Late Fitness Check | Gameweek Fourteen

·8 min read

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We have our first-midweek slate, but definitive team news is a little scarce, with press conferences from only a handful of managers so far. However, keep following throughout as I will be adding the latest news right up until the FPL deadline.

Arsenal

Granit Xhaka is slightly ahead of schedule, and the Swiss international is targeting a return to full training in December. It will be the new year before Sead Kolasinac is back in action following an ankle injury. Gabriel Martinelli could replace Bukayo Saka, who was forced off on Saturday with a muscular problem. The Gunners don't play again until Thursday, and Mikel Arteta is likely to leave any decision until nearer kick-off.

Aston Villa

Danny Ings and Emiliano Buendia were dropped from the XI at Selhurst Park, and following another three-points, new boss Steven Gerrard may be tempted to stick with the same side. If he does, then Douglas Luiz will have to settle for a place on the bench. Trezeguet will return for the Under-23s next month, while Bertrand Traoré is still "some weeks away" following a setback in training.

Brentford

Sergi Canós, Christian Norgaard and Rico Henry all picked up knocks during the win over Everton. However, manager Thomas Frank believes all three players should recover in time to face Tottenham. Mathias' Zanka' Jorgensen should also be close; otherwise, the Bees treatment room remains the same.

Brighton and Hove Albion

Steven Alzate and Danny Welbeck are hoping to re-join the group in training within a few weeks. Graham Potter confirms the absence of Aaron Connolly in recent games is not injury-related. "He's 21-years-old. These players are still learning, and they're not the finished article." Shane Duffy and Adam Lallana will be pushing for a recall after dropping out of the side on Saturday.

Burnley

The Clarets game on Sunday was called off due to adverse weather conditions, which means James Tarkowski and Ashley Westwood will not return until GW15 after collecting their fifth cautions of the campaign. Nathan Collins and Jack Cork are the players expected to come into the side, while Dale Stephens could also be named in the matchday squad for the first time this season. Ashley Barnes is expected to be out for a few weeks following a thigh strain.

Chelsea

The game could come too soon for N'Golo Kanté (knee), and with Mateo Kovacic still out, Ruben Loftus-Cheek looks set to start back-to-back games. Romelu Lukaku should build on Sundays' minutes, but again, this will probably be from the bench with Kai Havertz competing with Timo Werner for a start. Veteran centre-back Thiago Silva may not be risked with such a quick turnaround, meaning Andreas Christensen and César Azpilicueta are vying for a place in the heart of the defence.

Late News: Jorginho, Reece James and Timo Werner did train on Tuesday, but Thomas Tuchel admits a late decision will be made on their involvement. "We have a tight communication with the medical and fitness department and we tried to predict the load, look at who is overloaded and underloaded, and from there we see what we will need in the next game."

Crystal Palace

James Tomkins could continue to deputise for Joachim Andersen (hamstring) with the Danish defender sidelined in the short term. Cheikhou Kouyaté is another option if Patrick Vieira prefers the midfielder to play a little deeper, a role he played regularly under former boss Roy Hodgson. Eberechi Eze played his first minutes of the season on Saturday, having been sidelined since May.

Everton

Richarlison will return for the Toffees after serving a one-match ban - the Brazilian picked up his fifth caution during the three-nil loss to Manchester City (GW12). Everton are winless in seven, although Rafa Benitez will point to an extensive injury list as the main reason they have dropped off so badly following a good start to the campaign. Demarai Gray returned quicker than expected, but we may have to wait until this weekend before Yerry Mina is in contention. Tom Davies, André Gomes and Dominic Calvert-Lewin remain out.

Leeds United

Luke Ayling and Patrick Bamford played for the Under-23s on Monday, suggesting that neither player is far from a first-team comeback. And following the return of Rodrigo, Raphinha and Jamie Shackleton at Brighton, only Robin Koch is injured.

Leicester City

Youri Tielemans is back on the training pitches, but Brendan Rodgers reveals this weekend is more realistic for the Belgium international. Ricardo Pereira should follow soon after, with James Justin (ACL knee) and Wesley Fofana (ankle) out of contention for the moment.

