Late Fitness Test - Week 30

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Neal Thurman
·6 min read
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We’re back from international break and that means checking in on injuries picked up over the international “break” and, because we’re living in the times we are, making sure that everyone who traveled outside the UK is cleared to return to the pitch.

SATURDAY

Chelsea vs. West Bromwich Albion

The Blues have taken the unusual step of announcing that Timo Werner will start. Would that all managers, especially at big clubs, were this specific on Fridays. As far as absences go, the Blues return from the break mostly healthy with only N’Golo Kante absent. Thiago Silva, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Jorginho, and Tammy Abraham have all come through and will be available. The return of Silva makes Andreas Christensen’s place in the starting line-up a question and CHO’s return does the same for, well, all of the Chelsea attackers not named Timo Werner.

For the Baggies, Conor Gallagher is not eligible to participate against his parent club which will deprive Big Sam of one of his stronger performers. Given the quality of the opposition and the absence of Gallagher, it is hard to get too excited about any of the WBA players for fantasy purposes this weekend.

Leeds United vs Sheffield United

Liam Cooper, Rodrigo, and Pablo Hernandez are all fit but Marcelo Beilsa will be without Mateusz Klich due to a positive coronavirus test.

The Blades are getting a bit healthier at the back, albeit far too late to salvage their season. They will have John Egan and Enda Stevens available after a dislocated toe and being sent home early from international duty respectively.

Leicester City vs Manchester City

The Foxes get some good news ahead of their clash with table-topping Manchester City in the form of James Maddison and Ricardo Perreira both being declared fit. We will have to see if either are sharp enough to start but expect Brendan Rodgers to take some risks down the stretch as he looks to secure a top four finish.

Manchester City have been rotating players heavily all season in anticipation of a stretch run where they are competing on many fronts and the strategy has worked beautifully with the squad fully fit for this weekend’s match with Leicester City. The downside for fantasy managers is that Pep Guardiola could go in just about any direction with his squad selection having the Premier League all but won and Champions League, FA Cup, and League Cup obligations coming up.

Arsenal vs Liverpool

Arsenal have doubts over Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe who both face late fitness tests due to hamstring and calf issues respectively. With Willian also out, we could see Martinelli and Pepe get some action along with Martin Odegaard who would almost certainly start if ESR can’t recover in time.

In addition to their long-term defensive injuries, Liverpool will be missing Jordan Henderson from midfield but Roberto Firmino will be available again after missing a few weeks with a knee injury.

SUNDAY

Southampton vs Burnley

The Saints look to be approaching full health. Danny Ings and Theo Walcott are both back in training and have been declared fit. Ings is almost certain to start given that information while Walcott is a less certain proposition given the duration of his injury and the presence of other wide attackers. James Ward-Prowse did pick up a knock on international duty and could still miss out but he hasn’t been definitively ruled out at this point. Exercise caution in the cases of JWP and Walcott when considering fantasy line-ups.

For Sean Dyche’s side, Robbie Brady suffered an Achilles injury while playing for Ireland over the international break and will miss out. Brady joins Ashley Barnes and Kevin Long as absentees.

Newcastle United vs Tottenham

The headline here is that Callum Wilson is still not ready to return to the starting line-up. Allan Saint-Maximin could return and at least help boost the attack somewhat but absent their talisman, it’s hard to see the Magpies doing much against even a defense as fragile as José Mourinho’s.

On the Spurs side, Heung-Min Son and Sergio Reguilón are both fit again and should be available to start. Reguilon will almost certainly do so since Ben Davies (and Matt Doherty) will both miss out due to injury. Son is also likely to return to the starting line-up and resume his partnership with Harry Kane, the absence of which has seen Spurs struggle to score goals.

Aston Villa vs Fulham

Jack Grealish is back and none-too-soon as Aston Villa have been struggling mightily in front of goal in the absence of their best attacking player. There isn’t much else to report on the injury front in this one but Grealish’s return should boost not only his value but that of Ollie Watkins, the defense, and Emiliano Martinez. With Grealish stoking the attack, Villa were piling up clean sheets and scoring enough to be in shouting distance of a European place. With his return, they should be better than Fulham and in position for both a win and a clean sheet.

Manchester United vs Brighton & Hove Albion

Anthony Martial and Victor Lindelof are both likely out for the visit of Brighton on Sunday but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should have both Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood available with Rashford likely to be reinserted immediately into the starting line-up.

Brighton will be without Adam Webster for sure and potentially without Aaron Connelly who has been in and out of the line-up for both Brighton and the Republic of Ireland as he recovers from a bruised foot. Neither are critical fantasy omissions.

MONDAY

Everton vs Crystal Palace

Everton get some good news and some bad news coming out of the break. James Rodriguez trained while others were away playing for their countries and should be ready to return to the starting line-up on Monday. Unfortunately, the Toffees lost Jordan Pickford to injury and will be happy that Robin Koch will be ready to go after an injury of his own. Abdoulaye Doucouré remains absent.

Like Everton, Crystal Palace continue to deal with significant injuries to a squad that isn’t that big to begin with. Mamadou Sakho remains out and is joined by James McArthur, James Tomkins, and Nathan Ferguson. There is some hope for James McCarthy, Nathaniel Clyne, and Cheikhou Kouyaté who all face late fitness tests in their efforts to join Tyrick Mitchell in returning to active duty.

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs West Ham United

Raúl Jiménez remains out due to the head injury sustained early in the season and Nuno Espirito Santo will have to wait to see if Daniel Podence and Joao Moutinho will join the Mexican international on the sidelines. Both players face late fitness tests and are listed as doubtful to participate against the high-flying Hammers on Monday.

David Moyes’ side has a fairly clean bill of health when it comes to his preferred starters. There are some concerns around the fringes of the squad with Angelo Ogbonna definitely missing and Pablo Fornals and Arthur Masuako both facing late fitness tests ahead of the visit to the Molineux.

Good luck making your final squad adjustments and look for more injury updates as the news continues to roll in.