Gameweek 4 is upon us and we’ve got all the important team news information in our weekly press conference summary below.
Following the pressers there was news that players from Brazil, Mexico, Paraguay and Chile will be available to play this weekend, with the threat of FIFA sanctions seemingly lifted.
MANCHESTER UNITED V NEWCASTLE UNITED
Cristiano Ronaldo is set for his second Manchester United debut but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wouldn’t be drawn on whether the Portuguese international would start this weekend.
“He’ll definitely be on the pitch at some point, that’s for sure.” – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Cristiano Ronaldo
Alex Telles (ankle), Phil Jones (knee) and Marcus Rashford (shoulder) are all definitely out, while Scott McTominay (groin) and Dean Henderson (illness) have returned to training but their involvement is still in some doubt.
Jadon Sancho (knock) has been passed fit, however.
Martin Dubravka (foot) and Jonjo Shelvey (calf) have been joined on the sidelines by Callum Wilson (thigh) and Ryan Fraser (ankle) but Karl Darlow could make a return to the matchday squad after his struggles with Covid-19, with Steve Bruce saying that he would “make the decision in the next 24 hours or so” as to whether the goalkeeper would be ready to start ahead of Freddie Woodman.
“We’re not going to put a timescale on it. It’s really frustrating for Callum and for us. He’s got two goals in three games as well. It’s unfortunate that he’s picked up this thigh injury. We’ll just give it as long as we can.” – Steve Bruce on Callum Wilson
While Paul Dummett (calf/match fitness) wasn’t sighted in the midweek training ground photos, Isaac Hayden (knee) was involved with his teammates and looks set to be available for the trip to Old Trafford.
CRYSTAL PALACE V TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
Cristian Romero, Giovani Lo Celso and Davinson Sanchez will definitely miss the trip to Crystal Palace as they quarantine following involvement in South America, while the international break has proved costly elsewhere for Spurs with Oliver Skipp, Steven Bergwijn and Ryan Sessegnon all picking up minor fitness issues.
Even worse than that, Son Heung-min is thought to be a major doubt with a calf problem; Nuno Espirito Santo told reporters on Friday that the South Korean was “not so well” and that he was waiting on the club’s doctors to “make a proper diagnosis”.
The Spurs boss later went on to confirm “the absence of some players who arrived with problems from the international break”, without naming names, but media reports suggest that Skipp is confident of overcoming tightness in his groin to feature.
Eberechi Eze (Achilles) and Nathan Ferguson (Achilles) have been joined on the sidelines by Jeffrey Schlupp (hamstring) but Michael Olise (back) and Luka Milivojevic (match fitness) are back in contention, have rejoined training over the international break.
Also coming into Patrick Vieira’s thoughts are Odsonne Edouard and Will Hughes, the late-summer captures who the Palace boss confirmed were available for selection.
LEICESTER CITY V MANCHESTER CITY
Zach Steffen (illness) will miss the trip to Leicester City but Kevin De Bruyne (ankle) and Phil Foden (foot) have returned to training.
“Yesterday, Phil [Foden] made his first training session. Kevin [De Bruyne] trained good the last week, part alone, part with the three/four other players who were here plus the under-18s. They feel much better.” – Pep Guardiola
Leicester’s injury situation is clearing up, with James Justin (knee) and Wesley Fofana (leg) the only two players definitely on the sidelines this weekend – along with the suspended Ayoze Perez.
Ryan Bertrand has been passed fit after his recent stint in isolation, while Ricardo Pereira (hamstring) “came through a session on Thursday and looked very good”, according to his manager, so could also be available.
Jannik Vestergaard (knee) and Jonny Evans (foot) have been back in training after their respective problems and featured in a behind-closed-doors match over the last fortnight, although Brendan Rodgers still urged caution with the pair when saying that “they’re not going to be 100%” and that the Foxes would “have to be as sure as possible in terms of how long the players can last”.
LEEDS UNITED V LIVERPOOL
Roberto Firmino will miss out despite the decision over Brazil internationals and their availability in Gameweek 4, with the striker sidelined with a hamstring injury and set to be replaced by Diogo Jota at Elland Road.
Takumi Minamino (muscle) and Neco Williams (unspecified) were casualties of the last week but Liverpool’s other internationals seemingly made it home unscathed, with Virgil van Dijk and Harvey Elliott passed fit by their manager despite picking up knocks while representing their countries
Robin Koch (pelvis) remains out but Leeds are otherwise in good shape heading into Sunday’s clash with Liverpool, with new signing Daniel James available for selection and the previously sidelined Junior Firpo and Mateusz Klich now recovered from their Covid-19 infections.
Marcelo Bielsa also confirmed in Friday’s press conference that Stuart Dallas was available for selection, with the Northern Irishman having previously exited his country’s national team squad for “personal reasons”.
CHELSEA V ASTON VILLA
Romelu Lukaku has been passed fit to start after complaining of a thigh strain while on international duty but Christian Pulisic (ankle), N’Golo Kante (ankle) and Reece James (suspended) will miss the visit of Aston Villa.
“Maybe he [previously] had some problems. He came back two days ago: yesterday he trained with us, today he trained full – no problems at all.” – Thomas Tuchel on Romelu Lukaku
Emiliano Martinez and Emiliano Buendia are both unavailable after their international commitments in a red-list country, while Carney Chukwuemeka and Jaden Philogene-Bidace both picked up injuries while away with England’s youth teams over the last week and look set to join Trezeguet (knee) and Keinan Davis (unspecified) on the sidelines.
