Ben Dinnery

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Late Fitness Check GW7

Friday, September 29, 2017


Injuries to key players could halt Manchester City in their tracks, and on recent form [seven consecutive wins], it may be the only thing which can stop Pep’s men at this point in time. Following on from the news that Benjamin Mendy is likely to miss the next six months due to a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament injury, news broke just hours later confirming that Sergio Aguero had been involved in a car accident which will side-line the Argentine for an undetermined period of time.  

 

City rivals United are also feeling the injury pinch with up-to eight first-team squad players at risk of missing out, although a home tie to bottom club Crystal Palace is about as close to a gimme as you can get. The Eagles are yet to register a single point or goal in 2017/18 and have been left without an experienced centre forward following the news that Christian Benteke will miss around six weeks…... Welcome back Roy!  

 

Follow the entire Rotoworld Premier League team on Twitter: Neal | Steve | Andrew | Sean | Stag | Ben | Galin | Nik

 


Huddersfield Town – vs – Tottenham Hotspur


No fresh injury concerns for Huddersfield but the absence of leading goal scorer Steve Mounié is a blow – his recovery from a heel problem is taking longer than expected although David Wagner is “pretty confident that he’ll be back against Swansea." Danny Williams [fractured foot] could miss around a month while Colin Quaner [calf] won't be back until after the international break - Kasey Palmer [hamstring] and Jon Stankovic [ACL] remain long-term absentees. The Terriers boss is hoping his side “can pull [Tottenham] down to our level and neutralise their offensive abilities” and admits that he has made no special plans to deal with the attacking threat of Harry Kane.

 

Erik Lamela [hip], Danny Rose and Victor Wanyama [both knee] remain on the sidelines. Kieran Trippier is poised to start as Serge Aurier misses out through suspension following his sending off [two yellow cards] at West Ham last weekend. Christian Eriksen was not 100 per cent in training on Thursday [after missing the 3-0 Champions League win in Cyprus through illness] "but we hope tomorrow he'll be feeling good and will be available for selection." Harry Winks is gaining fitness [and confidence] following his recovery from the ankle injury which ended his 2016/17 season prematurely: “[He was] fantastic against Barnsley and APOEL, but we have to be careful with him. After a lot of time out we need to provide him with a good rest." Pochettino says it's "impossible" for Mousa Dembele [ankle] to play this weekend: "We hope it's not a big problem, but he needs time."

 

 

AFC Bournemouth – vs – Leicester City


Eddie Howe says Tyrone Mings, Callum Wilson and Harry Arter will all miss the game with Leicester, while Dan Gosling faces a late fitness test after taking a knock. If he fails to recover, then Marc Pugh, Ryan Fraser or Lewis Cook come into the side which lost at Everton. Callum Wilson has re-joined the first-team as he steps up his recovery from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament: "He is making good progress and is back in training with us, but has some way to go.”

 

Craig Shakespeare confirms Jamie Vardy only returned to training on Thursday as the club carefully manage an ongoing hip problem. Despite his omission from the England squad, Vardy is expected to feature at Bournemouth although his minutes could be limited. Vicente Iborra could start after recovering from a groin injury: "He's trained fully now for the last few weeks. We're pleased with the way he's progressing" but Robert Huth is no nearer to a return. The Foxes centre-back is struggling to shake off a foot problem: "It's one step forward [and] two steps back. We have to be mindful, so he won’t be considered." Matty James is wearing a protective boot due to his Achilles injury [suffered at Chelsea] which should be removed within the next seven days: "We will assess him from there." Still no word on when Andre Silva might make his Leicester debut, but the Foxes boss reports that the Football Association are helping to lobby FIFA for the Portugal midfielder's registration to be sanctioned.

 

 

Manchester United – vs – Crystal Palace


"We have to train and make decisions after [the session]," Mourinho said on Friday. "I hope some of the players that couldn't play in Moscow can recover." That will include the likes of Antonio Valencia who “may be” has a chance of being involved while there were mixed messages regarding the availability of Phil Jones. Initially Mourinho said the defender was out before suggesting he would face a late fitness test – tread with care would be my advice. Michael Carrick is a definite absentee along with teammate Paul Pogba [hamstring] who is set for a long period out. No confirmed timeline but Jose implied a return before November is highly unlikely. Expect changes following the game in Moscow: "I look at the period of time we have to recover from match to match. It's the only thing that concerns me and makes me think." Anthony Martial had a scan on Thursday after suffering a thigh strain and his involvement hangs in the balance.

