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Team News

Late Fitness Check GW33

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

Arsène Wenger was in no mood to discuss his future following the 3-0 loss against Crystal Palace on Monday evening. The Frenchman insists he is “focussed on getting a response from his players” at Middlesbrough after crashing to their fourth consecutive away defeat.


Mourinho is fooling no-one when he said Sunday was just “one more game”. The former two-time Chelsea manager would love to take all three-points to keep the pressure on rivals City and Liverpool but admits Antonio Conte’s side have individual and collective quality which is why they “are a very strong team”.


Tottenham get the weekend underway once again in the early kick-off at White Hart Lane and Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping, albeit temporarily, to close to gap on the league leaders to just four points. Messrs Son, Eriksen and Alli performed admirably during the recent absence of Harry Kane, but the England international makes a timely return from injury to ensure the race for the title is far from over.


At the bottom, the fat lady is ready to take centre stage at both Sunderland and Middlesbrough, but a recent upturn in results has given Palace and Hull City every chance of surviving the drop. One win in six leaves Paul Clement’s men two points from safety although they do have a favourable run-in.


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Tottenham Hotspur – vs – AFC Bournemouth

Danny Rose [MCL knee] "continues to progress well" and the full-back is expected to start outdoor work next week. Victor Wanyama [lower back] has trained with the squad, following his late withdrawal against Watford, but he may have to settle for a place on the bench following the 4-0 win. Michel Vorm [swollen knee] "is settling" down nicely and a decision on his involvement will be made closer to kick off. Harry Winks [ankle] and Erik Lamela [hip] continue to be monitored, but both players "will miss the rest of the season." Harry Kane is in line to start his first game since recovering from ankle ligament damage. Kieran Trippier will compete with Kyle Walker for a place in Pochettino’s XI.


Gosling suffers a setback during training: "I felt Dan would be fit and available for this game," said Eddie Howe. "But I’m not so sure now." If he misses out at White Hart Lane, then the midfielder will join Andrew Surman on the sidelines [both knee]. Defender Tyrone Mings returns to the fold after his suspension: "He’s been frustrated because he’s fit and he’s had a long-term injury to contend with previously. It can seem like a long time five games so we’re delighted to have him back." Elsewhere, Junior Stanislas has been working his way back from injury and is likely to be involved in the match day squad.



Crystal Palace – vs – Leicester City

Patrick van Aanholt has trained "so he'll join up with us" confirms Sam Allardyce. However, I expect the Eagles to remain unchanged following their win over Arsenal. No more expected returners – James Tomkins [calf] is talking longer than expected while Loic Remy “is nearly there." Andros Townsend "thinks" he'll be fit for after leaving the ground on crutches as a precaution on Monday. “I got a knock on my heel." Yohan Cabaye could play in an advanced role if he does miss out, with James McArthur sitting alongside Milivojevic.


Morgan trained on Thursday but this weekend will come too soon for the Leicester captain. He is rated as 50/50 for the Champions League match-up in three days. "We’ll give Wes every opportunity between now and Tuesday to be fit, but if he’s not ready, we won’t take a gamble." Craig Shakespeare says the squad will be assessed ahead of the trip to Selhurst Park. "We only had a light training session yesterday so I’ll need to see what the injury situation is like before I choose the team." Expect the Foxes to line-up in a similar fashion to last weekend with one eye on the Atletico tie. Daniel Amartey may be deployed alongside Benalouane in the heart of defence with Robert Huth suspended in Europe: “If I think playing Amartey at centre-back is the right thing to do, then I will. Our players are adaptable. Daniel certainly is.”



Everton – vs – Burnley

Ronald Koeman has no fresh injury concerns as he welcomes Ashley Williams back into the squad for the visit of Burnley on Saturday. The Wales captain was sent off for deliberate handball at Old Trafford earlier this month and subsequently missed the 4-2 victory over Leicester City. Morgan Schneiderlin came through last weekend unscathed after missing the two previous fixtures with a calf problem. Everton will be without Ramiro Funes Mori, Yannick Bolasie [both knee], James McCarthy [hamstring], Seamus Coleman [leg] and Aaron Lennon. Besic is not ready despite his involvement for the Under-23s: “Mo played well,” said Koeman. “He played 45 minutes, next time he needs to play 90 and then I think he will be really close to the first team.”


