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Team News

Late Fitness Check GW28

by Ben Dinnery
Updated On: February 26, 2019, 7:47 am ET

We barely have time to pause for breath as game week twenty-eight rolls into town.

Nine press conferences down with a host of further updates still to come on Tuesday. Make sure you're following throughout for the latest news. 

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


Cardiff City – vs – Everton

“We’ve got a bit of a bug going around,” reveals Neil Warnock. “One/two lads haven’t been in for a few days, but you just don’t know with them, they [could] clear up overnight. We’ve got two tough games, with Wolves [on] Sat, so I’ll be thinking about that with my selection.” Lee Peltier is one of those targeting a return after missing the defeat to Watford. "Pelts is probably the worst one. He ate something yesterday and hopefully he doesn’t bring it back up today!” Bobby Reid should be in a better place to contribute after his build-up to GW27 was disrupted due to a virus. Víctor Camarasa is training after playing just seven minutes of football in the previous six weeks. Medical staff from his parent club - Real Betis - came across recently to assess his ongoing calf problem. "It's confusing really," a frustrated Warnock said. "I thought he was fit ten days ago, but they said they didn't want him playing for ten days so that ten days is up now."

Phil Jagielka (knee) and Leighton Baines (ribs) are back in contention for Everton, but Yerry Mina remains a doubt due to an ongoing foot problem. Kurt Zouma is ruled out following his dismissal at Watford earlier this month.


Huddersfield Town – vs – Wolverhampton Wanderers

Manager Jan Siewert was not happy with his side’s performance on Tyneside. "I hope that we see another face against Wolves because I didn’t like the last one, we showed." Newcastle dominated the game, and the 2-0 scoreline flattered the visitors although in fairness they did play for over an hour with ten men. "The least that everyone deserves at this club is that everyone gives 100 per cent. I was disappointed. I told the players I wasn’t pleased with that situation. We will need fresh legs." A hamstring injury will keep Adama Diakhaby out while Isaac Mbenza (calf) and Danny Williams (knee) will not return until next month. “We have some small problems. We are hopeful Erik Durm (hip) is back, and Alex Pritchard can be available for tomorrow.”

No surprises from the Wolves camp as once again Nuno Espírito Santo confirms he has a full squad at his disposal. Their record this season has been phenomenal, and they could return the fewest number of reported injuries of any Premier League team over the last decade. Back-to-back draws have seen Wolves slip to eighth and Nuno could look to freshen his side with Adama Traoré, Ivan Cavaleiro, Roman Saïss and Morgan Gibbs-White all waiting patiently in the wings. Reuben Vinagre might come in for Matt Doherty if Nuno feels the Irishman needs a rest – only Conor Coady and Ryan Bennett have played more outfield minutes this season.


Leicester City – vs – Brighton and Hove Albion

Ben Chilwell will return to the squad on Tuesday night against Brighton. The full-back missed the home defeat to Palace with a minor knock. "Every other player came through the weekend without any knocks. Only Daniel Amartey and Marc Albrighton are still injured."

Chris Hughton confirms Leon Balogun (shoulder) is the only player not available through injury for the trip to Leicester. Florin Andone serves the final game of his three-match ban. Glenn Murray, Lewis Dunk, José Izquierdo and Davy Propper all return. "We have some decisions to make." Solly March (ankle) is also ready after training in the last few days. Jurgen Locadia only re-joined the group on Sunday and Hughton may not risk the Dutchman after he picked up an injury in the FA Cup fifth-round win over Derby.


Newcastle United – vs – Burnley

"Almost" everyone is fit said, Rafa Benitez. Jonjo Shelvey is training but lacks sharpness. "We're winning; we're playing well, so everyone's happy. I need to make a decision in terms of [the] squad, and 11 starters. It's a good problem for me." Only Ciaran Clark and Rob Elliot are injured.

Sean Dyche reports that Burnley have no fresh injury concerns following the 2-1 win over Tottenham on Saturday. Steven Defour will meet with a specialist this week to try and identify the underlying cause of his ongoing calf problem.


Arsenal – vs – AFC Bournemouth

Unai Emery believes Stefan Lichtsteiner and Alex Iwobi have a chance of making the game despite being forced off during the win over Southampton on Sunday. "Lichtsteiner has back pain but I think he can also be okay [while] I hope it's only [a] knock and not a more important injury [for Iwobi].” Ainsley Maitland-Niles has missed the last two through illness, but he is expected to be back in contention. Rob Holding, Danny Welbeck and Hector Bellerin are targeting a return in 2019/20.

Steve Cook (groin) is rated as a significant doubt although Eddie Howe hasn’t ruled the defender out just yet. "I don't think he's had a major injury; it's just an aggravation. We'll see how he settles down in the next few days." Jefferson Lerma picked up his tenth caution of the season following an incident involving Joao Moutinho which left the Portuguese star with missing teeth and a bloodied mouth. The accumulation of cards results in an automatic two-match ban. David Brooks and Callum Wilson are hoping to return by mid-March, but Lewis Cook and Simon Francis (both ACL knee) will miss the next six months at least. Junior Stanislas (hip flexor) failed a late test on Saturday but is pushing to be involved at the Emirates.


Southampton – vs – Fulham

Michael Obafemi’s return to action was short-lived after the striker suffered a recurrence of the hamstring injury which has hampered him for the previous two months. The 18-year-old lasted barely twenty minutes before being replaced, a setback which Ralph Hasenhüttl described as a “disaster” with Danny Ings also sidelined. There was no Shane Long in the Saints squad, and the reasoning behind his absence is yet to be determined. Mario Lemina is getting “better and better”, but Wednesday comes too soon - Stuart Armstrong is over his recent calf problem, although the Scotland international needs to build fitness.

