After finally emerging from The Gameweek That Never Ended, we now turn our attention to this weekend’s set of fixtures.
We’ve heard from all 20 Premier League managers on Thursday and Friday, although three of those – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Nuno Espirito Santo and Mikel Arteta – only delivered brief Gameweek 27 previews after their respective sides’ UEFA Europa League fixtures.
Liverpool v West Ham United
Another head coach whose side were in European action this week, Jurgen Klopp, brought us up to speed on the fitness situation at Anfield and revealed that Sadio Mane‘s withdrawal in the defeat to Atletico Madrid was not injury-related.
I spoke this morning to him and asked him if he was surprised and he said yes.
I didn’t believe we’d finish the game with 11 if we kept him on the pitch. He’s completely fine, he’s rested.
The Liverpool boss added that Xherdan Shaqiri (calf) isn’t close to a return to first-team training and said of Jordan Henderson (hamstring):
Hendo, it could have been worse. It was a hamstring thing. He will be out I think for three weeks or so. Apart from Hendo, all the other boys are fit.
Asked about the prospect of rotating his troops, Klopp replied:
Tuesday-Monday, there’s absolutely no need to do it. That’s enough time, that’s longer than we usually have. We will see who will start and maybe we will make more changes but not because of the Atletico game.
Ahead of their trip to Anfield, West Ham confirmed that Ryan Fredericks has damaged shoulder ligaments and is awaiting further consultation to decide on the appropriate course of treatment.
Andriy Yarmolenko (thigh) hasn’t yet fully joined team training but David Moyes said that he didn’t have any fresh injury concerns ahead of Monday’s match.
Leicester City v Manchester City
Pep Guardiola was asked about David Silva (hamstring), Raheem Sterling (hamstring) and Leroy Sane (match fitness) ahead of Saturday’s game at the King Power Stadium, with the City boss saying:
They are all OK, not 100% some of them. David Silva was smart to come off for the last minutes, Raheem is in the latter stage [of recovery]. He’s getting better. Leroy is good as well but of course, he needs a little more time after six months out.
Brendan Rodgers ruled Wilfred Ndidi (knee) out of that match, saying:
Wilf won’t be available for the weekend. He’s still in a process to try and get fit so we’ll see how he is next week. I’m not sure [if he’ll be ready for Gameweek 28].
He’s doing work inside, but you then have to progress that to going outside and from then, when he can join the team. It’s another intensity to join the team and then to play.
Ryan Bennett is available for selection but Hamza Choudhury is suspended.
Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur
Frank Lampard had plenty to discuss in Friday’s pre-match press conference:
Tammy Abraham has trained the last two days, at probably about 70% and hasn’t trained much recently, so he’s in the squad. Again I’ll have to make a decision if he’s fit.
N’Golo [Kante] is not fit, it’s a muscle injury. Should be, hopefully, three weeks. Christian Pulisic is still not fit, at the moment I can’t give you an exact date. It’s a difficult injury.
Ruben [Loftus-Cheek] is in the squad, not fit to start. Andreas [Christensen] went to get a mask for a broken nose that he has now got and has trained with, so available for selection.
Spurs reported that Juan Foyth (groin) is in the late stages of conditioning, while Harry Kane (hamstring) and Moussa Sissoko (knee) are continuing rehabilitation.
Son Heung-min (arm), of course, is now recovering following surgery.
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Norwich City
There was little injury news of note in the Norwich section of Nuno Espirito Santo’s post-Europa League presser, although the Wolves boss did say that the substitution of Adama Traore on the hour mark against Espanyol was purely because his team needed “new solutions”.
Santo said that Traore was “OK” after his recent shoulder injury.
Daniel Farke reported that Onel Hernandez (knee) and Christoph Zimmermann (hamstring) are major doubts for the weekend, while Sam Byram (hamstring) is set to miss the rest of the season.
Arsenal v Everton
Much like Santo, we didn’t hear much in the way of a Gameweek 27 preview from Mikel Arteta after the win over Olympiacos.
The Arsenal boss did of Sokratis, however:
Regarding Papa, I think he got knock or a little twist on his knee and he was playing a different position tonight, with different demands and I think he suffered a bit at the end.
