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Mamadou Sakho
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Team News

Late Fitness Check | Round 15

by Ben Dinnery
Updated On: December 2, 2019, 6:51 pm ET

Round 15 arrives quickly on the heels… but with games spread across three days, getting a handle on the team news is difficult ahead of the FPL deadline. Only five managers clocked in on Monday, those involved in fixtures on Tuesday, and Brendan Rodgers less than 24 hours after his sides last gasp win over Everton.

Make sure you’re following throughout the build-up for all the latest Premier League updates. Our Player News page contains breaking headlines while last-minute injury updates are added to the Injury Report.   

Good luck!  

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Crystal Palace – vs – AFC Bournemouth

Mamadou Sakho is set for a possible recall to the starting XI as the Eagles defensive options become stretched. Scott Dann was sent for a scan on Monday after picking up an ankle injury at Turf Moor. "We hope it's not a ligament issue. We hope it's a kick, but of course, it's far too soon, too close to the game for him to recover so he’ll miss tomorrow's game." Gary Cahill (knee) is also sidelined.  "We hope to recover the pair of them for the game at the weekend [Watford]."

No fresh injury concerns from Saturday, the squad came through the defeat to Tottenham relatively unscathed. Simon Francis and Philip Billing are back in contention after serving a ban in week fourteen. Lloyd Kelly (thigh) is edging closer while Junior Stanislas (knee) is back on the training pitches, although after several months out, it may be next year before Eddie Howe considers the winger. Andrew Surman is working with the group, but Charlie Daniels and David Brooks remain sidelined. Adam Smith missed out on Saturday due to illness, and a decision on his availability could be made closer to kick-off. It’s still a little too soon for Joshua King (hamstring).

Burnley – vs – Manchester City

Charlie Taylor continues to be assessed, but the early indications are that he did not suffer a serious hamstring injury against Crystal Palace. However, with the quick turnaround, Sean Dyche will look to make a late call. Erik Pieters is a ready-made replacement, and despite picking up a knock, he is expected to start at left-back. Ashley Westwood is available after suspension, although the midfielder is struggling with a slight groin problem and faces a late test. Tuesday will come too soon for Johann Berg Gudmundsson who is back on the grass and working with the physios. "He is building up his power and sharpness, and that is the final bit to come.” Danny Drinkwater is "as close as you can get" in terms of his fitness, and Matej Vydra is fit after recovering from a hip injury.

Pep Guardiola reveals Sergio Agüero will miss the Manchester derby (GW16) after failing to recover from a muscular issue. Ilkay Gundogan is suspended for Tuesday, so expect a return for Rodri who was left out of the draw on Tyneside until the 84th minute. No other injury concerns - Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sané remain out until early 2020 - while Oleksandr Zinchenko is back on the training pitches. Fernandinho will continue at centre-back as Pep prefers the Brazilian to be in his backline, which is why Stones/Otamendi have not been paired together.


Leicester City – vs – Watford

Demarai Gray is the only fitness concern for Wednesday; the winger has been ill over the weekend. “Everyone else is fine," apart from long-term absentee Matty James (Achilles).

Three months (or just 85 days). That was all the time afforded to Quique Sanchez Flores in his second spell at the club before results ultimately dictated the board’s decision to sack the 54-year-old. Hayden Mullins will take temporary charge of the Hornets with an extensive injury list… Up to eight players are at risk of missing out, and with a press conference still to come, I’ll focus on the definites, the maybes, and those almost there. Danny Welbeck is out until the new year, and it’s difficult to see Sebastian Prodl or Tom Cleverley returning for this one given the game time they’ve missed. Daryl Janmaat and Christian Kabasele - knee and hamstring respectively – can’t be ruled out entirely as the severity of their injuries remains unclear. Craig Dawson is best placed to return despite stitches in a head wound. Kiko Femenía suffered a knock at St Mary’s and QSF had suggested that one of his substitutes was injured during the warm-up, and that was the reason Andre Gray came on to replace Gerard Deulofeu. That suggests Troy Deeney, Domingos Quina or Roberto Pereyra won’t be ready.


Manchester United – vs – Tottenham Hotspur

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hopeful of having Scott McTominay or Paul Pogba back for the game on Wednesday as the pair step up their recovery. The former seems best placed as he had been touted for a return in week 14, but Pogba won’t be too far away following a stint in the US to build fitness. Anthony Martial is one to watch; his withdrawal may have been enforced, although there was no mention of a problem post-match. Assessments will continue throughout the build-up to the game, and last-minute decisions are not uncommon with such a quick turnaround. Luke Shaw returned to the matchday squad but looks way off the pace after more than three months out, so Brandon Williams should keep his place. Eric Bailly, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Marcos Rojo, Nemanja Matic and Diogo Dalot remain sidelined.

Jose returns to his former stomping ground and Spurs will be looking to make it four straight wins, although they will need to be a bit more Mourinho-like after conceding twice in each of the last three. Jan Vertonghen and Tanguy Ndombele were back in the XI on Saturday, but unless Christian Eriksen commits his future to the club, then his game time looks to be very limited. No fresh concerns – Hugo Lloris, Michel Vorm, Ben Davies and Erik Lamela are out – although the Argentine is in the last phase of his conditioning before re-joining the group.


Wolverhampton Wanderers – vs – West Ham United

Romain Saiss comes back into contention with Max Kilman, who made his full Premier League debut on Sunday, being the player most likely to miss out. The status of Ryan Bennett (groin) and Morgan Gibbs-White is unknown, but both have been managing issues for a while now, and I wouldn’t expect a great deal of change within 48-72 hrs. Willy Boly is progressing and is on schedule to return in January.

