The Premier League presented its usual glut of pre-international injuries, with no fewer than 28 players being flagged as potential doubts heading into game week 13. But, barring any late complications, twenty-three or 82 per cent of those, could be back in contention. Now, make of that what you may….
Of those failing to recover – Chris Lowe, Adam Smith, Benjamin Mendy and Ryan Fredericks will be side-lined for at least a month, which just leaves Kieran Trippier [groin], who could return within the next 7-10 days. Manchester United were among the hardest hit, but José Mourinho admitted: “We have a huge 23 group to choose from.” Nice timing with a busy fixture period coming up.
Be wary of those sides involved in European action next week as there could be a few selection surprises thrown in, especially with those players who have been heavily involved during the break.
Brighton and Hove Albion – vs – Leicester City
Pascal Gross is pencilled in for a return to the matchday squad. Despite almost three months out, Chris Hughton would have no problem in naming the German in his XI. “Pascal is a very fit lad - he's clear of the injury now and he's fit to start. He's ready to start against Leicester and that's a decision I have to make." Davy Propper is also back and available for this weekend. "Alireza Jahanbakhsh [hamstring] is still ruled out," but David Button [knee] is ready. Dale Stephens begins a three-match ban.
Good news for James Maddison owners.... The Leicester City play maker has returned to full training, but Claude Puel will make a late judgement call based on his fitness. However, he "thinks" he will be in the squad." Jamie Vardy faces a late fitness test. "He had a pain in the last game and came back today. We’ll see tomorrow." Rachid Ghezzal is struggling to make the game and could miss out. Saturday comes too soon for Harry Maguire, but he could return next weekend. “It wasn’t a serious injury. This morning he ran, and step by step he’ll improve in the training session.” Jonny Evans is available following his involvement with Northern Ireland.
Everton – vs – Cardiff City
Gylfi Sigurdsson and André Gomes are fit after recovering from the knocks picked up during the Toffees’ 0-0 draw at Chelsea. “Both Gylfi and Andre are okay,” confirmed Marco Silva at his pre-match press conference. “Gylfi has worked with the team since Thursday, and on Wednesday he did some individual work, but he is okay to play if I take the decision. Andre is also available.” Kurt Zouma comes back into contention after missing the draw at Stamford Bridge due to the terms of his loan agreement. “For sure it gives me a headache. Before the last match, he was doing a fantastic performance every time. Tomorrow I have to take the decision, but it is a good headache." Yerry Mina impressed on his first start alongside Michael Keane.
Ken Zohore has not responded to treatment during the break. "We’re disappointed. It seems to be taking an eternity to get [his calf] right." Jazz Richards [hamstring] has come through an intense week of training without any problems, but he played for the development side on Friday and won’t feature. Nathaniel Mendez-Laing is unlikely to be risked at Goodison Park. "I don’t think [he'll be involved]. We’ve got to be a bit careful with him at the minute, especially with this busy period." Sean Morrison has been cleared after he was forced off last time out due to blurred vision.
Fulham – vs – Southampton
Claudio Ranieri won’t be tinkering too much following his arrival at Craven Cottage: "It's important to maintain, more or less, the same line-up for matches. But you never know. I want everybody available, and then I can choose." The new Fulham boss gave no clues on how he will set his side on Saturday. "If you come to the stadium you will see, I don’t tell you, so Hughes doesn’t know." Joe Bryan is back in contention after missing two months with a hamstring strain. "He has trained every day and trained very well. He's a very good and ambitious player, and I believe in this guy. I don't know if he's ready for 90 minutes, but he's ready for my concept of football." Kevin McDonald and Andre Anguissa are the only two expected injury absentees.
Danny Ings is a rated as a "big doubt" for the trip to Fulham. "He hasn’t been with the group. We hoped to get him out training [Thursday], but he wasn’t able to so." Moi Elyounoussi has "tightness" in his hamstring and Mario Lemina has been managing a thigh issue for several weeks now which is being monitored. "Those two should be okay, but Danny is our main concern.” Ryan Bertrand picked up his fifth caution of the season last time out, meaning the left-back is unavailable. "We’re lucky to have Matt [Targett], he knows the level, he’s played many times in the Premier League and he’ll acquit himself very well I’m sure. He’s coming up against a team that he knows, and he’ll have a good feeling going into the game. I sense Matt – along with everyone else – is really looking forward to the occasion.” No mention of Shane Long in Thursday's press conference following a suggestion before the break that he may need surgery. "It could be a little bit of washout to free out the ankle. That would be two weeks maybe. If it's a little bit more significant it could be four-six weeks."