 

Update: Phil Jones, Antonio Valencia and Marouane Fellaini were all spotted at the Team Hotel on Friday suggesting the trio will be involved. No sign of Anthony Martial. 


Christian Benteke is out for around six weeks because of a knee ligament injury. "It is a major blow because we don’t really have too many alternatives. He is a quality player and a proven goal scorer but these things happen in football. There’s no point crying about it." Bakary Sako is expected to lead the Palace attack with Freddie Ladapo providing back-up from the bench. Chelsea loanee Ruben Loftus-Cheek is also out because of a thigh strain. Saturday comes too soon for Wilfried Zaha who is targeting a return after the break. No James Tomkins either who is absent because of illness. Timothy Fosu-Mensah [ineligible] cannot play against his parent club.

 

 

Stoke City – vs – Southampton


Bruno Martins Indi could miss up-to three weeks following the groin strain he sustained last weekend. The news leaves Mark Hughes scratching around for experienced defensive cover after admitting it would be a risk to play Kevin Wimmer [hamstring] who hasn't trained all week. That said, he will be checked on Friday "just in case he can be involved." An ongoing back injury will keep captain Ryan Shawcross out of GW7 but Kurt Zouma returns to the matchday squad after missing the 4-0 drubbing at the hands of his parent club Chelsea. Geoff Cameron is the only injured player who has a chance and Hughes remains "hopeful" that the US international can recover in time.

 

Virgil van Dijk is edging closer to a start in the Premier League according to Mauricio Pellegrino. "Little by little he's getting better [but] it will be difficult to see the best Virgil in the first game or even the second [after more than 8 months out]. We need to be patient. After this game we've got two weeks an we'll play a friendly in the middle. I'm happy with his attitude and I'm sure he'll be ready when he does come back." Pellegrino singled out forward Shane Long for praise following his recall to the starting line-up but the Saints are among the lowest scorers in the top-flight [4] – only Swansea have fewer – and "everyone in the team [must] improve in the final third.”

 

 

West Bromwich Albion – vs – Watford


Oliver Burke [hamstring] returned to training this week but he lacks sharpness/fitness and is likely to miss out: "Hopefully this international break will help," said Tony Pulis. Nacer Chadli managed 45 minutes for the Under-23s on Monday but Watford could come too soon – he’ll be hoping for game time with Belgium in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.  

 

Miguel Britos returns following his three-game domestic ban to give manager Marco Silva a welcome boost. However, he may have to settle for a place on the bench after Adrian Mariappa and Christian Kabasele impressed the manager at Swansea. Sebastian Prödl has a small chance of making the squad but Younès Kaboul and Craig Cathcart are both injured. Etienne Capoue looks favourite to retain his place in the starting XI as Nathaniel Chalobah [knee surgery] will be out until Christmas. "It's a difficult situation [but] we need to find a solution. Chalobah did well [since his arrival] with good performances. We expect that [he'll be back in 2017] but we'll see. You never know what can happen." Mauro Zarate completed another 90 minutes for the U23s but he is unlikely to feature with several other options in attack.

 

 

West Ham United – vs – Swansea City


Manuel Lanzini [knee] has recovered and is available "having trained with the team" on Thursday. Michail Antonio [groin] "looks to be okay" after limping off against Tottenham - he should be included in this weekend’s squad. Elsewhere, James Collins and Edimilson Fernandes are closing in on their comebacks: “There’s only basically Pedro Obiang, who still feels it a bit after the West Brom game – the rest are OK." Slaven Bilic "sees a lot of potential” in a Chicharito and Andy Carroll partnership although he admits playing both doesn’t lend itself to a defensively stable formation.

 

Paul Clement says he saw enough positives from the second half performance against Watford to know “that we’re not far away from getting some good results.” His Swansea side have been working on some things this week and he wants to go into the game “with a positive line up - we want the victory!" That second forty-five saw Tammy Abraham paired with Wilfried Bony up front with Jordan Ayew in behind. Sung-Yeung Ki [knee] and Nathan Dyer [Achilles] will both play for U23s against Celtic on Saturday to build fitness.

