Ben Dinnery

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Late Fitness Check GW1

Friday, August 11, 2017


I’m back, we’re back……. the Premier League is back!

 

It’s been a strange summer and I can’t quite work out if the time since Chelsea were crowned Champions has flown by, or whether the last two and a bit months have dragged.

 

Numerous end of season friendlies plus the Confederations Cup punctuated the down time while the Premier League Trophy, International Champions Cup and the Emirates Cup helped ease the summer transition from peaceful bliss to full on Premier League blast.

 

Arsenal kick-off the 2017/18 campaign on Friday which means deadlines across all platforms face a significant shift, so without further ado, it’s probably best to get on with the matter in hand.

 

Keep checking throughout as I will be updating the preview with late team news as press conferences continue throughout the day. And don’t forget you can follow the entire Rotoworld Premier League team via Twitter: Neal | Steve | Andrew | Sean | Stag | Ben | Galin | Nik

 


Arsenal – vs – Leicester City


Alexis Sanchez has been ruled out for up-to two weeks after suffering an abdominal strain in training last Sunday fuelling further speculation that he could be on his way. However, Arsène Wenger refutes any notion that the Chile star will leave during 2017/18. Aaron Ramsey [calf], Mesut Ozil and Francis Coquelin [both ankle] plus Per Mertesacker [eye] all returned to full training on Wednesday and a decision on their involvement will be left until the last moment.  Gabriel [knee] and Laurent Koscielny [suspended] are definitely missing but Mustafi could make the squad. Jack Wilshere is expected to feature for the U23s on Monday evening.

 

Craig Shakespeare confirms Kelechi Iheanacho has fully recovered from the toe injury he picked up on his debut last Friday but “whether he can last 90 minutes” remains to be seen. “We’ll have to have a discussion." A thigh problem will keep Danny Drinkwater out but “hopefully” he can return next weekend. Papy Mendy is training with the main group following ankle surgery "so we get one or two back and we lose one or two" mused the Leicester boss. Islam Slimani [leg] will be involved but due to a lack of sharpness it's likely to be from the bench." New signing Vicente Iborra picked up a groin strain earlier this week and won’t be ready: "I’m waiting on the scan results. I expect [him to be out] no longer than 14 days." Robert Huth is well ahead of schedule "which is a real bonus” and the centre-back could feature for the development side next week.

 

 

Watford – vs – Liverpool


Troy Deeney "is progressing well" but the skipper is still not training with the team. "I believe in the next few days he will [be back] with us. We’ll see if he’s ready for Liverpool, we have another session [on Friday]. A knee injury ensures Craig Cathcart will miss the Premier League opener: "He has only worked with us for one week during pre-season [he] should join us soon." Marco Silva also confirmed Mauro Zarate [ACL], Christian Kabasele [hamstring] and Brice Dja Djedje are not in contention to face Liverpool.

 

No Philippe Coutinho for the Reds: "He has back problems,” and the Brazilian is also considered a doubt for the Champions League game against Hoffenheim. Daniel Sturridge [thigh] is close but tomorrow will come too soon, he should however, make the match on Tuesday. Danny Ings is not an option now although he will play for the Under-23s on Friday to build fitness/sharpness: "He needs games now [that] he's fit and ready to go." Jordan Henderson is over his recent bout of illness but Nathaniel Clyne is out and Jurgen Klopp must decide on his right-back with Joe Gomez, Alexander-Arnold and Moreno all vying for a place in the starting XI.

 

 

Chelsea – vs – Burnley


Antonio Conte will be without the suspended Victor Moses which could hand new signing Antonio Rudiger his competitive debut. Eden Hazard continues his recovery from the ankle fracture he sustained during training with Belgium. This weekend is probably too soon for Tiemoue Bakayoko but he is progressing following knee surgery: "We will not rush [him] back, otherwise [he could be] in a bad position." No Pedro Rodriguez either after his suffered an ankle injury during the Community Shield loss to Arsenal.

