Late Fitness Check | Week Twelve

Ben Dinnery
Rotoworld

Friday night fixtures play havoc, so don’t get caught out by the early FPL deadline.  

Watford travel to Norwich City in search of their first league win, and even though we’re less than a third of the way through the season, this is a game neither side can afford to lose. The return of Troy Deeney will give the visitors a much-needed boost while Daniel Farke is thankful that his treatment room is beginning to clear.

Twelve press conferences still to come. Bournemouth kick things off before Steve Bruce is handed the mic. Updates will be added to our Player News page while last-minute injuries can be found on the Rotoworld Premier League Injury Report. Remember to keep checking throughout the day.

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Norwich City – vs – Watford

Tom Trybull and Onel Hernández are coming back to full fitness. Mario Vrancic (calf) has a chance for Friday, but "maybe not 90 minutes." Christoph Zimmermann (foot) is taking part in aspects of first-team training, and he should be back soon after the international break along with Grant Hanley. "In general, our injury situation is much better than the one we had to face a few weeks ago." Daniel Farke adds that Ibrahim Amadou and Todd Cantwell are also fine for the game.

Troy Deeney is in contention for Friday nights' fixture at Carrow Road. The talismanic skipper has been sidelined since undergoing knee surgery in August, and Quique Sánchez Flores says the skipper “has done amazing” to put himself in contention. The Head Coach can also count on Étienne Capoue, who is back in full training as Watford’s injury problems begin to ease. “We have [José] Holebas, [Sebastian] Prödl and Sarr – players who have recovered in the week — and now we have more options. It's good for the team.”

Chelsea – vs – Crystal Palace

Frank Lampard welcomed N’Golo Kante back into the matchday squad on Tuesday evening, although the Frenchman was an unused sub as Chelsea fought back from 4-1 down to earn a share of the spoils against Ajax. Domestically, the Blues have been excellent, five straight wins, but Palace save their best form for the road, and Tottenham aside, the Eagles have been excellent. Emerson has recovered from a hamstring injury and is expected to start after he was rested midweek, that would see Marcos Alonso drop out, and there are concerns over Mason Mount, who rolled his ankle in the Champions League. Lampard will be hoping for another swift recovery from the youngster as he did back in September with Jorginho absent due to his suspension. The availability of Ross Barkley remains in question, but having missed three weeks, it seems unlikely that if fit, he would return to the XI. The only other selection dilemma of note would be whether Christian Pulisic can retain his place, although four goals in his last two appearances should be enough to merit another start. That could see Callum Hudson-Odoi on the bench again unless Lampard feels Willian needs a rest. Antonio Rüdiger visited a specialist on Monday, and we are waiting to learn the extent of that meeting.

Roy Hodgson confirmed James McArthur has aggravated a back problem, and he is at risk of missing the game. The Eagles boss admitted that the midfielder was the “worse one” of those that picked up knocks on Sunday, and a decision would be made closer to kick-off. Cheikhou Kouyaté and Gary Cahill (both head) are expected to make full recoveries. Andros Townsend suffered a muscular strain against his former club (GW10) and was unable to complete a full session prior to the game against Leicester, but the winger should be better placed for a return to the matchday squad. Martin Kelly has had to bide his time since recovering from injury, and Hodgson will be tempted to hand the centre-back a recall following last weekends’ loss.

 

Burnley – vs – West Ham United

Chris Wood (hamstring) has "every chance" of being available, and the joint-top scorer could make an immediate return as the Clarets look to bounce back from three straight defeats. Danny Drinkwater (ankle) is training normally, but the Chelsea loanee is likely to be given game time during the break to improve his conditioning. Johann Berg Gudmundsson “continues to make progress,” but he is still weeks away from a return.

A late decision will be made on Jack Wilshere, who has missed the last two games with a groin problem. “We need to see him working [on Friday].” Lukasz Fabianski (thigh) requires another month “at least” and a return to play this year would be a bonus. Winston Reid continues to build fitness with the development side, and the centre-back may have the opportunity to get some competitive minutes under his belt following a call up to the New Zealand squad. Michail Antonio has fully recovered from the surgery on his hamstring, which has kept him sidelined since August, and the winger should be back in contention after the break. The Hammers were unchanged last time out, but after a disappointing loss to Newcastle, expect Manuel Pellegrini to recall the likes of Manuel Lanzini and Ryan Fredericks.

 

Newcastle United – vs – AFC Bournemouth

A return for Jonjo Shelvey helped inspire United to win at West Ham, which was a lot more comfortable than the 3-2 scoreline suggests. The playmaker was starting his first game since September as the Longstaff brothers – Sean (suspended) and Matty (sub) – made way with Isaac Hayden also coming into the side. Florian Lejeune enjoyed another successful run out for the Under-23s, and, all being well, Steve Bruce should welcome the Frenchman back into the first team after the break. Fabian Schär “could be okay” as his knee injury is not thought to be serious, but the Swiss star could struggle to earn an instant recall after Ciaran Clark and Federico Fernandez were both on the scoresheet at the London Stadium. Matt Ritchie could be held back until week thirteen despite a return to the training pitches.

Three clean sheets on the bounce have helped the Cherries climb to seventh, and last weekends’ win over Manchester United was fully deserved and should’ve been more than a single goal victory. Josh King ended a run of 388 minutes without a goal to take the points, and following an assured performance from his side, Eddie Howe is likely to keep changes to a minimum. He will, however, need to replace Jefferson Lerma following his fifth caution of the campaign, and while Dan Gosling is working with the group, his fitness may inhibit his comeback initially having missed over three months. That would leave Lewis Cook to play alongside Philip Billing. Howe confirms David Brooks (ankle) is out of contention for Wales, which means a return in week thirteen is the earliest we can expect to see him. Junior Stanislas and Charlie Daniels remain out long-term.

