. “Kane is well, he feels good. I think he’s on the pass. That’s good for us."
Mamadou Sakho [calf] trained on Friday and the centre-back looks set for a return despite the 2-2 draw with West Ham. He could replace Patrick van Aanholt [hamstring] in a slight change of formation if he fails to rejoin the group on Saturday. Roy Hodgson says, "we have to be careful" with James McArthur who has been struggling with an ankle ligament injury. "We'll see how he's feeling after today's session." Christian Benteke should be able to train almost-fully with the squad over the international break." Meanwhile, Connor Wickham offered an update on his progress during the week after almost a year out. "Hopefully I will be able to be in a position to start playing again in a couple of months."
Manchester City – vs – Arsenal
Pep confirms captain Vincent Kompany will not play for Belgium in the upcoming friendlies against Mexico and Japan: "He is two months injured. He will stay here and hopefully start training." Benjamin Mendy is the only other injury concern as City look to continue their unbeaten start to the season.
Danny Welbeck and David Ospina are not far away "but the Man City game will come too early for them." Shkodran Mustafi is also a non-starter for Sunday. "We have to be a bit more patient. Normally all three should be available after the break." Calum Chambers is back in full training, but due to a lack of conditioning, he won’t be available for this one. There were concerns that Sead Kolasinac [hip] would miss the game, however, I’ve been told that the defender will be fine barring a setback.
Chelsea – vs – Manchester United
Antonio Conte reports that N'Golo Kante "is progressing well" and after tomorrow "the best decision for him [and] for the team" will be made. No Victor Moses though, who has "ZERO" chance of playing this this weekend - he continues his recovery from a "bad muscular problem." Cesar Azpilicueta looks to be okay after picking up an ankle knock in Rome on Tuesday.
United’s pre-match media briefing came slightly earlier than normal as Jose Mourinho was due in a Spanish court to face charges of tax evasion relating to his time in charge at Real Madrid. “I don't want to lie,” he said when asked about the availability of his injured players. “I don't want you to say that I told a lie when I said there's no chance of recovering - so I prefer just to say two more days to confirm my expectation.” Jesse Lingard has a chance of recovering from a minor back problem but Marouane Fellaini has just returned to the Aon Complex and is unlikely to be ready. Marcos Rojo is pencilled in to come back later this month and Zlatan Ibrahimović will be at least another 6-8 weeks. Michael Carrick continues to work away from the main group while Mourinho remains coy on the return of Paul Pogba. “I have no idea,” he said after the win over Tottenham. "I am not in control of his recovery."
Everton – vs – Watford
David Unsworth was able to provide a positive update on Martina after he was stretchered off following a sickening first-half fall in the Europa League on Thursday: "Cuco is fine. His x-rays and scans came back clear. He came home with us and will be out for a couple of weeks [as a precaution]." Michael Keane [leg infection] watched last weekend’s defeat to Leicester from a hospital bed, but the centre-back returned to training on Thursday and "should be okay" if he comes through Friday’s session unscathed. The caretaker boss confirms those senior players who were rested for the game in Lyon – Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka and Wayne Rooney - are back in contention. Yannick Bolasie and Seamus Coleman could realistically return in January, but Funes Mori is still several months away. Ross Barkley and James McCarthy should be back by late-November.
Watford have been boosted by the return of Sebastian Prödl and Younès Kaboul to training, although Sunday's trip to Goodison Park will come too soon for the defensive pair. Meanwhile, Pereyra will also miss out due to the hamstring problem he suffered against Chelsea a fortnight ago. "Roberto is still out for this match. We expect after the break he will be fit [versus West Ham]." Nathaniel Chalobah, Isaac Success and Craig Cathcart remain absent, and Marco Silva admitted it's not yet possible to speculate on an estimated return date for the injured trio. Andre Gray could start after Troy Deeney accepted a Football Association charge of violent conduct following an altercation with Stoke midfielder Joe Allen. The Hornets captain begins a three-match ban.