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Weekly Picks

Late Fitness Check, Part 2

by Ben Dinnery
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 pm ET

For Part I of Ben's analysis, click here

Arsenal – vs – Crystal Palace

New signing Calum Chambers could feature against Crystal Palace after a man-of-the-match performance in the Community Shield last weekend; his place in the starting line-up a distinct possibility given Per Mertesacker will miss out as he continues to work his way back to fitness along with compatriots Lukas Podolski and Mesut Ozil. Laurent Koscielny remains a slight doubt, the defender has been plagued by an ongoing Achilles tendon issue while Ryo Miyaichi (hamstring)and Theo Walcott (ACL) are sidelined; the pair could return to full training in early September. Abou Diaby  (hip) is back in contention but Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina is still recovering from a thigh strain and Serge Gnabry (knee inflammation) is out with no return date.


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Newcastle United – vs – Manchester City

Newcastle will be without midfielders Siem de Jong (calf) and Cheick Tiote (hamstring) when they entertain Manchester City at St James’ Park; both players have returned to training and could be back for game week two. Davide Santon (knee) is sidelined and is targeting a return in September with Papiss Demba Cisse “working with the squad again” after the striker fractured his patella last season. Yoan Gouffran recovers from a minor injury and French man Remy Cabella (match fitness) is in contention.

Manuel Pellegrini refused to rule out striker Sergio Aguero but the Argentinian revealed he should be fit for the second game of the season while he works hard “to strengthen my legs and to get my fitness right." Alvaro Negredo (metatarsal) is the only confirmed absentee but others do require more training following their World Cup exertions  and “Not all of the players will be available for Sunday.” I’d suggest this probably includes Zabalata and Fernandinho but Captain Vincent Kompany should be ok. Eliaquim Mangala is not expected to feature "I think that I will need a bit of time in order to be 100 per cent but it is normal.”

Liverpool – vs – Southampton

Brendan Rodgers has confirmed that Adam Lallana and Jon Flanagan (both knee) are progressing well but will miss Sunday’s game; the duo are expected to return to training in around 7-10 days. New signing Lazar Markovic (hamstring) is another absentee but is said to be “doing very well” with defender Daniel Agger battling an ongoing knee injury. The remainder of squad are available for selection. Spanish left-back Alberto Moreno will not be considered as his paperwork was not completed in time to meet the Premier League deadline for this weekend following his transfer from Sevilla.

A busy close season at St Marys’ could see up to four debutants at Anfield with Dusan Tadic, Graziano Pelle, Shane Long and Fraser Forster all moving to the South Coast during the transfer window. Ronald Koeman must also decide whether to include Morgan Schneiderlin after a “very good week of training;” the Saints midfielder has been subject to recent transfer speculation from former boss Manuel Pochettino  at Spurs. Jay Rodriguez (ACL) is out and Florin Gardos did not travel having failed to recover from the hamstring injury he suffered during preseason.


Burnley – vs – Chelsea

Sam Vokes (ACL) has been ruled for Burnley with youngster Cameron Dummigan (thigh) also doubtful. Michael Kightly (knee), Tom Heaton (calf) and Danny Ings (dead leg) have all recovered from injury with the in-form Lukas Jutkiewicz – scorer of six goals in preseason – expected to lead the attack.

Jose Mourinho is said to have made his goalkeeping choice ahead of the trip to Turf Moor although the Chelsea coach has not yet revealed his decision “I’ll only inform the players on Sunday. The players don't know (who's first choice). When will I tell them? On Sunday." Jose could have a full squad at his disposal with Didier Drogba (ankle) facing a late fitness test. Andre Schurrle, Felipe Luis, Willian and Victor Moses (all match fitness) will be assessed. Ramires serves the last game of his four match suspension for violent conduct. 


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