Ben Dinnery

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Late Fitness Check GW4

Friday, September 8, 2017


The Premier League is back after a fortnight away and with it comes its own unique set of problems.

 

Players often return late from international duty, particularly those involved outside of Europe - Africa, Asia, Oceania and South America - meaning fantasy managers are often left making a judgement call.

 

Injury is by far the best [and easiest] way of trying to determine player availability, but when there are no reported issues or obvious problems then you may need to consider other factors:

 

  • Minutes played – coaches will consider those involved for 180+ minutes carefully as fatigue does increase injury incidence rates.  
  • Level of competition – friendly internationals or games versus weaker opposition don’t have the same intensity as high-profile matches.
  • Squad strength – Man United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City all carry large squads with 2/3 players covering every position. The pressure to involve certain individuals may not be as great when compared to a team like Newcastle who are struggling for numbers.
  • Tread carefully – don’t be fooled into thinking Eden Hazard’s involvement for Belgium will guarantee a start for Chelsea – it won’t – and despite minutes for Brazil – Jurgen Klopp has deemed that Philippe Coutinho is not yet fit enough for the Premier League. 

  

If possible, plan a deep bench, there will always be one/two surprises come Saturday.

 

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Manchester City – vs – Liverpool


A calf injury will keep City captain Vincent Kompany out of the early kick-off which means John Stones is likely to partner Otamendi in the heart of defence. "I am sad,” said Guardiola. “The last 7, 8, 9 games last season he played no problem, but we will get him fit as soon as possible." Ilkay Gundogan has trained with the first-team for the last few weeks and the injury-plagued midfielder will be a "part of the group" on Saturday. Raheem Sterling serves a one match ban.

 

No fresh injury complaints for Jurgen Klopp: "It’s pretty much the best news you can get [following an international break], so far, they've all came home completely healthy." Philippe Coutinho requires more time to get up to full speed and will not be included in the travelling squad, instead he will undergo an extra training session. Simon Mignolet will return to the side after he was 'rested' last time out. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is in line to make his debut but he may have to settle for a place on the bench following Liverpool’s 4-0 win over Arsenal in game week three. No return date has been set for Adam Lallana but the player reports that his rehabilitation is “going as well as it can.”

 

 

Arsenal – vs – AFC Bournemouth


Alexis Sanchez, David Ospina and Aaron Ramsey will be fully assessed on their return from international duty [Thursday]. Jack Wilshere "is getting stronger" by the day but still needs some fitness work "he’s in a positive trend - he’s getting better and better." Arsène Wenger says Arsenal have no injuries "at the moment" [exception Cazorla] which should mean Alex Iwobi [thigh] and Calum Chambers [groin] are back in contention. Santi Cazorla will have his first run "that is quite positive" but he won't play before Christmas, after, "I hope he will be available." The Arsenal boss is reluctant to give a definitive timeline following what will amount to more than a year on the sidelines.

 

Eddie Howe says he's been "really pleased" with Simon Francis' rehab. "He is in contention, he passed all the tests we expect at this stage." The Bournemouth boss could make a late call on Nathan Ake [ankle] but Junior Stanislas [groin] looks set to miss out once again. "I've not seen all the international boys yet, but the ones I have seen, have come back fine, which is a plus.”

 

 

Brighton and Hove Albion – vs – West Bromwich Albion


Chris Hughton expects Glenn Murray [ankle] to be available following a return to training on Thursday. Tomer Hemed [hamstring] should be fine after a scare while on international duty. Izzy Brown is back [from Chelsea] and could rejoin the group next week while Sam Baldock is about a fortnight away from full training. Steve Sidwell [surgery] is ruled out. “We felt he would be okay. He had a small problem with is back, he recovered but ended up having an operation which will keep him out for a good period.” Gaetan Bong will be missing along with Beram Kayal [broken leg] who is targeting a return in October but Bruno Saltor has shaken off the knock which forced him off at Watford.

 

West Brom are carrying "one or two little knocks." Grzegorz Krychowiak and Kieran Gibbs "are both fit" but they haven't played much competitive football recently. "I've got a big decision to make about starting them," said Tony Pulis. "I’ve got to speak to the medical people and [decide] whether it’s the right thing to throw them straight into a Premier League game or not." Hal Robson-Kanu will serve the final game of his three-match ban while Gareth McAuley is edging closer to a return but this weekend may come too soon. Oliver Burke could make his first start after coming off the bench against Bournemouth in week three. Pulis was pleased to keep captain Jonny Evans at the club: “It was very important,” reiterated the Baggies boss. “He has got to knuckle down now, get back in the team, and start showing everybody what a good player he is again. I hope we can offer him a new contract and tie him down, we will speak next week about what Jonny is thinking and what he wants to do.”