Liverpool

The injury situation has improved dramatically over the past 7-10 days giving Jurgen Klopp plenty of options ahead of the Merseyside derby. However, I'm not expecting much change. Joel Matip is vying with Ibrahima Konaté to play alongside Virgil Van Dijk, but the remainder of the places look to be locked in. Curtis Jones, Naby Keita, Roberto Firmino and Joe Gomez should all return next month.

Manchester City

Jack Grealish and Phil Foden trained individually in the build-up to GW13, but if either player can re-join the group, then Pep Guardiola will have a decision to make. Kevin De Bruyne could return to the camp this week, but his enforced COVID absence will have left him short of fitness, and I can't see him being included on Wednesday. John Stones is expected to replace the suspended Aymeric Laporte.

Late News: Phil Foden and Jack Grealish re-joined the group on Monday. "Maybe they can play tomorrow, but maybe not a lot of minutes. The doctor will see." Kevin De Bruyne has submitted a negative COVID test but he hasn't trained yet.

Manchester United

Harry Maguire is back after his ban, and Eric Bailly is expected to make way with Victor Lindelof retaining his place. There are still doubts over the fitness of Luke Shaw, which means Alex Telles could start at left-back again. Edinson Cavani and Raphael Varane are close, but they could miss out, although we may not find out before the FPL deadline with United playing on Thursday. Paul Pogba won’t play again this year.

Newcastle United

Matt Ritchie and Jamaal Lascelles are unavailable after receiving their fifth cautions of the season at Arsenal. That will prompt a reshuffle with Eddie Howe likely to revert to a 3-4-3 with Ciaran Clark and Jacob Murphy coming into the side. Dwight Gayle has a chance of making the squad, while Paul Dummett is training individually as he recovers from a persistent calf complaint.

Norwich City

Mathias Normann will meet with a specialist to help remedy a problematic pelvic issue that has been hampering him for some time. The Norwegian midfielder was forced off after 35 minutes on Saturday, and manager Dean Smith is hopeful that it is "not a long one" given his importance to the team. Lukas Rupp could deputise after impressing from the bench. Christoph Zimmermann (ankle surgery) is off crutches and will progress to the next phase of his recovery.

Southampton

Mohamed Elyounoussi and Moussa Djenepo missed the heavy defeat at Anfield due to personal reasons, but Ralph Hasenhüttl confirms that both players are in contention. After a late training ground ankle injury stopped him from playing any part on Saturday, Ibrahima Diallo will also come into the managers' thoughts. Stuart Armstrong (calf) is ruled out, while Jack Stephens has only just returned to full training, and his availability cannot be guaranteed.

Tottenham Hotspur

Antonio Conte is still waiting to learn the extent of Cristian Romero's hamstring injury, and the Argentine will have a second scan this week. Giovani Lo Celso and Dane Scarlett are expected to miss out. Spurs should be unchanged from the side that was named at Turf Moor on Sunday before the snowy conditions called a halt to proceedings less than an hour before kick-off.

Watford

Claudio Ranieri is trying to manage an ever-growing injury list with up to ten players at risk of missing the game with London-rivals Chelsea. Emmanuel Dennis (ankle) and Adam Masina (knock) are the latest casualties, and with such a quick turnaround, there are doubts whether either player can recover. Peter Etebo or Kwadwo Baah won't feature again this year, but Juraj Kucka, Francisco Sierralta and Ken Sema should be close. Ben Foster is managing a persistent hip issue which means Daniel Bachmann is poised to start in consecutive league games. However, we still don't have a definitive update for Nicolas N'Koulou and Ismaila Sarr, hamstring and knee, and their availability cannot be counted on at this time.

West Ham United

Aaron Cresswell collided with a goal post on Sunday, which caused his back to go into a spasm. However, the problem is not thought to be serious, and David Moyes is expecting the full-back to be fine. The decision to bench Jarrod Bowen at The Etihad for Arthur Masuaku was tactical, and Manuel Lanzini impressed from the bench to give the manager food for thought. Angelo Ogbonna is out long-term.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Bruno Lage will be forced into at least one change after Rúben Neves picked up his fifth booking of the season. Leander Dendoncker looks to be his obvious replacement. Wolves struggled to break down Norwich on Saturday, and Adama Traoré could be brought in to replace Trincao with Daniel Podence (COVID-19) self-isolating.