Ben Dinnery

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Late Fitness Check GW9

Thursday, October 19, 2017


Game week nine gets underway at the London Stadium on Friday and with sides involved in European competition this week, some players will still be recovering and undergoing their post-match assessments when the fantasy deadline has passed.

 

Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool all appear to have come through their respective games relatively unscathed, but those playing on Wednesday - Manchester United and in particular Chelsea - were left counting the cost of bruising Champions League encounters. While Jose Mourinho has promised not to cry over United’s mounting injury list, Antonio Conte bemoans the “very difficult” situation as his threadbare squad begins to look a little stretched.

 

With 12 press conferences still to come on Friday, all the appropriate team news and player updates will be added throughout.

 

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West Ham United – vs – Brighton and Hove Albion


“We have a couple that are out because of injury," Slaven Bilic said ahead of Friday's game. "James Collins is out for a matter of days and Diafra Sakho has back pain. He didn’t train since Burnley so he’s out." Both players could return for the League Cup tie against Tottenham on Wednesday. Javier Hernandez had an injury scare on Tuesday [tight hamstring] but he is expected to train late on Thursday: "The scan was completely clear. He missed Wednesday’s light session. Based on his feeling, [he should] be OK." Adrian will rejoin the group after missing a couple of days due to a stomach problem. Despite the injury to Sakho and Andy Carroll’s suspension, Toni Martinez "will not be in the squad" even though the Spanish forward has been showing good form. “He’s improving a lot, but we have enough options.” Michail Antonio could be deployed in a more advanced role.

 

Shane Duffy hasn't trained since limping off against Everton last weekend but Chris Hughton remains hopeful that the defender will be a part of the squad. If he fails to recover then Uwe Hünemeier is poised for his first Premier League start. Beram Kayal [broken leg] and Sam Baldock [calf surgery] will continue to build fitness with the under-23s on Friday [vs Middlesbrough]. Tomer Hemed serves the final game of his three-match ban which means Glenn Murray could lead the Seagulls attack once again while Steve Sidwell remains sidelined because of a back injury.

 

 

Chelsea – vs – Watford


The Blues suffered a triple injury blow on Wednesday night in the Champions League, although initial reports suggest none are serious. David Luiz and Tiemoue Bakayoko will be assessed after the pair played through the pain-barrier [vs Roma] due to respective calf and groin injuries. Captain Gary Cahill also sustained a head injury, plus a cut on the chin, but the centre-back will be okay for Saturday. Chelsea were able to welcome Alvaro Morata back this week, however, N’Golo Kante and Victor Moses [both hamstring] are ruled out. Danny Drinkwater is struggling to shake off a calf problem but he has been involved in training this week although his lack of fitness/sharpness is a concern and the midfielder can only realistically hope for a place on the bench.

 

"It's the same situation as last week” said Marco Silva when asked if Watford had any players returning from injury. “Craig Cathcart, Nathaniel Chalobah and Isaac Success [plus Tommie Hoban] are long-term.” Younes Kaboul and Sebastian Prödl are ruled out but the duo aren’t far away and they should work with the first-team squad from next week. “Maybe not full training, but certainly with the team.” Troy Deeney is pushing for a start following his impact from the bench last weekend – the club captain played a part in both goals as the Hornets snatched a last-gasp victory over Arsenal.

 

 

Huddersfield Town – vs – Manchester United


Steve Mounie stepped up his recovery from a heel injury last Sunday and barring any setbacks, David Wagner fully expects the striker to be available. Colin Quaner is also edging closer to a return but a lack of match fitness may mean he has to wait another week before being considered. Philip Billing was stretchered off during the 2-0 defeat by Swansea City after suffering a “serious” ankle injury. His absence could earn Danny Williams a recall while Aaron Mooy is better placed to start having fully recovered from his international exertions. Kasey Palmer and Michael Hefele are targeting a return after the break and Jon Stankovic could be back in the new year.

 

Phil Jones is likely to be available for Saturday after he was rested in the Champions League due to a niggling knee problem. Victor Lindelof could deputise if he does miss out given that Eric Bailly [groin] remains a major doubt. Still no definitive timeline on Paul Pogba, however, unofficially a return later this month has been touted. Marcos Rojo will be ready in “probably two weeks” according to Mourinho, although he will feature for the under-23s initially and not the first-team. Marouane Fellaini [knee] is hoping to play again before the break but Marcus Rashford faces a race against time after limping off in Portugal [vs Benfica]: "I thought it was muscular fatigue,” said Mourinho. “But no, he told me he felt something in his knee. It didn't look to me like a big thing but we don't know."

