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Team News

Late Fitness Check GW9

by Ben Dinnery
Updated On: November 14, 2018, 2:01 pm ET

The international break provided no fewer than 54 reported injuries with some of the leagues leading lights being hit the hardest. The headlines have been dominated by Liverpool following a succession of setbacks, but barring any last-minute issues, the Reds should be close to full strength.

 

Tottenham are also on the mend, however, the euphoria surrounding the return of Christian Eriksen has been tempered somewhat by the news that Jan Vertonghen will not play again before December.

 

Joint-leaders City welcome Kevin De Bruyne back into the ranks after 66 days out, which incidentally, is how long the Belgium star missed in 2016 with the same injury, in the same knee!

 

José Mourinho returns to his former stomping ground in the early kick-off and the Special One will be hoping United’s come-from-behind win over Newcastle proves to be a turning point. However, he will have to do it the hard way with up-to eight first-team players at risk of missing out.

 

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Chelsea – vs – Manchester United

 

Chelsea have a few concerns following the recent internationals. Ross Barkley has a small problem – one or two days – and he should return in the Europa League. Ethan Ampadu [knee] is a little more serious, but "maybe in a couple of weeks [he can be back]." Antonio Rudiger and Mateo Kovacic are expected to recover in time for the early kick-off. The pair have been doing better in the last couple of days and Sarri thinks they will be able to play. Hudson-Odoi is also managing an injury which could side-line him in the short-term.

 

Ander Herrera recently returned to training and might be required to help following a number of injuries during the break. The Spaniard has travelled with the group along with Luke Shaw [ankle] and Nemanja Matic [back] who were also at risk of missing out. Diogo Dalot, Marouane Fellaini and Scott McTominay were not pictured and must be considered serious doubts. Mourinho said that everybody who is available will be selected. "Some came back [from international duty] in good condition [and] some came back with injuries, injuries that we were aware of when they happened. We also had surprises with players that we had no idea.” Jesse Lingard and Marcos Rojo have missed recent matches for United and look set to do so again.

 

 

AFC Bournemouth – vs – Southampton

 

Fraser faces a late fitness test. "We'll have to see with Ryan," Eddie Howe said. "He's been carrying a hamstring injury for a few weeks, we'll make a late decision on him, but he's certainly a doubt." Josh King is also struggling. "I wouldn't say he's 100%, he picked up an ankle injury and he's not trained with us. We'll see if he goes out [on Friday] and then we'll make a decision. We don't want this injury to stop his momentum with us so we're hopeful he'll be fit." King was injured playing for Norway versus Slovenia, and although he didn’t train fully, he managed 90 minutes in the Nations League on Tuesday.

 

Mark Hughes reveals he will have a full complement of players to choose from ahead of this weekend’s trip to Bournemouth. “Thankfully everybody seems to have come through their international games fit and well.” Alex McCarthy “had a bit of tightness in his hamstrings” but the goalkeeper has been cleared. Stuart Armstrong [calf] is available, although the midfielder has failed to nail down a regular starting berth since his arrival from Celtic.

 

 

Cardiff City – vs – Fulham

 

Joe Ralls is banned, and injured, after Neil Warnock confirmed he had "chipped a bone in his knee" which will keep him out for a few weeks. Aron Gunnarsson is working on the training pitches following his recovery from injury and the midfielder will be a part of the matchday squad. "Start, or on the bench, we’ll decide that tomorrow." Gary Madine [virus] "is struggling" and he could join Danny Ward on the side-lines leaving Cardiff a little lightweight in attack. Alex Smithies has recovered from a “bad shoulder injury” and he’ll be back on the bench. Bruno Manga will be assessed on his return from international duty. The defender is due back on Friday following his involvement for Gabon. Nathaniel Mendez-Laing [PCL knee] is working hard in the gym but won’t be considered just yet.

 

Timothy Fosu-Mensah [dislocated shoulder] has been working with the squad, but "he's still not 100 per cent." However, Jokanovic insists. "You don't need to be 100 per cent ready. You need to be strong-minded. He can be available." Joe Bryan is out of the Cardiff game having failed to recover from a hamstring strain. Tom Cairney [ankle] is also missing after suffering a setback.

