Late Fitness Check: Gameweek 6

·11 min read

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After a week of domestic cup action, we're back on Premier League duty with several sides feeling the injury pinch, having lost key players over the last seven days. And with decisions being left until the last moment, make sure you keep following to pick up any last-minute updates.

Arsenal

Mikel Arteta confirms the withdrawal of Thomas Partey on the hour mark midweek was planned due to his load (minutes) since returning from injury. The Gunners treatment room is looking pretty sparse after Mo Elneny was cleared to resume duties. Kieran Tierney was rested on Wednesday, and Granit Xhaka is back after testing positive for COVID-19 and completing a three-match suspension.

Aston Villa

A thigh strain will keep Leon Bailey out until mid-October in the first instance, although Dean Smith is hopeful that the winger responds well to treatment over the next 7-10 days giving him a chance to face Wolves after the break. Morgan Sanson also faces another spell out after limping off with a hamstring injury in the Carabao Cup. Kortney Hause could come into the Villa backline as Axel Tuanzebe cannot line up against his parent club due to the terms of his loan agreement. There was no update offered for Matty Targett, who is struggling with an abductor issue. If the left-back fails to recover, then Ashley Young is likely to deputise.

Brentford

Thomas Frank confirms the Bees have no fresh injury concerns. "Everyone is fit and available," other than long-termers Mads Sorensen and Joshua Dasilva. The Brentford boss revealed there would be "ten of the starters" from the win at Molineux. "I need to find the last one." It's unclear precisely who the odd one out will be, but Shandon Baptiste served his ban in the cup following his dismissal for two cautionable offences, and Rico Henry has recovered from a minor ankle issue. Marcus Forss scored four midweek (versus Oldham), but the striker sits behind Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbeumo in the pecking order.

Brighton and Hove Albion

Tariq Lamptey made his first appearance in almost ten months, but Graham Potter insists the player will be managed very carefully given his recent injury problems. Alexis Mac Allister and Yves Bissouma hope to rejoin the group in training over the weekend, and with the Seagulls not playing until Monday, the additional recovery days will help. Dan Burn was involved against Swansea after recovering from a knee ligament strain, and Enock Mwepu is doubtful after complaining of a groin issue. Two goals in the cup have done Aaron Connolly's chances of a start no harm.

Burnley

Wayne Hennessey missed the cup win over Rochdale after injuring his ankle while practising penalties. However, he is progressing, and Sean Dyche has not ruled out the possibility of the back-up goalkeeper returning to the bench at Leicester. Josh Brownhill (dead leg) rejoined the group outside on Thursday, but Connor Roberts will be a little longer after suffering a slight setback as he recovers from groin surgery. Kevin Long is edging closer, although he won't be considered yet, and Dale Stephens remains a long-term casualty. Jay Rodríguez scored all four goals midweek, and with the Clarets struggling to find the back of the net - only three goals in five games - the 32-year-old could be set for his first league start since the opening weekend.

Chelsea

Edouard Mendy is fit, and Thomas Tuchel confirms the goalkeeper will start in the early kick-off. However, the Blues will be without Mason Mount, who picked up a "minor injury" on Wednesday. "The steps he is taking are huge, and maybe if the game was one day later. Then he could have played." Christian Pulisic (ankle) is also out of the game as his recovery is taking longer than expected.

Crystal Palace

Nathan Ferguson and Eberechi Eze will be out for a while yet, but the Eagles have Jeffrey Schlupp in contention after recovering from a hamstring issue. Despite a heavy loss at Anfield, Palace performed well and were outdone by three set-piece goals, much to the annoyance of Patrick Vieira. I wouldn't expect a great deal of change, but Odsonne Edouard is one player pushing for a start after making an impact from the bench in recent matches.

Everton

Problems in attack have forced Rafa's hand. Salomon Rondon is tasked with leading the frontline much earlier than anticipated, having played very little competitive football over the previous four months. With Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin both sidelined and James Rodriguez confirming his departure to Qatar, the Toffees look slightly stretched offensively. Demarai Gray could adopt a more central role with Alex Iwobi on the wing. Jordan Pickford is fit, meaning Asmir Begovic drops to the bench. Mason Holgate and Ben Godfrey will compete for right-back with Seamus Coleman missing. Lucas Digne (calf) is fine, but Everton will be without Jean-Philippe Gbamin, André Gomes, and Fabian Delph

Leeds United

Patrick Bamford (ankle) hasn't recovered as hoped, and the striker is set to miss his first Premier League fixture since Leeds were promoted. Fortunately, the problem shouldn't keep him out for too long, and Rodrigo will get his chance to lead the attack. Marcelo Bielsa confirms Diego Llorente and Robin Koch remain out, but the availability of Raphinha and Luke Ayling depends on the evolution of their injuries as we approach game day. Pascal Struijk serves the final game of his ban, but Jack Harrison can be called upon if required post-COVID under the protocol, although Bielsa wasn't giving anything away.

Leicester City

On Wednesday, Jonny Evans was back for the Foxes, but an injury disrupted five months means Brendan Rodgers will make a late call on whether he feels his centre-back can start games in quick succession. Realistically though, he is likely to be named on the bench with Çaglar Soyuncu and Jannik Vestergaard starting. James Justin and Wesley Fofana are the only expected injury absentees, with the former due back around November.

