Ben Dinnery

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Late Fitness Check GW18

Friday, December 15, 2017


Leicester City – vs – Crystal Palace


Claude Puel hints at rotation: “We started a busy period. It was a good challenge to see the possibilities and performance of other players [but] we cannot play every game with the same players.” The Leicester boss made 3-changes for the game on Wednesday, and despite a 4-1 win, he may be tempted to revert to the same XI which started against Burnley and Newcastle. Robert Huth and Matty James continue to work their way back to full fitness: "They need a lot of training sessions. I think if they play games with the U23s, time will tell."

 

Damien Delaney is said to be “recovering well” from a minor surgical procedure but the defender is not ready for a return just yet. Joel Ward [groin] is also missing along with Timothy Fosu-Mensah who has been ruled out after picking up a hamstring injury midweek. Roy Hodgson had some bad news concerning Mamadou Sakho who won’t play again this year. "We know it is a serious muscle [calf] strain or tear. No timescale, but it will be a while." Match winner James McArthur could come in for the suspended Luka Milivojevic who will miss the early kick-off after collecting his fifth yellow of the season. Connor Wickham remains a long-term absentee while Bakary Sako is putting pressure on Benteke for a starting berth following his goal midweek. “Of course, Christian not scoring is a concern,” said Hodgson. “He needs to keep working hard and make a good contribution to the team. We can’t afford to carry anyone, let alone a goal scorer who isn’t scoring goals."

 


Arsenal – vs – Newcastle United


Arsène Wenger said it would be a "gamble" if Mustafi played despite comments earlier this week which had the centre-back pegged for a nailed-on start. Calum Chambers and Per Mertesacker are options. No surprise to see Aaron Ramsey [hamstring] ruled out of the clash with Newcastle - the Wales international could miss the entire Christmas programme if he is absent for his projected three-weeks. Theo Walcott will be missing again after suffering a slight groin strain. "It's not a bad one. I think he has a little chance to be available against West Ham [on Tuesday]." The Arsenal manager insists Lacazette was rested [and not dropped] midweek following a recent injury. "I didn't want to push him too much." Meanwhile, he remains undecided whether Jack Wilshere will make his second PL start of the campaign. "I don't know, I [will] rotate a little bit [ahead of] four games in basically nine days. I will assess [and] see how everybody recovers."

 

Paul Dummett will be included in the squad for the first time since the opening weekend after recovering from a nasty hamstring injury. No Aleksandar Mitrović though who has a “little problem” with his back. Jesus Gamez is also missing after picking up an unspecified injury during training. Isaac Hayden could return to the line-up in place of Jonjo Shelvey who begins a two-match ban for his sending off against Everton. Karl Darlow has faced some flak after coming into the side and Rafa wouldn’t be drawn on who will start in goal at the Emirates. “Normally the keeper is always different to selecting others because it is about confidence. You have to analyse everything before changing that position.”

 

 

Brighton and Hove Albion – vs – Burnley


Gaetan Bong struggles with a persistent knee problem and the defender will be checked ahead of the game. Markus Suttner is primed for a recall if he does miss out. The Seagulls made 5-changes at Wembley on Wednesday and I’d be surprised if Chris Hughton didn’t revert to a more familiar looking line-up with Glenn Murray, Bruno Saltor and Pascal Gross returning. Goalkeeper Matt Ryan has had a week to forget but the Brighton boss is standing by his number one. “Probably in the last couple of games he has been disappointed. But look at the saves he’s made and the points he has won. You’ll always see goals made by goalkeeping mistakes [but] we are pleased with [his form].” Steve Sidwell [back] is the only confirmed injury.