Defeat on Friday at the London Stadium all but guarantees Fulham a swift return to the Championship. The Lilywhites started brightly enough, taking the lead through Ryan Babel, but a controversial equaliser from Javier Hernández shattered their fragile confidence, and they eventually lost 3-1. Harvard Nordtveit did okay on his full debut, but Lazar Markovic needs time, a commodity Fulham do not have in abundance. Markovic last played a competitive game in May 2018 and looked way off the pace having been introduced for Ryan Sessegnon who was desperately disappointing in only his third league start of the year. Andre Schurrle (illness) has a chance after missing out at West Ham, but Alfie Mawson (knee) has just started to run outside and could be another month at least.


Crystal Palace – vs – Manchester United

Mamadou Sakho has been struggling with a knee injury since picking up a knock against West Ham (GW26), and despite training in the build-up to Saturday, the centre-back was unable to complete 90 minutes and now rated as a major doubt. Scott Dann is the player most likely to come into the side with Martin Kelly also ruled out. Defensive problems are beginning to mount for Roy Hodgson with Aaron Wan-Bissaka (hamstring) and Pape Souaré (shoulder) unavailable. Wilfried Zaha will feel he has something to prove here and the winger is in fine fettle having scored for the third successive game (at Leicester) for the first time in his career.  

Despite several setbacks, United were well worth a share of the spoils in Sundays’ north-west derby. Ander Herrera, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard all fell victim to the dreaded hamstring injury during a bizarre opening 45 minutes which saw four players forced off. And on another day, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted that Marcus Rashford (ankle) would’ve been withdrawn after he was wiped out by England teammate Jordan Henderson. Given the quick turnaround between games, it’s difficult to see how any of the quartet can recover in time. Nemanja Matic (muscular) is another player expected to miss out after he was injured in training on the eve of the game. Supporters will be hoping for something positive on Marcos Rojo, Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian to help boost numbers – the trio should be close following a return to the training pitches.


Chelsea – vs – Tottenham Hotspur

It remains to be seen how much Sundays’ Carabao Cup final sapped out of the Blues after they took the Premier League champions to penalties. An incident in extra-time overshadowed the day with some suggesting that goalkeeper Kepa should be sacked. Bizarrely the Chelsea stopper refused to be substituted after Maurizio Sarri signalled for Willy Caballero to enter the fray. The Spaniard stood firm following a misunderstanding which led the Chelsea boss to believe Kepa was injured and unable to continue, something he hotly refuted. The situation only calmed after the medical team relayed a message to Sarri following a quick assessment. Despite the hoo-hah, Kepa stayed on for the shootout, and post-match Sarri was quick to play down the misunderstanding. Expect a few changes with Gonzalo Higuaín poised for a return. Callum Hudson-Odoi and Andreas Christensen will also feel a little aggrieved not to have played a more prominent role in the final and will be looking to make up for it in the league.  

The dream of a Premier League title is all but over for Tottenham after losing in the early kick-off at Turf Moor on Saturday. Mauricio Pochettino shuffled his pack ahead a busy schedule making four changes – Kieran Trippier and Davinson Sánchez were rested completely while Fernando Llorente made way, somewhat surprisingly, for Harry Kane who was thrown straight back in following a six-week lay-off. Eric Dier is recovering from a viral infection, and after missing most of the last two months following an appendectomy, the midfielder will need time to return to his peak fitness levels.  


Liverpool – vs – Watford

Roberto Firmino (ankle) left Old Trafford on crutches, and we await an official update from the club. "I don't know exactly [what the problem is],” revealed Jurgen Klopp post-match. “It is Bobby, so it will be quicker than with all the others, but first we have to know what it is exactly." The Reds do have plenty of attacking options and won’t be pushed into taking any risks with some important fixtures coming up. Daniel Sturridge was the benefactor on Sunday and striker could make his first league start since December. Andrew Robertson will have an arm injury assessed following a heavy collision with Romelu Lukaku. "It's a bit sore, so we'll see what happens tomorrow. I hope it's okay. We'll see what the results are." Trent Alexander-Arnold is back in contention, and he could replace James Milner at right-back, but Dejan Lovren, Joe Gomez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all expected to miss out.

Javi Gracia has close to a full complement of players to choose from ahead of the trip to Anfield. “In this moment we only have Kiko [Femenía] injured,” confirmed the Watford coach. “He is training with the team, but he is not fit. He needs more time to stay in the best condition - he’s the only player not available for the next game.” Sebastian Prodl, Christian Kabasele, Nathaniel Chalobah and Isaac Success cannot squeeze their way into the 18 given the depth and strength of the current squad.


Manchester City – vs – West Ham United

The Carabao Cup final win came at a slight cost after Fernandinho, and Aymeric Laporte both picked up muscular injuries which could potentially sideline them for weeks. While Vincent Kompany returns to offer a cover at centre-back, Pep will be concerned over the loss his holding midfielder with no obvious replacement. John Stones deputised in December and City suffered successive defeats at the hands of Crystal Palace and Leicester. No news on the availability of Gabriel Jesus and Benjamin Mendy, although they have been seen on the training pitches and shouldn’t be too far away.

Manuel Pellegrini expects to have a similar squad as Friday. Manuel Lanzini will be carefully managed following his long-awaited return from a severe knee injury. “He played 15 minutes (GW27) and did very well. The important thing is he is not afraid of playing or worried about his knee, so we will try to give him more minutes in every game." Fabián Balbuena and Winston Reid (both knee) have started to take part in aspects of first-team training… “which is good news for them", but neither is ready for Wednesday.