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Team News

Late Fitness Check - GW38

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

So there we have it – the 2014/15 British Premier League – over in a flash or at least it seems that way ……. And the end of an era as Messrs Gerrard, Lampard, Friedel, Reid et al make their final bow.


With Chelsea crowned as champions all focus has been diverted to the last remaining relegation spot. Following a draw at the Emirates midweek the Little General became the toast of Wearside leaving Newcastle and Hull to fight it out.


Steve Bruce has failed to beat Man Utd in 20 attempts as a manager while Hull are winless in 12 during the month of May. The history books also tell us that the last time Burnley were in the Premier League [2009/10] Chelsea won the title plus a domestic cup while Hull and Burnley went down.


Newcastle on the other hand have gone 10 BPL games without a win [D1, L9] for the first time since May 2009 - when they were relegated plus they have equalled their club record of 19 defeats in a single season. The Magpies haven't won on the final day since May 2006 (D2, L5) and spookily the last time Newcastle were relegated from the PL, GW38 was played on May 24 - Hull faced Man Utd and Sunderland played Chelsea.


Keep following throughout the summer as the team continues to deliver all the latest up-to date British Premier League news as we begin our preparation for the 2015/16 campaign.


Arsenal – vs – West Brom

Wenger will rest one or two players with third place all but guaranteed and an FA Cup final appearance coming up. Monreal and Coquelin missed the draw with Sunderland and may find themselves on the bench once again while Aaron Ramsey, Laurent Koscielny and Alexis Sanchez have all been carrying minor knocks. Theo Walcott, Kieran Gibbs and Gabriel Paulista the likely benefactors. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mathieu Debuchy are back in full training but neither are ready - Danny Welbeck is ruled out as he struggles to overcome a knee problem.  


Tony Pulis has clean bill of health with the exception of long-term absentee Ben Foster [ACL] while the Baggies’ arrive at the Emirates full of confidence having knocked 3-past the champions in GW37. Saido Berahino took his tally to 14 on Monday putting the striker third in the PL goalscoring charts for English players behind Harry Kane [20] and Charlie Austin [17]. Pulis will take a number of development players down to Arsenal although it remains unclear whether they will be involved.  



Aston Villa – vs – Burnley

A calf strain threatens to rule Kieran Richardson out of next weekend’s FA Cup final - the full-back is yet to train – and a decent performance from Alan Hutton and / or Leandro Bacuna against Burnley could cement their place in the side. Nathan Baker is closing in on a return but the central defender is lacking fitness while Jores Okore [knee] could miss out as well; otherwise Villa are pretty much as you were.


Burnley will be hoping to avoid the wooden spoon by taking the points at Villa Park - other than Kevin Long and Dean Marney [both ACL] Sean Dyche will have a full squad at his disposal. Steven Reid could make one final appearance before his retirement while Ross Wallace and Danny Ings will also leave the club during the summer.



Chelsea – vs – Sunderland

Mourinho lost by 3-goals for only the second time in his BPL career at the Hawthorns but with the league already won the Blues can be forgiven for taking their foot off the gas although the first half dismissal of Cesc Fabregas didn’t help. Diego Costa returned against West Brom after missing the previous 6-games because of a hamstring strain and the Spanish international “will play again.” Petr Cech has recovered from a calf problem but Mourinho doesn’t know if his goalkeeper will start in what is expected to be his final game for the club. Eden Hazard is struggling following surgery to remove wisdom teeth, the ever-present Belgian did not train on Friday and a decision on his involvement will be left until the last moment. Andreas Christensen and Jeremie Boga are expected to be included in the match-day squad.


Sebastian Larsson has been passed fit after picking up a knock to the knee on Wednesday but Costel Pantilimon will not be risked – Vito Mannone is in line to make his first start of the year. Danny Graham [ankle] is a doubt and if the striker fails a late test Duncan Watmore will step up from the under-21s. Liam Bridcutt, Wes Brown, Alvarez and Jordi Gomez are ruled out.


Crystal Palace – vs – Swansea City

Despite a win at Anfield last time out Alan Pardew is expected to ring the changes with the former Newcastle boss making a dozen alterations in his previous 3-games which included five against Liverpool. Wayne Hennessey will retain his place in goal with Julian Speroni scheduled for a testimonial on Tuesday, the rest of the squad are "fit, well and looking forward to the final game."


Gylfi Sigurdsson equalled his best ever BPL goal tally last Sunday [7] when he scored during the defeat to Man City but injury may keep the midfielder out of the final game. Player of the Year Sung-Yeung Ki will miss out after undergoing surgery on Tuesday to remedy a persistent knee problem while Angel Rangel will have a late test after missing out in GW37 because of a groin strain. Bafetimbi Gomis is a striker in-form scoring five in his last five BPL appearances and will carry the Jacks biggest threat.



Everton – vs – Tottenham

Roberto Martinez is hoping Distin can recover to make his farewell appearance on the final day "Sylvain has had an illness but he'll be assessed." Antolin Alcaraz "has been carrying a bit of an injury and will not be available." Bryan Oviedo is expected "to come back fully fit" before the start of next season while Steven Pienaar, Tony Hibbert and Darron Gibson won’t be risked on the final day. Luke Garbutt is still undecided about signing a new Toffees contract which should mean Brendan Galloway retains his place in the side.