Sean Dyche confirms Steven Defour is available for selection after missing the 0-0 draw with Middlesbrough because of a dead leg. The Belgian midfielder will be vying for a place with Robbie Brady and Scott Arfield this weekend. Johann Berg Gudmundsson "may need another" game for the Under-23s after scoring twice for the development side on Tuesday. "It's been quite a while now, but he's been training with us and had the game, so he's in good shape.



Stoke City – vs – Hull City

Jack Butland "still has some work to do" before a return to the first-team "but he is very, very close". The U23s play on Monday and Mark Hughes will decide whether the England goalkeeper would benefit from that. The form of Lee Grant has been outstanding: "That's why we don't need to rush him back." Joe Allen [hamstring] is ruled out "but hopefully he will be OK for Swansea" next weekend – Charlie Adam or Glenn Whelan are likely to benefit from his absence. Jon Walters has a slight knee problem and remains a doubt. "Unfortunately, we have lost Afellay for a number of weeks [potentially the rest of the season]. He has gone back to his surgeon in Barcelona and has had an operation."


Since Marcos Silva arrived at Hull, the Tigers have only taken one point away from home – vs Man United – but the Portuguese manager feels that “Stoke is a good chance for us”. Tom Huddlestone returns after his ban while Dieumerci Mbokani and Harry Maguire will be assessed in training on Friday – both players are close. A back injury keeps Omar Elabdellaoui on the sidelines and there’s no change in those players receiving long-term treatment - Moses Odubajo, Ryan Mason and Will Keane.


Sunderland – vs – West Ham United

Bryan Oviedo will struggle to play again this season: "He has a hamstring injury and won't be available. It looks quite bad, probably four weeks." Larsson will serve a three-match ban after an appeal against his red card during the defeat by Manchester United was rejected: "Seb is a big loss because he's reliable, we trust him. He puts in a good standard of performance in every game. We'll miss him." John O'Shea returns after he was given compassionate leave following the death of his father.


Antonio suffered a major setback during the home win over Swansea, and although Slaven Bilic was optimistic of a quick return, further tests confirm he suffered a "significant [hamstring] injury" and he will not play again this season. Andy Carroll is expected to come into the side following his recovery from a groin problem, however, the injury-plagued striker will "share the minutes of the game" with Argentine Jonathan Calleri due to a lack of match fitness. Diafra Sakho comes back into contention but Mark Noble is ruled out after picking up his tenth yellow card of the campaign. Sam Byram [ankle] and Aaron Cresswell re-joined the group on Thursday and both players should be available barring any setbacks. "Winston Reid will start to train with us on Monday."



Watford – vs – Swansea City

Miguel Britos serves the second game of his ban while Walter Mazzarri is also without fellow defender Younes Kaboul [hamstring]. A late decision will be made on Sebastian Prodl [ribs] but Christian Kabasele is well-placed to earn a recall following another week of training. A minor knock kept Etienne Capoue on the bench at White Hart Lane but he should return following the 4-0 drubbing. Troy Deeney is expected to be restored to the starting XI after he was restricted to a role from the bench in spite of his recent good form. Valon Behrami and Ben Watson face a late fitness test.  


Paul Clement confirms midfielder Jack Cork will not be fit to face his former club at Vicarage Road. The 27-year-old has played in every game since the Swansea Head Coach was appointed, back in January, but he has failed to recover from the ankle injury he sustained at West Ham despite a week of intensive treatment. "Jack isn’t going to be fit and that’s disappointing," said Clement. "He could be out for two weeks from the time he suffered the injury, he has a chance for Stoke." His absence hands an opportunity for another midfielder to come in, and Leon Britton is favourite to earn a recall following his timely recovery from a hamstring problem which has kept him out of the last three matches. Jay Fulton also comes under consideration while Clement added he may contemplate a "change in shape" for a game Swansea can ill-afford to lose.



Southampton – vs – Manchester City

Manolo Gabbiadini will be back in the Southampton squad for the clash against Manchester City - the Italian has been out with a groin problem since March. “We will see if he can start, or perhaps come on in the second-half of the game,” said Claude Puel before adding. “We will wait to see this in tomorrow’s training session.” Steven Davis, who has recovered from an ankle injury, also returns to the match day squad. Charlie Austin is training with the main group but he will play for the U23s before being considered for a return to the first-team. No Oriol Romeu who sits this one out due to suspension.


