Ben Dinnery

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Late Fitness Check GW4

Friday, August 31, 2018


West Ham are the only side without a point, but Pellegrini’s men have shown enough intent to suggest a win is just around the corner. The Hammers were unfortunate to leave the Emirates empty handed, but a Carabao Cup win over Wimbledon midweek could be the shot in the arm they so desperately need.

 

Mourinho was typically stoic in defending his record since arriving at Old Trafford as the wolves begin to circle. The ‘Special One’ came out fighting during Friday’s press conference by confidently claiming he is still “one of the greatest managers in the world.” But while many see this as a ‘must win’ for United, Sean Dyche is maybe secretly glad his European adventure is over having seen his side take just one-point from the opening three matches.

 

The Premier League programme gets underway at the King Power, and with eight goals between Leicester and Liverpool from their two previous meetings, the early kick-off promises to get week four off to a cracker.

 

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Leicester City – vs – Liverpool


No fresh injury concerns for the Foxes. Matty James [Achilles] remains out but Claude Puel says the midfielder could be with the group again by late-September. "Today was another day in which he had to go to London [for treatment] but he is improving, and we hope he can come back in a few weeks, maybe one month. We will take patience with him because he needs to come back with all his fitness, a good feeling, from his injury.” James Vardy is suspended. Caglar Söyüncü played 90 minutes for the under-23s on Monday evening and the Turkey international is close to making the matchday 18.

 

Klopp says the squad is looking "very good" ahead of the early kick-off. "But it needs to stay good.  The players are in a much better situation than three weeks ago. We need that, we need a good result and in all the other games. For that, we need all the players." Despite naming the same side for three successive games, the Liverpool boss is "pretty open" to change and decisions on who will start are based on how players perform in training. "That's the best way. That's one part, and then what fits to the opponent too. There are a lot of possibilities." Joe Gomez is set to continue alongside Virgil van Dijk as Dejan Lovren [pelvis] misses out once again. “Hopefully, after the international break he will be ready to go." Joel Matip may have to settle for a place on the bench following his recovery from a hip flexor strain.

 

 

Brighton and Hove Albion – vs – Fulham


Florian Andone [groin] and Jose Izquierdo [knee] won't be ready until mid-September, however there was better news regarding Bruno Saltor [hamstring]. The full-back has trained for the last few days and he could be involved. "We'll make a [late] decision," said Chris Hughton who is also hoping that Lewis Dunk [ankle] will rejoin the group on Friday.

 

Floyd Ayite and Tim Ream are once again missing for the Lilywhites. A foot injury also rules Tom Cairney out. "He won’t be back for the Brighton game. We still need to assess him, but the expectation is to be ready in few weeks." He has withdrawn from the Scotland squad to face Belgium and Albania in the Nations Cup. Mawson is pushing to be involved following an impressive midweek performance, his first since undergoing knee surgery. “Alfie showed the quality, the power and was strong in the air, he showed some experience and leadership. It was a positive sensation for me and him.” Winger Neeskens Kebano suffered ankle ligament damage and is “probably” going to be outside of the squad for four weeks.

 

 

Chelsea – vs – AFC Bournemouth


No fresh injury concerns. "The situation is the same as last week," confirmed Sarri. Cesc Fabregas remains out. "He is still feeling pain around his knee" and will continue non-weighting bearing rehab in the pool, although he could be back on the training pitches soon.

 

Bournemouth made ten changes for their win over MK Dons on Tuesday, but the victory came at a cost as Eddie Howe confirmed the Cherries have "a couple of injury worries" ahead of their trip to Stamford Bridge. "We will see how [they] are going into the game. Lys Mousset was injured and is expected to miss out. "It looks like he’s twisted his ankle. I don’t know how serious it is, but it was enough for him to limp off around the pitch. We'll have to wait and see." Marc Pugh [hamstring] won't return until after the international break. Junior Stanislas [knee] will be a few more weeks. New signings Lerma and Rico are "Premier League" ready and will provide competition for places. "I was very pleased with Jefferson and Diego. I think they've fitted in well with the team and their fitness levels were good." Adam Smith has served his ban.

 

 

Crystal Palace – vs – Southampton


Roy Hodgson confirms most of his players are "fit and available" but the Eagles boss was keeping his cards close to his chest regarding Saturday’s possible line-up. "You'll find out tomorrow." James Tomkins [calf] is rated as a major doubt after he was withdrawn in the warm-up at Watford - Connor Wickham is not fit. Wan-Bissaka is back after his ban and Meyer could make his first league start. "Max did well against Swansea, but he wasn't the only one. If you had to twist my arm into naming the best player for us that night I'd say Jason Puncheon. Lots of players did well."

 

"We're in pretty good shape, the squad is fit and well," confirmed Mark Hughes. "Danny Ings has still got a problem with his foot, a real bad blister, it hampered him a little bit last weekend and we kept him off his feet, but he trained today. Hopefully he'll feel better." Højbjerg is available again after his sending off against Leicester.

 

 

Everton – vs – Huddersfield Town


Bernard suffered a muscular problem in training earlier this week which rules him out of the Huddersfield game. Marco Silva blames his lack of a pre-season - due to injury - but he should return soon. Anther deadline signing – Andre Gomes – will be a further three weeks after suffering a setback in his recovery from a hamstring injury. A slight knee strain will keep Idrissa Gueye side-lined for around two weeks. Ademola Lookman - slight groin injury - did train on Friday morning and comes into the managers thinking. "He is staying in our plans," after a proposed move to Bundesliga side RB Leipzig did not materialise. Kurt Zouma will play alongside Mason Holgate as Phil Jagielka [knee] and Michael Keane [fractured skull] are ruled out. Yerry Mina [foot] is hoping to return after the break. Richarlison [suspended] will sit this one out.