 

 

Chelsea – vs – Manchester City


Antonio Conte says David Luiz [suspended] is a "big loss" but Andreas Christensen is playing well and with good maturity. The Chelsea manager will check on every player before deciding whether to make changes to the team on Saturday. However, Alvaro Morata has been passed fit after picking up a knock in Madrid. Only Danny Drinkwater [calf] is missing through injury. Eden Hazard is being lined up to start his second game within a matter of days.

 

Sergio Aguero is out of the game with Chelsea after a car accident in Amsterdam left the Argentine striker with a broken rib. "I will speak to him [on Friday]," when he returns said Pep during his pre-match briefing. No time frame currently but initial reports suggest around 6-8 weeks although there are factors to consider which could reduce his recovery time. City expect Benjamin Mendy to be back before the end of the season. The defender will be operated on in Barcelona by Dr [Ramon] Cugat and is hoping to return for "the semi-finals of Champions League" in April. Vincent Kompany won't be involved for club or country: "He’s only made one training session with us since one month ago. He told me he’s travelling [national team training camp] to meet the Belgian doctor, but he is coming back. Of course, he cannot play."

 

Update: Following his assessment by Club doctors, Aguero's injury is not as bad as initially feared and he could return within a month.   

 

Arsenal – vs – Brighton and Hove Albion


The Gunners swept aside BATE in the Europa League on Thursday managing to do so without picking up any new injury concerns. Arsène Wenger made a host of changes for the tie leaving the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Aaron Ramsey, Nacho Monreal and Hector Bellerin at home to prepare for this weekend’s game. Mesut Ozil returned to the squad on Monday night, but the German international will not feature for his country over the break, after aggravating a knee injury. Alex Iwobi has a chance of recovering from a thigh strain but Laurent Koscielny faces a late test due to an ongoing Achilles problem. Francis Coquelin, Danny Welbeck and Calum Chambers and will all miss out along with Santi Cazorla who is targeting early 2018 for his comeback. Sead Kolasinac has had some problems this week but he is available. 

 

Considering Tomer Hemed's three-game suspension, the return of Glenn Murray to training on Friday boosted Chris Hughton’s attacking options, although his inclusion is not assured: "I have to see how he is tomorrow and make some decisions around that. He has been out for a period of time." Izzy Brown is expected to operate in a more advanced role if Hughton decides that the Arsenal game is too soon for the veteran striker. Beram Kayal is closing in on his comeback after breaking his leg in the final pre-season friendly. "We are hoping he will play an under-23 game in the next couple of weeks."

 

 

Everton – vs – Burnley


Phil Jagielka [hamstring] and Michael Keane [foot] will be given every chance to prove their fitness. Ronald Koeman hopes to have "some positive news" on Saturday but the pair, particularly the former, remain doubts. Niasse will be a part of the team on Sunday. "He's playing out of confidence and scoring goals" and his freshness – from not playing in the Europa League – could be enough to persuade the Dutchman he merits a start. The rest of the squad will be assessed over the next 24 hours. Sunday is too early for James McCarthy who hasn't played this season due to a knee injury. He needs time with the U23s to build fitness after completing his first training session on Friday. Wayne Rooney is fine after his hand was accidentally trodden on in the UEL.

 

Sean Dyche confirms Jon Walters "will be sidelined in the short-term with a knee injury that has required a visit to a specialist." No new injury worries ahead of Everton. Tom Heaton [shoulder] and Nahki Wells [ankle] both miss out.

 

 

Newcastle United – vs – Liverpool


Florian Lejeune suffered a minor setback in his recovery from the ankle ligament injury he sustained on the opening weekend. The niggle kept him out of the Brighton game, but the French defender will be added to the squad on Sunday. Only Paul Dummett [hamstring] and Massadio Haidara [knee] are expected to miss out this weekend.

 

Liverpool have a "few knocks, but no real concerns" from the game in Moscow. No-one is ruled out of the trip to Newcastle other than long-term absentees. Clyne and Lallana are "doing really well" although neither is training with the team yet. "Nathaniel has made real steps - it’s really cool – and Adam is completely normal. He is now outside running and has no problems anymore. We just have to wait until the tendon is a tendon again, if you want. You cannot rush this. But so far, no setbacks and everything is fine."



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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