Bacary Sagna and Gabriel Jesus "are much better, but they are not ready for the next days." Ilkay Gundogan remains on the sidelines: "Everyone [else] is okay." Officially, Pep is still undecided on who will play in goal on Saturday but after ANOTHER Bravo blunder it could be back to the bench for former Barca stopper: "I'd like both to be involved, I have confidence in Bravo and Caballero. We will see. Last week I decided on Claudio, Saturday I will decide. Depends on the way the opponent plays, what I see in the training sessions." Vincent Kompany had a "little problem" in his leg following the Chelsea defeat "and we didn’t want to take risk, but of course the good news is he was able to play 90 minutes in a tough game at Stamford Bridge at a high level."



West Bromwich Albion – vs – Liverpool

The Baggies should have a fully fit squad to choose from for the visit of Liverpool on Sunday although Tony Pulis admits: "We still have one or two bruises. We will look at them today. The big decisions will be made tomorrow in terms of Sunday's squad.” Chris Brunt, Hal Robson-Kanu and James McClean were among those to drop out last weekend and the trio will be pushing hard for their inclusion. Winger Matty Phillips made his first start in almost two months against Southampton while Salomon Rondon has looked bright in training this week.


The Reds must end their Pulis hoodoo if they plan on keeping their hopes of finishing in a Champions League qualifying place alive. Liverpool have never won away from home against a side managed by the Baggies boss. Adam Lallana [thigh] and Jordan Henderson [foot] "are better" but neither will be fit for the trip. Lallana is due to start training with the group after the Crystal Palace game and Henderson is targeting a return within a fortnight. "Jordan? Maybe he'll train next week or the week after." Sadio Mane has vowed to return to action "even better than before" following knee surgery on Tuesday. Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino are poised for a recall after illness and fatigue respectively.



Manchester United – vs – Chelsea

Juan Mata [Hernia] has been ruled out for the remainder of the campaign while defenders Phil Jones [toe] and Chris Smalling [knee] are not expected to return until the middle of May. David De Gea [hip] was back in the United squad on Thursday night and looks set to return to the starting line-up against the Premier League leaders Chelsea. Wayne Rooney trained ahead of the Europa tie vs Anderlecht but Mourinho admitted his skipper was "not ready" due to an ongoing ankle problem. "Let's see for the weekend." Antonio Valencia was back to his best in Belgium having missed the last two, but the wing-back "is having some problems" and it is not possible, at this moment, to play in every game. It remains to be seen whether he can recover in time for Sunday. Ashley Young [groin] is expected to make the match day squad.


Antonio Conte has one or two things to check regarding player fitness but says the situation is good. There are no new concerns [or injuries]. “We have another day to make the best decision for the team." After the win over Bournemouth, Conte may be tempted to name an unchanged side at Old Trafford. However, if he does freshen his starting XI, then Nemanja Matic and Pedro Rodriguez are likely to drop down to the bench with Cesc Fabregas and Willian waiting in the wings.



Middlesbrough – vs – Arsenal

An ankle injury has kept Gaston Ramirez out of Boro's last two games but the Uruguay international should be okay and he could be thrown straight back into the starting line-up by Steve Agnew. Calum Chambers is unable to feature against his parent club but Fabio seems certain to be handed a recall having recovered from concussion. George Friend is back on the training pitches but the interim boss would not be drawn on when the full-back might return to action. James Husband is another doubt for Middlesbrough who must take something from this game.


Laurent Koscielny is pencilled in to train on Friday following his recovery from an Achilles injury, and all being well, the Frenchman will make a welcome return to the heart of the Arsenal defence. Petr Cech has an “80 percent” chance of making the squad for the game at Middlesbrough. Luca Perez [thigh] and David Ospina [back] remain on the sidelines. Arsène Wenger says Alexis Sanchez "prefers to play wide” as opposed to up front because he can touch the ball more often – Danny Welbeck or Olivier Giroud are expected to lead the Gunners attack at the Riverside. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be looking to oust Theo Walcott from the side while Alex Iwobi is pushing to make the match day squad after playing for the development side this week.