 

 

Manchester City – vs – Burnley

 

Kevin De Bruyne will be included in the matchday 18, but Pep remained coy on whether the midfielder would start against Burnley after his lengthy absence. "I don't know if he is able to play 90 minutes. He's trained well last two weeks. He has no pain and is ready to be part of the group. He's such an important player for us." A hamstring injury will keep Ilkay Gundogan out of tomorrow's game. "He is not fit,” Guardiola said. “One week, two weeks, I am not sure [when he will return]." Fabian Delph is back in contention, but Danilo is not available after being injury playing for Brazil.

 

Stephen Ward had knee surgery earlier this week and won't be available for a while. "We’ll wait and see, that will be weeks rather than days." Robbie Brady and Steven Defour came through 90 minutes of a behind-closed-doors friendly unscathed, but the former is not yet ready for a first-team return. "Steven feels fine, it’s just us being careful, but he’s training really well and his eye looks in. We look forward to having him back, he’s more or less there." Nick Pope is targeting December for his comeback. Ben Gibson [hernia] will not be ready for Saturday but Sean Dyche is hopeful that the centre-back "will get some form of game next week." James Tarkowski should recover from a minor groin problem.

 

 

Newcastle United – vs – Brighton and Hove Albion

 

Salomon Rondón remains side-lined while Ciaran Clark has had treatment for a thigh muscle problem he picked up with Ireland. Paul Dummett trained normally after overcoming a hamstring injury. Goal scoring duo from Old Trafford - Kenedy and Muto - have worked with the group – and both are available. Jamie Sterry and Florian Lejeune continue their rehab with the physios.

 

Davy Propper hasn't recovered from the ankle injury he sustained during the win over West Ham. "He'll be out for a period of weeks. We're not sure on the timescale at the moment," said Chris Hughton. Pascal Gross [ankle] and Dale Stephens [hamstring] have just returned to full training. Gaetan Bong is back at the AMEX Stadium, but he didn't play on international duty because of a knee injury. "They're the three who we will make late decisions on. Apart from that, everybody's fit," which includes goalkeeper Mat Ryan who missed Australia's friendly win over Kuwait.

 

 

West Ham United – vs – Tottenham Hotspur

 

Manuel Pellegrini provided a positive update on Arnautovic. "Marko is okay. When he returned from internationals he worked with the squad without any problems. We must be careful about his knee." Arthur Masuaku [ankle] faces a late test. "He was with the national squad, he returned and works today – we will see what we will do this weekend." No word on Robert Snodgrass who missed out for Scotland due to a minor ankle problem. Javier Hernández is back in contention after missing the last six weeks due to glandular fever.

 

Christian Eriksen [abdominal] is back in contention. “It is our decision if he will play from the start or from the bench on Saturday,” revealed Pochettino. Mousa Dembele [thigh] is pushing to be included after missing the last two games. Saturday comes too soon for Dele Alli who should rejoin the group from next week. "Maybe, 10 days or more," before we see a return to action which makes the England international an early doubt for Man City. Danny Rose is still recovering from a groin problem, but he will be back in game week ten. Jan Vertonghen remains out long-term and he is hoping to play by mid-December. Serge Aurier comes into the reckoning, but there was no mention of Victor Wanyama, who suffered a minor hamstring issue while he was away with Kenya.

 

 

Wolverhampton Wanderers – vs – Watford

 

Wolves could make it 9 Premier League games with the same side after Nuno Espírito Santo confirmed his international players returned unscathed. Rui Patrício is fine despite being released after a 3-2 win in Poland. Jonny Otto will be brimming with confidence after making his competitive bow for Spain and Hélder Costa scored on his Portugal debut.

 

Gerard Deulofeu is pushing for a start following an injury hampered start to the season. “I think he is ready,” said Javi Gracia. “He has been working hard in these last two weeks and he is in his best condition. I don't know if he is able to play 90 minutes at his best level, but I think he is in good condition to play.” Marc Navarro is available for selection and he could replace Kiko Femenía after missing the Bournemouth game. The Watford boss has a couple of doubts heading into the match “but we prefer to wait to decide if the players are available.” Nathaniel Chalobah is one of those after he felt discomfort in his knee. “Yesterday he started to train but after he felt a pain in his knee. We’ll see,” if he can be involved. The Hornets need to make a minimum of two changes as Christian Kabasele and José Holebas are both suspended. Summer signing Adam Masina could make his first league start while Sebastian Prödl, Miguel Britos and Adrian Mariappa will compete against each other to play alongside Craig Cathcart in defence. “Tom Cleverley [Achilles] and Daryl Janmaat [knee] are definitely out, but the others we wait until tomorrow.”

