Ben Dinnery

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Late Fitness Check GW27

Friday, February 9, 2018


A north London showdown at Wembley ensures game week twenty-seven begins with a bang. Neither side will be giving an inch as they look to maintain their push for a Champions League qualification spot.  
 
 
Stoke are involved in the proverbial six-pointer at home to fellow strugglers Brighton while Watford will be looking to build upon their emphatic 4-1 Chelsea win with victory over David Moyes’ men. The West Ham wheels have come off in recent weeks, but the Hammers could welcome a few familiar faces back into the fold. 
 
 
Newcastle United are on the brink of their worst run of home form since 1999, eight Premier League matches without a win, and the omens don’t look good. Visitors Manchester United have taken 54-pts from a possible sixty-three against those ‘Outside of the Top 5’. Things don’t get any easier for Roy Hodgson, and his side take on Everton with up-to 9 first-team players sidelined including Wilfried Zaha. In the six games the Palace winger missed earlier in the season…. They lost every single one!  
 
 
As always, you can stay ahead of the game by following the entire Rotoworld Premier League team on Twitter: Neal | Steve | Andrew | Sean | Stag | Ben | Nik
 
 
 
Tottenham Hotspur – vs – Arsenal 
 
 
Pochettino was coy on the availability of Toby Alderweireld despite the centre-back playing 90 minutes in the FA Cup against Newport County. Lucas Moura is expected to make the matchday squad. "I think he will be ready to be in contention. He's doing well, training so hard. We need to assess him after the last training session." Danny Rose [knee], Serge Aurier [calf] and Harry Winks [ankle] are all available to ensure Spurs have a full complement of players heading into the north London derby. 
 
 
Wenger reveals Petr Cech [calf] is a doubt for the early kick-off. "I don't know if he will be available," following a clash with Oumar Niasse last weekend. The Arsenal boss is not prepared to take any risks. "If he's not 100 per cent fit" then he won't be involved. "I have full confidence in David Ospina." Nacho Monreal [illness] looks to be okay while Danny Welbeck could return to the matchday day squad.
 
 
 
 
Everton – vs – Crystal Palace 
 
 
"The injury situation is definitely the best since I've been here," said Sam Allardyce. "Leighton Baines is running and we would expect by Watford he will be clear of the injuries." The left-back is hoping to impress the new manager on his return. "I have not had the opportunity to train under him or be a part of it at all. That’s always nice in some respects because you have that little bit more to prove." Funes Mori is targeting a first-team return after coming through 45-minutes in a PL2 game unscathed. "I feel good – even better about my fitness. So, hopefully I can be back as soon as possible. I had a really tough injury, but I think I have recovered well. I did not feel anything in my knee." James McCarthy won’t play again until later this year but there are less than a handful of others out. Maarten Stekelenburg is "almost training" while Seamus Coleman comes back into the reckoning after recovering from illness. 
 
 
Hodgson bemoans his luck as Palace receive more bad news this week. "Quite frankly, I can't remember a time when I've had this many players injured at a club." Zaha is ruled out after picking up a first half knee injury last weekend. "It's amazing Wilf was able to play so much of the game. He's a very quick healer and we'll be working to get him back as soon as possible." The Palace boss went onto add, it would be "great" if he could recover in a week or two, but realistically the winger is expected to miss around a month. Alexander Sørloth is ready which may prompt Hodgson into a slight formational change, possibly a 4-4-2 with the new signing playing alongside Benteke. Wayne Hennessey is the only senior goalkeeper available after Julian Speroni suffered ligament damage during the build-up to the Newcastle game. "He twisted his knee in five-a-side. We didn’t think it was going to be that problematic, but overnight it’s swollen." Martin Kelly suffered a "tweak" in his hamstring and the centre-back is set for a spell on the sidelines. "We don’t know [how long he'll be out], the doctors won’t put timescales on. I think they’re working hard to get him fit for the Tottenham game and it’s certainly not out of the question."
 
