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Team News

Late Fitness Check GW15

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

Everton have managed just one win in 9 and Ronald Koeman will be eager to address his sides slide or they risk dropping into the bottom half. Much will depend on the misfiring Romelu Lukaku whose season has cooled since October.

 

Swansea aren’t in crisis just yet according to manager Bob Bradley, but the US coach is under mounting pressure just two months after taking charge at the Liberty Stadium. The Jacks are bottom of the pile and the board are already set to hold a review into the American’s position.

 

Stoke have an awful record at Arsenal, but the Potters will be hoping it’s unlucky 13 for the home side, having lost every one of their previous 12 visits. As a coach, Mark Hughes hasn’t fared much better, he is winless from nine with 5 different clubs.

 

If media reports are to be believed, then Alan Pardew was only one defeat away from losing his job at Crystal Palace. But, the 3-0 win over Southampton ended a six-game losing streak, and the Eagles have a chance to build on the victory against a hapless Hull side.  

 

Slaven Bilic is another manager who is feeling the pressure. A 5-1 home loss to London rivals Arsenal done nothing to appease growing unrest from the West Ham faithful, and if results go against them, the Hammers could find themselves bottom by the time they kick off at Anfield on Sunday.

 

 

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Watford – vs – Everton


Walter Mazzarri has been boosted by the return of Valon Behrami and Miguel Britos - the pair served their suspension in the loss at West Brom. Daryl Janmaat is available after recovering from injury but Younes Kaboul and Craig Cathcart are likely to miss out again. The Football Association have reduced the ban handed to Robert Pereyra, for retaliation, to one game and he will return on Wednesday. Isaac Success is probably a little short in terms of his fitness but Odion Ighalo could return to the side.  

 

Ronald Koeman says the injury to Yannick Bolasie is "a big loss for everybody, he's an important player." The Toffees winger will head to London next week for a second opinion on his knee before surgery – initial reports suggest Bolasie could miss the whole of 2017. In his absence, Ross Barkley will be hoping for a recall after he was an unused substitute against Man United: "I expect more from my attacking players. It is about his tactical awareness and productivity,” said the Everton boss. Seamus Coleman [ribs] trained as normal on Thursday and should be fine.  

 

 

Arsenal – vs – Stoke City


No fresh injury concerns from the Champions League game on Tuesday evening. Francis Coquelin is available following his suspension in the competition and "maybe" Hector Bellerin will come back into contention. The full-back will be assessed in training on Friday having missed the last six games due to an ankle ligament injury - he has an outside chance of making the squad. Danny Welbeck and Per Mertesacker are recovering nicely and the pair are hoping to be back in January. Arsène Wenger confirms Santi Cazorla's Achilles surgery "went well" with the Spanish star is hoping to return in February. “We have to see how he recovers."

 

Ryan Shawcross [calf] is still unavailable: "It's frustrating but we want to make sure he is right. He is progressing, hopefully it won’t be long until he is back," said Mark Hughes. Marko Arnautovic [hip] and Bruno Martins-Indi [face] "should be OK" but Geoff Cameron "needs a little more time" after suffering a setback. Expect a return within 2-3 weeks. Jack Butland is doing well: "There are no concerns," said the Potters boss. "He wants to get back but the key is not pushing himself. We aren't prepared to take any risks, if he feels anything we will assess him." Phil Bardsley remains on the sidelines. Meanwhile, Ibrahim Afellay should return from a serious knee injury early in the new year.

 

 

Burnley – vs – AFC Bournemouth


Sean Dyche reveals Tom Heaton is in contention for the visit of Bournemouth: "He's had a good few days [in training]. As long as there’s no reaction he’ll be back." Paul Robinson will drop to the bench. Sam Vokes and Steven Defour are pushing for a recall after they were named as substitutes at Stoke and Andre Gray will be looking to kick start his season having struggled to nail down a starting berth since returning from suspension.

