Several Premier League clubs were in behind-closed-doors action over the weekend as preparations continue for the restart of the 2019/20 campaign.
You can read how the top-flight sides fared in earlier friendlies by reading Friday’s round-up.
As we mentioned in that article, official information has been hard to come by for a lot of these kickabouts, with many teams only producing brief match reports and video highlights at best.
We’ll round up what we know in the piece below.
We may have been provided with a huge clue as to who is first in line for spot-kick duties at Manchester United.
Bruno Fernandes (£8.6m) scored a penalty in one of the Red Devils’ two friendlies against West Bromwich Albion on Friday, with some media outlets also reporting that he missed another effort from 12 yards.
This may have been significant as Paul Pogba (£8.3m) and Marcus Rashford (£8.8m), who have taken a number of penalties for United before, were both involved in that kickabout with the Baggies.
Fernandes had scored from the spot in the Gameweek 27 win over Watford but both Pogba and Rashford were absent through injury.
A strong-looking attacking unit involving those three players, Anthony Martial (£8.0m) and Daniel James (£5.8m) fell to a 2-1 loss to Slaven Bilic’s side in the first friendly, with a team containing United’s first-choice defence 3-1 victors over the Championship club in the second game.
Liverpool didn’t have a friendly per se at the weekend but they did stage an intra-squad match.
This was particularly significant as journalist Dominic King reported that both Mohamed Salah (£12.7m) and Andrew Robertson (£7.0m) were involved, with those two players having not been risked for the previous warm-up game against Blackburn Rovers for precautionary reasons.
The Reds apparently have no other new fitness concerns to report:
Norwich City and Tottenham Hotspur met in a friendly on Friday in a game that was split into four quarters.
Erik Lamela (£5.7m) was on target for the Lilywhites, while Josip Drmic (£5.3m) and Mario Vrancic (£6.2m) – who scored a direct free-kick – replying for the Canaries.
Harry Kane (£10.8m), Son Heung-min (£9.7m), Steven Bergwijn (£7.4m) and Moussa Sissoko all featured on their returns from injury.
Jose Mourinho said afterwards:
Not against Norwich City, with Norwich City. A good training session, we needed minutes, we needed to know the feeling of playing here without our supporters and to have this session with another Premier League team is the best thing.
Of course, it was a different match. We were supposed to divide the team in two and play another match (against Reading on Saturday) but that was not possible, so I agreed with Daniel (Farke) to have this match of four periods.
Of course, when you get into the third and fourth periods, you start making lots of changes because in the end, what we work on tactically, we do at the training ground, and today was much more about competing, minutes, intensity.
It was very important to do it and to go into this last week without any injuries, because we all know in these first matches, even friendlies, there is always the risk of getting some injuries.”
As Mourinho alluded to there, Spurs’ match against Reading on Saturday was called off.
Danny Ings (£7.1m) is the most-sold player ahead of Gameweek 30+ but the striker was on the scoresheet in Southampton’s 3-2 win over Bristol City on Friday.
All five goals were scored in the first of three 45-minute intervals, with Stuart Armstrong (£5.2m) grabbing a brace.
There was no Shane Long (£4.7m) at St Mary’s, with Michael Obafemi (£4.9m) partnering Ings up front and playing a big part in Armstrong’s early opener.
Nathan Redmond (£6.2m) made his return from injury, meanwhile.
Chelsea put seven goals past QPR on Sunday, with Mason Mount (£6.2m), Willian (£7.0m) and Olivier Giroud (£6.6m) among the scorers.
The returning Ruben Loftus-Cheek (£6.3m) and Billy Gilmour (£4.5m) scored braces, while N’Golo Kante (£5.0m) started for the Blues after a belated return to full-contact training.
Our very own moderator Rotation’s Alter Ego had a stab at cobbling together the Chelsea starting XI from training ground photos:
Reece James (£5.1m) returned from injury for Frank Lampard’s side, meanwhile.
Newcastle United beat Hull City 2-0 on Saturday, with Florian Lejeune (£4.4m) and Allan Saint-Maximin (£5.4m) on target.
Jamaal Lascelles (£4.3m) was among those not involved, although only because he had just become a father again.
Following the decision not to allow any alterations to Premier League squads for the remainder of the season, the fit-again Paul Dummett (£4.3m) didn’t feature.
Steve Bryce said afterwards:
The good thing is that everyone’s come through it OK. I think that’s the vital importance. We have picked up one or two in the week – the two Longstaff brothers in particular – but they’ll hopefully be joining us on Monday or Tuesday.
Ismaila Sarr (£6.4m) was back among the goals as Watford beat Brentford 2-0, with Etienne Capoue (£4.8m) also on target.
Troy Deeney (£6.2m) was given a half-hour cameo off the bench.
A number of players were missing but the Hornets later reported that only Daryl Janmaat (£4.0m) and Gerard Deulofeu (£6.1m) would definitely miss out in Gameweek 30+.
Adam Masina (£4.3m), Craig Cathcart (£4.3m) and Roberto Pereyra (£5.6m) were all not risked because of minor issues, while Kiko Femenía (£4.2m) and Will Hughes (£5.3m) were taken off as a precaution.
Assistant manager Craig Shakespeare said:
Masina didn’t start as he took a slight knock in training yesterday. It’s precautionary. Same with Kiko (coming off) and Will Hughes (who came off), precautionary. We are expecting everyone to be training on Sunday if not Monday.
Morgan Gibbs-White (£4.7m) was Wolves’ goalscorer as Nuno Espirito Santo’s side drew 1-1 with Birmingham City.
Little else is known about the game but Adama Traore (£5.7m) looked sharp in training following his injury issues in the springtime.
Little is known about Sheffield United’s 2-0 defeat to Barnsley, either, although it was reportedly a second-string XI that took part.
West Ham defeated Crystal Palace 2-1 in a behind-closed-doors friendly at the London Stadium on Saturday.
Sebastien Haller (£6.8m) and Jeremy Ngakia (£4.0m), who is soon to be out of contract, were on the scoresheet for the Hammers.
Christian Benteke (£5.7m) scored Crystal Palace’s only goal.
Burnley drew 1-1 with Preston North End on Saturday, with Matej Vydra (£5.3m) grabbing the Clarets’ solitary strike.
With injury doubts over Chris Wood (£6.1m) and Ashley Barnes (£6.1m) ahead of Gameweek 30+, Vydra could well feature from the start against Manchester City.
Nominated for ‘Best in Fantasy Football – Editorial’ at the Football Content Awards 2020
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