 

 

Everton – vs – Tottenham Hotspur


Ross Barkley won't be available for another two, to two-and-a-half months following a training ground hamstring injury. Ronald Koeman confirms Wayne Rooney will play this weekend after he was charged with a drink driving offence: "I am very disappointed. It will be dealt with internally.” Oumar Niasse is back with the first team "and gives [us] another option," said the Everton manager. "Sometimes in life you need to give opportunities [and] his attitude has been perfect [but] he needs to fight like all of the other players.” No mention of Davy Klaassen but the Dutchman had this to say last month: "He will be out for at least one week, but he will be fit after the break." Jordon Pickford and Mason Holgate are both expected to be available after the pair were withdrawn from international duty due to minor injuries. Vlasic will be in the squad for Saturday and is in contention to play: "He was on our [transfer] list because he's one of the biggest talents in Europe, in my opinion. He also impressed us in the two games."

 

The usual suspects for Tottenham. Erik Lamela [hip] is working outdoors and is at an “advanced stage of his rehabilitation” which could see him return to first-team training in early October. Georges-Kevin N'Koudou [foot] has “commenced outdoor work” and Danny Rose [knee] continues his recovery with a view to training again in September. Victor Wanyama [knee cartilage] is likely to be missing for a few more weeks. Kieran Trippier should keep his place in the side after overcoming a niggling ankle problem as Serge Aurier returned late from representing the Ivory Coast. Fernando Llorente could be included in the Tottenham squad at Goodison as Vincent Jansson looks to complete a loan move to Turkish side Fenerbahçe.

 

 

Leicester City – vs -- Chelsea


Aleksandar Dragović "has trained" with his Leicester teammates in the last couple of days but a deal for Adrien Silva is yet to be finalised after UEFA reported his registration was 14 seconds past the deadline. Robert Huth [foot] “is fine” but Craig Shakespeare feels Saturday "will be too soon" and the centre-back has been pencilled in to play for the Under-23s on Monday. Summer signing Vicente Iborra is in a similar situation having recovered from a groin strain: "He’s trained and there’s no ill effects” but he will need to bide his time. Wes Morgan [back] is fit to face Chelsea but Kelechi Iheanacho will be a late decision: “He went away and didn’t play as much as he hoped but trained with us. Short on minutes, we will go with how we see it.”

 

Antonio Conte confirms there are no injury problems ahead of Saturday's fixture with Leicester: “Everybody is available [but] for sure some [players] are tired." Gary Cahill is the only certain absentee - the Chelsea skipper serves the final game of his three-match ban. Eden Hazard has improved a lot “and I think now I can count on him [although] I have to decide the right minutes.” New signing Danny Drinkwater will be in the squad - to face his former employers - "but I don't know when he'll be ready to play." Davide Zappacosta "is in good physical condition". The Chelsea coach wasn’t prepared to discuss recent reports linking Diego Costa to Fenerbahçe on-loan: "I don't know. My focus is on our football, not Turkish football."

 

 

Southampton – vs – Watford


Manuel Pellegrino has no injury concerns following the latest international break. "Matt Targett had some trouble last week, but now he’s okay." Virgil van Dijk is back with the main group but the Saints manager confirms he will need time before he's ready for a return to Premier League action. “It's good news,” said Pellegrino. “Now, everything is normal.”

 

"Younes Kaboul, Daryl Janmaat and Roberto Pereyra have started to work with the team,” confirmed Silva. "I believe the first two will be ready," but a decision on Pereyra's involvement - at Southampton - will be made after he trains on Friday. Marco Silva rubbishes reports of a fallout with Deeney: “With all of the speculation in the market, everybody says a lot of things about the situation,” he said. "We are happy with Troy, he is our captain and want to put him in a position to help the team like he has in previous seasons.” New signing Marvin Zegelaar will challenge Jose Holebas [available after suspension] for a place in the starting XI: “It’s the best situation for me, the club and the players. It’s good for Jose because now he has a player to compete for his position. I want him to work hard every day to keep his position and I want the same thing for Marvin.” Miguel Britos is serving a ban while Craig Cathcart is out after undergoing knee surgery. Sebastian Prodl faces a late fitness test after limping out of Austria’s 1-0 defeat in Wales last weekend: "He has a small problem, but we'll see tomorrow and take a decision from there." Adrian Mariappa or new boy Molla Wague could be called into the side.

