Ben Dinnery

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Late Fitness Check GW23

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Premier League is back after a momentary pause in proceedings for the FA Cup. And following an injury ravaged festive programme, which saw a record number players sidelined, managers seized the opportunity to rest some of their weary stars with one eye on game week twenty-three.  


While Man City, Arsenal and Chelsea were all on Carabao Cup duty midweek, Man United were afforded the luxury of an extended break, meaning Mourinho was able to jet off for a warm weather training camp in Dubai. The break will undoubtedly stand his squad in good stead.


The transfer merry-go-round is in full flow, so plan according. Alexis Sanchez is just one of several at risk of missing out as he seeks a move away from the Emirates.   


Remember to keep following the entire Rotoworld Premier League team for all of the latest news: Neal | Steve | Andrew | Sean | Stag | Ben | Nik


Chelsea – vs – Leicester City

Ross Barkley is working "very hard" and the January signing could be ready for the FA Cup third-round replay on Wednesday. "We must be satisfied for sure for his physical condition. He is working hard, and I think for the next game against Norwich, he can be in contention." Baba Rahman is still recovering from a serious injury [ACL] and Conte hasn't had the opportunity to see him in a full session yet - a return to Schalke on loan would be "an interesting option." No other injury concerns.


Claude Puel confirms Jamie Vardy [groin] has "trained well this week", and barring a setback, he will be available. Danny Simpson began light jogging "not fast, but he can run", however, the Leicester boss wouldn't be drawn on a timeline for his return to action - originally said to be targeting late-January. Christian Fuchs is over his recent bout of illness. Adrien Silva has recovered from the ankle injury he picked up at Fleetwood and Vicente Iborra [hamstring] is also in contention. Morgan is missing again. "I don’t know for the moment how long Wes will be out." The skipper suffered a hamstring injury after slipping against Huddersfield on New Years’ Day. Robert Huth is building fitness with the development side.



Crystal Palace – vs – Burnley

"We a lot of injuries at the moment," said Roy Hodgson. "We still have a very competitive eleven [but] it effects us mostly [on the players] I am able to call on from the bench." Jeffrey Schlupp [ankle] will go under the knife after picking up an injury at Brighton on Monday night. "Mamadou Sakho [calf] is moving in the right direction while Joel Ward [groin] is getting closer, but is not ready yet." Andros Townsend is on crutches. "He doesn’t need an operation, we hope he will be closer to one month, rather than months." No mention of Ruben Loftus-Cheek who has been sidelined since December. Scott Dann [ACL] and Jason Puncheon [PCL] have been ruled out for the season.


Sean Dyche says the injury situation is "not ideal" with up-to eight players at risk of missing the game. Chris Wood and Stephen Ward [both knee] are "making progress" but neither will play this weekend. Scott Arfield tweaked his hamstring in training last Thursday and is rated as "touch and go". Ben Mee, Kevin Long and James Tarkowski are all managing minor niggles, but the Clarets boss is confident the trio will be ready. Tottenham loanee Georges-Kevin N'Koudou has looked bright since his arrival, and he will be involved on Saturday, although a start seems highly unlikely as the winger hasn't played much this season. Tom Heaton remains a long-term absentee.



Huddersfield Town – vs – West Ham United

David Wagner expects to have a similar squad to the one which faced Bolton in the FA Cup. Philip Billing and Michael Hefele are improving in terms of their fitness. The hamstring injury suffered by Collin Quaner last weekend "isn't as serious as we thought, he will be [back] in training ahead of the Stoke match." Chris Löwe [foot] and Martin Cranie [ankle] will miss the match." Jon Stankovic [ACL] is targeting a return later this month while Elias Kachunga [MCL] may not be back until early March. Monaco loanee Terence Kongolo is lacking sharpness. "He had a winter break, so he needs some further training weeks to be on his best. We will need all our squad over the rest of the season. He is in competition for a place against West Ham."


David Moyes reveals that there are "doubts" over the fitness of Winston Reid and Andy Carroll, but James Collins is back with the group. Aaron Cresswell, Marko Arnautovic and Manuel Lanzini have managed to shake off minor issues and will be included in the travelling squad. Saturday is too soon for Michail Antonio while Jose Fonte could be back later this month. Sam Byram hasn’t played for the first team since October, but stepped up his recovery from a thigh injury on Friday against Leicester for the under-23s.



Newcastle United – vs – Swansea City

Skipper Jamaal Lascelles, who was withdrawn as a precaution versus Luton due to a groin problem, is available for Saturday’s game. “He is the captain, a leader and is a good example for everyone,” said Benitez. Aleksandar Mitrovic has started to run and "he is closer," but this weekend comes too soon. Jesus Gamez and Florian Lejeune miss out again but Rob Elliot is back after recovering from a thigh injury.


Carlos Carvalhal says there are doubts over Sanches [hamstring] and Abraham [hip]. “Renato came off with an injury but it’s not serious. He had a scan which didn’t show anything big, and he and Tammy will recover in a very short time. We don’t know yet whether they will be ready for Saturday.” Ki Sung-Yeung and Leon Britton are both training as normal and will be in contention. A calf strain will keep Angel Rangel on the sidelines while Kyle Naughton serves the final game of his three-match ban. Youngster Connor Roberts could make his Premier League debut, although the new Swansea manager may prefer a more senior figure to play out of position and cover at right-back. Leroy Fer is available after his red card at Wolves was overturned.



Watford – vs – Southampton

Marco Silva confirms there are no fresh injuries but Younès Kaboul, Kiko Femenía, Nathaniel Chalobah, Will Hughes, Miguel Britos, Isaac Success and Craig Cathcart remain on the sidelines.


