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Here we go again, and while we know that Mohamed Salah is almost certain to remain your fantasy captain, you may not be so sure on which players will be available in game week ten. Well, look no further. Who’s fit, who’s not, and who is facing a late fitness test?
Mikel Arteta will wait until after Fridays’ session before deciding which players will be ready for the early kick-off. A sickness bug ruled Pablo Marí out of the Carabao Cup game while Ben White was withdrawn on 55 minutes as he “wasn’t feeling great”, and the centre-back is yet to train fully. Kieran Tierney is progressing after missing the last two, and Arteta admits his involvement will depend on what happens over the 24 hours. Nuno Tavares wasn’t risked in the XI against Leeds, hinting at a possible start at Leicester. Martin Odegaard is back with the group, and Rob Holding (cramp) is fine. Granit Xhaka is the only confirmed long-term casualty.
Emiliano Martinez is available after flying to Argentina for a family emergency. Dean Smith confirms the goalkeeper will rejoin the group at Bodymoor Heath on Friday. Morgan Sanson and Jaden Philogene-Bidace are ill ruling them out of the West Ham game. Trezeguet (ACL knee) may not play again this year. Leon Bailey was “blowing” following his return at Arsenal, but after a “good week of training,” a decision will be made on whether he starts. “We have to manage him carefully. He came with no pre-season and an injury from international football. He got injured against Everton, and we’ve had to wrap him in cotton wool.” I suspect Bertrand Traoré is being managed in a similar fashion. The winger trained ahead of GW9 but failed to make the matchday squad, having suffered several setbacks already this season.
Thomas Frank will decide on Ethan Pinnock (hip) and Bryan Mbeumo (hamstring) in training on Friday, but both players have a “good chance” after missing out in the Carabao Cup. “For some of these injuries, 48 hours means a lot, so we will know a little bit more tomorrow and more on Saturday,” he said during Thursdays’ press conference. Álvaro Fernández is set for his first Premier League start after imaging confirmed David Raya suffered considerable damage to his posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) in a challenge with Ayoze Pérez. The setback will keep the goalkeeper out for up to five months. “We have a big belief in Álvaro; he is a very talented goalkeeper. I am pleased that this is three months into it because he knows our principles, the way we want to do it, and the demands we have in his position.” Matthew Cox and Nathan Sheppard have been called up from Brentford’s B Team for cover. There was no mention of Vitaly Janelt or Yoane Wissa, and it seems likely that they will miss out.
Brighton and Hove Albion
Graham Potter reveals that Dan Burn will miss the trip to Anfield after picking up an injury in the Carabao Cup. “We don’t know the full extent yet, but it was his knee. It doesn’t feel as bad this morning. We just need to wait for his scan results.” Shane Duffy is an option, or Adam Webster is close to starting again following his recovery from a hamstring strain. Yves Bissouma had no reaction to his recent knee problem following minutes on Wednesday, and Taylor Richards was not risked at Leicester, but he could return to the squad. Danny Welbeck and Steven Alzate are out long-term.
Sean Dyche confirms there are “no serious bits” from the Cup defeat to Tottenham. “[Just] a couple of knocks and bruises here and there.” Wayne Hennessey had an injection to help settle a long-standing ankle complaint that was aggravated in training. Otherwise, Dale Stephens is the only confirmed absentee.
Thomas Tuchel reveals Romelu Lukaku (ankle), and Timo Werner (hamstring) are targeting a return after the international break. The German coach also provided a late update on Mateo Kovacic, who will be missing for “some” weeks after suffering a setback (hamstring) on the training pitches. César Azpilicueta, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, N’Golo Kanté and Andreas Christensen are all in contention after missing Tuesday, but Christian Pulisic is targeting GW11 despite being pictured with the group. Newcastle comes too soon for the US international after seven weeks out.
Nathan Ferguson is the only player not working with the first-team squad, although Patrick Vieira expects that to change soon. “He is doing really well, and he should start taking some part with the team in the next couple of weeks.” Eberechi Eze is much closer in his battle to overcome a ruptured Achilles. The winger has just completed his first full week with the group, and he will become a realistic option after the break. There are no other concerns.
Rafa Benitez was keeping his cards very close to his chest on Friday. “We still have two training sessions,” he said. “Some of them are nearly coming back, but I think it’s too early to say who will be there. We are waiting for some medical assessments.” That should include Fabian Delph (shoulder), André Gomes (calf) and Yerry Mina (hamstring); we already know that Dominic Calvert-Lewin will not be back before the break. Abdoulaye Doucouré is “getting better”, and the prognosis appears to be much better than initially anticipated. “It seems that he is progressing well. I cannot say exactly how long, but at least a couple of weeks. With the international break, hopefully after he will be fine.” The Toffees boss must also make a call on Richarlison following his return against Watford. “He’s getting better; he has been training well. We still have a couple of training sessions, so we will see how much he can improve. In terms of mentality, yes. In terms of his fitness, it will not be 100 per cent, but it’s getting better.”
Marcelo Bielsa confirms Jamie Shackleton, Júnior Firpo and Raphinha are “likely” to be available for Sunday. Meanwhile, Kalvin Phillips came through Tuesday with no issues, having been sidelined with calf and hip problems in recent weeks. The Argentine was unwilling to give a definitive timeline for Luke Ayling, although previously, he had spoken about his recovery that indicated a comeback around mid-November. The status of Patrick Bamford remains unclear; however, he is out of this one.
