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Late Fitness Check | Week Ten

by Ben Dinnery
Updated On: October 24, 2019, 7:35 pm ET

This weekends’ action kicks off on Friday at St Mary’s. You know the drill. There are still a host of press conferences to come.

The latest information will be added to our Player News page while last-minute availability updates can be found on the Injury Report. Remember to keep checking throughout the weekend.  

Good luck!  

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Southampton – vs – Leicester City

"Still the same," Ralph Hasenhüttl said when asked for an update on his injured players. Cedric Soares is struggling to overcome a calf complaint, although the news for Djenepo was slightly better. "Moussa is back on the pitch. For a game, it is too early, but we see light at the end of the tunnel. I hope that in one or two weeks’ we can count on him again. We don't want to take any risks with him because the injury is complicated."

James Maddison has been given the all-clear. "He’s fine," Brendan Rodgers confirmed on Thursday. "He’s been good in training. He didn’t do much in the weeks after Tottenham. He only had a few days, so he lasted the game (vs Burnley) very well. He wasn’t quite up to match fitness, but he got a good period of the time in, and he’ll be fit and ready for Friday." Everyone else – except Matty James (Achilles) – is training well. "We're obviously another week down the line with a few of the boys in terms of their football fitness, so we're all good."

Brighton and Hove Albion – vs – Everton

Leandro Trossard could make his long-awaited return to the line-up following Aaron Mooy's dismissal for two bookable offences. The Belgium international was injured in training with the national team but recovered sufficiently to make the bench in week nine. There is no timeframe for José Izquierdo while Bernardo is experiencing irritation in his knee, which is expected to keep him out until after the break.

Marco Silva is hoping the injury suffered by Yerry Mina is not severe. The Colombian central defender stretched to make a late clearance just moments before Gylfi Sigurdsson sealed the game for Everton in time added-on last week, and he faces a late test. “Let's see,” Silva said when asked for an update after the win over West Ham. “It is a little bit in his knee, but it looks nothing special, but we have to see how he is in the next few days and how he will react." If he does miss out, then forgotten man Mason Holgate could return to the side in what would be his first Premier League start since September 2018. Fabian Delph (hamstring) and Morgan Schneiderlin (knock) have been passed fit while Seamus Coleman returns after serving a one-match ban. However, following their first win in five, Silva won’t want to tinker too much which means Djibril Sidibé could retain his place at right-back. Jean-Philippe Gbamin is the only certain absentee after he suffered a setback in training which will keep him out until early 2020.

 

Manchester City – vs – Aston Villa

Pep said Sergio Agüero "could have played" at Selhurst Park, but the striker was rested in favour of Gabriel Jesus ahead of a midweek encounter with Atalanta in the Champions League. And with a single goal in his last four, the Argentine is fast becoming a £12.2m luxury we can’t afford to carry. The same could also be said of Raheem Sterling despite his midweek heroics; the winger has only notched one from six in the league. Injuries may simplify decisions in defence though, as Oleksandr Zinchenko (knee) and Rodrigo Hernandez (hamstring) – preferred to both Nicolás Otamendi and John Stones alongside Fernandinho at centre-back recently – will miss out. Benjamin Mendy looks nailed at left-back, although the return of Kyle Walker from illness means he’ll be vying for a place with Joao Cancelo on the opposite flank.  

James Chester and Jonathan Kodjia started for the Under-23s on Monday evening as both players continue to build fitness following an injury. Jota is the only reported absentee after he had surgery to remedy a long-term groin problem. After back-to-back wins, Dean Smith will be tempted to leave things as they are for the second successive game.

 

Watford – vs – AFC Bournemouth

The early prognosis is not good for Danny Welbeck, who may not play again this year. The former Arsenal forward lasted barely a minute before pulling his hamstring on Saturday, and he has been referred for further tests. "We are waiting on the report from one of the specialists,” said Head of Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation Alberto Leon. “We did [one], and it's not the best, but we are waiting for this opinion. We will decide in a few days what we are going to do.” The news has been slightly tempered by the impending return of Isaac Success (groin) who started training with the team on Wednesday, and Troy Deeney, who should be back next month after he stepped up his recovery and began working outside. Sebastian Prodl and Étienne Capoue have been taking part in “modified” sessions, although the Carabao Cup on Tuesday is more realistic. The Hornets are the only side in the top four divisions who are yet to win a league game.

