Ben Dinnery

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Late Fitness Check GW19

Thursday, December 21, 2017


This weekend marks the beginning of the festive programme – where games come thick and fast – and for some, United for example, only have six non-playing days sandwiched between their 4 Premier League matches.

 

Expect Messrs Klopp, Guardiola and Howe et al to keep fantasy managers on their toes with a raft of changes – from the unfathomable to the frustrating – and at the risk sounding like a broken record.

 

Ensure. You. Have. A. Deep. Bench.


Merry Christmas everyone and keep following throughout. 


Rotoworld Team: Neal | Steve | Andrew | Sean | Stag | Ben | Nik

 


Arsenal – vs – Liverpool


Aaron Ramsey [hamstring] was out running [on Monday] but he will not be back in the next 10 days. "For him, the beginning of January is more likely." Shkodran Mustafi was available midweek but Arsène Wenger decided not to risk the defender in the Carabao Cup. Theo Walcott will be hoping to force his way into the matchday squad after recovering from illness and injury. Olivier Giroud could miss the entire festive programme. His [hamstring] injury "does not look very good" and the striker is certainly out of Fridays’ game - further tests will determine the severity of the problem, but an initial timeline of around 3 weeks has been suggested. Francis Coquelin should be okay despite limping off against West Ham due to cramp.

 

Joel Matip may come into contention after re-joining the group on Tuesday. "I'm not sure if he is ready for Arsenal but [for] the games coming up I'm pretty sure [he will be]." Klopp will assess his squad following the win at Bournemouth. "We have some [little] reactions from last game [and] need to wait." Only long-term absentees are missing for sure while Daniel Sturridge [hamstring and illness] "could be back." Alberto Moreno, who sustained an ankle injury vs Spartak won't be available. "Unfortunately, he is still not even on the [training] pitch so that could still take a few weeks.” Adam Lallana comes under consideration, although his minutes will be managed following his recent return from injury. Emre Can served a one-match ban last weekend.

 

 

Everton – vs – Chelsea


Yannick Bolasie is hoping to be included after stepping up his recovery from a serious knee injury with a 45-minute run out for the Under-23s. James McCarthy also featured for the development side and is closing in on a return. Nothing definitive on when Leighton Baines and Ross Barkley can be called upon again. Seamus Coleman is working towards a comeback in 2018 although Jonjoe Kenny will take some shifting at right-back on current form.

 

No fresh injury concerns ahead of the trip to Goodison Park. However, Alvaro Morata will miss out after receiving his fifth caution of the season on Wednesday night. The Chelsea striker was booked for celebrating his wife's pregnancy after scoring an injury time winner against Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup. Antonio Conte was coy on whether Michy Batshuayi will start. "I have to prepare a different plan. I have different options and another day to make the best decision. Every single player was in good form in training today." Charly Musonda “has a little muscular problem in his groin” and Luiz is still managing swelling around his knee. "David has started to work on the pitch. I think he is progressing well. We must have a bit of patience for his recovery, but at the same time we hope to see him very soon with the first team," said Conte.

 

 

Brighton and Hove Albion – vs – Watford


Shane Duffy will miss the game through suspension but Chris Hughton won't be drawn on who will replace the big centre-back. Uwe Hünemeier or Connor Goldson are favourites to come into the side. No fresh injury concerns - Steve Sidwell [back] is the only confirmed injury absentee.

 

Will Hughes [hamstring] might make a surprise return ahead of schedule. "He’ll work one more session and we’ll see how he reacts. He worked with the team this morning in a full session and he feels OK. Tomorrow we’ll take a decision but looks like he can make [it]." Tom Cleverley returns from a one-match suspension. Abdoulaye Doucouré is banned having collected his fifth booking of the season against Huddersfield. Similarly, Troy Deeney and Marvin Zeegelaar remain sidelined after their respective red cards. The skipper will serve a four-match ban after being shown a straight red for a challenge on Collin Quaner. "Of course, I've spoken to him,” said Marco Silva. “What I tell him - and he knows this as well - is to stay between me, our squad, and inside our club. He's an honest player. He's a player who gives everything every time to help the team." The Brighton game will come too soon for Kiko Femenía [hamstring] but Miguel Britos should be close. Younes Kaboul and Nathaniel Chalobah won’t return until late January.