 

 

Stoke City – vs – Manchester United


"We had a few issues coming out of the international break," says Hughes. "A couple of players picked up injuries," but none are serious. Maxim Choupo-Moting suffered a hamstring injury while representing Cameroon: "We'll monitor him and hope he will be fit for tomorrow." Ryan Shawcross is almost certain to miss out. The defender has a back issue "but it is not related to his previous disk problem. It is unfortunate. We aren’t quite sure how long he is going to be out of action for, but we hope that it settles down quickly.” In his absence, new boy Kevin Wimmer could make his Stoke City debut particularly as Kurt Zouma [ankle] is also struggling. Darren Fletcher and Mame Diouf [both knee] missed the recent internationals but returned to training this week. On those players leaving during the transfer window - Hughes felt Giannelli Imbula needed to move on as he "was struggling to make an impact in training," however, he would've preferred Bojan Krkic to stay, but, the player "felt his future lay elsewhere."

 

Jose Mourinho is waiting for [all] his players to return to training on Friday afternoon before assessing his options ahead of the clash with Stoke. "The fact that now we play every three days is good because the players will feel now that they are all involved. The squad is strong, the players are all ready to play, and the decision [of who to] leave on the bench is hard." Ashley Young and Luke Shaw are pushing for their inclusion after playing for the development side in recent weeks.

 

 

Burnley – vs – Crystal Palace


Jeff Hendrick [thigh] is rated as "touch and go" for the game after suffering a minor setback with Ireland last weekend. "It's one we have to be sensible with, as with all muscle injuries. We'll see how he is on Friday, but particularly early season, we have to make sure he's right." Dean Marney [ACL] is out long-term while Jon Walters looks to have shaken off the ankle injury he sustained in the Carabao Cup. Former Huddersfield Town striker Nahki Wells, who joined on transfer deadline day, should be back later this month after ankle surgery.

 

Ruben Loftus-Cheek has recovered from a minor groin strain and he will be added to the Palace squad travelling to Turf Moor. Frank de Boer is hoping that James Tomkins and Yohan Cabaye will be available but a final decision won’t be made until after Saturday's training session. "Almost everybody is getting fit," the Dutchman said. "Only Connor Wickham and Wilfried Zaha [are] still injured." Mamadou Sakho is not quite match fit but he is looking good and has worked very hard this week. “He could probably play 35 minutes for the Under 23 side on Monday.”

 

 

Swansea City – vs – Newcastle United


Jordan Ayew is fit and well. "He travelled back, trained on his own [Wednesday] and took part in full training [Thursday]. No problems." Kyle Bartley is out for "possibly" 12 weeks after undergoing knee surgery: “[It’s] a real shame because he’s been playing well." Bony will be involved against Newcastle: "Wilfried is very focused and has had a really positive influence on the dressing room already," however a lack of match-fitness may mean his minutes come from the bench. Renato Sanches will join the group on Friday: "He will have two sessions ahead of the game, and I anticipate he will [play some part] on Sunday." Ki Sung-Yeung is close to a return and Paul Clement also confirms Nathan Dyer isn't far away from being back to full fitness.

 

Chancel Mbemba will miss the game at Swansea but initial reports suggesting the defender could miss up-to three months seem a little wide of the mark: "It sounded like a bad injury but we don’t think so,” revealed assistant manager Francisco de Míguel Moreno. Dwight Gayle “has been training well and will be part of the squad" while DeAndre Yedlin and Florian Lejeune are working hard to be ready. "Merino and Shelvey have been training well. We have a session [on Saturday] and after that, we will decide on the team.” Massadio Haidara [injured] and Mitrovic [suspended] are ruled out.

 

 

West Ham United – vs – Huddersfield Town


Manuel Lanzini is out of the Huddersfield game after suffering a setback in his recovery from a knee injury and the Argentine could miss another two possibly, three weeks. Winston Reid is back following his recent calf strain but Edimilson Fernandes is out after failing to recover from an ankle sprain. Andy Carroll is "OK" and the West Ham striker should make his long-awaited return against Huddersfield on Monday night. Marko Arnautovic is not scheduled to return until next weekend.

 

Collin Quaner is a doubt after picking up a knee problem in training: "All the other [injury] news stays the same." David Wagner hopes Jonathan Hogg [ankle] and Martin Cranie [hip] can rejoin the main group next week but Jon Stankovic [ACL] remains a long-term member of the Huddersfield treatment room. Rajiv van La Parra has recovered from a minor knock and Nahki Wells was sold during the window for ‘business’ reasons: "He was offered a contract but he rejected it."



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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