 
 
 
Stoke City – vs – Brighton and Hove Albion 
 
 
Paul Lambert confirms the Stoke squad isn't "too bad" in terms of injuries. "Jese will be back in contention [after] he played for the under-23s on Monday." The Potters boss has “one or two things to consider” ahead of the game – but he felt another goal against Bournemouth would've killed the contest – overall though, he was pleased with the performance. “It was probably the best football we have played since I arrived.” New boy Badou Ndiaye was singled out for praise. "For a lad who had only come in on the Friday and not really knowing his teammates, he was first class."
 
 
Chris Hughton confirms Jurgen Locadia has recovered from a hamstring strain and his availability gives the Seagulls’ manager a bit of a selection headache. January signing Leonardo Ulloa is champing at the bit while Glenn Murray has scored in his last three appearances. Steve Sidwell and Jiri Skalák [both ankle] remain out but "everyone else is fine."
 
 
 
 
Swansea City – vs – Burnley 
 
 
Carvalhal says Andy King and Andre Ayew have trained well this week. "They are very good players and they can be involved for the first time [on Saturday]." Renato Sanches [hamstring] is out in the medium term [around a month] but Leon Britton [adductor] will have an injection which should see him return to training soon. However, club-captain Angel Rangel, who has a similar problem, may require surgery. Leroy Fer [Achilles] went under the knife on Thursday and Wilfried Bony [ACL] is pencilled in for his operation next week.
 
 
Matt Lowton is set for a recall after Sean Dyche confirmed Phil Bardsley [hamstring] will miss the game. Stephen Ward returns to the squad following his run out for the development side, although the defender lacks match-fitness. "If we need him, he's available." Tom Heaton is back in full training, but there is no date set on his return to the squad. James Tarkowski [groin] is still working with the medical team - Chris Wood and Dean Marney [both knee] "are going well".
 
 
 
 
West Ham United – vs – Watford 
 
 
David Moyes is hoping to have one or two players nearer to full fitness. “Michail [Antonio] and Marko [Arnautovic] have done a bit of training this week. Hopefully we're closer to getting those players back. Winston Reid has had a bit of a throat infection." New signing Patrice Evra could be involved. "There is a chance he can feature this weekend. He's not far away. He played in November for Marseille and has been training." Pedro Obiang is likely to miss the remainder of the campaign after undergoing knee surgery.
 
"Hopefully it won't be the whole season, but he's had a repair to his medial ligament. We might get him back before the end, but probably not."
Miguel Britos is training, although this weekend will come too early for the Uruguayan who has been out since December. The defender joins Christian Kabasele, Craig Cathcart, Younes Kaboul, Tom Cleverley, Heurelho Gomes, Will Hughes, Kiko Femenía, Jerome Sinclair and Nathaniel Chalobah on the list of players unavailable to Javi Gracia. "I think we are in the same situation as the last game.” Cathcart is thought to be close while Troy Deeney had to be monitored this week. “He had a problem with his ankle and today [Friday] he trains with the team." 
 
 
 
 
Manchester City – vs – Leicester City 
 
 
Guardiola confirms John Stones [knee] and Phil Foden [ankle] are available for selection following a return to full training. However, David Silva is yet to recover from the kick to the hip he received at West Brom nine days ago. Leroy Sane is back in light training but it could still be a few weeks before the winger is in contention. “He is much better, but he is still not ready. He is just running.” Pep would like to rest Sergio Aguero "but he’s the only striker we have," although he did say Gabriel Jesus should return within a fortnight. 
 
 
Riyad Mahrez reported back to training on Friday for the first time since his proposed move to Manchester City fell through. However, Claude Puel was keen to stress during his press conference that the winger would not be involved. "I hope Riyad can get his head right. The best way is to come back and enjoy his football. He is a magnificent player and he loves football.” No Shinji Okazaki due to a "little" injury. "He received a kick on his knee and I think he won't be available for two weeks." Meanwhile, captain Wes Morgan [hamstring] is not yet ready having spent over a month out because of a hamstring strain. 
 