Manchester United – vs – Crystal Palace
José Mourinho says he has a "huge group" to choose from on Saturday. “Martial stayed with us [and] worked really hard. He didn’t go with [France] and he’s going to play." Marouane Fellaini will also feature while Antonio Valencia is pencilled in for his first appearance since the beginning of October. Romelu Lukaku will be included in the matchday squad. "I would say ready with a little risk, but ready." Marcus Rashford is okay after returning from England duty with a problem and Paul Pogba has used the break to recover from a thigh injury. Luke Shaw must serve a one-match ban following his fifth caution of the season.
There is good news on the injury front for Palace. "We still have the longer-term concerns," said Roy Hodgson. "But Connor Wickham was in his first training session [Friday] and Christian Benteke has made exceptionally good progress - the medical staff are very happy with the way he’s applying himself and how hard he's working. Scott Dann will be back with us on Monday." Wilfried Zaha and James Tomkins have trained all week and both players are available. "They were out for a time due to knocks but both have recovered." Mamadou Sakho is fit after recovering from the back problem he suffered while representing France. No mention of Wan-Bissaka, but the young full-back has been involved in training.
Watford – vs – Liverpool
Javi Gracia confirmed Adalberto Peñaranda is available for the game against Liverpool after being granted a work permit. The Venezuelan has “a brilliant future” and represents “another good option” although the Watford boss is reluctant to throw him in at the deep end. “I think he needs time. He will train hard in the next weeks to be in the best condition.” Tom Cleverley is nearing a return. "He is training really well. We'll see in the next day’s how he is feeling. I think he is close to coming back.” Daryl Janmaat is taking part in full training but won't be considered – the Dutchman played 45-minutes for the Under-23s on Friday. “After that he will be ready. He is very close." Étienne Capoue returns from suspension and Will Hughes has shrugged off the hip problem that forced him off against Southampton. Sebastian Prödl has also trained this week. “All of them are available and tomorrow we will decide the players who will play,” said Gracia.
Jordan Henderson has managed to overcome a slight hamstring problem, but Adam Lallana is sidelined with a "minor thing" and won't be considered. "Everyone else - apart from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - is good and we have decisions to make." Jurgen Klopp is unconcerned by the betting charge brought against Daniel Sturridge by the Football Association. "I know about the case and you don't see any influence in training. I cannot say anything about it. He's in good shape, looks sharp, looks focused and as long as he trains well, he is 100 per cent in contention." Naby Keita was tired on his return from international duty but worked well on Thursday. Andrew Robertson will train with the group for the first time [on Friday]. "He had two very intensive games for Scotland."
West Ham United – vs – Manchester City
Andy Carroll and Jack Wilshere [both ankle] are back in contention. "They worked every day with the squad this week." Mark Noble returns and is in Manuel Pellegrini's thoughts after completing a three-match ban. Robert Snodgrass is suspended and Ryan Fredericks [ankle] is unlikely to play again until 2019. The Hammers have several long-term absentees – Winston Reid, Carlos Sánchez, Manuel Lanzini and Andriy Yarmolenko. Pellegrini isn't concerned about reports linking Arnautovic with a move away from the club. "He has a contract, he is a West Ham player and he is happy here. Every player wants to play for the biggest team, but I don't think he is thinking about that, but only about West Ham." The Hammers boss also admits that Javier Hernández has struggled this season. "It's always difficult to return from the World Cup, as you don't have time to have a full pre-season, then he played one game and missed a month or five weeks with a virus. I hope he will improve his performance now."
Benjamin Mendy could be missing for up-to three months following knee surgery in Barcelona - Zinchenko or Fabian Delph are likely to deputise at left-back. Guardiola confirms Bernardo Silva will be missing this weekend and the Portugal international is an early doubt for the Champions League. No Kevin De Bruyne who is targeting a return in early December. Nicolás Otamendi is in contention after missing the recent internationals.
