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Team News

Late Fitness Check GW8

by Ben Dinnery
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 5:56 pm ET

Don’t be caught out by the early deadline.


The Seagulls entertain West Ham at the AMEX Stadium on Friday, and if the visitors avoid defeat, it will be five unbeaten for Pellegrini’s men, a great response following their poor start [losing four on the bounce].


Arnautovic has been the main driving force in 2018, and only Mohamed Salah has had a hand in more Premier League goals [24], compared to the Austrian’s [17]. However, his problematic knee is the cause of some concern and is scaring off potential suitors – me included!


Relevant updates, from the remaining 14 press conferences, will be added to the preview throughout the build-up to game week eight.  


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Brighton and Hove Albion – vs – West Ham United

Pascal Gross [ankle] won't return until after the international break, but Dale Stephens [hamstring] "is close" and Chris Hughton will make a late decision on the midfielder. "Everyone else is fit and available,” which includes Florin Andone who was omitted from last weekend’s matchday squad.


Javier Hernandez is working with the team, but after a month out, the striker will need a little longer to get back up-to speed. "He needs a few more days to recover his best shape." Andy Carroll is working in the gym and on the training pitches and Pellegrini hopes he will be back quickly. Arnautovic will feature on Friday night despite an ongoing knee problem. "We are monitoring everyone. It's difficult for a player to be 100 per cent in every game. Marko played with great intensity [vs Man United] and he gave more spirit to the team." The Hammers boss reveals Sanchez is due to go under the knife after suffering a knee injury in the cup win over Macclesfield Town. "Carlos will need to wait a couple of weeks before he has the surgery he needs."



Burnley – vs – Huddersfield Town

Sean Dyche reveals James Tarkowski is rated as "touch and go" after the defender sustained a groin injury in the win at Cardiff City. A decision will be made after the session on Friday, but the centre-back has been included in the England squad for the upcoming internationals which suggests it isn’t serious. Robbie Brady has a "slight" hamstring strain and Dyche plans to step his training up over the next few weeks. "He is close, but we have to remember he hasn't played a full 90 minutes since the [knee] injury [10 months ago]." Ben Gibson, who underwent surgery to remedy a hernia complaint, could feature for the development side towards the back end of the international break. A personal situation means Steven Defour will be a late call.


Terence Kongolo looks set for spell on the side-lines due to a "serious" hamstring injury which he picked up during the 2-0 loss versus Tottenham. Defensive team-mate Christopher Schlinder could also miss out after picking up a knee problem in the same game. "He had a twist and it was too painful to play on. There was no fluid on the knee, but we need to make further investigations." Danny Williams is out due to swollen knee and is not expected to rejoin the group for another 7-10 days. Ramadan Sobhi is taking longer than initially hoped and David Wagner will have to wait until week nine to see the winger back in action.



Crystal Palace – vs – Wolverhampton Wanderers

Long-term absentees Connor Wickham [ knee / calf] and Scott Dann [ACL knee] are closing in on a return to play. The Palace duo are taking part in full training and Roy Hodgson is hoping they could feature in a match against Dulwich Hamlet next week. Christian Benteke [knee] is being monitored day-to-day and Jairo Riedewald could be available, although his lack of game time so far, is likely to mean the best he can hope for, is a place on the bench.


Nuno Espírito Santo stuck with the same starting XI for a record equalling seventh consecutive Premier League game, but with Helder Costa facing a late fitness test, that run could come to an end. Ivan Cavaleiro is on standby if he does fail to recover; the winger has looked sharp since his return from a back injury and scored from the bench in his first Premier League appearance.  



Leicester City – vs – Everton

Demarai Gray [ankle] is recovering well - Saturday comes too soon - but the Leicester winger could be back after the break. "I think in a few days he will start to run," revealed Claude Puel. Matty James [Achilles] is still not ready. Jamie Vardy has been cleared of serious injury following a late challenge by Jonjo Shelvey at St James’ Park and the Leicester hit man is available.


Yerry Mina was closing in on his Toffees debut before suffering a setback in training. Even though he is expected to train ahead of the game, a lack of fitness could see the Colombian side-lined at the King Power. Andre Gomes is another who is yet to feature for his new club and Marco Silva may decide against risking the Barcelona loanee on Saturday. Phil Jagielka is back with the group while Seamus Coleman faces a late fitness test.  


Tottenham Hotspur – vs – Cardiff City

After missing the previous six games, Hugo Lloris was back between the sticks on Wednesday night, but the captain couldn’t stop a Lionel Messi masterclass as Barcelona cruised to a 4-2 victory. Michel Vorm [knee] is working on the training pitches again, however, he could struggle to oust Paulo Gazzaniga from the 18 after two impressive displays in the Premier League. Dele Alli [hamstring], Serge Aurier and Mousa Dembele [both thigh], Christian Eriksen [abdominal] and Jan Vertonghen [hamstring] will not feature before the international break. Erik Lamela will be checked after he appeared to be limping on Wednesday night.


