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Late Fitness Check GW15

Monday, December 3, 2018


My advice heading into December would be to make sure you have a deep bench. The games come thick and fast, so expect lots of changes and even more surprises…. The biggest problem with such a quick turnaround between games is that players are still being assessed, and with the best intentions, some managers just don’t know who will be available until the last moment. 

 

A full midweek slate can bring big returns if played right – combined with a little bit of luck – so make sure you’re following throughout for all the latest and breaking Premier League news.  

 

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AFC Bournemouth – vs – Huddersfield Town


"Dan Gosling is a concern for us,” Eddie Howe said in his pre-match press conference. “We've sent him away for a scan on his knee, so we'll see how he is. He didn't feel comfortable during the warm up at the weekend." Bournemouth need to check on a few players ahead of their game with Huddersfield, but midfielder Jefferson Lerma returns to the squad after serving his one-match ban at the Etihad. "You’re always going to have a few niggles at this time of the season, so we’ll see how those guys are." Adam Smith won’t be back until early 2019.

 

The Terriers contested the red card given against Steve Mounié on Saturday, but the Football Association flatly rejected the appeal meaning he will miss the next three matches. Laurent Depoitre comes into contention. Chris Löwe trained on Sunday, and although the game will come too soon, there is a "slight chance" he could be back on Saturday. Those involved last weekend still need to be checked. "There are some other knocks, but nothing serious, I can only answer [questions on availability] after training today.” This includes Alex Pritchard who was forced over after 49 minutes.

 

 

Brighton and Hove Albion – vs – Crystal Palace


Brighton face Palace at the AMEX Stadium and manager Chris Hughton expects to have the same group of players available which won last time out. "We have no new injuries," which suggests Bruno Saltor - limped off at Huddersfield - is okay. Alireza Jahanbakhsh [hamstring] has returned to training. “But he won't be included." Glenn Murray is pushing for a recall after making way for Florin Andone who scored the winner on his first Premier League start.  Dale Stephens serves the final game of his three-match ban. The midfielder will be back in contention for the trip to Turf Moor this weekend.

 

No major concerns for Palace. "We were lucky we didn't pick up any real injuries at the weekend," said Roy Hodgson. "Just the usual knocks and bruises of Premier League matches. At the moment it looks like the same players are available again." However, the Eagles boss did hint that he plans to rotate: "It's a three-game week, so you'll likely see changes in teams. Outside of those playing European football most teams aren't used to it.” Benteke could be back around Christmas. "Christian is only three or four weeks away from fitness." Scott Dann and Connor Wickham are available, although the pair lack match sharpness.

 

 

West Ham United – vs – Cardiff City


I can’t see Aaron Cresswell recovering from a hamstring related injury in time for Tuesday’s game, although the official line from Manuel Pellegrini is that the full-back will be a late call. The player was scheduled for a scan on Monday and the club may be playing it safe until they can determine the extent of the problem. Arthur Masuaku is his expected replacement. Otherwise, the Hammers could have the same group of players who travelled to Tyneside which means Fabian Balbuena [dead leg] should be okay. Andy Carroll and Jack Wilshere have returned to the matchday squad leaving only long-term absentees in the treatment room – Andriy Yarmolenko, Carlos Sanchez, Winston Reid, Ryan Fredericks and Manuel Lanzini.

 

Neil Warnock’s plans to change things up midweek have been scuppered due to player availability. "We’re struggling a bit injury-wise. Another couple of lads had knocks. I was going to change it and rest players, but I don’t think I can now. I’ll have to ask the lads to perform three times in a week.” Jazz Richards [hamstring] is definitely out while Greg Cunningham isn’t as bad as initially thought, and he did some light work on Saturday. Ken Zohore [calf] will step up his recovery with the rehab team from Monday. “He’s pain-free for the first time and has done some work.” The Bluebirds will once again need to rely on Calum Paterson up top. "He moans and moans and moans [but] we’d be in trouble without him. Gary Madine isn’t fully fit, and Danny Ward isn't either."