 

 

Manchester City – vs – AFC Bournemouth


Sergio Agüero was absent from the squad in the Carabao Cup as Phil Foden was handed a rare foray into the first-team. Whether his omission was tactical ahead of a busy period or due to an ongoing heel problem which has [reportedly] hampered him for the last three months is uncertain but there was no mention from Guardiola. Eliaquim Mangala suffered a head injury at Leicester, however, the problem is not thought to be serious and he should be available. Vincent Kompany and John Stones are also close and if the pair miss out on Saturday, they will be back after Christmas. Still no official update, other than ‘personal reasons’ as to why David Silva missed the 4-1 win over Tottenham.

 

Jermain Defoe and Harry Arter are major doubts for the game at Man City after limping off during the 2-1 loss to Chelsea on Wednesday. But, despite the quarter-final defeat, of greater concern to Eddie Howe, is a growing injury list. The pair join Josh King, Charlie Daniels, Adam Federici, Brad Smith and Tyrone Mings in the Cherries treatment room. "[Jermain] went over on his ankle, he wasn’t right, he had to come off," revealed the Bournemouth boss. "It looks like he has potentially got some damage to his ligaments." He also added that Arter "felt his calf" which is likely to keep him out this weekend. Fortunately, Callum Wilson is back to bolster the ranks after missing out against Liverpool – the striker had an injection in his knee. Worryingly, the squad is beginning to look a little stretched – a concern heading into the busy programme and sitting just one point above the drop zone.

 

 

Southampton – vs – Huddersfield Town


Cédric Soares confirms he will miss the “next few games” while his teammate on the opposite flank - Ryan Bertrand - limped off during the final stages of the Chelsea match and is an early doubt for the visit of Huddersfield. No other concerns for Mauricio Pellegrino’s men who were much improved at Stamford Bridge last weekend.

 

Elias Kachunga could be sidelined for around three months after tests confirm the Terriers forward suffered knee ligament damage during the win at Watford. Tom Ince is expected to return to the starting XI. David Wagner is hopeful Chris Löwe will be available to face the Saints. Tests confirm the left-back did not suffer any serious damage to his foot in a challenge with Daryl Janmaat which forced him off before the break at Vicarage Road. Daniel Williams could deputise for Jonathan Hogg who serves a one-match ban.  

 

 

Stoke City – vs – West Bromwich Albion  


Chelsea loanee Kurt Zouma has responded well to treatment and could return ahead of schedule. "I think so, I hope so, let’s see on Saturday how I feel, but I think so. I want to play, and I need to play. I am not here to be injured." Bruno Martins Indi is ruled out although he could return sooner than expected. "Not as long as we initially thought, but he will still miss the Christmas period." Jese Rodriguez lacks fitness after returning to Spain following complications with the birth of his premature son.

 

Nacer Chadli and Matt Phillips will be included in his travelling party for the trip to Stoke City. The Baggies have been without the duo since the new manager took charge and Pardew believes the return of his “creative forces” will help his side find better balance in attack. “They’re both training, it’s early days for them, but it’s good news.” Craig Dawson [knee] is also back on the training pitches but a lack of conditioning is likely to mean that Saturday comes too soon. Only James Morrison [Achilles] is ruled out because of injury.

 

 

Swansea City – vs – Crystal Palace


Following the departure [sacking] of Paul Clement, caretaker manager Leon Britton feels it is not the "right time" to take the job on a permanent basis but ...."that’s not to say I wouldn’t do it in the future." Rules himself out of the game due to “a bit” of calf injury. Wilfried Bony has a hamstring strain. "He may be available for Watford [GW21], but that’s an outside chance.” The Jacks are hoping Ki Sung-Yeung will be back into contention after missing out at Everton with a calf problem. Leroy Fer is being monitored after he suffered a blow to his back at Goodison Park.