Eddie Howe remains optimistic that Jefferson Lerma can return in week ten. The Colombian picked up a hip injury on international duty, which kept him out of the bore-draw with Norwich. “We hope it’s nothing too serious and he will be back next week.” He was one of three changes on the day, and while you may have missed that Jack Stacey was omitted from the 18 for tactical reasons, Josh King certainly didn’t go unnoticed after he was benched due to fatigue having featured heavily for Norway. On the plus side, Ryan Fraser was back after a five-game hiatus from the line-up, and Adam Smith was handed an immediate recall after six weeks out. Summer signing Arnaut Danjuma is approaching full fitness following an injury-hampered start to his Cherries career. "We've had to manage his load in training, so we haven't been able to hit him too hard. He'll certainly get there within the next few weeks."

 

West Ham United – vs – Sheffield United

Manuel Pellegrini believed it best to rest Andriy Yarmolenko in what would have been his third start in a week after being injured for so long. But, after a decidedly dodgy start at Goodison Park, it wasn’t long before the Ukrainian was being summoned from the bench, but it was all to no avail. The Hammers never got going, so expect last weekends’ two changes to be reversed. Aaron Cresswell (groin) has worked all week and is cleared to replace Arthur Masuaku, who was given a torrid time. Winston Reid was rumoured to be returning for the Under-23s on Monday – he didn’t – and he remains sidelined along with long-termers Michail Antonio and Lukasz Fabianski.

The Blades were good value for their three-points over a typically soft-centred Arsenal side who for all of their possession-based pretty play, could only muster three shots on target. The return of David McGoldrick, John Fleck and Oli McBurnie to the squad cleared the decks, and Chris Wilder can boast a fully fit squad. “We have tired bodies and minds, but the players have had a couple of days of rest, we’re back in today, and we’ll get set for the weekend.”

 

Burnley – vs – Chelsea

Sean Dyche confirms Jack Cork and Ashley Barnes trained on Thursday, and both players stand a “strong chance” of being involved as long as they don't suffer an overnight reaction. Striker Chris Wood has a tight hamstring, and a late decision will be made on his fitness. Johann Berg Gudmundsson (hamstring) will miss out again while Chelsea loanee Danny Drinkwater (ankle) is expected to resume full training with the squad from next week.

César Azpilicueta managed to shake off a minor knock to help Chelsea take all three-points in Amsterdam on Wednesday. There was also a return for Emerson after a month out, but the Italian was an unused substitute with Marcos Alonso helping the Blues to another clean sheet. Ross Barkley could return despite suffering a “nasty” ankle injury in week nine, but N’Golo Kante remains a concern as he struggles to overcome the groin issue he picked up on international duty. Given recent results, Frank Lampard may afford the Frenchman some additional recovery time with Jorginho and Mason Mount primed to continue. Pedro did not travel midweek - there was no mention of any issue – so hopefully the decision was tactical. Antonio Rüdiger is training, but he is unlikely to considered just yet leaving Kurt Zouma and Tomori centrally with Andreas Christensen (hamstring) out until next month.

 

Newcastle United – vs – Wolverhampton Wanderers

Fabian Schär and Andy Carroll picked up knocks during last weekends’ defeat at Stamford Bridge, and neither player is expected to recover in time. While it is not serious, the knee injury suffered by Schär could see Paul Dummett or Frederico Fernandez recalled to the side; a groin injury means Dwight Gayle will back Joelinton up from the bench. Florian Lejeune is working as normal, but Steve Bruce wants the centre-back to take part in a bounce game before being considered for the first-team, and he has set a target to return after the break. Matt Ritchie has just returned from a stint in the Middle East where he’s been working on his fitness, but after two months out, Sunday might be too soon. Isaac Hayden serves the final game of his ban.

A groin injury kept Ryan Bennett out of the Europa League win in Bratislava, and the defender will struggle to make the game at St James’ Park. Pedro Neto (heel) is also taking a little longer than anticipated, and he could also miss out. Nuno Espírito Santo welcomed Romain Saiss back into the side on Thursday, but a frustrated Diogo Jota was restricted to a role from the bench and was sent-off following a rush of blood with less than five minutes remaining. Fortunately, the ban won’t count domestically.