Liverpool

Trent Alexander-Arnold is back in contention after missing the last two games because of illness, and it looks like James Milner will return after suffering a similar bout that kept him out midweek. Roberto Firmino has been training for the last 2-3 days, and a call on whether he travels to Brentford will be made after the final session. If Jurgen Klopp decides against it, then the Brazilian will return in the Champions League. Neco Williams (foot) integrated with the group for the first time, but ThIago (calf) has no chance, and it could be after the break before the Spaniard is back. Harvey Elliott is hoping to return this season after successfully undergoing surgery following a fracture-dislocation of his ankle.

Manchester City

Aymeric Laporte and John Stones have been pictured on the training pitches, but Pep was giving nothing away. "Some of them came back a little bit in training, and tomorrow we will decide if they are ready to play or not," he told reporters. "Not all of them [are in contention]. Some of them come back to training today, but we need to see how they react, and tomorrow we will see." Rodri and Oleksandr Zinchenko are among those who need to be assessed, while the fitness of Ilkay Gundogan is also in question.

Manchester United

Solskjaer made eleven changes in the Carabao Cup, with Dean Henderson and Alex Telles afforded valuable minutes after their recent layoffs. Eric Bailly and Juan Mata also appeared while Phil Jones was named in the squad for the first time since January 2020. Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood were introduced off the bench to try and restore parity after Manuel Lanzini had given the visitors an early lead. Cristiano Ronaldo was rested completely while the game was deemed too soon for Edinson Cavani, although he is in the mix for this one. Marcus Rashford is eyeing a return against Liverpool in the north-west derby next month.

Newcastle United

Steve Bruce confirms a double injury blow ahead of the trip to Vicarage Road: "We've got a couple of problems. Joe Willock picked up an injury in training, and Jamaal Lascelles hurt his thigh against Leeds, so they, unfortunately, go on to the injury list, which makes it five or six we've got out." Willock has an outside chance of returning next weekend, but Lascelles, along with Callum Wilson and Jonjo Shelvey, won't be back until after the international break. "Maybe next week is a bit too early, so that break up until the Tottenham game will be needed." Martin Dúbravka has returned to the training pitches, but it will be a while before he is considered. "To be without him at the start when we didn't see it coming was difficult. It's good to see him back on the grass. We've just got to be patient and see where he's up to, but he's just started training, so it'll be a couple of weeks away at least." There was no word on Freddie Woodman, who missed the Leeds game.

Norwich City

Joshua Sargent and Mathias Normann, adductor and knee, will return to the squad after missing out midweek. Daniel Farke is also hopeful that Milot Rashica can recover from a minor issue picked up against Liverpool. Todd Cantwell will again miss out due to personal reasons, and Przemyslaw Placheta continues to suffer the after-effects of long-COVID, although he could train from next week. Christoph Zimmermann (ankle) is no closer, and Sam Byram (hamstring) hasn't featured since the Canaries were last in the Premier League 19 months ago.

Southampton

Jack Stephens may not play again this year after he suffered a serious knee injury during the 0-0 draw at Manchester City. The centre-back could be missing for around three months which means Jan Bednarek is likely to return to the Saints backline. Stuart Armstrong (calf) is probably another week away, and Will Smallbone will not be considered this side of the international break after recovering from a ruptured ACL. Theo Walcott is taking part in aspects of training, and the best he can hope for is a place on the bench.

Tottenham Hotspur

Nuno didn't sound optimistic when asked if Steven Bergwijn would recover from the ankle injury that forced him off in Rennes ten days ago. "I think I explained the injury he has is very painful, so he has to settle down. He's not totally stopped. He's doing some fitness, some upper body. For now, he's not available." Ryan Sessegnon is also struggling to shake off a knock, but Lucas Moura has returned ahead of the derby. Japhet Tanganga returns, but whether he is included in the XI remains to be seen with summer signing Emerson looking to establish himself at right-back. Competition is also fierce at centre-back with Davinson Sánchez, Cristian Romero, and Eric Dier all fit.

Watford

Daniel Bachmann is nursing a niggling knee issue which could see Ben Foster start in goal. The goalkeeper was benched at Carrow Road and has spent this week taking part in modified sessions. Xisco Munoz could welcome Joao Pedro into the squad for the first time this season, and Kiko Femenía has been cleared after being rested midweek. The full-back spent most of his summer building fitness after going under the knife before returning to the side in game week five.

West Ham United

Michail Antonio will return to the matchday squad after his enforced rest following his dismissal at Brighton. The striker served a one-match ban and was omitted from the group on Wednesday with one eye on this weekends' game. Ryan Fredericks is the only reported injury concern. However, it won't impact David Moyes' side too much as the full-back has not featured since his two-minute cameo on the opening weekend. Winston Reid departs after 11-years at the club.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

After last weekends' hugely disappointing home defeat to Brentford, Wolves were much improved midweek, although ultimately, their night still ended on a sour note after a penalty shootout loss to Tottenham. Bruno Lage made a host of changes for the cup tie, and Daniel Podence rewarded his managers' faith with a goal to stake his claim for a Premier League start. Yerson Mosquera could miss up to two months after suffering a recurrence of the hamstring injury that has hampered his Wolves career, and Ait Nouri must sit this one out because of the concussion protocol rules.