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Late Fitness Check GW12

Maurizio Sarri will be hoping that United can continue their recent unbeaten run at the Etihad – two wins and a draw – to give Chelsea a chance of topping the table ahead of the international break. But, with injuries to key players, José Mourinho will have to do it the hard way against a City side which will be close to full strength.


Arsenal progressed to the Last-32 of the Europa League on Thursday but the 0-0 draw with Sporting was overshadowed by a sickening injury to Danny Welbeck who looks set for a significant spell on the side-lines. The Gunners also picked up a few other niggles and Unai Emery will be glad of the pause in domestic proceedings to help clear the treatment room.


Of those side scrapping it out at the bottom, Newcastle, Burnley and Cardiff appear the hardest hit with injuries to key players. Avoiding defeat this weekend will be seen as a positive for all those concerned.


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Cardiff City – vs – Brighton and Hove Albion


Harry Arter is ruled out of the early kick-off due to suspension. Joe Ralls has served his three-match ban, but after chipping a bone in his knee [vs Spurs] he may start the game on the bench. "He’s not been able to do any training until this week. He had a tough day [Wednesday] and we’ll see how he is." Jazz Richards fails to recover from a hamstring strain and Kenneth Zohore is sidelined with a calf injury. “We’ve only got 17 or 18 players fit at the moment.” Lee Peltier [shoulder] and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing [knee] are long-term absentees.


Pascal Gross is training with the squad, but Davy Propper is not expected to rejoin them until Monday - both players will miss out this weekend, although Chris Hughton is confident that the pair can return after the break. Alireza Jahanbakhsh has picked up a "slight" hamstring strain. "We were hopeful he would train this week, but he hasn't. So, he will probably miss out." Back-up goalkeeper David Button [knee] is also carrying a slight knock. The Brighton boss says he has no plans to rest Murray. "Glenn always trains really well - he rarely misses a session and has always been available. My feeling with him is that if he does need a rest it won't be down to his age, it might be other circumstances."



Huddersfield Town – vs – West Ham United


David Wagner looks to have a full squad at his disposal, although Danny Williams – who only returned to training on Thursday - will not be considered until after the international break having missed the previous two months with a knee problem. Eric Durm is back in contention after missing the win over Fulham due to a slight groin problem. One/two players picked up minor knocks on Monday night, but that shouldn't stop them from being available. There are no plans to rest Terence Kongolo who "looked tired" last time out. "He is a real warrior. Once he puts on the shirt on, he is a different person to what you see off the pitch.”


No fresh injury concerns for the Hammers. "We don't have any problems. Everybody who was fit last weekend is fit again. Nobody had any problems in that game." West Ham have seven players currently side-lined. Mark Noble [suspension] will be back after the break and all being well, Andy Carroll and Jack Wilshere should return to the ranks later this month.



Leicester City – vs – Burnley


Claude Puel confirms Harry Maguire "will not be available" for the visit of Burnley due to a knee injury which will also keep him of the upcoming England matches. "It will be a few weeks, we will discuss his comeback after the international games. We don’t have any other information." James Maddison [knee] is in a similar position, although his injury isn’t quite as bad. "He felt something the day after Cardiff. It's not too serious but he will not play this game.” Everyone else is available, except Daniel Amartey [ankle surgery] and Matty James [Achilles].


Jack Cork is expected to recover from the ankle injury which kept him out of the loss at West Ham. "We think he will be fine, certainly it’s looking very positive" while Phil Bardsley is likely to overcome a hip flexor problem. James Tarkowski has been managing a niggling groin issue in recent weeks and faces a late fitness test. "He is seeing the specialist [Thursday], so we have to make a call on that one.” Nick Pope [shoulder] is targeting a return in December and Stephen Ward is still recovering from knee surgery. "He will be a bit longer than a couple of weeks but is making good progress." Ben Gibson [hernia] has had another operation. “It went well, he shouldn’t be out long. He should be up and it on, and on the grass in the matter of days.”



Newcastle United – vs – AFCB Bournemouth


Rafa Benítez says that Yoshinori Mutō and Jonjo Shelvey have not trained this week and the pair are likely to miss out. Jamaal Lascelles has had a session, but the United boss admits. "It will be difficult for him," and the skipper only has a slight chance of facing Bournemouth. Ki Sung-Yeung, Ayoze Pérez and Fabian Schär could benefit if all three fail to recover.


Eddie Howe is keeping his cards close to his chest. "Joshua [King] has been training this week. We'll make a late decision on him. At the moment, we're not sure if he'll play or not, so we'll have to see." King was quoted in the Norwegian press saying his chances were 50-50. Apart from that, the Cherries should be close to full strength. "I think that's pretty much it. We're looking OK as things stand."



Southampton – vs – Watford


Wesley Hoedt missed training on Thursday and the defender faces a late test. "He’s got an infection in his foot, which just needs to calm down. He’s a little bit sore," said Mark Hughes. Mario Lemina has a “little bit of tightness in his thigh,” but that shouldn’t keep him out of the game.