 

Eddie Howe takes confidence from last weekend and will be looking to secure another three-points: "Beating a top team like Liverpool should give us a boost. We've tried not to focus on it too much, but there's a spring in the step." Junior Stanislas [ankle] is ruled out: "Fingers crossed it won't be too long for him - weeks rather than months." Ryan Fraser is poised for his first league start since August following his 35-minute match winning cameo. Charlie Daniels returns after missing the last two games because of a hip flexor strain and he could slot in at left-back with Simon Francis returning to a more central role alongside Nathan Ake. Jack Wilshere continues to impress since his arrival from Arsenal: "It's good for him to get the recognition his form deserves. He's had a big impact on games for us and is only improving." No return for Andrew Surman who suffered a setback in his recovery from a hamstring strain.

 

 

Hull City – vs – Crystal Palace


Hull are struggling in attack due to injury and suspension: “Unfortunately, we only have one fit striker at our disposal. If that means we have to be stronger in other areas, then so be it.” Adama Diomande was left to plough a lonely furrow at the Riverside on Monday, and in the absence of Dieumerci Mbokani [ban] and Abel Hernandez [hernia] who may not play again this year, he’s likely to play the lone role again. Shaun Maloney [back] has trained all week and will be added to the Tigers squad.

 

Loic Remy is still two or three weeks away from training with us: "That's disappointing," said Alan Pardew who had expected the Chelsea loanee to return in early December. Goalkeeper Steve Mandanda has had knee surgery, and he won’t play again until January: "He'll now be out for 4-5 weeks." Connor Wickham begins his long road back to full fitness after rupturing his cruciate ligament at Swansea a fortnight ago.  

 

 

Swansea City – vs – Sunderland


Bob Bradley confirms: "The only two not ready are Sung-Yeung Ki and Federico Fernandez.” Both players have similar injuries [a broken toe] but shouldn’t be too far away from a return. “Everyone else is ready." Leon Britton could earn a recall to help steady the Swansea ship following last weekend’s thrashing at the hands of Tottenham.

 

Duncan Watmore will have ACL surgery when the swelling in his knee subsides. The 22-year-old is not expected to be back until 2017/18. Seb Larsson is one potential replacement but David Moyes could also look to the likes of Adnan Januzaj or Wahbi Khazri. Jan Kirchhoff “played very well" following his introduction last weekend and the German is in line to replace Jason Denayer. Fabio Borini has travelled with the squad, “he is just about ready,” and there’s a possibility he might make the bench. Steven Pienaar [concussion] is available after he was forced off at half-time because of a problem with his eyesight.

 

 

Leicester City – vs – Manchester City


Papys Mendy is expected to be named on the bench after playing 90 minutes in the Champions League: "He's [trained] just 10 days and played against Porto. He must recover a little more." Robert Huth has overcome a minor back injury and will be ready for the visit of Man City. Danny Drinkwater serves the final game of his three-match ban and the Leicester midfielder will return to the squad on Tuesday. Claudio Ranieri refuses to rule Schmeichel out of Saturdays clash: "For the me the possibility [for him to play] is no, but Kasper is a fighter. He could be [ready]."

 

Raheem Sterling trained on Thursday "hopefully he'll be fit". Likewise, Fabian Delph who hasn’t kicked a competitive ball since August: "All of them are good, no problem." City will be forced into at least three changes with Nicolas Otamendi, Fernandinho and Sergio Aguero all missing through suspension. Kelechi Iheanacho has been handed chance to shine in attack while Pablo Zabaleta is an option for the holding role: "He’s very experienced. I think in the last years of his career he’ll play more [central]." Vincent Kompany the only player currently side-lined through injury.

 

 

Chelsea – vs – West Bromwich Albion


Antonio Conte reports that John Terry is still recovering from his [gluteal] injury while Oscar could miss out due to illness. However, the rest of the squad should be available, although a decision on who will be included in the match day 18 won’t be decided until Saturday. Nemanja Matic faces competition from Cesc Fabregas following an excellent performance at the Etihad and Pedro is coming under increasing pressure from Willian who scored in the 3-1 win. Diego Costa has been passed fit.  

