Late Fitness Check GW3

Ben Dinnery

Another Friday night game means a shift in the FPL deadline, so don’t get caught out!

Aston Villa entertain Everton at Villa Park in the hope of putting their first points on the board. Dean Smith’s men ran out of steam after 70 minutes in week one while Bournemouth punished two mistakes last Saturday to take the win. Marco Silva will see this as a game Everton must win if they have real aspirations of breaking into the Top Six.  

Ten press conferences down with the rest still to come. The Cherries get us underway early doors before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer provides the latest from Old Trafford. Updates will be added to our Player News page while any last-minute injuries can be found on the Rotoworld Premier League Injury Report. Remember to keep checking throughout the day.

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Aston Villa – vs – Everton

Jonathan Kodjia (ankle) and James Chester (hamstring) remain out for Villa, but Kortney Hause could be available for Friday nights' encounter with Everton following a return to full training. "Kodj is jogging now, but this game will be too early for him [and] James hasn’t been on the training field yet." Douglas Luiz will be hoping to start his second game in succession following a stunning goal in the 1-2 defeat to Bournemouth.

Lucas Digne is available after complaining of a slight (fatigue-related) hamstring issue last weekend. The left-back has trained normally, along with Leighton Baines who is also in contention for the first time since mid-July. Friday will come too soon for Fabian Delph as he is struggling to overcome a groin problem. Morgan Schneiderlin is available after his ban, and Marco Silva will decide whether to hand him a recall or continue with Jean-Philippe Gbamin alongside André Gomes. Summer recruits Alex Iwobi, and Moise Kean are knocking on the door after stepping up their fitness in recent weeks.


Norwich City – vs – Chelsea

Daniel Farke could stick with the same side which comfortably beat Newcastle after Jamal Lewis’ withdrawal was only “a touch of cramp" caused by over-stretching; the left-back will be fine. That would mean Alex Tettey, who is over his recent calf issue, will be resigned to a place on the bench. Good news for Onel Hernández this week after tests confirmed he did NOT suffer any damage to his anterior cruciate ligament in a freak accident at home; however, he will need three months to recover from surgery to repair a meniscal tear. Timm Klose (hip flexor) should return to the matchday squad while Ibrahim Amadou continues to build fitness after joining the club in July. Otherwise, there are no changes in the treatment room – Josip Drmic and Christoph Zimmermann remain out.

Antonio Rüdiger played 90 minutes for the under-23s against Liverpool on Monday evening, but even though the centre-back insists he is ready for the step-up, Frank Lampard may prefer to stick with Andreas Christensen and Kurt Zouma until his fitness levels have improved. Michy Batshuayi sent a timely reminder that he could still have a part to play, and his two goals in the development sides 3-0 win, offer another option with Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud yet to score in the league. Callum Hudson-Odoi is hoping to feature before the international break following a return to full training, but again, after missing the last four months with a ruptured Achilles, Chelsea could err on the side of caution and keep him until game week five.


Brighton and Hove Albion – vs – Southampton

Leandro Trossard came in for his Premier League debut last weekend, and it was a change that paid off immediately after the Belgian opened his account in a 1-1 draw. VAR also ruled out a first-half strike when teammate Dan Burn was caught offside during the build-up. “He linked the game well,” manager Graham Potter said. “He did what we asked him to do. He got in the box for two goals – one disallowed – and had another good chance as well. It was a good, solid debut for him, and, like the team, he’ll get better over time.” José Izquierdo (knee), Yves Bissouma (shoulder) and Ezequiel Schelotto (ACL) remain on the sidelines.

Ralph Hasenhüttl reports that his squad have a clean bill of health after Alex McCarthy re-joined the team in training. “At the moment, we don’t have any injuries. Alex had a little problem last week, but now he is fit again. We have a lot of options for a few positions.”


Manchester United – vs – Crystal Palace

Alexis Sánchez is closing in on a return to full fitness, but by the time you read this, the Chilean star could be on his way to join former teammate Romelu Lukaku at Inter Milan. Elsewhere, Eric Bailly and Fosu-Mensah are recovering from long-term knee problems while Mateo Darmian and Chris Smalling seem to be frozen out of the first-team picture altogether. A point at Molineux (GW3) was a fair result, but it could, and possibly should have been three with Paul Pogba missing a crucial penalty. Spot kick responsibilities will now fall to Marcus Rashford going forward. Anthony Martial scored his 50th goal for the club on Monday, and the Frenchman has enjoyed an excellent start to the season.   

