Unbelievably, we’re already at our first juncture, as the international break brings a halt in proceedings after week four. For some, this will be a period to reflect and contemplate, while others may feel like throwing the towel in!
Stick with it people, it’s a long and winding road, with plenty more pitfalls along the way.
Up-to-the-minute information will be added to our Player News page while the latest injury updates can be found on the Rotoworld Premier League Injury Report table. Remember to keep checking throughout the weekend.
Southampton – vs – Manchester United
Nathan Redmond (ankle) is ruled out until after the break; the Saints attacker is likely to be sidelined for around two-to-three weeks following the injury he picked up in the Carabao Cup. Moussa Djenepo will also miss the United game with a muscular problem while Ralph Hasenhüttl is not expected to risk Michael Obafemi (cramp) who limped off at Fulham. Ryan Bertrand will return to the matchday squad after injury, but after the win at Brighton, the manager has a decision to make with Danso impressing on his full debut.
No old boys’ reunion for Luke Shaw (hamstring) in the early kick-off on Saturday while joint top scorer - Anthony Martial - is another player ruled out of the Premier League encounter at St Mary’s. “After the international break, hopefully, Anthony will be ready for the Leicester game, and Luke, another week or two after that." Diogo Dalot is out of the trip, but the Portuguese defender should be in line to return in week five. Eric Bailly and Timothy Fosu-Mensah are the only other confirmed injury absentees as they continue their recovery from long-term knee problems. Matteo Darmian is expected to join Chris Smalling (Roma) and Alexis Sanchez (Inter) in Serie A, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists Marcos Rojo is going nowhere during this window.
Chelsea – vs – Sheffield United
N’Golo Kante and Pedro will miss the visit of Sheffield United. The Frenchman suffered an ankle sprain on the eve of week three while the Spaniard tweaked his hamstring while warming-up at Carrow Road. That saw Mateo Kovacic and Ross Barkley promoted to the starting XI, and after securing his first league win, Frank Lampard may be tempted to leave things as they are with Mason Mount (calf) training as normal. Antonio Rüdiger will play for the U23s on Friday, in what should be, his last appearance before returning to the first-team squad.
The midweek cup win over Blackburn Rovers impressed manager Chris Wilder, and he faces several selection dilemmas. Only Oliver Norwood survived from the side beaten by Leicester City as the Blades boss involved all those players on the fringes of the first XI. Ravel Morrison did his chances no harm with a Man-of-the-Match performance while Oli McBurnie has been “knocking on the door to play.” There was no update on John Fleck who has missed the previous two fixtures with a hamstring strain.
Crystal Palace – vs – Aston Villa
James Tomkins (groin) and Mamadou Sakho (knee) are on the "brink of recovery", and the defensive partners could return after the break. Roy Hodgson will make a late call on Scott Dann after he broke a bone in his hand, however, after the win at Old Trafford, I’d expect Martin Kelly and Gary Cahill to start in an unchanged back four. Apart from that, the Eagles are okay on the injury front.
James Chester (hamstring) remains on the sidelines while Jonathan Kodjia (ankle) is undertaking light work on the training pitches. Matt Targett (hamstring) makes up the trio of injury absentees this weekend after limping out of the Carabao Cup tie at Crewe. "We are hoping it’s not as bad as what can be feared. He didn’t do it when he was crossing or sprinting. He actually did it with a pass. We brought him off as quick as possible," Dean Smith said on Tuesday.
Leicester City – vs – AFC Bournemouth
Brendan Rodgers will make a late decision on Ben Chilwell who has been struggling in recent weeks with a hip problem. However, the Leicester coach won’t be overly concerned if the full-back misses out again as Christian Fuchs has been in excellent form. Wilfred Ndidi (hamstring) is available and will be back in the squad, but Wes Morgan faces a late test after aggravating a back complaint on Tyneside.
Lewis Cook (ACL knee) is probably the closest of those players currently sidelined, but the midfielder won't be back until late-September at best. No timeline for Arnaut Danjuma who is recovering from a mysterious foot injury. The Cherries confirm Charlie Daniels will undergo surgery after tests reveal he dislocated his patella during last weekends' loss to City. The defender had just returned from a similar setback which kept him on the sidelines for a little over four months – Diego Rico is the only recognised left-back available. Junior Stanislas, Simon Francis, Dan Gosling, Lloyd Kelly and David Brooks are at various stages in their recovery from injury.
Manchester City – vs – Brighton and Hove Albion
John Stones (thigh) has missed the last two matches, and despite being seen on the training pitches this week, Pep was giving nothing away on Friday. A hamstring injury could keep Gabriel Jesus out until after the break. “[They are] much better,” he said. “I don’t know if they are ready for tomorrow, but they are much better. If not tomorrow, they will be back for Norwich."
"We have no new injury concerns after Tuesday, we're fit and ready to go," said Graham Potter during Thursdays’ media briefing. The Seagulls will be without José Izquierdo (knee) while Yves Bissouma (shoulder) and Ezequiel Schelotto (ACL) could be in contention from mid-September. Jurgen Locadia has joined Bundesliga outfit Hoffenheim on a season-long loan, and Florin Andone serves the second game of his three-match ban for a reckless tackle.