Brendan Rodgers began his media briefing with a team news update. There are question marks over the fitness of Ricardo Pereira (muscle tightness) while Ayoze Pérez has had a “bit of a bug.” Jamie Vardy returned to the training pitches following his withdrawal at Brentford. “He’s OK. He’s trained the last couple of days, so he’s fine.” James Justin should be back next month, and Wesley Fofana is making good progress, and his return-to-play timeline has shortened to late December.
Naby Keita will be available despite being stretchered off following a red card challenge from Paul Pogba. Fortunately, the injury wasn’t as serious as first feared, and the midfielder has resumed full training. “He looks good; we were all surprised, but he was obviously lucky, so I think he will be ready.” Fabinho (knee) is a “bit more complicated” and will probably miss out again. Thiago Alcántara took part in his first full session on Thursday, but the game will come too soon. “We will see what we do with him, but he is closer than he was last week, much closer.” James Milner is out until after the international break.
Ferran Torres (foot) remains out, and the Spaniard is likely to be sidelined until early 2022. On Wednesday, Pep made nine changes in the Carabao Cup, with Ilkay Gundogan (90 minutes) and Kyle Walker (45 minutes) the only players to start from the win at Brighton. Zinchenko enjoyed a rare appearance, but it sounds as though the left-back won’t be considered this weekend. “Aleks has a huge personality, handles pressure easily. Lots of quality at left-back, always concentrated, doesn’t make mistakes, so reliable. He understands football really well; we are more than delighted for the process. Kyle and Joao have been outstanding, but the season is long, and we’ll need him.”
Barring the absence of Paul Pogba, who begins a three-match ban for his dismissal last weekend, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should have an entire squad at his disposal. “[It] is a very strange position to be in, to have 25 outfield players and five keepers training. Thirty men training this week, all fit.” That puts Raphael Varane and Anthony Martial in the mix, but whether either player is sharp enough to start remains to be seen… I suspect the former could be thrown straight back in after United shipped five to rivals Liverpool.
After his ban, Graeme Jones welcomes Jonjo Shelvey back into the squad, while Martin Dúbravka competes with Karl Darlow for the No.1 jersey. The Slovakian stopper rejoined his teammates recently after four months out, and he could be recalled. Paul Dummett (calf) is the only first-team casualty, with development player Elliott Anderson (hip) also out.
Christoph Zimmermann has undergone ankle surgery that will keep him out of contention for “several weeks.” The defender has not played competitively since August. “Apart from this, the players are more or less available,” revealed Daniel Farke. Billy Gilmour returns after missing the game against his parent club, and a decision will be made on the fitness of Todd Cantwell, who played for the U23s last Friday. Sam Byram has had “back-to-back” weeks on the training pitch but after more than a year and a half out. “He is not a topic for the weekend.”
Armando Broja will not feature on Saturday against Watford after failing to recover from an ankle injury. Despite Ralph Hasenhüttl’s early optimism, the on-loan striker “will miss this game for sure,” meaning Adam Armstrong or Che Adams could return to the fold. James Ward-Prowse is back following his three-game ban, and Mohamed Elyounoussi should be OK despite having surgery on his hand. “We have one or two players with a little bit of a problem with muscles [from Tuesday night], but not that hard. We have a good selection to pick the right team.”
Bryan Gil faces a late test after a hamstring problem forced him off on Wednesday. Matt Doherty returned to the matchday squad at Turf Moor, but the right-back is way down the pecking order since the arrival of Emerson. Ryan Sessegnon will “take longer”, and Nuno must decide whether to include Harry Winks and Dele Alli against Manchester United after they were omitted midweek: “This is what the squad is. Making decisions and taking advantage of the movement, the talent. What we want for the game.”
Danny Rose has recovered from a minor calf injury, with the defender returning to full training this week. However, I would be amazed if Claudio Ranieri tinkers with his side too much after a comprehensive win at Goodison Park. Fellow full-back Kiko Femenía remains a doubt due to the hip injury he suffered against Liverpool two weeks ago. Francisco Sierralta is making “good progress”, but Saturday comes too soon, and Christian Kabasele continues to work on an individualised recovery programme. Peter Etebo (thigh) is still some months away from a return after surgery, and forward, Emmanuel Dennis will miss the game after receiving his fifth caution of the campaign.
West Ham United
David Moyes said things were “getting better” in the treatment room following the return of Vladimir Coufal on Wednesday, while Alex Kral is also back after a period of self-isolation. “He’s in a better place now, so we’re good.” An ongoing groin problem continues to hamper Ryan Fredericks. “Like everyone, we’ve got some knocks and niggles and things behind the scenes, but hopefully, we’ll be fine.”
Bruno Lage confirms Willy Boly has recovered from illness, but Wolves will again be without Fernando Marcal (calf), who was replaced by Ait Nouri in game week nine. The Wanderers are unbeaten in five matches across all competitions, and the new boss is pleased with how life has started at Molineux. “I am happy, but I want more. I say that to the players every day and push them to the limit. I don’t want anyone to be comfortable in their position.”