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Jack Wilshere
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Team News

Late Fitness Check GW35

by Ben Dinnery

The dream of an unprecedented quadruple is over for City who crashed out of the Champions League on Wednesday night at the hands of this weekends’ opponents. This will be the third meeting between the sides in ten days and City will be looking for revenge while keeping the pressure on Liverpool. Guardiola’s men are one of several sides involved in the double game week, and they know, with five fixtures remaining, that the title is still in their own hands.

At the opposite end of the table, Cardiff gave themselves a lifeline with a win at Brighton. However, the enormity of their survival task cannot be overstated. The Seagulls, on the other hand, have sleepwalked their way into choppy waters and arguably face the toughest run-in of the two. There may well be another twist along the way.

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Manchester City – vs – Tottenham Hotspur

The City players will be assessed after the Champions League tie midweek. "We will see how they are physically and mentally. I’ll decide tonight/tomorrow morning in terms of selection," Pep said during Fridays’ press conference. The game may come too early for Oleksandr Zinchenko who is still recovering from a hamstring problem. "He made part of the training, yes."

It looks like Erik Lamela (hamstring) may have suffered a setback. The club confirmed the Argentine was training ahead of the second leg tie on Tuesday, but he is now "undergoing assessment" along with Moussa Sissoko who has suffered a groin injury. He is expected to miss the early kick-off. "We need to assess him [on Friday]. We are not optimistic, but between today and tomorrow we will have a better idea of what’s going on with him." Harry Kane (ankle) has commenced his rehabilitation while Harry Winks (groin) continues his recovery. Eric Dier (hip flexor) and Vincent Janssen (ankle) are expected to re-join the first team in training on Good Friday.

 

AFC Bournemouth – vs – Fulham

The Cherries will be more/less the same as last weekend. "Steve Cook came through the Brighton game well and he has been able to get in a lot of fitness work. His return gave everyone a lift." None of those sidelined long-term will return this season – Lewis Cook, Andrew Surman, Charlie Daniels, Simon Francis and Diego Rico.  

"Timothy Fosu-Mensah is struggling a little bit with knee ligament troubles. He’ll be further assessed over the coming days,” Scott Parker said on Thursday. However, less than 24 hours later, the club announced that the defender has already been scheduled for surgery. “Other than that, it is the same players.” Marcus Bettinelli is progressing well. Alfie Mawson still needs a little bit of time - in terms of training - but he is edging closer and Floyd Ayité is working with the group. Lazar Markovic is struggling to recover from a calf injury and may not play again this season. André-Frank Zambo Anguissa picked up a knock against Everton, but there was no mention of a problem from the Fulham boss.

 

Huddersfield Town – vs – Watford

Isaac Mbenza has improved after missing out last weekend due to an illness. Karlan Grant hasn't trained much this week, but he did step up his work on Thursday. "He's had breathing problems. I will have to look at what is possible with him, so it is still a question mark." Laurent Depoitre (foot) is with the group “but we will take care of him. He isn’t an option this weekend.” Midfielder Philip Billing, who has not played since his substitute appearance at West Ham, is with the first-team squad and can be called upon if needed. Adama Diakhaby (hamstring) and Abdelhamid Sabiri look set to miss out again.

Gerard Deulofeu and Roberto Pereyra could come into the reckoning. “Both trained with the team and we’ll see. Maybe [they can play]. We have another training session, and we’ll decide. I’m optimistic both will be ready.” José Holebas remains out with the hamstring problem that forced him off in extra-time at Wembley. “In the next week or two weeks he will be ready for sure,” said Javi Gracia. Adalberto Peñaranda is still sidelined and Tom Cleverley will be back soon. “We are not sure when, but he will be available for some games [during the run-in].” Domingos Quina has dislocated his shoulder. “He won’t be ready this season.” Troy Deeney begins a three-match ban. “I saw the game again, and it didn’t change my opinion,” Gracia said on the skippers sending off. “It’s the same. For me, it’s not a red card, and the club appealed, but I think we’ve lost. We have to play the next games without Troy.” Isaac Success could return to the side after recovering from a knee injury.

 

 

West Ham United – vs – Leicester City

Manuel Lanzini (groin) and Samir Nasri (calf) will not be available due to injury. "Also, Javier Hernández has a problem with his ear which means he couldn't work these last two days." Manuel Pellegrini is hopeful that Wilshere can play again before the end of the season. "We’ll see how he feels. This week or next week. The return for Jack will be a good injection for the team." Carlos Sánchez (knee) is also training with the squad, and Marko Arnautovic (illness) is working as normal. No mention of Aaron Cresswell, who missed the loss to Manchester United because of a minor knee problem, but the full-back is believed to be a doubt. Arthur Masuaku should retain his place following a solid performance at Old Trafford. Andriy Yarmolenko, Andy Carroll and Winston Reid are targeting a 2019/20 return.

Brendan Rodgers' says the squad is fine. "Everyone had a good week of training. We’re all as we should be." Marc Albrighton continues to build fitness following his return - ahead of schedule - from surgery on his hamstring in February. "I don’t think Marc is ready for 90 minutes. It'll be whether he starts and plays 60/65 minutes or comes [on] from the bench. He’s been very good in training, and it’s great to have him back."