 

Ben Mee and Matt Lowton could both return to the squad at Brighton this weekend although a final decision on Stephen Ward [knee] won’t be made until the last-minute. "We'll see how [injury] settles down." If he does miss out, then former Leeds United defender Charlie Taylor will come in for his first Premier League start. Robbie Brady has successfully undergone knee surgery to repair a torn patellar tendon. “They’re very pleased. He’s recovering at the moment it’s too early to worry about the longer-term view, we’ll see how we go with it.” Tom Heaton, Jon Walters and Dean Marney remain sidelined. 

 

 

Chelsea – vs – Southampton


The club doctor is still trying to "solve" the situation with David Luiz who has "big inflammation" in his knee. "It's important to assess the situation day by day, but I don't know when he's able to come back with us," said Conte. No other injury concerns to worry about ahead of the game. Alvaro Morata will be back in the squad. "He is better. He trained with us two days ago and also today. He has this pain in his back, but he is in contention for tomorrow's game." Michy Batshuayi is close to full fitness after missing three weeks. “Because he had a problem in his ankle, he struggled a bit to find the right physical condition, but now he is starting to stay in good form.”

 

Pellegrino says his side “were very close to winning against Arsenal” last weekend, but versus Leicester on Wednesday “they were much better than us.” The Saints have a full complement of players following the return of full-back Cédric Soares [hamstring] and attacker Shane Long [calf] midweek. "I think everybody is okay, most of them today are training 100 per cent." Wesley Hoedt could return after he was omitted from the squad for tactical reasons – Jack Stephens was the preferred option as can play both right-back and centre-back.

 

 

Stoke City – vs – West Ham United


Kevin Wimmer is poised for a recall after Kurt Zouma suffered a hamstring injury at Turf Moor. "We don't think he will be out for any serious length," said Mark Hughes. Meanwhile, Jese Rodriguez remains unavailable. "He hasn't returned yet, although we expect him back, if everything goes well with his son, early next week." Bruno Martins Indi was initially ruled out for around two months but there was good news from the treatment room. "It will be a few more weeks, but he is quite happy with the way things are progressing. We don't think it will be as long as we initially thought."

 

“We have got a few doubts like everybody else at this time of year [in the middle of a three-game week],” said David Moyes. The Hammers could have one or two returners. Cheikhou Kouyate is back on the training pitches but Fernandes [ankle] may not recover in time. James Collins helped bolster the ranks on Wednesday and his comeback has been timed perfectly with Winston Reid suspended. Marko Arnautovic returns to his former stomping ground and the winger has shown real signs of improvement under Moyes following a difficult start to his Hammers career: “He scored a really good goal against Chelsea. We need players who can make a difference. He has played well; his effort has been terrific which was probably the first thing we wanted from him. Everybody at Stoke knows him, how good he is and that’s how he got the move and Stoke got a good price for him.”

 

 

Watford – vs – Huddersfield Town


Silva confirms his Brazilian star is back in the fold: “Richarlison is okay to play. He is only [suffering from] fatigue.” However, the news regarding Kiko Femenía wasn't so good after the Hornets manager confirmed he suffered a hamstring strain - Daryl Janmaat is poised to start. Roberto Pereyra has missed two days of training following a kick to the calf on Tuesday. But, the Argentine was back [on Friday] and Silva expects him to be okay to face Huddersfield. Etienne Capoue will get the nod ahead of Ben Watson to replace the suspended Tom Cleverley.

 

David Wagner confirms there are no new injuries, but some players have "slight knocks" which will be checked, although none are serious. "We have everybody available [that played on Tuesday].” A decision regarding the squad will be made after Friday’s session. Kasey Palmer is back in contention [ineligible] against Chelsea. Philip Billing and Jon Stankovic will be out for a little longer while Rajiv van la Parra returned from suspension midweek. Michael Hefele is in full training.

 

 

Manchester City – vs – Tottenham Hotspur


"Vincent Kompany is much better. He has a little [muscular] problem,” said Guardiola. “I don’t know if tomorrow he will be fit, but hopefully in the next days he will be ready." Pep went onto to add that John Stones is "much, much better" and the defender could return within fortnight. "I think he’s at week four and the doctor said between four and six." Benjamin Mendy is the only other City player missing through injury.