Newcastle United – vs – Watford
Matt Ritchie has been ruled out for at least two months due to the injury he sustained in a "horror tackle" by Hamza Choudhury in the Carabao Cup. "It's not great news,” mused Steve Bruce. “There is ankle ligament damage. Thankfully it's not six months, but it's bad enough." Allan Saint-Maximin (hamstring) is out until mid-September, at best, while Miguel Almirón (ankle) and Joelinton (groin) are considered minor doubts for the visit of Watford. Emil Krafth and Jetro Willems face a race against time to be ready for the game after suffering muscle problems on Wednesday. Dwight Gayle is not progressing as hoped and the striker will meet with another specialist to find the root of his ongoing calf issue. Saturday comes too soon for DeAndre Yedlin (groin) having just returned to the training pitches - Jamaal Lascelles (calf) is fine, and Andy Carroll is targeting a return against his former club - Liverpool - in week five.
Javi Gracia will not be afraid to shuffle his pack as the Hornets go in search of their first points of the season. "After the [Carabao Cup] game this week, everybody knows there are other players competing well and ready. It's something I explain every day. The competition is good, and we need to keep it during all the season." Only Troy Deeney (knee surgery) is unavailable with the skipper sidelined for a minimum of two months leaving Gracia with the unenviable task of choosing his matchday squad from nearly 30 players. "We'll see how many changes, but the solution is not always to change the players." Danny Welbeck and Ismaïla Sarr are closing in on their first league starts after playing in the cup.
West Ham United – vs – Norwich City
Tests on Michail Antonio’s hamstring continue amid fears that the winger could require surgery which would rule him out for the remainder of 2019. As it stands, he will spend a minimum of six-to-eight weeks recovering from the setback. Javier Hernandez returns after missing the win at Watford with a knee injury, and Manuel Pellegrini will make a late call on Wilshere who is being managed carefully. "We can't expect Jack to be back 100 per cent to his level because of his lengthy injury. He played very well the other night, not only because he scored. We will see tomorrow what the starting XI will be for Saturday."
Timm Klose has had a scan on his knee which revealed he ruptured his posterior cruciate ligament, there are also concerns that he could have damaged his meniscus and the club will re-scan next week. The defender may require surgery, which means, in the best-case scenario, he will be ruled out for around four months, while at worst, it will mean a full year on the sidelines. Christoph Zimmermann is available, but Grant Hanley is ruled out of the trip to West Ham. "He injured himself this morning. Overstretched his groin and needs a scan.” Alex Tettey will travel after missing out midweek due to personal reasons, and Drmic is also available after his recent hamstring injury. "Josip trained with us the last three days, he'll be back 100 per cent after the international break, but he is an option for tomorrow."
Burnley – vs – Liverpool
Sean Dyche confirms a scan has revealed a "minor calf injury" for Johann Berg Gudmundsson meaning he is unlikely to feature. Aaron Lennon is in pole position to start back-to-back matches for the first time since 2018. Robbie Brady managed a 75-minute run-out for the Under-23s on Thursday - the Republic of Ireland international will use the break to build his fitness. Steven Defour is working his way back from a long-term calf complaint.
There are no changes in terms of player availability for Jurgen Klopp this weekend. The Reds will be without – Naby Keita, Nathaniel Clyne and Alisson Becker for the trip to Turf Moor. Joe Gomez will compete with Joel Matip to play alongside UEFA Player of the Year Virgil Van Dijk in the heart of the defence. No domestic cup action for Liverpool midweek, so expect a fully refreshed squad following a hectic start to their campaign.
Everton – vs – Wolverhampton Wanderers
Marco Silva was pleased with his sides’ performance midweek, in particular, that of his new signings Djibril SidIbe and Moise Kean. "I liked what I saw. It was what I expected from some of them. For Fabian [Delph] and Alex [Iwobi], it was easier because they know the competition." Following the return of Leighton Baines at Lincoln, the Toffees boss confirms Jean-Philippe Gbamin (thigh) is the only injury absentee. Jonas Lössl has recovered from a minor calf strain.
Raúl Jiménez is still playing with a broken wrist – an injury he suffered playing against Chelsea earlier this year. However, it doesn’t seem to be hampering the Mexican too much, who was on target in the Europa League on Thursday evening (vs Torino). Wolves came through a tricky encounter (5-3 on aggregate) relatively unscathed - Leander Dendoncker will be checked after picking up a knock.
Arsenal – vs – Tottenham Hotspur
Mesut Ozil looks set to return to the matchday squad. "This week, he is training well. He is physically better, and he is doing normal work with [the squad]. He is going to be closer to us, and he will be available." Kieran Tierney and Dinos Mavropanos (both groin) are ahead of schedule, and the pair could be in full training from next month. Rob Holding and Emile Smith Rowe continue to build fitness with the development side. Héctor Bellerín (ACL knee) is also making good progress, and his return to the first team shouldn’t be too far away. Alexandre Lacazette has been carrying an ankle injury since the end of pre-season, but Unai Emery confirmed that the Frenchman had trained well this week and I wouldn’t rule out a start alongside Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe.
Tanguy Ndombele is not over the hamstring issue which ruled him out of week three. That does pose a problem for Mauricio Pochettino who could also be without Eric Dier after he complained of irritation in his right hip. Juan Foyth (ankle) may not return until late-September, and with Kyle Walker-Peters sidelined, forgotten full-back Serge Aurier could return to the fray. Dele Alli has trained, but Pochettino remained coy on the midfielder’s involvement. “I’m not sure, but we need to assess, we have one more training. He’s doing well, but still, we need to assess him."