James Tomkins and Mamadou Sakho are "both getting closer", but Roy Hodgson is reluctant to put a timeline on their return. No other injury concerns after Jeffrey Schlupp made his comeback in the loss at Bramall Lane on Sunday. The Palace boss remains tight-lipped over Cahill making an appearance on Saturday. “Any place is a good place to give an experienced player like Gary a debut, but I'm not looking to divulge any team news at this stage."


Sheffield United – vs – Leicester City

United got their first win on the board despite having to contend with two injuries in a hard-fought win over Crystal Palace. Fortunately, neither player appears to be too bad following an initial assessment. Chris Wilder confirmed John Fleck “got a whack on his hamstring”, and he faces a late fitness test while Callum Robinson calmed fears by insisting he will be ready for the visit of Leicester. “It was just fatigue; I'll be absolutely fine,” he said. “I felt a bit of tightness with the hamstring and around my hips. It was all down to the extra running and work I was doing. I'll definitely be back for the next game." Oli McBurnie impressed from the bench, and if there are any issues, then the former Swansea attacker will come in. Ravel Morrison may not be involved on Saturday, but he is set to feature in the Carabao Cup midweek. “There’s competition to get onto the bench. Rav has a big part to play. He’s ready, like the others. There’s obviously a cup game to go at (vs Blackburn), and we will utilise all the squad in that game.”

Brendan Rodgers announced that he had a clean bill of health on the eve of the trip to Stamford Bridge in week two. “We’ve got no injury worries. Everyone is fit and has been training very well.” However, he failed to mention that Ben Chilwell had a pain-killing injection for a hip injury ruling him out which meant Christian Fuchs was called upon at Chelsea. But, despite Rodgers’ confidence of a return earlier in the week, it now appears that the left-back could miss out again. "We'll see if he's ready for the weekend. but it's likely he'll be ready for next week (vs Bournemouth)." If that is the case, then Fuchs will deputise once more. “He was outstanding. He got the reward for how he’s been training. He’s a really, really valuable member of our squad. He gives 100 per cent every single day, and that prepares him for any game."


Watford – vs – West Ham United

The Hornets confirm Troy Deeney will be sidelined for "several weeks" following a minor knee operation. “We will miss [him] because he is a very important player for us [and] I am looking forward to seeing him back as soon as possible,” Javi Gracia told the clubs’ website. Given the skippers' absence, Danny Welbeck and Ismaïla Sarr could feature against West Ham. “Both are training with the team. Both are not in the best condition but most important in this moment is that they can help us. I'm sure they cannot play all the minutes, but they can help us in the next performance.” The involvement of Sarr may be determined by the availability of Roberto Pereyra (thigh) and Abdoulaye Doucouré (ankle) who is also struggling with injury. “They are not training, and we'll see in the next days if some of them can be available or not. In this moment they are doubtful.”

Manuel Pellegrini wasn’t happy with his side in the opener and made five changes for the trip to Brighton seven days later. A couple of those were enforced, but with Felipe Anderson and Sébastien Haller returning to the fold, plus captain Mark Noble, the Hammers boss will have several options to consider. One of those will be whether Jack Wilshere - who admits he is still not up to speed - continues in a midfield three alongside Manuel Lanzini and Declan Rice. The 27-year-old is yet to complete 60 minutes in either of his first two games this season. Winston Reid is the only known injury absentee.


Liverpool – vs – Arsenal

Jurgen Klopp made four changes from the opening weekend following Liverpool’s success in the Super Cup, and the Reds were a little fortuitous to leave St Mary’s with the win after Danny Ings flashed his shot wide from six yards when it looked harder to miss. The Joel Matip, Joe Gomez and Alexander-Arnold conundrum is one that could linger on when the Champions League kicks off again. Of those benched last weekend, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho stand the best chance of a recall while Adrián looks to be over the ankle injury which threatened his involvement and could’ve handed Andrew Lonergan his debut at 35.