Brad Friedel may get his chance to sign-off a 20-year career on Sunday if Michel Vorm fails to recover from illness – the reserve stopper has been sidelined all week. Emmanuel Adebayor has been ruled out after Pochettino gave the striker permission to return to his homeland - Togo - for personal reasons. Vlad Chiriches is available following his 1-game ban but Kyle Walker and Ben Davies are out.



Hull City – vs -- Manchester United

Hull can’t afford any slip-ups and must take all 3-pts on Sunday to stand any chance of staying up but the omens aren’t good as the Tigers’ have never won a BPL game in May. In terms of squad availability Jake Livermore is awaiting the result of his B sample after the midfielder tested positive for cocaine and is currently suspended. Nikica Jelavic will partner Dame N’Doye up front despite lacking match fitness. For Steve Bruce the objective is simple - WIN.


Wayne Rooney returns to the squad after missing out against Arsenal because of a thigh injury [dead leg] and Louis van Gaal confirms his captain will start. Marcos Rojo is expected to be at left-back which means Daley Blind is free to play the holding role in midfield leaving Rooney in his preferred position up front. Louis van Gaal revealed he will play "his strongest team" available which could see Robin van Persie back in the starting line-up; it remains to be seen whether Angel di Maria is fit enough for a start. Ashley Young should be okay but David de Gea is doubtful, the goalkeeper did train on Friday but “he still has a little problem,” the Dutch coach will give his No.1 every chance to prove his fitness.



Leicester City – vs – Queens Park Rangers

The Foxes became the second successive BPL side to beat the drop having found themselves bottom at Christmas – Sunderland being the other. A draw at the Stadium of Light last Saturday confirmed their status in the top-flight for next season. Danny Simpson will not be considered for the first team while the club deliberate legal proceedings against him – a guilty charge of assault. David Nugent “won’t be available, but he’s made good progress. If there was more riding on the game, he'd be a consideration.” Jamie Vardy [foot] and Leonardo Ulloa [hamstring] are fine “Everyone is more or less available. It’s as we were, really.”

QPR are the only BPL side to spend every day of this season in the bottom half of the division and the Hoops will be pushing to move off the foot of the table in what could be their last appearance in the top-flight for quite a while. No fewer than 13 players are either out of contract or returning to their parent club and Chris Ramsey will look to youth on Sunday. No-one has played a bigger part during 2015 in terms of goals [11] than Matty Phillips - three goals, eight assists – and the winger looks to be a shoo-in along with Charlie Austin who could play for the final time at Rangers. Rob Green won’t feature "We'll be taking every precaution with his concussion," meanwhile Steven Caulker will be rested "He's shown a lot of bravery to play with an injury. He's put in a shift despite the broken hand." Teenage striker Reece Grego-Cox will come in if Bobby Zamora is unavailable.



Manchester City – vs – Southampton

Sergio Aguero doesn’t want the season to end after grabbing 8-goals and 2-assists in his last six BPL games; a streak which has helped the Citizens on the road to five successive wins following their humiliating derby day defeat. Manuel Pellegrini now has a win percentage of [66] with 50 BPL victories in 75 matches. Fernando and Samir Nasri are the only expected absentees for Sunday.


Sadio Mane scored the quickest BPL hat-trick in history [2m 56sec] and the earliest [16 mins] during last weekend’s demolition of Aston Villa and a win at the Etihad will give the Saints a real chance of securing European football. Jay Rodriguez will travel with the Southampton squad "but won't be involved" while Morgan Schneiderlin [knee] and Dusan Tadic [groin] remain sidelined.



Newcastle United – vs – West Ham

Emmanuel Riviere scored his first goal in over 18 hours at Loftus Road which means Carver is almost certain to start the Frenchman, however the big question remains - Will the interim coach risk any of his injury returners? De Jong "could" be available “Siem’s not injured, he just needs to strengthen his quad muscle" with Carver also considering Cisse as an option “Papiss has had another week of training, that’s important. He’s the club’s top goalscorer and comes into your thinking.” Rolando Aarons also falls into that category. Mike Williamson is available after completing his 2-game ban.


James Collins will miss out "following the [calf] injury [he suffered] against Everton," the strain will probably mean the defender will miss the upcoming Wales’ internationals - Reece Burke may step in. James Tomkins "is back in the squad" but after dislocating his shoulder in March a place on the bench is realistic. Kevin Nolan will return after missing last weekend because of a family bereavement.



Stoke City – vs – Liverpool

Begovic will start in goal for Stoke after Mark Hughes decided to give Jack Butland a run – 3 games – in the first team; the England under-21 has been excellent but Asmir remains the club’s No.1 “He is somebody that we want to keep here." Ireland is hoping to overcome a minor setback "Stephen had a stiff back in training, he probably needs that to loosen off” but apart from that “everybody else should be OK." Jon Walters has admitted a knee injury is hampering his performances of late but the Republic of Ireland international is ready for one last push. Peter Crouch is pencilled in for groin surgery over the summer but will be included on Sunday. Peter Odemwingie is working his way back to full fitness.


Steven Gerrard will make his final PL appearance for Liverpool at the Britannia in what promises to be an emotional farewell after more than 25 years at the club. Brendan Rodgers will include contract rebel Raheem Sterling “If he is fit. My relationship has not be affected at all." Mario Balotelli is out but Mamadou Sakho has a chance after training with the main group “most are fit.”