Mesut Ozil and Lucas Torreira had missed the trip to Greece due to personal reasons and illness respectively.
Calum Chambers (ACL) is a long-term absentee, while Cedric Soares (knee) and Kieran Tierney (shoulder) are aiming to be back in training at the end of February.
Carlo Ancelotti passed Bernard and Andre Gomes fit for Sunday’s game but said of Theo Walcott (knee):
Theo had a problem, he started to train individually today, we will see tomorrow. I’m not sure that he is going to play against Arsenal.
On whether Gomes could start, Ancelotti added:
André Gomes is available to play. He trained well, properly, without problems. Before the game we are going to talk together and decide if he can start the game or if he goes on the bench.
Manchester United v Watford
We could see Scott McTominay (knee) back in action for the first time this calendar year, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saying of his Scottish midfielder:
I think he might be in the squad. He had a rest day today, so let’s see how he is tomorrow.
Marcus Rashford (back) and Paul Pogba (ankle) remain out, while Solskjaer revealed that Mason Greenwood missed the Bruges match through illness.
On Odion Ighalo‘s chances of a start against Watford, Solskjaer said:
Odion is getting more and more minutes, it depends on Mason [Greenwood] as well, of course, and Anthony [Martial], how he is.
Kiko Femenía (hamstring) and Ismaïla Sarr (muscle) are back in full training for the Hornets, who only have Daryl Janmaat (knee) definitely unavailable.
Southampton v Aston Villa
Kyle Walker-Peters will miss out on the visit of Aston Villa after picking up a minor calf injury, while Sofiane Boufal (heel) is also a major doubt for Saturday’s game and Nathan Redmond will be sidelined for at least a month after sustaining a muscle injury in training last week.
Dean Smith said of Tyrone Mings, meanwhile:
He is fine. He had a touch of tonsillitis but he was back training on Wednesday. He’s been a big player for us so to miss him on Sunday was difficult. He’ll be back ready for Southampton on Saturday.
Long-term absentees Jed Steer (Achilles), Tom Heaton (knee) and Wesley (knee) remain unavailable, while Keinan Davis (hamstring) will only resume training next week and John McGinn (ankle) hasn’t yet run on the grass as his rehabilitation continues.
Sheffield United v Brighton and Hove Albion
Chris Wilder confirmed that Sheffield United have a full squad to choose from ahead of Saturday’s match against Brighton but offered no clues as to whether John Lundstram would regain his place, only briefly mentioning the FPL defender when contract renewals were being discussed.
Jose Izquierdo (knee) remains sidelined ahead of the trip to Sheffield United, while Graham Potter said on Thursday that Dale Stephens (hamstring) “probably will miss out” at Bramall Lane.
Returning loanee Alexis Mac Allister adds to Potter’s options in the attacking midfield positions.
Crystal Palace v Newcastle United
Roy Hodgson revealed that James Tomkins (hamstring) has been added to Crystal Palace’s injury list but Cenk Tosun is now back fit again.
The Eagles are also monitoring illnesses in the camp.
Ciaran Clark (ankle) has joined Javier Manquillo (hamstring), Jetro Willems (ACL), Paul Dummett (tendon), Emil Krafth (ankle), Andy Carroll (hip) and Jonjo Shelvey (hamstring) on the injury list, while Steve Bruce said on Friday that he doesn’t think Christian Atsu (illness) will be involved at Selhurst Park this weekend either.
Dwight Gayle (hamstring) and Yoshinori Muto (hip) are available for selection, at least, while Joelinton should shake off a thigh problem.
Burnley v Bournemouth
Sean Dyche confirmed that Johann Berg Gudmundsson is back in contention for the weekend’s game but Chris Wood (hamstring) is only rated “touch-and-go” and Matt Lowton (knee) and Ashley Barnes (groin) both miss out.
Eddie Howe reported that Arnaut Danjuma (foot), Lloyd Kelly (thigh) and David Brooks (ankle) are getting closer to a return but are not yet ready to feature.
More detailed information and predicted line-ups can be found in the Team News tab, which will be refreshed this evening.
A video round-up with Neale and Andy can be viewed below.
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