 


Watford – vs – Manchester City


The Hornets are close to full strength with only Adalberto Peñaranda ruled out because of a foot problem. “The rest of the players are available,” confirmed Javi Gracia. Cleverley is edging closer, but the midfielder will be managed carefully after missing the last 11 months. “Tom is in the process, training day-by-day and the most important thing is he doesn't feel anything strange. He is training at the same level as the rest of the team." Daryl Janmaat played for the development side recently following his recovery from knee surgery. "He felt comfortable. He is feeling well and ready and available to play when we need him.” Etienne Capoue begins a three-match ban.

 

Guardiola confirmed that Sergio Aguero had a “muscular disturbance” on Friday and he did not want to risk him in the game against Bournemouth. Pep said he would decide on the Argentine – and Oleksandr Zinchenko [broken nose] – after the final session on Monday, but both players could miss out. City improved following the introduction of Fabian Delph just before the hour mark while Gabriel Jesus earned plaudits from the boss despite another blank. “Today we needed runs behind, and he made a thousand million in many circumstances. Gabriel was so important, and he will be so important for next Tuesday.” The Brazilian may get one more chance at Vicarage Road as he looks to protect Aguero ahead of a busy fixture period. "We do not want to take any risks. If Sergio becomes injured, we will lose him for a long number of days and we can’t afford that.”

 

 

Burnley – vs – Liverpool


It’s been more than two months since the Clarets last won in the league and the defeat at Crystal Palace was probably there most disappointing. In truth, Burnley were lucky to have only lost by two-goals. Their performance is likely to prompt changes from Sean Dyche, and following a return to the matchday squad, James Tarkowski could start to help shore up a leaky defence – 29 conceded is just ten goals shy of their total from 2017/18. Robbie Brady must be considered a major doubt after limping off during the closing stages at Selhurst Park – midweek comes too soon for Stephen Ward and Nick Pope.

 

Following a tough week for Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp may look to freshen his side who looked jaded at times during the last-gasp derby win. Sadio Mane will be assessed after suffering a cut on his foot before the end of the game on Sunday. “I don’t know how it happened [but it’s a] very painful thing.” Daniel Sturridge and goalscorer Divock Origi are among those who could come into the side. Andrew Robertson [dead leg] is not thought to be serious, but an intense few weeks for club and country, may persuade Klopp to rest the full-back which would see Alberto Moreno come in. Jordan Henderson is almost certain to return after his one-game ban.

 

 

Fulham – vs – Leicester City


Andre Schurrle was withdrawn as a precaution at Stamford Bridge following a minor issue in training on the eve of the game. The German has been the highlight of a dour season for the leagues bottom side and Claudio Ranieri will be hoping he can return for this crucial game. Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa comes back in contention, but Kevin McDonald could miss out as he continues his recovery from a hamstring strain.

 

Harry Maguire and Rachid Ghezzal might be back this weekend while Claude Puel must check on his players followings Saturdays exertions: "At the moment, I do not know my starting team as we have some injury problems with different players. We will see.” Jamie Vardy is one of those after he “felt something.” The striker is battling an ongoing groin issue. Matty James will build fitness with the U23s and Daniel Amartey [ankle] is around 3/4 months away.

 

 

Wolverhampton Wanderers – vs – Chelsea


It’s not exactly panic stations, but Wolves have no wins in six with only one point taken from a possible 18. Nuno Espírito Santo made a couple of changes at Cardiff on Friday, and he could rotate again, as he goes in search of that winning formula. Ruben Da Silva Neves [suspended] must sit this one out while a knee injury keeps Jonny sidelined.