 

Southampton – vs – Everton

The Saints have been much improved since the 9-0 home drubbing to Leicester in week ten and were unlucky not to pick up at least a point from the Etihad after leading until the 70th minute. Ahead of the game, Ralph Hasenhüttl gave a positive team news update: "So far, good. Moussa [Djenepo] is back; Cedric [Soares] is back - they can train with the team. And no more injuries. We have all the players on board now, and I have more options. Ryan Bertrand is suspended, and the rest [are] fit."

Marco Silva admits it isn't easy to give a definitive timeline for André Gomes, but it is "possible" that the midfielder will play again this season after undergoing ankle surgery this week. Fabian Delph is rated as a "big doubt" due to a hamstring injury, although he has been named in the England squad, which suggests the problem is not severe. Those doubts could see Silva shuffle his pack - Tom Davies is “doing well,” and Morgan Schneiderlin is available for the game against his former employers. Gylfi Sigurdsson is pushing for his first Premier League start in over a month. Bernard is hoping to be back after the break.

 

Tottenham Hotspur – vs – Sheffield United

Spurs confirm Hugo Lloris has had surgery on his elbow, which will keep him out until early 2020. That setback locks in Paulo Gazzaniga with Michel Vorm – named on the bench midweek – providing cover. Danny Rose is available after suspension, and Toby Alderweireld will be hoping for a recall after sitting out of the win over Red Star Belgrade, especially as Jan Vertonghen is ruled out. Summer signings Giovani Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon contributed with a goal and an assist respectively on Wednesday, but competition for places is fierce, and both may struggle for minutes. Erik Lamela faces a late test.

Chris Wilder was giving nothing away regarding injuries ahead of this weekends' trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Fortunately, none of those carrying knocks sound too serious. "We've got a couple who are hopefully going to train today and who will travel tomorrow afternoon." I suspect John Egan is among those after he picked up a knock during the win over Burnley.

 

Leicester City – vs – Arsenal

Brendan Rodgers confirms that there are no fresh fitness concerns ahead of Arsenal on Saturday. Matty James has been working with the squad, but the midfielder won't be considered just yet as he continues his recovery from Achilles surgery. "There’s no timescale on his return." Three league wins on the spin may see the Foxes unchanged once again.

The Arsenal treatment room was empty for almost a week following the return of Reiss Nelson for the Under-23s last Friday. But a midweek trip to Portugal in the Europa League put pay to another clean bill of health after Dani Ceballos suffered a hamstring related issue. Unai Emery believes the Real Madrid loanee has a “small injury,” although tests will continue ahead of the game. Still no word on whether Granit Xhaka – who was stripped of his captaincy – will return to the matchday squad. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been handed the armband.

 

Manchester United – vs – Brighton and Hove Albion

Victor Lindelof will be given every opportunity to prove his fitness after aggravating a back problem in the defeat at Bournemouth. If the defender does miss out, then Phil Jones could partner Harry Maguire with Marcos Rojo filling in for the suspended Ashley Young. None of the remaining eight players receiving treatment – Paul Pogba, Axel Tuanzebe, Nemanja Matic, Luke Shaw Diogo Dalot, Eric Bailly, Fosu-Mensah, or Angel Gomes – are expected to return leaving Ole with a scratch squad ahead of the international break.

Late News: Scott McTominay limps off in the Europa League – an update will follow Fridays’ press conference.  

Shane Duffy could replace Adam Webster, who is considered a significant doubt for the game. The Brighton defender was stretchered off (vs Norwich) with a suspected ankle ligament injury, but Graham Potter failed to provide an update post-match and there has been no official update since. Leandro Trossard made a strong case for his inclusion after scoring from the bench in week eleven.

 

Wolverhampton Wanderers – vs – Aston Villa

Ryan Bennett returned to the matchday squad on Thursday after recovering from a minor groin strain. Nuno Espírito Santo made three changes in the Europa League, but expect the likes of Jonny and Romain Saiss to return to the XI. Matt Doherty was cleared after taking a whack to the knee during the 1-1 draw with Arsenal.

Frederick Guilbert was forced off with a dead leg last time out, but Dean Smith expects the defender to make a full recovery. Villa could’ve easily have taken all three points from the league leaders, but Liverpool snatched victory from the jaws of defeat to complete a remarkable late turnaround. James Chester enjoyed another 90-minute run out for the development side on Monday, and Jota is back training, although Sunday could come too soon. Jack Grealish (calf) worked on the eve of week eleven but didn’t feel right on the morning of the match and made the decision to sit out. He is, however, fit and ready to face Wolves in this Sundays’ Midlands derby.

 

Liverpool – vs – Manchester City

Jordan Henderson has recovered from illness which leaves only Joel Matip (knee), Nathaniel Clyne (ACL), and Xherdan Shaqiri (calf) out. Jurgen Klopp made a host of changes for the European tie against Genk (5) - Andy Robertson, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mané were among those who were benched while Dejan Lovren sat out with Joe Gomez playing alongside Virgil Van Dijk.

Pep Guardiola “does not know” if Ederson will be available on Sunday after the goalkeeper was replaced at Atlanta because of a muscle issue. Should he miss out, then Claudio Bravo and NOT Kyle Walker(!) would start at Anfield after the full-back donned the gloves for ten minutes in the Champions League. Rodri has been back on the training pitches this week, but his return wasn’t supposed to be until later this month, and the City boss is expected to provide an update as part of Fridays’ press conference. David Silva (hamstring) will not feature along with long-term casualties

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