 

Wolverhampton Wanderers – vs – Brighton and Hove Albion

Nuno Espírito Santo spoke after this weeks' warm-weather training camp in Spain: “Everybody’s fit and well. We had a good week off, preparing [for] the game [while] spending some social time together. It was good.”

"We have no new injury concerns ahead of the weekend," confirms Chris Hughton. Anthony Knockaert will serve the remaining games of his current ban against Wolves and Tottenham. Pascal Gross (hamstring) and Solly March (calf) came through Tuesday nights' game versus Cardiff without any problems.

 

Newcastle United – vs – Southampton

Rafa Benitez says Florian Lejeune has undergone reconstructive knee surgery in Rome. "[The doctor] said everything had gone well – as we were expecting. In a couple of months, we will see how he’s progressing and how long it will take – we have to give him time.” Sean Longstaff (knee) is also well on the road to recovery. "He is walking around and getting stronger. Other than him and Lejeune, the rest of the squad are fine.”

Ralph Hasenhüttl says Jannik Vestergaard is a doubt for the game at St James' Park on Saturday. The defender has been struggling in recent weeks due to a groin problem. "After intense games, he has little problems and needs a little bit longer for recovery. At the moment he is struggling, but let’s have a look and see if it’s possible at the weekend." Yan Valery has trained as normal following his withdrawal - due to cramp - during the win over Wolves. Mario Lemina (abdominal) is working with the group again, although the midfielder has not featured for the first-team this year. "He made a big step forward in the week,” revealed the Saints boss. “He’s trained with the team and looks much better now. We know we have an intense week with three games, so it will be nice if we have one more option in this position." Alex McCarthy, Matt Targett and Charlie Austin are all managing "little problems", but the trio could still be involved. Michael Obafemi is training alone as he continues his recovery from a serious hamstring injury.

 

Everton – vs – Manchester United

Marco Silva confirms Yerry Mina (hamstring) is the only injury concern ahead of the game. “He's doing individual work, possibly next week he will start full training with us." André Gomes begins a three-match ban after his violent conduct charge was proven by an independent FA panel.

"The squad is looking good and getting better, and better,” Ole Gunnar Solksjaer told reporters. “Ander [Herrera] is back in training - he’s been working really hard.” Eric Bailly could return in game week thirty-six; there is no timeline for Antonio Valencia. Ashley Young is available after serving his suspension, but Luke Shaw is banned.  No fresh injury concerns from the defeat to Barcelona. “We’ll have 20 training this morning, plus the goalkeepers, which is not bad. Nemanja [Matic] and Alexis [Sanchez] had a good session yesterday as well, so they will probably be involved."

 

Arsenal – vs – Crystal Palace

Sokratis serves the second game of his two-match ban. Aaron Ramsey (hamstring) has been ruled out of Sundays' clash with Palace after limping off midway through the first half in Naples. Granit Xhaka (hip) and Denis Suarez (groin) face a late fitness test. Shkodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny could be the central pairing after Mavropanos looked shaky in his first league start of the season at Vicarage Road.  

Jeffrey Schlupp has been ruled out for the remainder of 2018/19 after scans confirmed the severity of the injury which forced him off last weekend. "He won't play again this season; the ankle injury is such that it will take the three or so weeks we have left [to heal]." With Mamadou Sakho and James Tomkins also sidelined, Roy Hodgson may be forced into a slight tactical switch which would see Joel Ward recalled in a 3-5-2. Christian Benteke is expected to get the nod ahead of Michy Batshuayi.  

 

Cardiff City – vs – Liverpool

Harry Arter will miss the game on Sunday. “He’s touch and go for Fulham,” revealed Neil Warnock. “That’s what the physio told me." AAron Gunnarsson had a back spasm at Brighton "but I think that’s just old age.” Sol Bamba, Callum Paterson and Matthew Connolly have been ruled out. Jazz Richards continues to build fitness with the U23s following his recovery from the hamstring problem which has blighted his progress throughout the campaign.

Gomez is edging closer to his first Premier League start of the year after coming off the bench in Portugal. "Joe looks good. We will see." Jurgen Klopp maintains his side are not tired as they continue to fight on two fronts. Dejan Lovren (illness) missed out midweek. "We will see [on his availability]." Adam Lallana can be called upon if required after travelling to Porto. The midfielder was not included in the 18 after recovering from a muscular issue. "All the rest should be available."

 

Chelsea – vs – Burnley

Eden Hazard is expected to overcome the “strong knock” which forced him off during the Europa League tie with Slavia Prague. Marcos Alonso (buttock) will be assessed, but if he fails to recover, Emerson will continue at left-back. Tests on Antonio Rudiger confirm his knee injury is not as bad as first thought, and he is hoping to face Manchester United (GW36). Andreas Christensen is likely to partner David Luiz with forgotten man Gary Cahill providing cover from the bench.

Phil Bardsley (thigh laceration) remains a doubt which means Matt Lowton looks set to deputise for the third game in a row. The Clarets go to Chelsea in search of their fourth successive win. Peter Crouch (appendectomy) has returned to 'light training' but won't be considered for selection just yet. "He is back on the move but not quite there. He is literally taking his first strides, loosely, on the training ground, but not with us, more with the sports science team." Steven Defour is out. “He’s not going to be right for this season, but he’s making very good progress,” said Dyche. “He’s in a good place with it all. It’s not easy. It’s been a work in progress this season to try and get everything back in order. But he’s in good spirits.”