 

Palace will be without Christian Benteke after the striker picked up his fifth booking at Leicester last weekend. "It's a pity as he's found his feet again over the last couple of games." Roy Hodgson hints that Sako is likely to deputise. "In training sessions I've seen a completely different person in Bakary to the one I saw when I came in. He's taken on a new position and is working very hard on that move to centre-forward, worked very hard on his fitness.” Joel Ward [groin] is still missing as are the Eagles' other long-term absentees - Mamadou Sakho, Connor Wickham and Damien Delaney. Jason Puncheon is in contention and Hodgson insists any action taken against the midfielder will wait until the court proceedings have finished and “we know all the facts.” The club-captain was charged with assault and possession of an offensive weapon following a night out last Sunday. Connor Wickham has had "one or two setbacks" from a long-term knee injury. "He's done bits with the U23s and some passing with us, but no contact. He wants to join in, but we're waiting on the medical staff. They have to hold him back on a leash and for good reason." On-loan defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah [hamstring] is still missing but Luka Milivojevic is available following a one-match ban.

 

 

West Ham United – vs – Newcastle United


Mark Noble [hamstring] was forced off during the first half at Stoke last weekend and the captain is unlikely to recover. Andy Carroll managed to shake off a back problem for the Carabao Cup while Pablo Zabaleta [dead leg] and Arnautovic [calf] were also named on the bench. Edimilson Fernandes has suffered setback and may need surgery on the ankle injury he sustained in training.  Manuel Lanzini will serve a two-match suspension with immediate effect after his denial of a charge of ‘Successful Deception of a Match Official’ was rejected. Sam Byram is targeting a return in early 2018. “I’m over the worst of it now. I’m back outside running, and I’ve just started integrating the footballs as well. It’s not going to be long before I’m back training with the lads and helping out.” Cheikhou Kouyate has a chance of making the squad.

 

Jonjo Shelvey [suspended] won’t be available until after Christmas which means Isaac Hayden could keep his place in midfield. Paul Dummett is edging closer to his first start since the opening weekend having spent over three months recovering from a hamstring strain. Aleksandar Mitrovic is struggling with a back problem but the striker is way down the United pecking order. Rafa will be hoping his side can arrest an alarming slide – just 1 win in nine has seen the Geordies drop into the relegation zone.

 

 

Burnley – vs – Tottenham Hotspur


Sean Dyche admits his squad is beginning to look "stretched for the first time in a while" following the loss of Tarkowski [suspension] and Stephen Ward to injury. Kevin Long is set to partner Ben Mee in the heart of the Clarets’ defence. Ward is likely to miss the next two games following a whack to the knee during the win over Stoke while Tarkowski has undergone surgery to pin [and plate] a broken bone in his hand [which he sustained at Brighton]. The club expect him to be in contention after his three-game ban. Dean Marney and Jon Walters will come into contention over the holiday period.

 

Pochettino says it won't be difficult for his side to bounce back from the defeat at Man City: "The reaction will be good, no doubt," he said. "We trust each other, the team trusts what we are doing. We are in a position where the ambition is to be as high as possible." The Tottenham boss calls for patience with Dele Alli and admits he needs help to get back to his best form. "His success in two and a half years is massive, a fantastic achievement. It’s not that he isn’t doing good – the problem is that in the past he was amazing." Toby Alderweireld [hamstring] commenced outdoor running this week but won’t return before February. Victor Wanyama [knee] continues his road to recovery by stepping up his participation in first-team training. Davinson Sanchez is available again after completing his ban.

 

 

Leicester City – vs – Manchester United


Robert Huth and Matty James remain unavailable for selection. The pair have returned to full training, although they will need to build fitness with the under-23s before being considered for the first-team. Wilfried Ndidi sat out of Tuesdays' Carabao Cup quarter-final tie versus Man City, but he is back following his sending-off against Palace on his 21st birthday.

 

Antonio Valencia remains a doubt despite his Instagram post. “I am fine,” after limping off at West Brom. “This is what I call a December injury,” said Mourinho. “It is an injury of accumulation of fatigue. It is a muscular one. Hamstring. Big, small, medium, I don't know.” On his potential length of absence, he said. “Let's wait.” Club doctors are hoping Marouane Fellaini does not require surgery as the Belgium international struggles to shake off a 'mystery' knee injury which has hampered him since October. Eric Bailly will be missing for the next 2-3 months while there is still no timeline for Michael Carrick who is training with the squad. 



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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