 

 

Manchester City – vs – Burnley


Sergio Aguero has been an unused substitute since his recovery from a fractured rib, so it remains to be seen whether Guardiola recalls the Argentine after naming an unchanged side midweek. City put seven past Stoke in game week eight but with the likes of Bernardo, Toure, Gundogan and Danilo warming the bench Pep may look to freshen his side. Vincent Kompany is “much better” but won’t be rushed based on his recent history. “It depends on him when he will come back. He will notify us."

 

Sean Dyche is rumoured to be one of the frontrunners for the Leicester job, but the Burnley manager insists he is not aware of any approach. “It’s not the first time I’ve been linked. You’re flattered by it [but] it’s a paper story. There’s nothing in my consideration other than Man City.” The Clarets are up-to the dizzy heights of 7th and an unlikely victory could put them into the Top Four. Jon Walters [knee] is out for a number of weeks and Tom Heaton will do well to play again this year. Nahki Wells [ankle surgery] and Dean Marney [ACL knee injury] are well on the road to recovery after turning out for the U23s.

 

 

Newcastle United – vs – Crystal Palace


Ciaran Clark and Mikel Merino are entitled to feel a little aggrieved after the pair were dropped at St Marys’ on Sunday. That said, Rafa Benitez will feel vindicated in his decision after Isaac Hayden opened the scoring for Newcastle and Florian Lejeune - penalty aside - was excellent. Lots questioning the whereabouts of Chancel Mbemba, but the defender appears to be out of favour, and not injured as many have speculated. Paul Dummett and Massadio Haidara are the only definite absentees although Dwight Gayle is a doubt after limping through the final 10 minutes against Southampton with a calf complaint.  

 

"No further injuries," confirms Roy Hodgson. "Just the two long-term ones [Connor Wickham and Christian Benteke]. Wayne [Hennessey] has recovered [from a calf injury], so a clean bill of health." That means Chelsea loanee Ruben Loftus-Cheek has recovered from the thigh strain which has kept him out since late-September. "I don't want to put a time frame on Christian," said the Eagles boss. "But he's feeling very confident and is on schedule." The player spoke earlier this week and is hoping for a return before the next international break. It was a weekend of firsts for Palace in game week 8 as the returning Wilfried Zaha inspired the Eagles to their FIRST points, victory and goals of 2017/18. “Wilf has been the talisman for Crystal Palace. If you asked me if he's a great player with a very bright future, who can only get better, I'd answer with a resounding yes.”

 

 

Stoke City – vs – AFC Bournemouth


Joe Allen comes back into contention after missing last weekend’s heavy defeat due to concussion. The Potters were forced to follow protocol after the midfielder was injured playing for Wales five days earlier. Bruno Martins Indi is well-placed to start having played 45 minutes at the Etihad but Ryan Shawcross has torn a muscle in his back “which needs time to heal.” Young defender Thomas Edwards was stretchered off on his debut and he is expected to miss out. Stephen Ireland is said to be working hard, and providing he can avoid the niggling setbacks which have hampered his recovery recently, “he will be back and available soon."

 

Update: Martins Indi has been ruled out. Xherdan Shaqiri suffers a "bad ankle sprain" in training and will have a fitness test. Joe Allen should be okay but Tom Edwards won't be ready. Ryan Shawcross is close to a return and Hughes is set to make a late decision. 

 

Callum Wilson scored a hat-trick for the under-21s this week but the striker isn’t ready for the first-team just yet after more than 8 months out. Eddie Howe will consider his striking options after Jermain Defoe was axed in favour of Josh King following a slight reshuffle which saw Dan Gosling and Steve Cook return to the side. Ryan Fraser [hamstring] won’t be far away but Brad Smith is out indefinitely after picking up a “nasty [hip] injury” playing for Australia. Tyrone Mings is nearing a return.  

 

Update: Tyrone Mings won't be back until after the international break. Ryan Fraser will be checked on Friday 50/50. 