 

Dele Alli is likely to be recalled after settling for a place on the bench versus Brighton. Erik Lamela could be the player to make way after his first Premier League start in over 13 months. Davinson Sanchez will serve the final game of his three-match ban, but Tottenham fans will have to wait until February before Toby Alderweireld is back in first-team action. Victor Wanyama continues to step up his recovery from a knee injury.

 

 

West Bromwich Albion – vs – Manchester United


Gareth Barry [thigh] is in contention but Nacer Chadli "probably" needs more time, however, he has taken part in full training. Craig Dawson has started running and isn't far away from a return. Matt Phillips is close but may miss Sunday's visit of Manchester United through injury. Krychowiak was pleased with a point at Anfield and admitted he was withdrawn in the 79th minute due to fatigue. "If you want to have a good result against such difficult opponents you have to run and fight and work for 90 minutes. All the team did, and we can be proud. I couldn’t play 90 minutes because this was my first game in three weeks and it was a little but hard physically.”

 

Eric Bailly will go under the knife to remedy the ankle injury he sustained while on international duty. "He goes to surgery; the decision is made,” mused Mourinho. “I don’t say [he’s out] for the rest of the season, but it’s for the next two or three months." Fortunately, United are well-stocked in the heart of defence with Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof, Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind able to play centrally. Paul Pogba is banned for one more match. "The injured players [from Wednesday] are still injured [Carrick / Fellaini / Rojo / Carrick / Bailly], but we don’t have new injuries. The same group from the other day."

 

 

AFC Bournemouth – vs – Liverpool


Eddie Howe confirms Tyrone Mings has seen a specialist following his recent setback. The defender hasn't played since the beginning of September due to a problem with his back, but a decision on his next steps, won't be taken until the player has sought a second opinion. The Cherries boss will assess his players in training before deciding whether to rotate against Liverpool. "We have a tough run of fixtures and we're still in the Carabao Cup, so the key is we have to make sure everyone can play at their best levels." No fresh injury concerns. "We're pretty much as we were."

 

Klopp will make a late decision on Sturridge [hamstring]. Joel Matip is progressing - running outside - but Sunday comes too soon for the defender. Adam Lallana has re-joined the group and if nothing changes "he will be ready for the squad at least." Simon Mignolet is over the ankle injury which restricted him to a place on the bench and he will start with Loris Karius dropping out. Joe Gomez has a slight problem "but should be okay" while Robertson and Milner are also carrying minor knocks although neither is expected to miss out. Alberto Moreno remains on the sidelines - not due back until early 2018.

 

 

Everton – vs – Swansea City


Sam Allardyce dismisses any suggestion that there has been contact with Chelsea regarding a possible move for Ross Barkley. "If that materialises, there [will] be a discussion between the various people at the club to make the right decision. At the moment he is recovering from injury and I am more concerned with him getting fit.” Gylfi Sigurdsson was affected by the lack of a "real pre-season" which made it harder for him when he arrived, but the playmaker is now showing signs of improvement which have coincided with an upturn in results. Yannick Bolasie is expected to get another run out for the U23s on Friday, and depending on how the winger feels, Allardyce and his staff will have a discussion around his potential involvement on Monday night. Leighton Baines [calf] and James McCarthy [hamstring] are still out. "There are no injuries from the other night [against Newcastle]."

 

Bony is back in contention. "There was a little bit of concern about Wilfried after the Man City game, but he was brought off as a precaution. He is okay." Renato Sanches is available for selection as Swansea travel to Goodison Park on Monday night. Paul Clement confirmed his omission from the West Brom and Man City squads was purely tactical. Wayne Routledge is back in full training after missing out versus Man City due to a minor muscular problem. Kyle Bartley is also with the group "so there’s no injury news."



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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