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Team News

Late Fitness Check GW14

by Ben Dinnery
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

West Ham should arrive at Goodison Park fully refreshed – after almost five days recovery – while others will have to cope with a miserly three between games which is likely to result in a raft of changes.


Jurgen Klopp demonstrated on Saturday that no-one in his squad is safe and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more changes with a Champions League tie against Spartak coming up plus the Merseyside derby.


Premier League squads are becoming stronger, and benches deeper, with exactly this scenario in mind.


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Brighton and Hove Albion – vs – Crystal Palace

Chris Hughton confirms there are no fresh injuries ahead of the game against Crystal Palace. Steve Sidwell [back] is the only expected absentee but the midfielder is hoping to begin light outdoor work from next week. Beram Kayal returned to the match-day squad for the first time at Old Trafford but Sam Baldock is still waiting for his chance after recovering from calf surgery.


The Eagles arrive brimming with confidence having grabbed a last-gasp winner to put Palace within touching distance of the three teams above them. "We're playing better football than we were and have got our act together," said Roy Hodgson. “The players are working hard and know how we want to defend and attack. It's about how often we can keep that up now." No change in the treatment room with Chung-Young Lee [muscular] and Connor Wickham [ACL knee] still sidelined. "It's a short turnaround between games, but everybody trained this morning and should be ready to play."



Leicester City – vs – Tottenham Hotspur

Claude Puel held clear the air talks with Mahrez who was unhappy at his withdrawal at West Ham. “We spoke at training – it is not a problem,” he said. “Riyad was a little frustrated in the second half without the possibility to touch more balls. That is a good thing, when a player is not happy.” Only Robert Huth [foot] and Matty James [Achilles] are unavailable meaning Puel could make changes. "We will see for rotation or not, now we start with games every three days. I will see for the future."


Pochettino is hoping Victor Wanyama can return before the end of the year, but Tottenham need to wait until January until Toby Alderweireld is back in action. Harry Winks [illness] will be assessed ahead of the trip to Leicester although it looks like Mousa Dembele will start regardless. Erik Lamela "is in contention" for the game. "Always in a very busy schedule you need everyone fit to help and that is very good news for the team," the Spurs boss said. It's been one year, one month and two days since the Argentine last played for the club. “I’m ready.” Danny Rose is also in contention after being left out of Tottenham's previous two Premier League games. "He will be in the squad. He understands perfectly that we are caring for him. He played in Dortmund and now he has to build up getting better every week."



Watford – vs – Manchester United

Captain Troy Deeney returns for the clash with Manchester United after completing a three-match ban. Miguel Britos will face a late fitness test after picking up a knock during the 3-0 win over Newcastle. If he does miss out, then the fit-again Sebastian Prodl could be handed his first PL start since August. Craig Cathcart, Tommie Hoban and Nathaniel Chalobah [all knee] will struggle to play again this year while Younes Kaboul [hamstring] has suffered a setback.  Isaac Success “looks like” he will return within the next few weeks. “The others we have big doubts about."


Jose Mourinho will look to tighten things up after expressing concern at the space afforded to Brighton. “It was difficult for Pogba and [Nemanja] Matic to press [as] Marcus [Rashford] and [Anthony] Martial [are] without the tactical knowledge.” Pogba played the full game on Saturday, despite the United boss saying the midfielder needs to be managed carefully following his recent return from injury. Eric Bailly isn’t far away and defensive teammate Phil Jones is progressing after aggravating a thigh problem on international duty. Confirmation by the Football Association that there will be no action taken against Romelu Lukaku after he appeared to kick out at Brighton defender Gaetan Bong. Michael Carrick is back in full training having undergone a minor heart procedure to correct an irregular heartbeat.



West Bromwich Albion – vs – Newcastle United

Alan Pardew is believed to be in advanced talks to take over as West Brom head coach following the sacking of Tony Pulis, although interim boss Gary Megson will remain in charge for the game against Newcastle. "I was informed this morning that nobody will be coming in to take the game before Tuesday. I will be doing that.” James Morrison [Achilles], Craig Dawson [knee] and Nacer Chadli [hamstring] remain long-term absentees. Chris Brunt is expected to miss out after sustaining a calf injury playing for Northern Ireland.


Rafa Benitez insists “the players are fine” after a dismal display at home to Watford. “We realise where we are, and the players know [they need] to keep working.” Captain Jamaal Lascelles remains out due to an ankle injury and Paul Dummett [hamstring] / Christian Atsu [thigh] won’t be considered. Mikel Merino is pushing for a start following his introduction from the bench on Saturday.



AFC Bournemouth – vs – Burnley

Jermain Defoe will be given every opportunity to prove his fitness, but Eddie Howe is not prepared to take any risks with the veteran striker: "We have to tread very carefully, otherwise it could end up being a bigger problem. I think he will be back very soon." Junior Stanislas is also struggling to shake off a groin problem which “is lasting a little longer than we first hoped." Adam Federici, Brad Smith and Tyrone Mings are all out but Simon Francis is back in contention and he could replace Adam Smith who deputised at Swansea.


Sean Dyche was fuming as Arsenal left Turf Moor with all three-points on Sunday. James Tarkowski was adjudged to have pushed Aaron Ramsey deep into time added on and Alexis Sanchez calmly despatched the spot kick for an unlikely victory. Burnley were unchanged from the side which beat Swansea, however, top scorer Chris Wood could be handed a recall at the expense of Ashley Barnes. Tom Heaton and Jon Walters are progressing as planned, but neither is close. Dean Marney continues to build fitness with Under-23s.  