There was better news from Dean Smith elsewhere, however, with Leon Bailey, John McGinn, Morgan Sanson, Jacob Ramsey and Bertrand Traore all declared fit and available for selection, albeit with Sanson only ready for substitute duty.
There has been no fresh word on Ezri Konsa’s fitness, suggesting the stopper is fine; Smith indeed had previously said he “thinks [Konsa] will be all right” and the defender has since been pictured in training, although did have strapping on his knee.
EVERTON V BURNLEY
Fabian Delph (shoulder) is the only confirmed absentee for Everton ahead of the clash with Burnley, although there is some doubt over whether James Rodriguez will be involved as Rafael Benitez again repeated that the out-of-favour Colombian was behind the rest of the squad in terms of match fitness.
Seamus Coleman (hamstring) is expected to feature and Tom Davies is “very close” to a return after missing the win over Brighton, while Yerry Mina and Ben Godfrey are available after a fortnight of training over the international break.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (muscle/toe) was omitted from Rafaeml Benitez’s list of injury doubts but the Everton boss did say that the striker had been been “training with pain” and has previously not been “fully fit” this season. The striker was pictured in training on Thursday, at least, so it could be another evening of playing through the pain barrier against the Clarets.
“He was not fully fit, he was making an effort to be on the pitch, he has been training with pain, so I’m really happy to see him trying in the training sessions even when he’s not fully fit. And that is why I’m expecting even more [from him].” – Rafael Benitez on Dominic Calvert-Lewin
Richarlison is available for selection, meanwhile, having escaped the mayhem that surrounds the other current Brazil internationals based in the Premier League.
Kevin Long (Achilles), Connor Roberts (groin) and Dale Stephens (ankle) remain unavailable for Burnley, while Nathan Collins (unspecified) is a doubt, having only been training with the physios as of Thursday following a withdrawal from the Republic of Ireland squad over the international break.
Maxwell Cornet also picked up a dead leg while away with the Ivory Coast but Sean Dyche said he didn’t think the winger’s issue was serious, with the Clarets set to give “a couple of standard tests” to their £15m wide-man.
SOUTHAMPTON V WEST HAM UNITED
Stuart Armstrong (calf) and Theo Walcott (unspecified) will miss the visit of West Ham, while Shane Long (illness) looks poised to join them on the sidelines after returning a positive Covid-19 test while on duty with the Republic of Ireland.
The game will also come too soon for Will Smallbone, who was set to rejoin team training on Thursday after eight months out with a knee injury.
David Moyes didn’t report any fitness concerns in his pre-match press conference, telling reporters that it was “the first time since pre-season we’ve probably felt we’ve got everybody back”.
WATFORD V WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS
Long-term injury victims Jonny (knee) and Pedro Neto (knee) remain sidelined for Wolves but there are no other known fitness issues ahead of the trip to Watford.
Bruno Lage was also handed a massive boost on Friday, with Raul Jimenez declared available for selection after the Mexican FA withdrew their request to FIFA to impose sanctions on Wolves for refusing to let their striker embark on national team duty.
Ben Foster (hamstring) and Kiko Femenia (match fitness) have been ruled out of Watford’s clash with Wolves, with the former expected back in training next week and the latter still working with the medical team after niggling groin issues.
Joao Pedro (knee) could be involved for the first time this season, however, with the striker returning to training this week after a three-month absence.
Ozan Tufan might also make his 2021/22 bow, having joined up with his new teammates for the first time on Wednesday.
Like Jimenez, Francisco Sierralta has been given the all-clear to feature.
ARSENAL V NORWICH CITY
Granit Xhaka is suspended and Mohamed Elneny (hamstring) will be sidelined for two to three weeks but the international break has given Mikel Arteta the opportunity to get some key bodies back to fitness, with Thomas Partey, Eddie Nketiah, Gabriel and Ben White all declared available for selection.
There were some fresh casualties over the last fortnight, however, with Emile Smith Rowe (illness) “not feeling good” and Sead Kolasinac (knock) described by his manager as “one of the doubts that we have”.
“He’s carrying an illness, he’s not been feeling good. The England national team was really positive about letting him go because everybody could see he wasn’t available. Let’s see how he is in the next couple of days.” – Mikel Arteta on Emile Smith Rowe
With Arteta delivering his pre-match press conference relatively early in the week, and with a number of his returning internationals yet to be assessed, there is the possibility of more names being added to the injury list or, alternatively, the likes of Smith Rowe making a full recovery.
Dimitrios Giannoulis (back) and Christoph Zimmermann (ankle) will miss out for Norwich although likely wouldn’t have troubled the starting XI anyway.
Josh Sargent will be assessed for hamstring tightness and fatigue after a late return from international duty with the USA but Kenny McLean looks to be winning his battle for fitness after withdrawing from the Scotland squad with knee trouble.
BRENTFORD V BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION
Tariq Lamptey (hamstring) and Dan Burn (knee) remain sidelined for Brighton, although the former is nearing a return and is pencilled in for a competitive playing comeback in the EFL Cup after Gameweek 5.
Solly March (hamstring) is available, meanwhile, but Graham Potter admitted that he still had to “make a decision about the amount of time he can play”, adding that “whether he’s ready to start is another thing”.
Aaron Connolly is back in light training as of Thursday following a glute problem.
Brentford’s Frank Onyeka was passed fit by Thomas Frank on Thursday, having missed Gameweek 3 following a positive Covid-19 test.
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