Tottenham Hotspur – vs – Chelsea
Mousa Dembele will continue his recovery from an ankle injury at the Aspetar Clinic in Qatar. Danny Rose [groin] has entered the final phase of his rehab and Kieran Trippier is aiming for a return to training before the end of the month. Davinson Sánchez 'may' not play again this year after scans confirmed a hamstring strain. Jan Vertonghen is back with the group, but after missing the previous two months, a decision on his involvement will be made closer to kick-off. Pochettino confirms his Argentine trio – Juan Foyth, Paulo Gazzaniga and Erik Lamela - have all returned - 6am Thursday - following their international involvement.
There are no major concerns for Maurizio Sarri. “As usual after an international break there are some issues, a little tired, but fortunately no big problems.” Mateo Kovacic is feeling better after picking up an ankle injury. “He has been doing all the training. I think he will be able to play.”
AFCB Bournemouth – vs – Arsenal
Jefferson Lerma [tight hamstring] and Joshua King [ankle] will be in contention for the visit of Arsenal. Following the international fixtures, Bournemouth are looking a lot healthier injury-wise. "After the Newcastle game, we had a number of players with knocks," said Eddie Howe. "The break has given us the chance to nurse our players and we’ll look at them all and assess their fitness ahead of Sunday." Asmir Begovic is available after missing out for Bosnia because of a thumb problem, but Adam Smith had surgery on his knee to repair a cartilage tear and won't be eligible for selection for around three months. No word on Junior Stanislas.
Stephan Lichtsteiner [hamstring] will be assessed ahead of the game but Nacho Monreal has been ruled out for another two weeks - at least – after suffering a setback in training. Laurent Koscielny [Achilles] is being integrated back into full training and could feature for the development side on Monday night. Dinos Mavropanos is taking much longer than initially anticipated to recover from a groin injury - the defender is not due to return to full training until next month. Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are fine after minor niggles, but Danny Welbeck [ankle surgery] is a long-term absentee.
Wolverhampton Wanderers – vs – Huddersfield Town
Matt Doherty has recovered from a facial injury and he will be available to face Huddersfield on Sunday. "[The] doc had a problem with his eye, one week he took care of it and now he's much better, almost 100 per cent ready to go." Nuno Espírito Santo believes Jonny [knee] does not need an operation, although he is still expected to miss six weeks of action. "Everyone else is okay, no one else is struggling, that's enough!"
David Wagner confirms his players came back from international duty "healthy". Mathias 'Zanka' Jorgensen will serve a one-game ban and Chris Lowe is side-lined with a shoulder injury. “I’m not worried as I have many alternatives." Danny Williams has trained for the last two weeks and goalkeeper Jonas Lössl has recovered from a slight knock which stopped him from joining up with his Danish team-mates.
Burnley – vs – Newcastle United
James Tarkowski and Ben Gibson are still recovering from surgery following a procedure to remedy a hernia issue. The latter is expected to build fitness with the under-23s this weekend. Sean Dyche confirms Steven Defour has recovered from the knee injury which forced him off at Leicester. Johann Berg Gudmundsson [calf] has been involved in full training and will be available. Stephen Ward is going well, and Nick Pope is “making good progress” with the goalkeeping coach. “We’re beginning to show strong signs of numbers coming back our way.”
Paul Dummett has been ruled out of the trip to Turf Moor with a hamstring injury. "He has been treated. We’ll see how it goes during the next week." No timeline on a potential return to play. The additional recovery days will help Jamaal Lascelles [shoulder], Jonjo Shelvey [muscular] and Muto [calf]. "They have two more training sessions to prove their fitness," but even if they are passed fit, they are likely to start them on the bench. "They haven’t completed a full training session. I don’t think they’ll be available to start the game at Burnley." Florian Lejeune is back with the group, but Rafa Benitez insists he won't be taking any risks with the defender who is only 4-months post-op ACL reconstructive surgery. "He is still not available, but he has done a full session with the team. He is getting closer.”