With 17 press conferences being held on a busier-than-usual Friday, there is plenty to recap in our regular team news round-up article.
There was a headline-grabbing revelation from Pep Guardiola, who dropped the bombshell that Gabriel Jesus (hamstring) was fit and available for selection for Manchester City’s trip to Bournemouth on Saturday.
The Brazilian’s recovery from injury could have a direct impact on Sergio Aguero‘s pitch-time in Gameweek 29, with the Argentinean striker having played 120 minutes of the EFL Cup final last Sunday and the bulk of the 1-0 win over West Ham United in midweek.
Guardiola, indeed, had previously said that Aguero was “exhausted” after his latest outing on Wednesday night.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference this afternoon, Guardiola said:
Gabriel is back. John [Stones] is coming back too, like Gabriel.
The City head coach also provided an update on Fernandinho and Aymeric Laporte (both muscular injuries) and Fabian Delph:
I think after the international break they will be fit, especially Fernandinho. Maybe a few days later Aymeric.
[Delph] was injured and he made his first training session today. He’s not in the squad but he can play.
Across Manchester, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer provided positive news for owners of Marcus Rashford – though expressed doubt that Anthony Martial (groin) would recover:
Rashford is fully fit now. I’ll probably start him.
I don’t think there will be many changes. It’s the last session today, but we’re not going to take any risks, so maybe Anthony [Martial], but it might just be even a few more days before he’s ready, so probably the squad will look similar to what it did on Wednesday.
Maybe one third of them will be Academy kids – maybe even more – so that’s a good point to take out of it.
Jurgen Klopp provided an update on Roberto Firmino (ankle) ahead of the Merseyside derby, meanwhile:
He was out there running yesterday but we will have to see how he reacts. He is very positive. It looks really good but if he will be ready for tomorrow, I don’t know.
Liverpool look set to be without Dejan Lovren (hamstring) and Joe Gomez (leg) again, while Everton only have a doubt over Leighton Baines (back).
The Merseyside derby is not the only clash between two fierce local rivals this weekend.
Except for his long-term absentees, Unai Emery has a fully-fit squad for the trip to Wembley on Saturday lunchtime.
Dele Alli (hamstring) and Eric Dier (tonsillitis) will miss out for Spurs, while Jan Vertonghen and Harry Winks (both hip) require assessment.
Maurizio Sarri also has no injury worries for Chelsea’s short journey across west London on Sunday but suggested that he will make a handful of changes to his starting XI anyway, following his team’s exertions over the last seven days.
The Blues’ head coach said:
I need to value the recovery of every single player. Then we have to decide. But I think we need to change three or four players, I don’t know how many. But we need to change some.
Sarri also had some words to say on Kepa Arrizabalaga’s chances of an instant recall:
The Kepa situation now is closed. Kepa is our first-choice goalkeeper. But we are very happy for Willy. Because now we know very well that he’s able to play in a very difficult match. I’m sure that in one of the next two matches, Kepa will be on the pitch.
Nuno Espirito Santo reported that he too has no fitness concerns ahead of Gameweek 29 but sprang a surprise in announcing that John Ruddy would start ahead of Rui Patricio on Saturday:
John Ruddy is going to play tomorrow because we consider it’s the right moment to prepare him for what’s coming in front of us. In two weeks’ time we’re going to play the FA Cup, and John Ruddy is going to be in goal. We consider this the right moment to get some game competition and to be stronger.
Wolves are up against Cardiff City, who may have Victor Camarasa (calf) back in the starting XI for the first time since Gameweek 23.
Neil Warnock said:
We’ve still got a couple of knocks. One or two doubts. I’ll have a chat with Victor today [about whether he can start].
Callum Wilson (knee) is nearing a return for Bournemouth, who could have David Brooks back in the starting XI after the Wales international’s recent lay-off.
Eddie Howe said:
Wilson’s getting closer so we’ll make a late call on him. Injury-wise he’s fine, it’s just building up his fitness.
[Brooks is] fit to be involved. He’s done very limited training with us. The injury itself is fine, so we need to make a call as to whether he can function in the way that he wants to.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka is back from a hamstring injury for Crystal Palace, though Mamadou Sakho remains sidelined after surgery.
Roy Hodgson commented:
Aaron Wan-Bissaka is fit again now which is a boost for us. Pape Souare is close to returning.
Mamadou Sakho had his operation in Paris. The operation was completed successfully and we hope to get him back as soon as we can.
Burnley will have Ashley Westwood (illness) back for that meeting with the Eagles, though are still missing Steven Defour (calf).
Manuel Pellegrini implied that Marko Arnautovic has recovered from illness ahead of the visit of Newcastle, though offered no update on
Aaron Cresswell (broken toe), Arthur Masuaku (unknown injury) or Ben Johnson (calf).
The West Ham boss said:
I think in this moment, we have our four strikers without any injuries – Andy Carroll, Marko Arnuatovic, Javier Hernandez and Lucas Perez – and we are recovering midfielders also, with Manuel Lanzini and Samir Nasri.
We made some changes against City to have the players older than 30 fresh for Saturday and I always say as a manager that the problem is not to have too many players. The problem is when you don’t have players and you don’t have chances to change things with players coming from the bench.
Rob Elliot (back) and Ciaran Clark (knock) are Rafael Benitez’s only two injury-enforced absentees for the trip to West Ham, though Jonjo Shelvey looks very unlikely to feature having asked to play for the under-23s on Friday evening.
Brendan Rodgers has just Marc Albrighton (hamstring) and Daniel Amartey (leg) unavailable to him for his first match in charge of Leicester, while Sunday’s opponents Watford only have a worry over Kiko Femenia (illness).
Scott Parker also makes his bow as Fulham boss this weekend, with the Cottagers sweating on the availability of Andre Schurrle (virus).
Pascal Gross (hamstring) has joined Leon Balogun (knock) on the sidelines ahead of Brighton’s match against Huddersfield, who will make a late check on young full-back Demeaco Duhaney (thigh). Adama Diakhaby (hamstring) and Isaac Mbenza (calf) remain out.
Danny Ings (hamstring) and Mario Lemina (abdomen) are still missing for Southampton, meanwhile.
We have more detailed injury information and predicted line-ups in our Team News tab and in the podcast/YouTube video below:
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