The second Blank Gameweek of 2019/20 is just hours away, with four teams – Manchester City, Sheffield United, Aston Villa and Arsenal – not in Premier League action this weekend.
The headline team news for the other 16 clubs we round up in our weekly summary below.
Everton v Manchester United
Marcus Rashford (back) and Paul Pogba (ankle) remain sidelined ahead of the trip to Everton, while Anthony Martial (thigh) is a fresh doubt after missing Thursday’s demolition of Bruges.
Martial picked up a muscle injury in training ahead of that Europa League tie and had a fitness test on the morning of the game, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saying that the Frenchman had tried in vain to recover.
Speaking yesterday, Solskjaer said:
I don’t know with Anthony, to be honest. I’ve not asked. He tried [on Thursday] morning, so he wasn’t that bad, but we’ll have to do a scan [on Friday] probably.
Odion [Ighalo] has definitely shown what type of striker he is, he’s ready for that game on Sunday.
The Norwegian had earlier hinted that Mason Greenwood could start against the Toffees, saying after the win over Bruges:
If we hadn’t had Odion [Ighalo] tonight then Mason [Greenwood] would have had to play… he’s then [got] this game on Sunday.
Theo Walcott (knee) has been passed fit to feature for Everton but Lucas Digne (calf) remains a concern, with Carlo Ancelotti saying on Friday:
Theo [Walcott] is fit, Theo doesn’t have a problem. Lucas Digne is training individually, he had a little problem on his calf the last week. We are going to check tomorrow.
On Andre Gomes, Ancelotti said:
He’s ready to start. He’s closer to starting compared to last week. He trained well, normally, properly. He can play but I have to talk to him before the game.
Bournemouth v Chelsea
Christian Pulisic (tendon), N’Golo Kante (muscle) and Callum Hudson-Odoi (hamstring) have been joined on the sidelines by Tammy Abraham, who has suffered a recurrence of his niggling ankle problem.
On Abraham, Frank Lampard said:
I don’t know, we need to see. I speak to the doctors daily about it but we’re not actually clear on that one. At the minute, he’s not doing anything active for the next couple of days.
Eddie Howe said that he was “very hopeful” that Nathan Ake would have no ill-effects from the slight head injury that caused him to miss the defeat to Burnley last week, while Jefferson Lerma has also been back in training this week following a minor back problem.
Charlie Daniels (knee), Arnaut Danjuma (foot), Chris Mepham (knee), Lloyd Kelly (thigh) and David Brooks (ankle) remain out.
Watford v Liverpool
Jordan Henderson (hamstring), James Milner (muscle), Nathaniel Clyne (knee) and Xherdan Shaqiri (calf) remain out but Jurgen Klopp didn’t reveal any fresh injury concerns in his pre-match press conference on Friday.
Klopp said of his sidelined contingent:
Hendo is running, Millie is running and even more. Not enough for this game now but we will see, especially with Millie, what we can do for Tuesday. Not sure about Hendo, Shaq not yet. All coming closer.
Watford don’t have any confirmed absentees for the visit of Liverpool, with Daryl Janmaat (knee) having rejoined training this week.
Kiko Femenia is available for selection, too, although Nigel Pearson said the versatile full-back was not “match ready” for the defeat to Manchester United last weekend.
Ismaila Sarr could depose Roberto Pereyra from the right flank after making his comeback from injury as a substitute last weekend, meanwhile, with Pearson saying his fit-again winger is “much closer” to a start .
Tottenham Hotspur v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Son Heung-min (arm), Harry Kane (hamstring), Ryan Sessegnon (hip) and Moussa Sissoko (knee) will all miss the visit of Wolves, although Juan Foyth (groin) is back in training.
Jose Mourinho confirmed on Friday that Erik Lamela is still not fit enough to offer anything more than 20/25 minutes off the bench, meanwhile.
Jonny (knock) was substituted in the win over Norwich City last weekend with what Nuno Espirito Santo described as a “strong kick” and the wing-back subsequently missed the Europa League clash with Espanyol, with the Wolves boss saying on Wednesday that the Spaniard was “in pain” and expressing hope that he “doesn’t stay out very long”.
Wolves’ involvement in Europe means that we won’t hear anything more from Santo ahead of Friday’s deadline, with there being no standalone press conference ahead of that clash with Jose Mourinho’s troops.
Norwich City v Leicester City
Wilfred Ndidi (knee) is uncertain to be involved at Carrow Road on Friday evening, despite having returned to training and having made “great progress” according to his manager.
Brendan Rodgers said:
Wilf Ndidi has been training but we’ll see how he is for Friday. If he’s not available then he’ll look to next week but he’s making great progress, which is good for us.
We don’t want to lose him. When he came back for those games, it was deemed he was fit. But we just had a slight reaction from that, so we want to just be sure of where he is at in terms of his fitness.
Hamza Choudhury is available after suspension.
Rumours circulating on Friday suggest that Jamie Vardy will miss out, however.
Sam Byram will miss the rest of the season after being ruled out for four months with a hamstring injury, while Onel Hernandez is set to be sidelined for eight weeks following knee surgery and Christoph Zimmermann (hamstring) won’t recover in time to feature against Leicester.
Newcastle United v Burnley
Ciaran Clark (ankle), Jetro Willems (ACL), Paul Dummett (tendon) and Andy Carroll (hip) remain out, while the availability of Emil Krafth (ankle), who was pencilled in for a return to training this week, is uncertain.
Jonjo Shelvey (hamstring) and Javier Manquillo (hamstring) have been back on the training ground this week, at least, and could come into contention.
Valentino Lazaro is suspended.
On a possible change of shape, Steve Bruce said:
It’s something we’ve talked about and worked on. The big teams sometimes change every other week, it’s something that is quite normal in the Premier League. It gives us another string to the bow, and we’ll see.
Ashley Barnes (hernia) is still unavailable as Burnley prepare to face Newcastle, while Sean Dyche said on Thursday that Matthew Lowton (knee) and Johann Berg Gudmundsson (minor niggle) are both “unlikely” to be involved on Tyneside.
There was better news concerning Chris Wood (hamstring), however, with Dyche confirming that his striker had been back in training this week.
The Burnley boss said:
He’s certainly fit, so he comes back into the thinking. But Vyds and J-Rod in the last couple of games have certainly laid down a marker as well.
West Ham United v Southampton
Ryan Fredericks (shoulder), Jack Wilshere (groin) and Tomas Soucek (groin) will miss the visit of Southampton, while Andriy Yarmolenko (thigh) is not ready to return despite featuring in a practice match this week.
Nathan Redmond (muscle) is set to be out until after the March international break but Kyle Walker-Peters has returned to training after a minor calf issue and could come into contention.
Ralph Hasenhuttl added in Thursday’s press conference that he didn’t know if Moussa Djenepo would be in the right frame of mind to feature following the death of the player’s mother this week.
Brighton and Hove Albion v Crystal Palace
James Tomkins (hamstring) and Jeffrey Schlupp (muscle) remain sidelined ahead of the trip to Brighton and Hove Albion but Mamadou Sakho (hamstring) and Luka Milivojevic (illness) are back in training and Cheikhou Kouyate has made a swift recovery from the twisted ankle that forced him off last weekend.
Jose Izquierdo (knee) is Brighton’s only confirmed absentee, with Dale Stephens (hamstring) having returned to training and been passed fit ahead of the M23 derby.
More detailed information and predicted line-ups can be found in the Team News tab.
A video round-up with Neale and Andy can be viewed below.