Sunday brings to an end the 2016/17 Premier League season - nine months of hard work culminating, for me at least, in fantasy mini-league glory! The hours spent stressing, worrying, tinkering, changing, rotating, transferring, calling, swearing, panicking [I could go on…..] has all been worth it, and I for one, will certainly miss it.
A word to the wise ahead of game week 38 which promises to deliver one final curveball.
Jose Mourinho has already promised changes en masse ahead of the Europa League final while others will see this as an idea opportunity to blood youngsters or involve fringe players. Anyone with the slightest whiff of a niggle, knock, sprain or strain won’t be risked and I can guarantee that come kick-off, many of us will be left scratching our heads in disbelief at the latest team news.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the season as much as me, but for now, myself and my injury updates will be taking a well-earned break. Keep up-to date throughout the summer and follow the entire Rotoworld Premier League team:
Arsenal – vs – Everton
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain [hamstring] is ruled out of the final Premier League game of the season but he should be OK for the FA Cup final next weekend. There is uncertainty over Laurent Koscielny who is battling an ongoing Achilles issue, and the centre-back will be checked on Friday and Saturday. Aaron Ramsey has been passed fit after sustaining a minor thigh injury against Sunderland. Lucas Perez will be hoping to force his way into the match-day squad.
No fresh injury concerns for Everton. Ronald Koeman confirms he will have the same squad at his disposal as last weekend. James McCarthy [hamstring] and Maarten Stekelenburg [groin] are ruled out while Ademola Lookman and Dominic Calvert-Lewin are with the England U20 World Cup squad. Sunday could be the last time that either Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley play for the club. Koeman said he "didn't know" when asked about the pair's contract situations. "It is after the game, on Monday, then we will know." When asked if he was confident that the England midfielder would sign a new deal, he responded by saying: "No, because it is a long time that he is thinking about it. But I'm not worried."
Burnley – vs – West Ham United
Sean Dyche confirms Michael Keane [calf] "maybe" has a chance for this weekend but Ben Mee [shin] is expected to miss out again. Dean Marney [ACL knee] remains a long-term absentee while "everyone else is pretty much okay - just a few knocks and bruises." The Burnley boss is looking for a strong finish from his side, despite their top-flight status being secure for another year: "I reminded the lads this morning that we want to finish as high as possible. We've always been looking up and we still want to go hard."
Winston Reid has gone under the knife to remedy a rare knee condition. However, the New Zealand international will be ready for the start of the new campaign with his recovery expected to take around ten weeks. Young midfielder Declan Rice "is one who may play" at Turf Moor on Sunday. "He's in the squad. He is extremely good for his age and is very good in training. He has a bright future ahead." Andy Carroll [groin] "is not going to play this weekend,” the striker hasn't trained for "a long time.” No mention of Arthur Masuaku although he should be included - the defender hasn’t featured since aggravating a foot injury at Stoke back in April.
Chelsea – vs – Sunderland
Antonio Conte was giving nothing away on the possibility of John Terry making one final league appearance: "On Sunday we'll see what happens. It will be a surprise." Conte described the Chelsea captain as a legend and compared his career with the likes Francesco Totti, Paolo Maldini and Del Piero. No fresh injury concerns - Ruben Loftus-Cheek [back] is the only worry.
Lamine Kone and Didier Ndong [both dead legs] will be checked ahead of the game at Chelsea. "We have an incredible number of injuries going into the last game of the season and I'm disappointed with that," said David Moyes. An extensive list means that up-to eleven players could miss out on Sunday. Duncan Watmore, Paddy McNair and Jan Kirchhoff are definitely sidelined while Steven Pienaar, George Honeyman, Jason Denayer, Victor Anichebe, Papiss Djilobodji and Wahbi Khazri are rated as major doubts.
Hull City – vs – Tottenham Hotspur
Curtis Davies could come into the side with Harry Maguire sidelined because of a knee injury. Abel Hernandez [ankle] and Evandro [groin] are also set to miss the final match of the campaign against Spurs through injury. Moses Odubajo, Will Keane and David Meyler [all knee] remain in the treatment room while Ryan Mason [fractured skull] has returned to the training ground but the midfielder is a long way off being considered for a recall.
Kyle Walker [ankle] will be assessed [Saturday] ahead of the game but Kieran Trippier [concussion] has returned to full training. Tottenham crushed Leicester on Thursday evening and Mauricio Pochettino needs to check on those players who were involved - that includes goalkeeper Hugo Lloris who took a whack to the knee. The France international is still in with a chance of winning the Golden Glove, and to miss out, would be a major blow for Lloris – Michel Vorm would come into the starting XI. Christian Eriksen will be fully refreshed and should return to the side after he was an unused substitute at the King Power Stadium. Danny Rose is an early doubt for next season after undergoing exploratory surgery on his left knee this week. Erik Lamela also went under the knife again, this time on his right hip, although the procedure will not affect his timeline for a return.
Leicester City – vs – AFC Bournemouth
Wes Morgan [hamstring] and Robert Huth [foot] are ruled out of Sunday's clash with Bournemouth. A thigh injury may keep Danny Drinkwater out of the upcoming England internationals. The Three Lions play Scotland and France in June.