 

Arsenal – vs – Crystal Palace

Arsenal edged a five-goal Europa League thriller in time added-on thanks to a late Nicolas Pépé cameo which saw him score twice from only sixteen touches. The winger levelled the tie after 80 minutes before wrapping his wand of a left-foot around the dead ball once again to seal a hard-fought win. Only Reiss Nelson (knee) is sidelined currently while Alexandre Lacazette, Kieran Tierney and Héctor Bellerín all started as they build fitness following injury. No Ozil, no surprise…. his last involvement of any kind came in last months’ Carabao Cup victory over Nottingham Forest.

Roy Hodgson confirmed a muscular problem kept Vicente Guaita out of the defeat to City. "He has been complaining about a slight groin problem for a period of time. There was a thought we could have taken a risk - he was not far off - but when you have a goalkeeper like Wayne Hennessey, who was outstanding, you don't.” Given that Guaita only just missed out, then it would be safe to assume that he should be back in contention, but given the performance of Hennessey, the Spaniard may have to bide his time before returning to the XI. The prognosis for Martin Kelly is not so clear after the defender was injured on the eve of week nine. Hodgson was “hopeful” that the setback was not long-term, but his availability remains in question. Gary Cahill and James Tomkins are the likely pairing centrally with Mamadou Sakho working his way back to full fitness.

 

Liverpool – vs – Tottenham Hotspur

Mo Salah "looked good" in training during the build-up to the game in Genk, and his reward was a much-needed 90-minute workout. Trent Alexander-Arnold should recover from the virus that ruled him out of the trip to Belgium, but if he doesn’t, then Jurgen Klopp has a decision to make. He opted for James Milner - ahead of Joe Gomez midweek - as he believed his style suited “the way [Liverpool] wanted to play” in the Champions League group match. Joel Matip (knee) is more of a concern, and with Dejan Lovren able to cover, he may not be risked after aggravating the problem at Old Trafford. “Now we just have to make sure it settles. It is not a massive injury; it’s just a bit annoying for him." Andy Robertson calmed fears of an injury when he was replaced on the hour mark on Wednesday; the left-back said he was “okay” while the manager indicated his withdrawal was more of a tactical switch. Xherdan Shaqiri is taking longer than anticipated, and the winger has spent some time in Switzerland getting treatment on an ongoing calf problem.

Christian Eriksen was only fit enough for a place on the bench after recovering from a dead leg, but Mauricio Pochettino chose not to involve the Danish international against Red Star. The Champions League provided a welcome break from the Premier League – just one win in four – and supporters will be hoping that the performance will signal a turnaround in fortunes. Giovani Lo Celso also returned to the matchday squad after missing the last seven weeks, but with no pre-season to speak of, and very few minutes in the tank, the Argentine is most definitely playing catch-up. Jan Vertonghen should hopefully be okay after he was withdrawn as a precaution. "He felt a little problem, not really a problem, but we didn't want to risk him to continue playing." Ryan Sessegnon is training which means Hugo Lloris is the only player currently sidelined.

 

Norwich City – vs – Manchester United

Ben Godfrey hands the Canaries an injury boost after limping off at Bournemouth. "I played eleven days post [hernia] op," he said. “It just got a little bit sore in the second half [and] stiffened up at half-time. It's just general soreness, but I'll be fit and available for this weekend.” The injury crisis is beginning to ease at Carrow Road after Daniel Farke was able to welcome eight players back into the matchday squad, although it only translated into two changes – Alex Tettey and Tim Krul - from the heavy loss at home to Villa. Of those remaining in the treatment room, Mario Vrancic and Ralf Fahrmann are the closest to a return, and if this weekend comes too soon, then Brighton (Rd 11) is a real possibility. Norwich will be hoping to do the Manchester double after beating United’s city rivals in a five-goal thriller last month.

Luke Shaw and Nemanja Matic are currently working out in Dubai, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hasn't ruled either out of Sundays' game. "They have taken staff to go really hard on them, so I expect them back in Manchester by the weekend, and we will see when they are available." Anthony Martial was on the scoresheet in Belgrade, and his hour-long run out will stand him in good stead for Sunday. Diogo Dalot is a confirmed absentee while there is nothing definitive on Axel Tuanzebe who was a late withdrawal from last weekend after pulling up with a hip injury during the warm-up. Jesse Lingard managed 90 minutes in his comeback (Europa League), but Paul Pogba is still several weeks from a return-to-play.