 

Danny Williams made a timely return to action on Tuesday and the US international is in contention to replace the suspended Jonathan Hogg. Saturday comes too soon for Ben Hamer and Ramadan Sobhi [both knee] - the pair should be back within the next fortnight. Erik Durm impressed manager David Wagner in the Carabao Cup but he will not come into "full contention" until mid-September.

 

 

West Ham United – vs – Wolverhampton Wanderers


Despite the initial confusion during Thursdays press-conference, Arnautovic has been cleared to face Wolves: "Marko had a small problem behind his knee in the last game.” But after being cleared by the doctor, he has worked all week." Other than "small things" there are no fresh injury concerns. Mark Noble [back] has returned to the training pitches but may struggle to force his way back into the squad. Andy Carroll, Manuel Lanzini and Winston Reid remain out long-term. Cresswell played in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday and the full-back is pushing for his inclusion following an injury-hampered pre-season. "I need to analyse the performance of all my players,” said Pellegrini. “He did very well, but Arthur [Masuaku] is doing very well too."

 

Adama Traore started his first game in a Wolves shirt on Tuesday, and despite the 2-0 win at Sheffield Wednesday, manager Nuno Espírito Santo may stick with the same side which drew 1-1 with Manchester City. Jonny Castro Otto hobbled off with cramp towards the end of the game but had recovered to take his place on the bench in midweek. Ivan Cavaleiro is hoping to train with the squad during the break as he continues his recovery from an ongoing back problem. Leander Dendoncker must bide his time after arriving on deadline day.

 


Manchester City – vs – Newcastle United


Long-term absentees Kevin De Bruyne [knee] and Claudio Bravo [Achilles] are unavailable, but the rest of the players are ready to face Newcastle. “Everybody’s okay, everybody’s fit,” Guardiola confirmed. Aguero has 14-goals and 5-assists from his 11 starts against Newcastle.

 

Jonjo Shelvey [thigh] and Matt Ritchie [knee] will miss out against the Champions. Jamaal Lascelles has recovered from the ankle injury which forced him to watch the 2-1 defeat to Chelsea from the stands. Javier Manquillo [ankle] trained on Friday but the game comes too soon. Isaac Hayden serves the final game of his ban.

 

 

Cardiff City – vs – Arsenal


"We’ve got one or two little niggles," said Neil Warnock. "There’s two or three quite doubtful, so it’s a bit up in the air, I’m dreading going into the physio room." Nathaniel Mendez-Laing is expected to be back before Christmas after suffering a serious knee ligament injury: "He’s done his posterior cruciate, which is good news. If he’d done his ACL that’s all season, whereas he’ll probably be back in December. Three months, something like that." Junior Hoilett could feature. "We’re crossing our fingers [and] treating him with kid gloves. I’m hoping he’ll train on Friday. If he’s anywhere near, he’ll play because that’s the kind of lad he is. But I won’t risk him if he’s not." No Gunnarsson for the Bluebirds. "He’s training but he won’t be playing. He’s got to get this right and knows he won’t be going [to play with Iceland]."

 

Not a great deal of change in the Arsenal treatment room. Sead Kolasinac [knee] is targeting October for a return to training. Ainsley Maitland-Niles [fibula fracture] is still around two-to-three months away, but the timeline for Carl Jenkinson [ankle] has slipped and it could be November before he is back in action. Laurent Koscielny [Achilles] is about the same. Unai Emery confirms Mesut Ozil is available for selection. "He’s training normally with the club, every session."

 

 

Burnley – vs – Manchester United


Sean Dyche reveals a hamstring injury will rule Johann Berg Gudmundsson out of the game against United and the upcoming internationals. Progress is slow for Steven Defour [calf] but Robbie Brady could play for the development side during the break to help build fitness following a long-term knee injury. Nick Pope [shoulder] could miss the remainder of 2018.

 

Marcos Rojo is back on the training pitches but the defender "is not yet ready for match action." Eric Bailly could return to matchday squad after Phil Jones damaged his hamstring injury in his first appearance of the season. Diogo Dalot and Sergio Romero will step up their recovery from long-term knee injuries by playing for the under-23s on Friday night. Mourinho praises for Luke Shaw who is enjoying an extended run in the team following a solid start to the season: "I was telling him, 'You cannot play better than you did'. Of course, the kid has to be upset with the result. But the kid has to know that he had three very good matches in the league and today he was very, very good. I am very, very happy with him."

 

 

Watford – vs – Tottenham Hotspur


Javi Gracia has the luxury of a near fully-fit squad to choose from when Tottenham visit Vicarage Road on Sunday. "It is good news because we only have Tom Cleverley injured. The rest of the players are available. Some need more training sessions, but all players are training with the team at the moment." Nathaniel Chalobah is fine after limping off on Wednesday night with nothing more than cramp. It was his first start since September 2017. He has trained untroubled this week but Gracia hinted that the midfielder needs more minutes, and more training sessions, before being considered for the Premier League. Gerard Deulofeu also returned to full training, but again, the Watford boss will err on the side of caution because the team is performing so well. "We'll see" if he could make the bench.

 

Victor Wanyama will be considered following his return to full training. Erik Lamela [hamstring] faces a late fitness test but Hugo Lloris and Moussa Sissoko [hamstring] join Juan Foyth and Vincent Janssen [foot] on the side-lines. Kieran Trippier is available; however, Heung-Min Son remains on international duty.



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.
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