Arsenal – vs – Huddersfield Town

Mesut Ozil was sent home from Burnley on Sunday morning and Arsène Wenger has all but ruled the German out due to illness. Theo Walcott on the other hand is available after shaking off a similar bug. The Arsenal boss has hinted in recent weeks that Jack Wilshere is ready to start, and Wednesday could prove to be his night with Alex Iwobi failing to impress.


The Terriers will consider themselves mightily unlucky to finish the game against the runaway leaders’ empty handed after a rather fortuitous Raheem Sterling goal stole the points late in the game. Chelsea loanee Kasey Palmer is available and could return for the first time since picking up a hamstring injury but David Wagner will be without Jon Stankovic, Michael Hefele and Philip Billing. Rajiv van La Parra begins a three-game ban [violent conduct] following his late dismissal for handbags with Leroy Sane at the final whistle.   



Chelsea – vs – Swansea City

Victor Moses returned to the match-day squad on Saturday - having missed the previous six weeks - and his availability will leave Zappacosta looking over his shoulder. With a flurry of games coming up, Antonio Conte may look to freshen things as David Luiz, Pedro, Cesc Fabregas and Saturday’s goal scorer - Willian – push for their inclusion in the starting XI. Michy Batshuayi will sit out once again leaving Alvaro Morata free to lead the Chelsea attack.  


No fresh injury concerns following the 0-0 draw against Bournemouth. "After Saturday, everyone is okay." Tammy Abraham is ineligible under the terms of his loan agreement so Wilfried Bony will lead the line. "Kyle Bartley is not far off training and hopefully he will be back in the next couple of weeks." Frederico Fernandez is expected to miss the next two matches after flying back to Argentina following the passing of his father: “Fede has returned home after the very sad news,” said Paul Clement. “He will not be back here until the weekend, so he will miss Chelsea as well as the Stoke fixture.” Van der Hoorn will partner Alfie Mawson in the heart of defence.



Everton – vs – West Ham United

Everton face an injury crisis after Baines and Keane were forced off at Southampton. The Toffees could be missing up-to ten first-team players when former manager David Moyes rolls into town: "Leighton has done his calf, unfortunately," said Unsworth after the demoralising defeat on the south coast. "We’ll assess him more, but it looks like he’s going to be struggling." Meanwhile, his defensive teammate is at risk of missing the next two games depending on the results of further tests: "Michael was a bit different. I don’t know whether it was concussion. He was with the doctor at the end of the game and I haven’t had the chance to speak to either yet." Of those currently side-lined, Mason Holgate is the closest to a return, with long-term absentees Ross Barkley and James McCarthy due back in mid-December. Oumar Niasse [suspended] will sit this on out.  


There is no room for sentiment with the Hammers still languishing in the bottom three although a win over Everton would see West Ham leapfrog their Merseyside counterparts who appear to be in dire straits. Expect a similar squad to the one which played on Friday: "We have a couple of knocks and niggles but nothing to be overly worried about," said Moyes. "Chicharito has not trained, so he's going to be a few days or a bit longer, but we want him back fit because we have so many games coming up." James Collins [ankle] and Michail Antonio [bruised ribs] are in a similar situation. "We have to be really careful because our squad isn't the biggest. It's important to get these boys fit and ready to play." Marko Arnautovic [knee] is one of those who will be assessed ahead of the game while Mark Noble will be a part of the squad after making way for Masuaku versus Leicester. “He took [being left out] the right way as you'd expect."



Manchester City – vs – Southampton

Gabriel Jesus seems certain to start after sitting out for most of the game on Sunday – the Brazilian wasn’t introduced until the 80th minute as City went in search of a winner at the John Smith’s Stadium. Otamendi and Kompany look to be nailed centrally in the absence of John Stones although there are a host of potential changes elsewhere as City head into an important couple of weeks which includes the Manchester derby. Fabian Delph – ongoing calf issues – is among those who could potentially dropout.  


Mauricio Pellegrino has no new injury concerns and Matt Targett is the only player set to miss Wednesday's encounter at the Etihad. Mario Lemina made his first appearance in just over month for the final 12 minutes on Sunday while midfield options are boosted further by the return of Oriol Romeu after his one-match ban. Charlie Austin looks set to retain his place in the side after scoring twice in only his second league start of 2017.



Stoke City – vs – Liverpool

Berahino will be back in the squad after Mame Diouf picked up knock in training last Friday: “I didn’t know how long he would last,” said Hughes. “We needed cover on the bench which is why Saido missed out.” Everyone from the Palace game was back in on Monday "and there doesn't seem to be any doubts from the weekend.” The Stoke boss noted a “few bumps and bruises” which will be checked but nothing major. "Ramadan [Sobhi] is fine and Geoff Cameron is working with the physios but won't be involved this week. He isn’t a million miles away now."


Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino were notable absentees from the starting XI on Saturday, however, fully rested the pair seem certain to start at the Bet365 Stadium. Their omission [vs Chelsea] means the likes of Mo Salah, Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho could all be ‘rested’ with Gini Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana waiting in the wings. If Dejan Lovren is fit, Ragnar Klavan is expected to drop out and Alexander-Arnold will probably come in for Joe Gomez.