 
 
 
Huddersfield Town – vs – AFC Bournemouth 
 
 
Tommy Smith suffered concussion during the FA Cup win at Birmingham in midweek and won't be available. Christopher Schindler and Laurent Depoitre [both foot] are doubts and David Wagner will make a late call on the pair. "They’re back on the grass but we will have to make the final decision [on Saturday]." Danny Williams [dead leg] returns to the squad. Alex Pritchard is in contention for a starting berth following his impressive display for the Under-23s on Monday. Elias Kachunga [MCL knee] will hopefully be available again from March.
 
 
Steve Cook [hamstring] has a chance for the game at Huddersfield while Eddie Howe also confirmed Adam Smith [thigh] isn't too far away. "Both players at this moment are in contention for Sunday, we have a couple of training sessions to go before the game, so we'll see where both players are at." No further updates on Tyrone Mings [back] but Jermain Defoe is progressing well and there is a possibility that he may return for the Newcastle match later this month.  
 
 
 
 
Newcastle United – vs – Manchester United 
 
 
Jesus Gamez [ankle surgery] is progressing but he isn't ready just yet. Mo Diame and Ciaran Clark have been involved in training this week after picking up minor knocks at Selhurst Park - Joselu is fine after missing the draw through illness. Slimani [thigh] hasn’t trained fully with the squad and the Leicester loanee will be checked again on Saturday. “We will see tomorrow how he feels because, obviously, he will need some time. We can decide if he can play, be on the bench or if he’s not available.”
 
 
Zlatan Ibrahimović is training with the first-team, but Mourinho confirms the striker is not yet ready for a return to action. No fresh injury concerns. Eric Bailly and Daley Blind remain unavailable while Phil Jones has recovered from illness. Luke Shaw looks set to be rewarded for his performances of late. "For a few months now, he's free of these minor injuries that sometimes stop evolution. I'm really happy. I think the natural consequence is he will have his contract and he'll be a Manchester United player for years." Marcus Rashford is a slight concern due to a minor muscle injury but Marouane Fellaini is out until the end of March. 
 
 
 
 
Southampton – vs – Liverpool 
 
 
Southampton have no new injury concerns ahead of Sunday's game with Liverpool. “We have nothing to report,” said Mauricio Pellegrino. “There is just Charlie [Austin] at the moment who is outside of the squad, but the rest of the team are ready.”
 
 
Joe Gomez [knee] has started running outside but he is expected to miss out on Sunday. Klopp said the defender “has a chance” of returning for the Champions League tie against Porto. Ragnar Klavan is close while Moreno is available having missed the U23s game after picking up a knock. "Alberto needed only two days again and looked good yesterday. That's it - nothing else at the moment." Adam Lallana is an option for Sunday. The Liverpool midfielder was sent-off for the development side this week, but his 3-game ban only covers PL2 matches. Virgil van Dijk can expect a volatile reception on his return to his former stomping ground.
 
 
 
 
Chelsea – vs – West Bromwich Albion 
 
 
No fresh injury concerns for Chelsea who don't play again until Monday. Conte confirms he will assess his squad over the next few day’s having given his players some time off. Alvaro Morata is not available, and the Chelsea boss does not know how long his recovery - from a persistent back problem - will take. “I am a bit worried. We are facing a serious situation. [Important] players are missing for a long time. We are trying to find a solution to solve the pain." Olivier Giroud is in contention for the match. Pedro [ankle] is fine after he was helped off the pitch at Vicarage Road and Andreas Christensen [hamstring] is hoping to rejoin the group this weekend - Conte is “hopeful” about his involvement. No specific mention of Marcos Alonso but his absence at Watford was said to be precautionary and I'd be very surprised if he wasn't involved given the extra recovery days. Bakayoko will serve a one-match ban. 
 
 
Alan Pardew admits the situation with Jay Rodriguez and his FA charge for racially abusing Gaetan Bong is not ideal, but he insists the club will support him and the striker is in contention for Monday. The Baggies boss faces a bit of a dilemma with Salomon Rondon fully fit and Daniel Sturridge needing game time to improve his sharpness. Kieran Gibbs, Jonny Evans and Grzegorz Krychowiak should be back but Jake Livermore and Hal Robson-Kanu are set to miss out.


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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