The Late Fitness Check | Gameweek Nineteen
With both early video games held off on Boxing Day, we can just hope that gamers stay COVID totally free ahead of video game week nineteen to keep those staying components undamaged. My greatest concern is the match at Grass Moor with Everton extended to capability. As constantly, strategy your transfers thoroughly and attempt to guarantee you have a bench of beginners. Best of luck, remain safe and have yourself a really Merry Christmas!
Mikel Arteta stopped working to offer an upgrade on Takehiro Tomiyasu, who wasn’t “100 per cent confident” of ending up the video game at Leeds due to a calf concern. Ideally, his withdrawal was preventive, and he can be consisted of at Norwich. Cedric Soares is his most likely replacement if he stops working to recuperate. Ghana have actually organized a pre-tournament get together in Doha ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations, however it looks as though Thomas Partey will not enroll till after Boxing Day. A choice on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be taken “game-by-game”, and he might lose out once again after Eddie Nketiah scored a hat-trick in the Carabao Cup. Sambi Lokonga, Calum Chambers and Pablo Marí are validated COVID-19 cases.
Aston Rental Property
Steven Gerrard informed press reporters they were “wasting their time” if they desired group news ahead of Sunday. “I don’t even know myself,” he mused. The circumstance with COVID is altering by the hour, although Rental property will invite a few of their current absentees back into the fold. Keinan Davis, Anwar El Ghazi and Morgan Sanson might be amongst those, while Ashley Young and Emiliano Buendia have actually gotten rid of knocks. Wonderful Nakamba will be sidelined for as much as 4 months after knee surgical treatment.
Thomas Frank anticipates to have basically the exact same team that dealt with Chelsea in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night. Nobody is anticipated to recuperate, suggesting the Bees might be missing out on as much as 6 gamers. Nevertheless, the circumstance has actually enhanced drastically from the 13 favorable COVID cases that triggered the video game at Southampton to be held off. Rico Henry needs to be checked after he complained of tightness in his hamstring, and a decision on Ivan Toney will be made nearer kick-off to determine whether the striker is ready to start.
Brighton and Hove Albion
Graham Potter says Danny Welbeck, Neal Maupay and Pascal Gross are all in contention, and thanks to the recent mini-break, several other players are on the cusp of a return. Adam Webster has trained, and barring a setback; he will be included. There is also hope for Joel Veltman, who was forced off at West Ham. His hamstring niggle was fatigue-related, giving him a chance, and Shane Duffy is back after a one-match ban. The Seagulls do, however, lose Yves Bissouma after he collected his fifth caution of the campaign. Lewis Dunk is currently in a knee brace and receiving injections with a view to returning ahead of the winter break in January.
A positive COVID test has hampered the recovery of Maxwel Cornet, and Sean Dyche only rates his chances of a return as a “maybe” due to the thigh injury he suffered at St James’ Park. Dale Stephens is “back amongst it”, but the Clarets will be without Connor Roberts after a “nasty infection” and Ashley Barnes, who is “making good progress” after a setback last month.
Romelu Lukaku and Callum Hudson-Odoi were able to submit consecutive negative lateral flow tests to enable a return to Cobham on Thursday, and both players should make the trip to Villa Park. Thomas Tuchel is still waiting for Kai Havertz and Timo Werner to be cleared while Ruben Loftus-Cheek (ankle) and Hakim Ziyech (calf) face a late fitness test. Andreas Christensen is over the niggling back complaint that has kept him out of the last two, and Ben Chilwell is hoping that he does not require knee surgery. A decision will be taken next month.
Joachim Andersen is in contention for a start following minutes from the bench last time out. The centre-back formed an excellent partnership with Marc Guéhi during the early part of the season, and James Tomkins could lose his place. James McArthur is training with the group, and the status of Jordan Ayew remains unclear as Ghana have arranged a pre-tournament training camp in Doha that began on Wednesday. The Eagles may have an agreement in place for him to join up later, so expect an update from Patrick Vieira to clarify the circumstance on Friday.