Grant Xhaka has recovered from bruising to his lower back and legs which ruled him out of the win over Burnley. Mesut Ozil is also available after illness disrupted his training in the build-up to week two. Rob Holding is working with the under-23s and won’t be considered for the first team just yet, Emile Smith Rowe (groin) will follow a similar recovery path. David Luiz and Dani Ceballos came in at the expense of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Calum Chambers to face the Clarets, and the pair produced an assured display. In particular, the Real Madrid loanee impressed and deservedly took the plaudits for his man-of-the-match performance.


AFC Bournemouth – vs – Manchester City

Lewis Cook is back on the south coast after working in America with a specialist as he continues his recovery from an ACL rupture, although there is still no timescale on his return having been sidelined since December. Expect an update on Arnaut Danjuma (foot) as part of Fridays’ press conference, and there could also be some news on Lloyd Kelly (ankle) who “won’t be too long hopefully.” Dan Gosling, David Brooks, Junior Stanislas and Simon Francis are working their way back from long-term injuries.

Oleksandr Zinchenko will be available despite concerns that he had suffered a muscular strain during the 2-2 draw with Tottenham. “It was just a cramp. Everything is okay," he told CityTV post-match. With Benjamin Mendy working his way back to full fitness, Angelino will provide cover during the interim after Pep activated a buy-back clause which saw the 22-year-old return from PSV in July. John Stones is struggling due to a thigh (rectus femoris) strain, but if he does miss the game, then the England international won’t be out for long. Pep confirmed that the centre-back would be out for between “a week to ten days.” Nicolás Otamendi is likely to play alongside Aymeric Laporte.


Tottenham Hotspur – vs – Newcastle United

Lucas Moura was a little unfortunate to lose his place at the Etihad, but the Brazilian provided the perfect response to being dropped by scoring just 19 seconds after his introduction. His performance should warrant a return to the XI, but the difficulty will be trying to pick out the player most likely to make way. It could be Moussa Sissoko with Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela playing in a three behind Harry Kane. Heung-Min Son is back after his ban, and Dele Alli (hamstring) should be close, but given Pochettino’s attacking options, there is no need to take any unnecessary risks. Ben Davies will pressure Danny Rose for the left-back spot while on the opposite flank Serge Aurier will pressure Walker-Peters. Juan Foyth (ankle) and Ryan Sessegnon (hamstring) remain out.

After last weekends’ performance at Carrow Road, manager Steve Bruce cancelled the squads’ day off and called everyone in on Sunday morning. The loss was terrible, but the manner of the defeat was unforgivable, and the players need to bounce back; otherwise, they could find themselves rooted to the bottom of the table. Initial reports on Joelinton (hip) – scan and an x-ray – suggested he could be out for a while, but they came back clear, and he should recover from a heavy knock. Another summer signing, Allan Saint-Maximin, could also recover from the hamstring problem that kept him out of the Norwich game. The rest – Christian Atsu, Andy Carroll, Florian Lejeune, Dwight Gayle and DeAndre Yedlin – are at least a month away from a return to play. 


Wolverhampton Wanderers – vs – Burnley

Wolves only made four changes for the trip to Torino in the Europa League midweek, one of which was enforced as Matt Doherty (illness) missed out. The Irishman is expected to recover, but if he doesn’t, then Adama Traoré will happily fill in after he helped change the game on Monday following his introduction versus United. “He helped the team. [Doherty] was struggling in the first half [with illness] and he helped the team, it’s about the squad, trying to manage the options you have. Sometimes they react better than you expect, we trust him, and he did a fantastic job.” Otto, Rúben Neves and Ryan Bennett should all be feeling fresh after Nuno Espírito Santo named the trio on the bench in Italy.

Danny Drinkwater scored and completed 90 minutes in a behind-closed-doors game as Burnley beat an AFC Fylde side 3-0 on Wednesday. The Chelsea loanee also managed a half for the U23s this week as he continues to build fitness. Robbie Brady (ribs) is nearing a return and stepping up his recovery, but while Steven Defour is making good progress, Sean Dyche does not want to put a date on his return.


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