 

Maurizio Sarri says he will continue to rotate his strikers given the proximity between games. “Morata had a good period, Giroud is in a good period. Of course, it is normal that sometimes it is Morata, sometimes play Giroud. That is normal.” Chelsea bounced back with a comfortable win on Sunday, a game which saw the returning Eden Hazard complete 90 minutes. An ankle injury saw Ross Barkley miss out, but in his absence Ruben Loftus-Cheek continued his impressive form of late. Marcos Alonso was out of sorts and his withdrawal with 15 minutes to go is believed to be fatigue-related. Victor Moses could shake off a back problem.

 

 

Everton – vs – Newcastle United


No fresh injury concerns for the Toffees who were left devastated by their 96th minutes derby loss to Liverpool. Marco Silva’s men were well worth a point on the day, but a Jordan Pickford error deep into time added-on handed the hosts bragging rights.

 

Rafa Benitez looks set to make changes and could return to a back five which was so effective at Turf Moor in week 13. That would see Ciaran Clark or Jamaal Lascelles alongside Fabian Schär and Frederico Fernandez. Jonjo Shelvey has been waiting patiently since his recovery from injury and the ex-Liverpool man could get the nod on his return to Merseyside. Paul Dummett is “very close” although it remains to be seen whether the left-back is ready for this one. Jamie Sterry, Yoshinori Muto and Florian Lejeune are all training, although the trio are at various stages in terms of fitness. Matt Ritchie is banned which might mean a second league start for Christian Atsu.

 

 

Manchester United – vs – Arsenal


United could be missing up-to nine players when the Gunners visit Old Trafford on Wednesday night. Midfielders Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic played alongside Phil Jones at St Mary’s in back five, although Jose Mourinho believes that Chris Smalling [foot] and/or Eric Bailly [back] could train ahead of the game to help ease their defensive worries. Victor Lindelof, Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw are all struggling while Matteo Darmian and Marcos Rojo were only fit enough for a place on the bench on Saturday having managed just one training session ahead of the game. Ashley Young has accumulated five bookings and will not feature. Alexis Sanchez [hamstring] is ruled out for the remainder of 2018, but Mourinho is optimistic that Rashford will be okay after he was forced off during the 2-2 draw. "Fatigue, he was injured, he was asking to come out. It was not that kind of injury, some players with that kind of injury do not play for two weeks but Marcus, I am pretty sure will be fine for the next one."

 

North London is red, for now, following a 4-2 win at the Emirates. Arsenal triumphed in Sundays derby despite Mesut Ozil missing the game through injury. There was no official press conference ahead of the Tottenham clash, but the club website posted an update from the treatment room which did not include a reference to German star. News broke on Sunday when the line-ups were announced. Ozil remains a doubt for the game at Old Trafford. "He’s had backache since last Tuesday. He couldn’t play in Kiev or yesterday. At the moment, I don’t know if he can play in Manchester. Today he was working alone,” said Unai Emery. Matteo Guendouzi could come in for the suspended Granit Xhaka with Stefan Lichtsteiner or Laurent Koscielny replacing Shkodran Mustafi if he misses out. The club say it’s too early for a scan, but he did look okay on Monday, and the injury may not prevent him from training and/or playing which suggests it isn't serious/long-term.

 

 

Tottenham Hotspur – vs – Southampton


Toby Alderweireld will return in place of the suspended Jan Vertonghen who was given his marching orders following a late challenge on Alexandre Lacazette. Kieran Trippier is in the final stages of his recovery from a groin strain and he should be close while Erik Lamela [thigh] faces a late test. Everyone else – Mousa Dembele, Davinson Sanchez and Victor Wanyama – are long-term.

 

“We’ve got some bumps and bruises,” confirmed interim boss Kelvin Davis. “Obviously we’ve got a suspension [for Lemina] as well. Michael Obafemi [hamstring] left the pitch [and is] not in a great state.” The medical team continue to work with Ryan Bertrand [back], Matt Targett [head] and Danny Ings [hamstring]. "We had a brief update from the physios, we’re hopeful, but by no means will they be at 100 per cent, so we’ll have to make a decision on that late in the day. I don’t expect to have a full squad available.”



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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