There were a busier-than-usual two days of press conferences to wade through ahead of Gameweek 22, with some Premier League clubs counting the cost a frantic festive period but many others welcoming back some big names.
Paul Pogba (knock) was one of the countless Fantasy assets with a “yellow flag” attached to their name in Fantasy Premier League but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer delivered positive news on that front in his press conference on Thursday night:
He looked okay towards the end [of the training camp], so he’ll be fit. He did have some problems but he came through the last couple of sessions well, so he should be okay.
Chris Smalling (foot) could also feature against Spurs on Sunday after returning to training but Marcos Rojo has been sent back to Argentina as he recuperates from an unspecified injury.
There was no update forthcoming on Alexis Sanchez (hamstring), however.
Spurs will make late a fitness check on Lucas Moura (knee) for that encounter, while Jan Vertonghen (thigh) is back in training and may come into contention.
Across Manchester, Pep Guardiola provided an update on the availability of Sergio Aguero (illness) and Vincent Kompany (unspecified injury):
Sergio, right after the game against Liverpool, was sick. He’s a little bit better. Yesterday was his first training session. So he’s getting better but was out the last few days.
Vincent is recovering well. The rest I think, they are fit.
Chelsea welcomed back Olivier Giroud, Pedro and Willian in midweek and may also have Alvaro Morata (hamstring) available for the visit of Newcastle, with Maurizio Sarri reporting that the player has returned to training and will be assessed ahead of Saturday.
Sarri also had plenty to say on a number of his other players, including Callum Hudson-Odoi and Andreas Christensen:
I am really happy with [Hudson-Odoi], the player is improving a lot in the defensive phase. Now he needs to improve in some movements without the ball but he is working very well at the moment.
I don’t know [if Christensen can play] tomorrow because he played two matches in three days for the first time this season, like Callum. Callum recovered very well from the first match, yesterday he was a little bit tired.
The Blues’ opponents at Stamford Bridge have a number of availability issues, with Jonjo Shelvey (thigh) and Paul Dummett (hamstring) injured, Kenedy ineligible and Ki Sung-yueng away on international duty.
Arsenal’s injury picture looks rosier for their match against West Ham, with Unai Emery providing the following update:
This week they are working with us with: Mustafi, Monreal and Bellerin. We need to do tomorrow the last training before the match against West Ham. Mesut Ozil is training with us. Also training the last ten days, Dinos Mavropanos.
The Hammers will be without Fabian Balbuena (knee) for six to eight weeks but gave the all-clear to Marko Arnautovic (back).
The Austrian has been the focus of much transfer speculation this week, however, with West Ham moved to issue a statement regarding their standpoint on the supposedly wantaway striker:
Marko Arnautovic has a contract and we fully expect him to honour it. He is not for sale.
Dejan Lovren (hamstring) has been ruled out until Gameweek 24 and despite Joel Matip‘s (collarbone) return to training, Jurgen Klopp talked up the prospect of Fabinho featuring at centre-half for the trip to Brighton:
If Fabinho has to play at centre-half, he has played there before. We do that on the training pitch. If you are a holding six at centre-half, with the ball it’s easier, without the ball it’s different. We try to make it not more complicated than it is.
The Seagulls will be without Bernardo (hamstring) and Jose Izquierdo (knee).
Ryan Fraser (hamstring), Josh King (illness) and Callum Wilson (hamstring) all face late fitness tests ahead of the match against Everton on Sunday, though Fraser was sighted in training on Wednesday and boss Eddie Howe said all three were “certainly up for playing”.
Nuno Espirito Santo and Marco Silva didn’t report any fresh injury concerns in their press conferences, while Roy Hodgson also has a clean bill of health now that Christian Benteke has returned to full training.
The Palace boss was still doubtful about whether the Belgian would feature, however:
Yes I guess he is [available], but obviously he’s short of match practice and the sharpness you get from playing. It would be a risk putting him in to some extent but he’s come through training very well so there’s no reason to write him off.
Sebastian Prodl is Watford’s only confirmed absentee for that fixture at Selhurst Park.
Jonny Evans‘ broken toe will keep him out of Leicester’s clash with Southampton, who have serious problems up front with Danny Ings (hamstring), Michael Obafemi (tendon) and Charlie Austin (suspended) all unavailable.
Johann Berg Gudmundsson (thigh) is a doubt for Burnley’s match against Fulham, who look set to have Alfie Mawson (knee) unavailable.
Victor Camarasa (knock), Danny Ward (cheekbone) and Kadeem Harris (shoulder) are among the players Neil Warnock needs to assess ahead of the visit of Huddersfield Town, who may have Tommy Smith back from a hamstring injury.
Our regular injury video round-up can be viewed below, while our Team News tab will have more detailed write-ups on all 20 Premier League sides.
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