Mauricio Pellegrino will make a late call on injured duo Cedric Soares and Jeremy Pied who returned to training on Thursday. “Not 100 per cent but tomorrow I think they will be a part of the main group. After [the session] we will decide.” Wesley Hoedt will also be checked after suffering concussion following a clash of heads with Romelu Lukaku in game week 21. Charlie Austin [hamstring] could be missing for up-to three months. “He will be out for a long period of time, but we have to be optimistic.”



West Bromwich Albion – vs – Brighton and Hove Albion

Jonny Evans has recovered from the foot injury he sustained in training prior to the third-round clash with Exeter [FA Cup] and the centre-back will be involved. Alan Pardew expects James Morrison [Achilles] and Nacer Chadli [hamstring] to be out for another month [at least]. "It’s a blow. They’re two creative forces. It’s weakened our squad. Everybody else is fit. There are no excuses going into the Brighton game.” Kieran Gibbs [thigh], Craig Dawson [fatigue] and Matt Phillips [hamstring] are all in contention after shaking off minor problems.


Chris Hughton reveals Steve Sidwell sustained a fractured ankle while working on his recovery from a back surgery. "Not expected to be available in the next few months." Izzy Brown has returned to his parent club - Chelsea - after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament [ACL] in his right knee during the FA Cup third-round clash against Crystal Palace on Monday night. Otherwise, there are no other fresh injury concerns.



Tottenham Hotspur – vs – Everton

Harry Winks had an injection on Monday and is still not training with the group. The midfielder continues to receive treatment on his ankle along with Danny Rose [knee] and Toby Alderweireld [hamstring]. Rose will undertake his rehab at St George’s Park until Wednesday. “We hope it’s not a big issue and he can be available again in the next few weeks,” said Pochettino.


New signing Cenk Tosun will be in the squad, but Michael Keane is ruled out due to a "nasty gash on the top of his foot [an old injury which has occurred before, so it’s taking a little bit longer to heal]." The Everton boss plans to help Seamus Coleman regain his match fitness by arranging some behind-closed-doors friendlies throughout the next month. No news yet on a potential ban for Mason Holgate in relation to a homophobic historical tweet.



AFC Bournemouth – vs – Arsenal

"Both Josh [King] and Junior [Stanislas] are making really good progress,” Eddie Howe said. "They’re both back for us on the training pitch so we’re pleased with that, but we’ll have to make a late decision on whether they will play." Jermain Defoe is good [fractured ankle] although the striker is restricted to wearing a protected boot "so there’s no massive update on him but we’re expecting him to progress in the time frame we have set" which could mean a return by late-February. "We have no fresh injuries." Adam Federici and Brad Smith returned in the FA Cup last weekend. "We’ve got Tyrone Mings who has a complicated [back] injury. We thought a period of rest would solve it, unfortunately, he’ll have to have a longer period before he returns."


Jack Wilshere [ankle sprain] is not as bad as initially thought and he could still make the game at Bournemouth. Aaron Ramsey will return to the squad after spending more than a month out with a hamstring strain. Meanwhile, Mesut Ozil is rated as 50/50 due to an ongoing knee problem [inflammation]. Olivier Giroud is taking longer than expected and will be another fortnight. Sead Kolasinac "has a little chance" of recovering from the ankle injury he picked up at West Brom while Nacho Monreal and Laurent Koscielny remain out.



Liverpool – vs – Manchester City

Mo Salah has returned to training following his recovery from a minor groin strain. "If nothing happens in the moment, he is back [on Sunday]. He is training completely normal and that's very important for us." Jordan Henderson has returned to the training pitches, but hasn't re-joined the group yet. Alberto Moreno did for the first time [on Thursday] which means Sunday may come a little too soon for the full-back. "He needs to do proper training." Klopp wouldn't confirm if van Dijk would start against Man City. "As a long-term solution, yes, but short-term, I don't know. The team’s tactics should be as tuned as possible and I haven’t made a decision so far [on who starts].” Daniel Sturridge “is healthy and on the way to being fit again,” said Klopp.


"I think Vincent Kompany is not ready for [the Liverpool game]," revealed Guardiola. "But the others are doing quite well." After meeting with Dr Ramon Cugat in Barcelona, Gabriel Jesus [knee] is said to be targeting a return in the Champions League next month. “I think two or three weeks, against FC Basel, he could be ready."


Manchester United – vs – Stoke City

Jose Mourinho says striker Ibrahimović will not return to action until next month at the earliest. "Zlatan is injured [and] not totally happy with his condition. He consulted our doctors and made the decision to stop. The date for him to be back training with the team is around the end of January and beginning of February." Antonio Valencia and Michael Carrick have been pictured training in Dubai, but it remains to be seen whether either is involved. The former is best placed having missed just under a month due to a hamstring strain. Ashley Young serves the final game of his three-match ban. Eric Bailly could be back by the end of this month.


Caretaker manager Kevin Russell confirms Pieters [hamstring] and Martins Indi [groin] came back into training on Thursday. “Erik and Bruno both joined in for the first time [today] which was a positive for us,” he told a news conference. “Obviously, it is still too early to determine whether they will be available for Monday but the fact that they are back bodes well.” Hopefully Ryan Shawcross [calf] will join in towards the end of the 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 as well as a contributor of injury commentary to The Huffington Post UK,, @MetroUK, @EurosportCom_EN, Fantasy Football Pundits, talkSPORT and @bbc5live. He can be found on Twitter @BenDinnery.
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