Eddie Howe is "reluctant to make too many changes" at Leicester but the Cherries boss will need to replace Lewis Cook who has joined up with the England under-20 World Cup squad. Andrew Surman is back in contention after missing the last seven weeks because of a knee injury, however “we don’t know at this stage" if he is fit-enough to start. Dan Gosling is OK after his recent calf complaint and Benik Afobe [hamstring] "continues to improve" although Howe wouldn't be drawn on whether he would make the game. Callum Wilson, Adam Federici and Rhoys Wiggins [all knee] remain long-term absentees.
Liverpool – vs – Middlesbrough
There is "no problem, no concern" on the long-term fitness of Jordan Henderson [Plantar Fasciitis] - the Liverpool captain just needs time to recover. "He has still had an unbelievable role off the pitch and in the dressing room." Roberto Firmino has not been a part of first-team training this week, but Jürgen Klopp remains very positive - a final decision won’t be made until Saturday.
Victor Valdes [ribs] and Gaston Ramirez [thigh] are struggling to make the game but Daniel Ayala [ankle] does have an outside chance of being passed fit. Middlesbrough play their final Premier League game before dropping down into the Sky Bet Championship and caretaker manager Steve Agnew will want to end the season on a high following a difficult few months in charge.
Manchester United – vs – Crystal Palace
Paul Pogba "needs" to play on Sunday. The United midfielder has missed the two previous games following the death of his father. Chris Smalling [toe] has a "small problem" for Sunday, but he will be fine for the Europa League final on Wednesday. Marouane Fellaini [hamstring] remains a doubt - the club are waiting for the results his scan - but Fosu-Mensah [shoulder] will play against Crystal Palace. Mourinho says he'll play the kids on Sunday, along with "3 or 4 of the first-team players" to give them support. Wayne Rooney is unlikely to be one of those and may be rested after playing 90 minutes at St Mary's on Wednesday night. Joel Pereira, Kieran O'Hara. Mattew Willock, Demetri Mitchell, Josh Harrop, Angel Gomes, Scott McTominey, Axel Tuanzebe and Zachary Dearnley could all be included in the match-day squad.
With their top-flight status assured, Crystal Palace will play "with the fittest team we've got," according to Sam Allardyce although Andros Townsend [Achilles] and Yohan Cabaye [foot] are ruled out. James Tomkins [ankle] "looks to be okay" but Scott Dan [knee ligament] may not be risked. Mamadou Sakho [knee] won’t feature at Old Trafford.
Southampton – vs – Stoke City
Long will miss the final game due to a fractured metatarsal: "Shane is unlucky, but we will see him next season." Cédric and Ryan Bertrand are both doubts. "We will see if they can play this game. They have some pain, some tiredness, but we will see this tomorrow and the day of the game to see if they are available." Charlie Austin may start in the PL [on Sunday] for the first time since dislocating his shoulder back in December 2016.
Marko Arnautovic is the main concern for Stoke "he got a bang on the elbow" following an awkward fall, after a robust Rob Holding challenge last weekend. “Marko is in quite a bit of pain still, so we are going to have to give him as much time as possible and see how he is closer to the time.” Otherwise, the Stoke squad is OK apart from the long-term absentees. Mark Hughes could be tempted to rotate at St Mary’s after a disappointing 4-1 home defeat to Arsenal. Top scorer Peter Crouch and Saido Berahino will be hoping to force their way into the starting XI.
Swansea City – vs – West Bromwich Albion
Paul Clement is looking for a strong finish from his side on Sunday. The Swans boss wish list consists of a clean sheet, to score and for his side to finish two places above their current position. A niggling knee problem is likely to keep Borja Baston out of the final game, however, Wayne Routledge and Angel Rangel are both available. "They have been back in training and they will be in contention, but Baston is going to be a doubt as his knee has flared up. It's nothing major but everyone else is okay other than the long-term absentees like Nathan Dyer and Jefferson Montero."
West Brom have "a couple of knocks and bruises from the other day," confirms Tony Pulis. "[But] the majority of them should be fine to travel." Salomon Rondon [hamstring] was taken off as a precaution at Man City while Gareth McAuley [thigh] faces a late fitness test after he was forced off at Stamford Bridge a week ago. Matty Phillips, who hasn't featured since mid-April because of a hamstring strain, could miss out once again.
Watford – vs – Manchester City
Sebastian Prodl will serve a one match for his sending off at Chelsea but Walter Mazzarri could recall Miguel Britos if he can recover from a calf problem. Adrian Mariappa faces a late test after picking up a knee injury in training on Thursday but Troy Deeney should be fine. The Watford captain has been hampered by a hip problem this week but re-joined the group on Friday. The match will come too soon for Craig Cathcart [knee] and Christian Kabasele who has failed to recover from a hamstring injury. Mauro Zarate, Roberto Pereyra and Younes Kaboul are hoping to be fit for the start of pre-season.
Manchester City need three-points to secure third place and automatic qualification into the UEFA Champions League group stages – so the pressure is on Pep Guardiola. "We still have 95-96 minutes to fight to do one thing so important for the club. It is a crucial game for us, absolutely a final.” Injury-wise it’s pretty much as you were – Ilkay Gundogan [ACL knee], Claudio Bravo [calf] and Fabian Delph remain out.