Neil Warnock is hoping Junior Hoilett [illness] will be back in the matchday squad while long-term absentee - Aron Gunnarsson [knee] - is pushing to be included following a return to full training. Nathaniel Mendez-Laing [PCL knee] and Lee Peltier [dislocated shoulder] are ruled out.  



Watford – vs – AFC Bournemouth

Gerard Deulofeu is in contention to make his first appearance of the season after Javi Gracia announced the winger is available for selection. There was also a positive update on Sebastian Prodl, Miguel Britos and Stefano Okaka. “Yes, all of them have a chance [for Saturday],” said the Hornets boss. “We have to know they are not in the best condition because they need more training sessions, but I think they can help us.” Marc Navarro “felt pain” this week and Kiko Femenía is poised to come into the side with Daryl Janmaat injured. Tom Cleverley is the only other Watford player expected to miss out.


Charlie Daniels completed 90 minutes on his return from a knee injury to help the under-21s to a draw with AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday. Kyle Taylor was also back following his recent calf problem. Dan Gosling and Diego Rico are in contention following recent calf and hamstring problems while Junior Stanislas is looking sharp after missing the last six months because of knee surgery.



Manchester United – vs – Newcastle United

Jesse Lingard is managing a niggling groin problem and he may be forced to miss out once again. Ashley Young and Ander Herrera also face the prospect of a late fitness test, but Marcos Rojo is ruled out. Alexis Sanchez returned to the matchday squad midweek, but it remains to be seen whether the Chilean is involved after Jose Mourinho dropped him at West Ham. "Look, for how many months people are asking for Martial. Alexis is not playing well enough. This week it was time for me to agree, so I picked Martial and left Alexis out."


Paul Dummett and Frederico Fernandez [both hamstring] trained ahead of the Leicester game but neither player was confident enough to be included. DeAndre Yedlin should shake off a minor ankle issue, but Salomon Rondon might not return this month. "We have to assess him and see how he is going. He might be out for a couple of weeks then we will decide after that." Florian Lejeune is back on Tyneside, but the Newcastle defender still has a long way to go in his recovery from a serious knee ligament injury.



Fulham – vs – Arsenal

Timothy Fosu-Mensah will miss this weekend - but the good news - he does not require shoulder surgery. Slavisa Jokanovic is set to make a late call on whether Cairney starts on Sunday. “We will see. We have a couple more training sessions ahead of us and I will take more time, then make a decision." Alfie Mawson [back] has been working with the squad all week and he will be available however; a hamstring strain keeps Joe Bryan out of the derby. 


Despite a much-changed line-up in Qarabag, Arsenal made it eight straight wins and they arrive at Craven Cottage full of confidence. Aaron Ramsey should be available even though his wife is expecting twins at any moment. Due to the political unrest between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Henrikh Mkhitaryan did not travel midweek and the playmaker is fully refreshed. Bernd Leno will make his full Premier League bow after Petr Cech [left hamstring] was ruled out for up-to 4 weeks. Laurent Koscielny is “ahead of schedule” but he won’t cut corners to return quicker. “I want to come back when I am fully ready, and I can focus 100 per cent on the game. Trust me, I can’t wait to be back on the pitch, but I have to be wise. Rushing my return would not be a good thing."



Southampton – vs – Chelsea

Other than Shane Long, who is battling a persistent toe problem, Mark Hughes could have a full squad at his disposal. The issue is “not settling down” and requires further investigation to find the root cause. Charlie Austin is likely to partner Danny Ings in attack.


Maurizio Sarri made a host of changes in the Europa League which included the return of Pedro [shoulder], Andreas Christensen [illness] and Ruben Loftus-Cheek [shin] to empty the Chelsea treatment room. If the Blues come through Thursday nights tie unscathed, then Sarri will have a full complement of players to select from at St Mary’s on Sunday.



Liverpool – vs – Manchester City

Naby Keita was taken to hospital in Naples and underwent a battery of “precautionary health checks” after complaining of severe back pain on Wednesday night. Fortunately, the tests cleared the player of serious injury and he flew home with the rest of the squad. He could be available on Sunday. Virgil van Dijk is "fine" having recovered from a minor rib issue. The defender has struggled over the past few weeks but came through the game with Chelsea and Napoli without any further complications. “You never really play completely pain free. You are always going to have something - you are never going to be 100 per cent totally fit throughout the season. It was about managing it.” Divock Origi is in "outstandingly good shape" after his recent ankle problem. Adam Lallana has trained with the team, but not in full sessions, and he is unlikely to be risked.


Pep confirms the City medical team will assess Ilkay Gundogan after the Germany midfielder was seen clutching his hamstring against Hoffenheim. Benjamin Mendy can "maybe" play a part versus Liverpool after the club doctor confirmed the full-back was "much, much better" in his recovery from a bruised metatarsal. Fabian Delph is expected to miss out due an unspecified problem. Guardiola says Sergio Aguero is “struggling a bit with some problems in his foot” although the Argentine managed 90 minutes on Tuesday.