 

Saido Berahino is in a good place, "his mind is clear [and] it's the best it's been for a long time" but Tony Pulis won't just "chuck" the striker back in. James Morrison is a doubt which could open the door for Nacer Chadli while Gareth McAuley hasn't trained either: "We'll have a look at them today [Friday]." The Baggies have taken 10-points from their last four games but will do well to take anything from Stamford Bridge.

 

 

Manchester United – vs – Tottenham Hotspur


United managed to negate a frozen banana skin on an icy pitch in the Ukraine on Thursday and Jose Mourinho will be looking to transfer his sides cup form into the league having won just one of their last eight. Eric Bailly has thrown his hat into the ring for Sunday after an outstanding display while the likes of Anthony Martial and Phil Jones are certain to start after they were kept on the bench. Similarly, Matteo Darmian, Michael Carrick and Antonio Valencia can expect to be named in the starting XI after they were rested altogether. Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling are ruled out.

 

Family problems keep Erik Lamela in his homeland and Vincent Janssen won't be ready for another week or two following an injection in his ankle - Ben Davies is available for the first time in over a month. Toby Alderweireld is back with the squad but he may not be ready to start in a game of this magnitude having only played 22 minutes since mid-October. Heung-Min Son admits he feels “fresher” now than in the past two months after overcoming a niggling ankle problem: “I’m fine and I’m looking forward to scoring and helping Tottenham.”

 

 

Southampton – vs – Middlesbrough


Claude Puel says Charlie Austin will not face Middlesbrough on Sunday. The club are waiting on the results of his scan and the full extent of his injury is not yet clear. Austin landed awkwardly in the Europa League on Thursday night and suffered a suspected dislocated shoulder. Sofiane Boufal and Jay Rodriguez should return to the squad on Sunday after overcoming minor niggles. Jose Fonte is available for selection despite reports that the skipper will be leaving in January after failing to agree terms on a new contract. Dusan Tadic [broken nose] will wear a protective mask and will be considered for a place in the starting line-up as Southampton look to bounce back from the disappointing loss at Selhurst Park. Matt Targett and Alex McCarthy remain in the treatment room.

 

George Friend is closing in on a return: "Hopefully he will join us for a [light] session [on Saturday]. I think he’s ready [in terms of his injury] but we need to check his fitness," Karanka said. Alvaro Negredo [hamstring] and Gaston Ramirez [foot] will be assessed, neither trained fully on Friday: "They have been doing work on their own." Jordan Rhodes [groin] is also a doubt. Middlesbrough will keep changes to a minimum following a decent performance in GW14 and that’s likely to mean that Adama Traore has to settle for place among the subs again: "I need to put eleven on the pitch and for that [Hull] game I thought it was best without Adama. Nobody in this team is untouchable. Every player knows there is someone fighting to take his place."

 

 

Liverpool – vs – West Ham United


Sadio Mane eased injury fears on Tuesday when he joined the group in their warm weather training camp in Barcelona. Joel Matip was also there and he is likely to earn an instant recall after Liverpool shipped four goals at the Vitality. Jürgen Klopp still has no "real idea" when Daniel Sturridge will return: "Yesterday [Thursday], he was not 100 percent but he will go on pitch today - not with the team. I have no idea when he will be back. We just have to wait." Adam Lallana is better placed to be included in the XI after returning to the bench last weekend.

 

Michail Antonio and Aaron Cresswell have recovered from the minor groin injuries they picked up during the EFL Cup defeat at Old Trafford. Sunday however, will come too soon for Cheikhou Kouyate who is struggling to shake off a muscular problem: “It’s not a big injury, he has a great chance to make it for the Burnley game in midweek." His absence could force Slaven Bilic into a change of formation, especially when you consider James Collins is also a doubt. Alvaro Arbeloa is an option, if the Hammers revert to a back four. Andy Carroll looks set for a role from the bench: "Hopefully he will be fit for some part of the game this weekend, but we have to be careful with him."