 

Swansea City – vs – Leicester City


Swans boss Paul Clement provided a mixed update ahead of the crucial game with Leicester: “Wilfried Bony won’t be available with a [short-term] hamstring injury,” he said. The Ivorian suffered a setback on the eve of last weekend’s game. “Renato Sanches is back and ready to go," after recovering from the thigh injury he picked up training with Portugal. The midfielder is one of several viable options, along with Nathan Dyer, Roque Mesa and Sam Clucas, who could replace the suspended Leroy Fer. Sung-Yeung Ki is also closing in on his first start after summer knee surgery: "He is a very good player and has trained really hard this week." Kyle Bartley is taking a little longer than initially anticipated:  "I think November was optimistic. For games I think you're looking at December because he will have missed a lot."

 

Michael Appleton will act as caretaker manager following the unexpected sacking of Craig Shakespeare this week. "We had a good session this morning. We changed the format slightly to make it more enjoyable. I’m hoping the players don’t need lifting. The group is very positive and I fully expect our mindset to be on Saturday’s game.” No fresh injury concerns for the Foxes who have Robert Huth [foot] and Matty James [Achilles] side-lined.

 

 

Southampton – vs – West Bromwich Albion


Mauricio Pellegrino says, with the exception of Jeremy Pied, "there are no injury absences" for the West Brom game. Matt Targett played for the U23s on Monday after missing the last month due to an ankle injury. Manolo Gabbiadini will be looking to build upon his two-goal haul last weekend, his first since game week two, strikes which helped the Saints end their slide at home.  

 

The Baggies are on the verge of a goalkeeping crisis with Ben Foster and Boaz Myhill [hamstring] both struggling. Foster hurt his knee playing in the garden with his son and Myhill was injured following a heavy collision with Jamie Vardy on Monday night - the pair are "under treatment and a decision will be taken on their availability closer to match day.” Alex Palmer, 21, is on standby to make his Premier League debut. Hal Robson-Kanu and James Morrison failed late tests at the King Power, suggesting they were both close, which should give them a realistic chance of making this one. Oliver Burke [hamstring] on the other hand is out due to another setback. "The Club are optimistic this latest delay will not keep him out for a lengthy period."

 

Update: James Morrison, Oliver Burke and Hal Robson-Kanu all miss out. Tony Pulis is hoping the trio can return next weekend. Boaz Myhill and Ben Foster trained on Thursday and at least one should be available at Southampton.

 

 

Everton – vs – Arsenal


Morgan Schneiderlin is considered a major doubt after picking up an injury on Thursday. The Everton midfielder made a crucial block against Lyon but collided with teammate Jordan Pickford and couldn’t continue. James McCarthy might be involved following his 45-minute run out for the under-23s, otherwise Everton remain as they were – Seamus Coleman, Yannick Bolasie, Ross Barkley and Funes Mori are all out.   

 

Petr Cech and Mo Elneny were the only players retained in the Europa League on Thursday night ensuring there won’t be any issues with fatigue this weekend. Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez have trained after missing out at Vicarage Road while Laurent Koscielny [calf and Achilles] is another who should make the trip to Goodison Park. Calum Chambers suffered a setback in his recovery from a hip injury and Arsenal may have to wait until after the break to see the defender back in action – more/less when Wenger can call upon Shkodran Mustafi. Nothing on Danny Welbeck who tweaked his hamstring at Watford.   

 

 

Tottenham Hotspur – vs – Liverpool


Danny Rose returned to action in Madrid on Tuesday night [10-minute cameo], but the left-back is still some way off a start in the Premier League. Ben Davies could return to the side after missing the narrow win over Bournemouth due to illness. Mousa Dembele travelled midweek, suggesting he is close, despite failing to make the match-day squad. Mauricio Pochettino confirms Erik Lamela and Victor Wanyama remained at the clubs training ground as they continue their recovery from injury. Georges N’Koudou will be checked after the 22-year-old was forced off with a head injury just minutes after his introduction last weekend.

 

No fresh injury concerns for Liverpool who should be brimming with confidence following their 7-0 win over minnows Maribor. Jurgen Klopp named a strong side out in Slovenia which finally clicked in front of goal. Roberto Firmino ended his mini scoring drought notching for the first time since mid-September, however, the Brazilian needs to go back almost two-months since his last league goal. Adam Lallana has entered the final phase of his rehab while Senegal have called up Sadio Mane for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers suggesting he will be back earlier than his initial timeline of six weeks. 



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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