Javi Gracia confirms Troy Deeney is working on the pitches and the skipper "should" be in the squad after missing the last three games with a hamstring problem. “We are stronger with his comeback. He’s another option.” The Watford boss also said it was “very, very special” to have Tom Cleverley back in full training having been side-lined since January with a combination of hamstring and Achilles issues. "He is not fit, but this week he has started doing something with the team." The return of Deeney and Cleverley means that the Hornets are only missing Daryl Janmaat [knee] and Sebastian Prodl [hamstring]. “The rest of the players are available. I am happy because I like all my players to be fit and healthy. I will then decide what is the best option for the next game." Watford will be forced into at least one change from the defeat at Newcastle after Etienne Capoue picked up his fifth caution of the season. "Chalobah is one of our options, [but] we have other players, like, Ben Wilmot and Domingos Quina."



Crystal Palace – vs – Tottenham Hotspur


No fresh concerns for the Eagles: "Nothing special to report at the moment," said Roy Hodgson. "We haven't recovered any of the injured players – Christian Benteke, Connor Wickham or Joel Ward - but haven't lost any [new ones] either." Scott Dann continues to build fitness with the under-23s.


Tests confirm Mousa Dembele is unlikely to return until the new year. "It is always about the patience, how he is going to react to the injury, but we hope he is going to be ready by early January." The Tottenham midfielder damaged ankle ligaments during the opening exchanges of last weekend’s win at Molineux. A thigh injury was expected to keep Eric Dier out until after the international break, but the 24-year-old has returned to full training - Victor Wanyama is available after overcoming the knee injury he sustained in the Carabao Cup. Jan Vertonghen [hamstring] won't return until December and Danny Rose [groin] is hoping to be back later this month.



Liverpool – vs – Fulham


Jurgen Klopp reported no new injuries before confirming Jordan Henderson [hamstring] and Joe Gomez [Achilles] will be considered. If there are any further issues, which could affect their availability for England, then that will be discussed with Gareth Southgate. Naby Keita returned to the matchday squad in Belgrade, so, except for Oxlade-Chamberlain, all the Liverpool midfield should be competing for a starting berth. “It’s about fitness levels and shape for Sunday.”  Trent Alexander-Arnold, Nathaniel Clyne and Dejan Lovren have all trained ahead of the game.


Kevin McDonald’s return to the side was short-lived at Huddersfield and he was replaced just 20 minutes after his introduction because of a muscular injury. Joe Bryan continues his recovery from a hamstring strain and won’t be back for a few weeks. Following Monday’s defeat, the Lilywhites find themselves bottom of the Premier League and manager Slavisa Jokanovic acknowledges his future is now out of his hands.



Chelsea – vs – Everton


Eden Hazard played 60 minutes in Belarus and the Belgium star is ready for his first league start in three weeks after overcoming a back complaint. Ross Barkley completed the match and that’s enough for some to suggest that Mateo Kovacic is set for a recall. Cesc Fàbregas [illness] will be checked, otherwise Chelsea have a clean bill of health.


Yerry Mina is poised for his first league start as Kurt Zouma is unable to face his parent club due to the terms of his loan agreement. "I'm really excited about the chance of playing this weekend. I'm glad to be in this moment. I'm in great shape, 100 per cent fit, and ready to help the team." Phil Jagielka and James McCarthy were involved in the friendly with Gor Mahia on Tuesday and the pair are now training normally. Leighton Baines was a late withdrawal from the game due to a stomach problem, but he should be fine. Jonjoe Kenny remains a doubt. Richarlison is the biggest concern as he is yet to complete a full session since suffering an ankle injury in the win over Brighton. "He did some individual work [on Friday]," confirmed Marco Silva. "There is a doubt, but we will see tomorrow. If he is not fit, it is an opportunity for someone else."



Arsenal – vs – Wolverhampton Wanderers


Arsenal say Danny Welbeck suffered a "significant" right ankle injury in the 0-0 draw with Sporting on Thursday. "Danny remains in hospital and will continue to be assessed. A further update will be issued over the next 72 hours." Expect Stephan Lichtsteiner - right hamstring - to miss out on Sunday, although the official line is. "Being assessed.” Nacho Monreal is training with the group and he could make the squad. Mohamed Elneny should be working normally from next week and Laurent Koscielny - Achilles - and Dinos Mavropanos - groin - are due to return later this month.


Diogo Jota - absent from the 2-3 defeat to Tottenham - will be available on Saturday. "He's better, he started training with the team, he's totally 100 per cent in the squad so he's an option." Nuno Espírito Santo will be hoping to arrest the slide at the Emirates after losing three on the spin.



Manchester City – vs – Manchester United


Following the return of Ilkay Gundogan and Nicolás Otamendi in the Champions League. Only Kevin De Bruyne [knee] and Claudio Bravo [Achilles] remain sidelined through injury. Eliaquim Mangala has returned to the training pitches, but the defender is way down the pecking order. Leroy Sane was an unused sub in the 6-0 drubbing of Shakhtar, but with so many attacking options, it’s difficult to know who Pep will name in his line-up.


“No new injuries,” José Mourinho told MUTV. “So, from Juventus, we don't bring important injuries. We have 'touches’, but I don't think any player that was available [midweek] will be out." The news will hopefully quash rumours that Alexis Sánchez is set to miss the game with a thigh problem [dead leg]. Romelu Lukaku might return. “We have a chance - it is Friday morning now - he could be back." The striker has two sessions to prove his fitness. “If the answer is positive – and we have of course one more session tomorrow – he is ready. In this moment I can only say that he trains with the team.”


Late news: Paul Pogba missed training on Friday and the United midfielder faces a race against time to feature in the derby.

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