 

 

Huddersfield Town – vs – Liverpool

 

David Wagner "expects" that most of Jürgen Klopp’s [injured] players [Salah / Mane / Milner / Keita / Van Dijk / Lallana] "will be on the grass on Saturday.” However, the Terriers are without three at least. "I can rule out; Tommy Smith [groin], Terence Kongolo [hamstring] and Danny Williams [knee]. There’s a question mark over Isaac Mbenza, but Ramadan Sobhi is back in training; we have to see how he looks." Philip Billing has had treatment and following his withdrawal from Denmark under-21s. "He will train with the team and hopefully he will be fine afterwards. All the signs are positive.” Danny Williams is getting closer and Aaron Mooy, who missed Australia's friendly with Kuwait because of a groin problem, is available. Christopher Schindler has recovered from a broken nose.

 

Jurgen Klopp confirms "a few of the boys have trained" but a decision on their involvement won't be made just yet. The Liverpool boss needs to make sure that – James Milner, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane - have no adverse reactions. Naby Keita [hamstring] will not feature but Adam Lallana is "extremely close" to a first-team return. He is unlikely to start but the injury-plagued midfielder is a "proper option again." Fabinho isn't far away from making his Premier League debut. Virgil Van Dijk “has no problems” with his ribs anymore!

 

 

Everton – vs – Crystal Palace

 

Idrissa Gueye [ankle] is a doubt for Everton. "We have two more days to decide if he’s in a good condition," said Marco Silva. However, after Seamus Coleman, André Gomes [hamstring], Yerry Mina [foot] and James McCarthy [double leg fracture] all returned to full training, the Toffees are close to full strength.

 

Roy Hodgson is "hoping" Wilfried Zaha can rejoin the group on Saturday. "It is good news that he is close enough to be assessed. He hasn’t trained since the injury, but we are hoping he will train tomorrow, and if so, he could be available." Joel Ward is out with a muscle issue and he joins Jonathan Williams and Christian Benteke in the treatment room. Max Meyer and Alexander Sørloth are suffering with a virus. "Sometimes these things pass very quickly but they weren't able to train [Friday]." Connor Wickham impressed in a recent friendly versus Dulwich Hamlet bagging himself a goal and an assist. "We were happy and so was he [but] we still have to keep working with him to get back to Premier League level."

 

 

Arsenal – vs – Leicester City

 

"The [injured] players are coming back now," said Unai Emery.  "Only Sokratis [ankle] had one problem, one small injury. Maybe for Monday it’s difficult [for him to play]. The others [Mesut Ozil / Danny Welbeck / Ainsley Maitland-Niles] are OK." Petr Cech [hamstring] will be monitored ahead of the game. The goalkeeper is still not training with the group, but he isn't too far away. "He is getting better from his injury." Aaron Ramsey is in contention despite contract talks stalling. Laurent Koscielny is aiming to return to full training by November and Konstantinos Mavropanos’ timeline has slipped a little and it could be another 3-4 weeks before the defender is ready.

 

Almost all of Leicester’s players were training at the time of Claude Puel’s press conference. However, Rachid Ghezzal, WilFred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho weren’t due back until Friday. There are no obvious concerns and the extra recovery days will help. Winger Demarai Gray is recovering well after damaging ankle ligaments and he will start more training sessions on Monday morning. “He has made good work and it will be interesting.” Midfielder Matty James [Achilles] is working hard to get back to full fitness. “We will see when he will be available,” Puel said. “He has improved a lot in training and in the gym.  I hope he can continue in this way, but I don’t know when he will be available for us.” Çağlar Söyüncü is ready to make his senior debut, although the young defender must compete with seasoned professionals Jonny Evans and Wes Morgan to partner Harry Maguire. That said, club-captain Morgan is currently serving a two-match ban.