 

Only Dean Marney [ACL] is missing for Burnley, who otherwise, boast a clean bill of health. Andre Gray joined Watford for £18 million this week meaning goal scoring responsibilities could fall to former Stoke forward Jon Walters, especially given that Sam Vokes missed a couple of pre-season games.

 

 

Everton – vs – Stoke City


Seamus Coleman and Yannick Bolasie are doing "really well" but remain long-term absentees. No Funes Mori either who is recovering from a serious knee injury and is expected to miss between 6-9 months. Ross Barkley [groin surgery] and James McCarthy [knee] are training but Saturday is too early for the pair.

 

"All being well" Bruno Martins Indi will train with the squad [on Friday] following his switch from Porto. However, the defender would have to be registered before midday [for him to be eligible on Saturday] and "that's not likely to be the case." Chelsea loanee Kurt Zouma continues to impress Mark Hughes: "The more I work with [him], the more I see how good he is. His strength, technically ability and character." The Potters boss went onto add that people will be "surprised" by the quality of new signing Choupo-Moting. "He can play anywhere across the frontline." Saido Berahino “is in great shape.” No fresh injury concerns. Stephen Ireland is still out, but could return within a matter of weeks. Josh Tymon and Bojan Krkic are back in contention after recovering from respective foot and calf injuries.

 

 

Southampton – vs – Swansea City


Mauricio Pellegrino says Southampton "are well prepared and ready to compete" in what will be a tough game against Swansea on Saturday. There are no major injury concerns although Cedric will be monitored following his late return. New signings Mario Lemina and Jan Bednarek "will help" to make the Saints stronger this season and the former Juventus player could feature: "Physically he is good, because he has been training in [Italy]." Virgil van Dijk is expected to rejoin the group soon “we need the player, we need all of them” but the centre-back is not ready for tomorrow due to illness: "No, no, because he [has] with some trouble with a virus. He couldn't train the last two days." Maya Yoshida should be fine after he was replaced as a precaution [vs Sevilla] having picked up a thigh injury.

 

Swansea will be without Fernando Llorente who has been given the green light to step up his recovery from a broken arm: "It [will] be tight for [GW2] but he may well be ready the following weekend." Ki Sung-Yeung [knee] and Nathan Dyer [Achilles] are also out of the first game but Tammy Abraham looks to be OK after complaining of groin discomfort last weekend. Paul Clement confirms Everton target Gylfi Sigurdsson will not be in the squad on Saturday.

 

 

West Bromwich Albion – vs – AFC Bournemouth


Gareth McAuley is “struggling” to shake off the thigh problem which has hampered his pre-season programme and Tony Pulis admits the 37-year-old could miss a few more weeks. James Morrison is another who will miss out after he picked up a knee ligament injury while representing Scotland [vs England], however his prognosis is a little better and the midfielder has a chance for next weekend. Jonny Evans [tight hamstring], Chris Brunt [calf] and Nacer Chadli [hip] are all in contention for the visit of Bournemouth. The Baggies boss was full of praise for Jay Rodriguez who has "trained and worked well" throughout pre-season. "I'm confident he can get us goals."

 

Junior Stanislas will be out for a month "maximum" due to a niggling groin problem. "Everyone else is in contention for Saturday." Steve Cook will be assessed after picking up a knock during the 2-2 draw with Napoli last weekend while Jermain Defoe has been passed fit after complaining of a slight groin issue. Callum Wilson [ACL] and Emerson Hyndman [foot] remain on the sidelines but both are expected to return within the next couple of months.

 

 

Crystal Palace – vs – Huddersfield Town


James McArthur and Yohan Cabaye have taken part in full training this week, but having missed a large chunk of pre-season, neither will be ready for Saturday. Pape Souaré is close to ending almost a year of injury hell and the full-back is likely to feature for the development side within the next fortnight. Bakary Sako is ruled out while Connor Wickham is still battling his way back from a serious knee ligament rupture.   

