There are less than 24 hours to go before the deadline for Double Gameweek 30+ passes but we’re in the dark regarding the latest fitness situation at most Premier League clubs.
Only four top-flight managers have held their pre-match press conferences so far, with most of the others expected to face the media long after Wednesday’s Fantasy Premier League deadline has been and gone.
We’ll recap what Messrs Wilder, Smith, Arteta and Guardiola had to say before quickly rounding up what else we know.
Pep Guardiola didn’t report any fitness concerns in his pre-match presser on Tuesday, although did voice his worries over the frequency of fixtures that are about to happen.
Speaking to the media via video conference, Guardiola said:
They [the players] came back really well. We have absolutely no complaints. But the way we are right now, like other clubs, we don’t know.
Tomorrow we will see the level of the team and from there we will see what we can do better. The players are training good but I don’t know the physical condition.
I think we are ready to play one game but three days after another one, and four days after another? We are not ready. That’s why you have to rotate and use absolutely all the players.
Chris Wilder reported a clean bill of health in Monday’s press conference, so should have a full complement of players to choose from ahead of the trip to Villa Park.
The Blades’ boss said:
I don’t think there’ll be an incredible amount of changes because there hasn’t been all season. But there’s no guarantees or shoo-ins. If someone comes back and absolutely rips it up, will I consider putting them in? Yes.
Wilder also confirmed that the club were close to extending Dean Henderson‘s loan deal until the end of 2019/20.
Tom Heaton and Wesley remain sidelined ahead of Aston Villa’s Double Gameweek 30+ opener against Sheffield United and, having not been named in the revised 25-man squad in February, won’t be able to feature in the run-in even if they recover from injury.
On wider fitness issues, Dean Smith said:
We’re going to have a look over the next couple of days. There’s a couple of niggles here and there but hopefully we’ll be fighting fit.
Asked about the returning John McGinn, Smith replied:
If I’ve got any concerns it’s the fact that he hasn’t played for six months. The other players haven’t played for 12-13 weeks. So we have to manage him appropriately after his injury and we will do so.
Continuing on a similar theme, Mikel Arteta also reported no fitness issues with the Arsenal squad ahead of the Manchester City game – although Calum Chambers is a long-term absentee and Lucas Torreira‘s match-readiness is uncertain.
When asked about his young players getting a look-in, Arteta replied:
In our case we have five games in 15 days, that’s a game every three days. We don’t know how the players are going to respond physically because we have had a really short preparation time. We have to use them.
On Eddie Nketiah, Arteta added:
I am convinced that he is the right player for us, to move us to the next level and that he can contribute in a big way to the way we want to play. He has been fantastic so far.
The Arsenal boss confirmed that he was “extremely happy” with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang amid rumours about the striker’s future.
Carlo Ancelotti was speaking to Everton’s own media department on Tuesday, saying of his walking wounded:
Andre Gomes is training with the team so he is not going to have a problem for Sunday. The physical condition of the team, in general, is good and we are looking to recover Yerry Mina and Fabian Delph.
Mina has a check on Wednesday, so we will see with him [if he is ready to face Liverpool]. We have to check on Fabian Delph, also. They are both close to coming back to training but remain doubts for the game on Sunday. If [Mina and Delph] do not play, we hope they will be with us for the match at Norwich, for sure.
Theo Walcott had surgery last week, we hope he will not be long in recovery and can be ready to come back with us [in training] in three weeks.
On Leicester City’s injury situation, Brendan Rodgers told BBC Leicester Sport on Monday:
A couple that we’re just keeping an eye on. Ryan Bennett had a sore ankle after one of the games last week. Ayo Perez has been out for a few days but he should return to training now. Apart from that, everyone’s in really good condition.
Ricardo Pereira is out long term for the Foxes.
After Newcastle United’s weekend friendly against Hull City, meanwhile, Steve Bruce said:
The good thing is that everyone’s come through it OK. 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.
Craig Shakespeare said after Watford’s win over Brentford:
Masina didn’t start as he took a slight knock in training yesterday. It’s precautionary. Same with Kiko and Will Hughes, precautionary. We are expecting everyone to be training on Sunday if not Monday.
Watford added that the “only players definitely unavailable” for Gameweek 30+ will be Gerard Deulofeu and Daryl Janmaat.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer didn’t report any injury concerns when speaking to the Manchester United website on Tuesday but, like Guardiola, did threaten rotation in the weeks ahead, saying:
Well, we hope everybody’s going to be ready for the first game. We’ve had time out so I don’t think we can expect that those lads who’ve missed lots of the football can last the full game.
We can use five subs and have nine on the bench. I think that’s helpful because footballers, after being out for so long, going into competitive games will be a challenge for them and we have to look after them injury-wise and fitness-wise.
We can’t just flog one player and say to them, ‘you play every game and every minute’ because it might be a period when we have to rotate quite often.
Spurs’ Japhet Tanganga is set to miss out on the Double Gameweek 30+ clash with United with a stress fracture to his back, according to the Telegraph.
Dele Alli will be suspended, meanwhile.
Mohamed Salah and Andrew Robertson were involved in an intra-squad match at the weekend, 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.
Injury doubts still surround Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes ahead of Gameweek 30+ for Burnley, meanwhile.
Jorginho will miss Chelsea’s clash with Aston Villa through suspension, while Southampton’s Moussa Djenepo begins a three-game ban.
More detailed information and predicted line-ups can be found in the Team News tab, which will be gradually refreshed on Monday and Tuesday.
We’ll keep you posted on any further developments in a video round-up with Neale and Andy on Tuesday afternoon.
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