Saturdays’ coupon buster – a win at Stamford Bridge – ended a run of eight games (all comps) without victory and Manuel Pellegrini will be hoping for more of the same. Michail Antonio will need to be checked after his first start in over three months, and with Issa Diop back in the frame, Fabián Balbuena could make way. David Martin, 33, and son of former West Ham legend Alvin kept a clean sheet on his debut and looks set to continue with Roberto missing out. Jack Wilshere is training, alongside Winston Reid, but it’s too soon, and neither will be considered.


Chelsea – vs – Aston Villa

Frank Lampard will give Tammy Abraham every chance to prove his fitness ahead of the game. "We will find out more today and tomorrow. He needs to get outside and move a little bit over the next two days." If he fails to recover, then the Blues boss suggested that Christian Pulisic is an option. "He does have an ability to run behind the line, and to be sharp in central areas which will naturally get him more goals." He also went onto add that the decision to play Olivier Giroud over Michy Batshuayi was just a "choice for this game." No sign of Ross Barkley and Antonio Rüdiger needs to get “properly fit” following knee and muscle injuries which have kept him sidelined for the best part of seven months.

El Mohamady could start his first league game since August after Frédéric Guilbert collected his fifth caution of the season at Old Trafford. And Dean Smith may be forced into a second change with El Ghazi a major doubt due to a knee injury, the Dutchman was replaced by Trézéguet after just 18 minutes, and the winger is expected to keep his place. Bjorn Engels has recovered from a hip issue, but the defender will struggle to displace Ezri Konsa who has grasped his opportunity with both hands. Jed Steer (Achilles) is out for around three months, and Jota is training after groin surgery, but he lacks conditioning and will build fitness behind-closed-doors.  


Southampton – vs – Norwich City

The Saints staged a remarkable comeback to take an unlikely three-points in the late kick-off on Saturday, a victory which ultimately cost Sanchez Flores his job. Danny Ings started the ball rolling in the 78th minute – his seventh of the campaign – before James Ward-Prowse capped his man-of-the-match performance with a stunning free-kick. The pair are responsible for the Saints’ last ten league goals. Stuart Armstrong (hamstring) is the only confirmed injury doubt, and the Scot is pencilled in for a return in week seventeen.

The Canaries almost made it back-to-back wins, but Arsenal came from behind for a share of the spoils. Pukki got the party underway, and Todd Cantwell followed up his goal at Goodison Park with his fourth of the season. The return of Christoph Zimmermann cannot be underestimated, and the big German has offered some solidity to the Norwich backline, something which they missed in his absence. There was no Alex Tettey on Sunday due to personal reasons, and the midfielder is the only one of those who were unavailable in week 14 who stands a realistic chance of returning.


Liverpool – vs – Everton

Adrián will start in the Merseyside derby following Alisson’s dismissal against Brighton. Jurgen Klopp said the “frozen” goalkeeper was his man-of-the-match on Saturday after two “really good saves.” Ballon d’Or runner-up Virgil Van Dijk was the pundit’s choice with two headed first-half goals which helped the Reds to another three-points. Fabinho (ankle) will probably not feature again this year, while there is no timeline for Joel Matip (knee) who was scheduled for a follow-up scan last Friday.

Marco Silva is hanging on in there, but another defeat here could see the Portuguese boss relieved of his duties with Everton sitting in 17th just two points above the drop zone. Theo Walcott and Fabian Delph will be checked, but even though Morgan Schneiderlin made the bench on Saturday, the midfielder was not 100 per cent. Jean-Philippe Gbamin, André Gomes and Seamus Coleman are already confirmed as out.  


Sheffield United – vs – Newcastle United

Chris Wilder is expected to confirm that his squad have a clean bill of health following the return of John Egan (calf) on Sunday. Lys Mousset continued his rich vein of form at Molineux, and his 5-goals have helped the newly-promoted side climb to seventh in the table.

Allan Saint-Maximin probably offers Newcastle’s biggest attacking threat, so Steve Bruce will be hoping the Frenchman can shake off a minor knock. The additional recovery time for the Thursday night kick-off will undoubtedly help… Andy Carroll should be close after missing out on Saturday with a rib injury, and a decision on DeAndre Yedlin (groin) will be left until late - Javier Manquillo could deputise once again. Jamaal Lascelles (knee) is out while Fabian Schär must be patient after losing his place; the Federico Fernandez and Ciaran Clark partnership has worked well with Paul Dummett making up the central trio. Florian Lejeune can be called upon if required.


Arsenal – vs – Brighton and Hove Albion

Freddie Ljungberg suggested that the performances of Pepe in training meant that the big-money summer signing would not be considered for a starting berth. Indeed, the Ivorian was an unused substitute during the draw at Carrow Road. Shkodran Mustafi was back for the first time on Sunday, but it was the same old Arsenal who were lucky to leave Norwich with a point. There has been very little mention of Rob Holding – not listed on the site as injured – although he has been carrying a knee problem. Héctor Bellerín’s hamstring will be tested after missing the last two. No Dani Ceballos until mid-December following his injury in the Europa League.

Brighton were very unfortunate to leave Anfield with nothing, after a slow start the Seagulls steadily grew into the game, and following Alisson’s sending off, Graham Potter’s men took the game to the league leaders. However, the result means that they have now lost 4 of their last six away matches and the Emirates will be another tough test. Aaron Connolly was handed an immediate recall, but with Leandro Trossard and Neal Maupay both champing at the bit to be involved, Brighton have lots of attacking options. It may or may not include Solly March who is managing a slight groin problem. Bernardo returned for the U23s last week, and it remains to be seen whether the full-back is deemed fit enough for the first team after close to three months on the sidelines.