 

Nahki Wells and Jonathan Hogg will have to wait a few more weeks before making their Premier League bow for Huddersfield. Both players have been ruled out along with Martin Cranie [hip] and David Wagner hopes the trio "will be available for us in the next few weeks." That said, only Hogg has a realistic chance of returning before the international break, the others are likely to be around mid-September. Jon Stankovic [ACL] could be back later this year.

 


Brighton and Hove Albion – vs – Manchester City


Beram Kayal will miss around two months after breaking his fibula against Atletico Madrid on Sunday: "The operation went very well," revealed Chris Hughton. "We don't expect any complications. It was a clean injury. We expect him to be out for a period of 8-10 weeks." Anthony Knockaert and Glenn Murray were both involved for the U23s this week as the pair continue build fitness ahead of the opener. Sam Baldock is “back into part-training, but we’re expecting him to be out for a little while” after surgery on his calf. Solly March [knee] should be OK for the first game.

 

Bernardo Silva lacks conditioning following his involvement at the Confederations Cup with Portugal. The former Monaco star has only been training with his new teammates for a matter of weeks. Ilkay Gundogan is closing in on a return but understandably, given his recent injuries problems, will not be rushed: “We're going to ask the doctor because we don't want to take any risks,” said Pep when asked if the German would be back soon. Benjamin Mendy is close after his recent thigh [hamstring] strain, but given his lack of pre-season minutes, the best he can hope for is a place on the bench in my opinion. Forgotten man Samir Nasri has a neck injury.  

 

 

Newcastle United – vs – Tottenham Hotspur


Newcastle have been left sweating on the fitness of striker Dwight Gayle who has a slight muscular problem. Speaking after the final pre-season friendly win over Hellas Verona, Rafa Benitez confirmed Gayle was "not comfortable" after complaining of discomfort in his hamstring: "Dwight is training with the fitness coach, so hopefully he can carry on training this week. If everything is fine, I think he will be OK for Sunday." Mitrovic could lead the line if last season’s top scorer suffers a setback. No old boys’ reunion for DeAndre Yedlin who misses the game through injury while Jamie Sterry is taking longer than initially anticipated to recover from groin surgery.

 

Scan results confirm Kieran Trippier suffered minor ankle ligament damage [vs Juventus] and a short recovery time is expected. Georges-Kevin N'Koudou [foot], Erik Lamela [hip] and Danny Rose [knee] will miss out but Victor Wanyama and Son return to the squad.

 

 

Manchester United – vs – West Ham United


Jose Mourinho can be pleased with his sides preparations ahead of the opening weekend. Jesse Lingard is the only fresh injury concern after he suffered a muscular problem during the Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid on Tuesday. Marcos Rojo [ACL] has “no chance [of a return before December] the recovery is long” but the news on Luke Shaw [foot] and Ashley Young is a lot better. Both players have taken part in light sessions and are targeting a return in September and October respectively. Nemanja Matic could make his United debut affording Paul Pogba a slightly more advanced role. The United boss will consider his options at centre-back with Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof all pushing for a start.

 

Despite early optimism, it now looks like Manuel Lanzini [knee] could miss the start of the season with some suggesting we may have to wait until game week three before we see the Argentine. Slaven Bilic said seven days ago that Lanzini, along with Cresswell, would be out for “a week” but that no longer appears to be the case. Marko Arnautovic, who was replaced because of cramp last time out, should be fine but the Hammers do have an extensive injury list to contend with - Andy Carroll, Diafra Sakho, Cheikhou Kouyate and Sofiane Feghouli will not be ready for at least a fortnight. Michail Antonio will pay for the U23s on Friday, and all being well, he will be available for selection from next week. 



Ben Dinnery is a leading expert on Premier League injuries and the Founder of Premier Injuries. He is the man behind the PL Injury Table at PhysioRoom.com as well as a contributor of injury commentary to The Huffington Post UK, ESPNFC.com, @MetroUK, @EurosportCom_EN, Fantasy Football Pundits, talkSPORT and @bbc5live. He can be found on Twitter @BenDinnery.
Email :Ben Dinnery





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