Rafa Benitez told reporters he was “really surprised” that the game at Turf Moor was still going ahead after his request to postpone the game was rejected. The Toffees had five positive COVID cases following the 1-1 draw with Chelsea, and when you factor current injuries, Everton are struggling to name a side with only nine senior outfield players and three goalkeepers. Included in those available for the game is Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who has actually been sidelined for close to four months, and Rafa admits it is a “massive risk” as he may be forced to play players who are not fully fit. Lucas Digne also returns after illness, but numbers are likely to be bolstered by development players, most of whom are under 21-years-old. Richarlison (calf), Yerry Mina (hamstring) and Andros Townsend (foot) are among those who are expected to miss out.
The loss of three players to injury compounded the penalty shootout defeat to Liverpool on Wednesday, and all three are flagged as doubts for the trip to The Etihad. Ricardo Pereira was caught by Tyler Morton, a robust challenge that would’ve probably have earned him a red if VAR was used in the competition. The full-back failed to make half-time. The returning Çaglar Soyuncu lasted until the hour mark after complaining of a hamstring issue, and the absence of Jamie Vardy from spot-kick duties was explained when Brendan Rodgers confirmed his leading marksman “couldn’t really move” due to muscular tightness. Daniel Amartey has already joined Ghana ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations, leaving the Foxes squad stretched following their current COVID outbreak. Kelechi Iheanacho and Jannik Vestergaard have only just returned to training, and the status of Jonny Evans remains unclear after limping off against Newcastle.
Pep was in a spikey mood on Thursday, and he wasn’t prepared to give too much away regarding his squad. It seems likely that Kyle Walker will miss out again as he is “short of full fitness”, although there were no specific details mentioned. Guardiola also chose not to clarify the decision to bench Phil Foden and Jack Grealish at Newcastle after the pair went on a night out. “In our careers, the work you do on and off the pitch is the same importance,” he said. “It’s so demanding physically and mentally – you have to live for your profession. All the time, every single second.”
Ralph Rangnick confirms his team have trained normally for the last three days after Carrington was reopened following a deep clean. United were down to seven first-team players last weekend, but now that their period of self-isolation has ended, everyone is back and working well. Paul Pogba is the only absentee as he continues his recovery from the thigh injury he suffered with the national team. That could mean a potential return for a number of gamers: Raphael Varane and Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, plus Victor Lindelof, who was replaced at Carrow Road because of breathing difficulties. “From what I saw today in training, I can say most of them, if not all, might be available, although I might have to make some different decisions who will be in the squad and the starting XI.”
Emil Krafth and Javier Manquillo are expected to recover from illness. At the same time, Eddie Howe is hopeful that Jonjo Shelvey can overcome the minor muscle issue that prevented him from lining up against Manchester City on Sunday. “He hasn’t trained with the group yet; we hope to have him back very soon. He’s such an important player for us in many different ways.” Frederico Fernandez, Jamal Lewis and Paul Dummett are all out of the festive programme, and probably, most of January, with muscle injuries. The Tynesiders will be forced into at least one change after Isaac Hayden picked up his fifth caution of the campaign.
Dean Smith will speak at his scheduled press conference on Friday. Team news updates will follow.
After returning to the training pitches, Ralph Hasenhüttl reveals Che Adams and Stuart Armstrong are in contention. Adams (hamstring) has actually missed the last two, while Armstrong has actually spent most of the season battling an ongoing calf complaint. Willy Caballero looks set to retain his place in goal with no word on the fitness of Fraser Forster and Alex McCarthy out until mid-January. Adam Armstrong is the just other concern with no reported cases of COVID in the Southampton camp.
Antonio Conte is scheduled to speak on Friday after Spurs progressed to the semi-final of the Carabao Cup with a win over West Ham. Group news updates will follow.
West Ham United
On Friday, David Moyes will hold a media briefing with updates on Michail Antonio (COVID-19) and Aaron Cresswell (back), high on the agenda. Group news updates will follow.
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.