Aaron Ramsey (£7.1m), Granit Xhaka (£5.2m) and Laurent Koscielny (£5.4m) are all being assessed
ahead of the trip to Everton on Sunday. Lucas Torreira (£4.7m) serves the final game of a three-match ban. Ramsey trained today, while Xhaka and Koscielny did not. Unai Emery said
on Friday: “We are waiting on tomorrow’s training, some players – Xhaka, Koscielny – didn’t train with us today. They are working with the physios. Today Aaron Ramsey started training normally and the other players are well.”
On the form of Mesut Ozil (£7.9m), Emery added: “He is working very well and playing well. He is helping us. I am very happy with him. Now in the team we have a good atmosphere, good spirit. Each player is helping us with his quality and good behaviour. This is the spirit I want. They are doing that and Mesut is also.”
Asked about his use of players in attack, the Arsenal boss explained: “Each match is different and each match we need tactically to play with three or four [in attack], sometimes with five, it depends on the opposition. It depends, above all, on the quality with our players. Alexandre Lacazette (£9.4m) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£10.8m) can play together or [else] one [plays], another [is] in the bench. It depends in 90 minutes how we can respond tactically with two or one.”
Considering Emery’s comments on his strikers, penchant for rotation and Arsenal’s Europa League quarter-final first leg at home to Napoli on Thursday, changes in his XI would be no surprise. Henrikh Mkhitaryan (£6.8m) and Alex Iwobi (£5.4m), who started on Monday, will both be pushing for inclusion.
On team news, Eddie Howe said: “Adam Smith (£4.3m) is improving. I don’t know whether he will be fit enough to return, you have to be very careful with hamstring injuries. Dan Gosling (£4.7m) and Junior Stanislas (£6.0m) both came through last week fine and will be available for selection.” Charlie Daniels (£4.1m) is also a doubt with an ankle issue. If neither he nor Smith are passed fit, Diego Rico (£4.1m) could earn a start.
Howe made no mention of his goalkeeping selection this morning. Asmir Begovic (£4.3m) returned to the manager's XI in DGW32 ahead of Artur Boruc (£4.1m). On that decision, Howe told the Bournemouth Echo last weekend: “I have always said I feel like I have two number ones. Asmir trained very well and deserved to play. I have got two very good goalkeepers and they are both very experienced. I have no doubts that they will do a very good job for the team.”
Peter Crouch (£4.5m) is sidelined for the Clarets following an appendix operation, while Sean Dyche did not report any other issues in his squad. On the striker, the Burnley boss said: “We’ll find out more off the specialist, but they’re reasonably happy so far. On the one hand they say an appendix doesn’t do a lot, but when it flares up you’ve got to be careful with it and we’ll have to wait on a specialist view.”
On rotation, Maurizio Sarri said: “Of course [it’s hard to change the team after Brighton win] but I have to consider that in this moment of the season we need to change. We played 51 matches and then in the last part of the season I want 20 players completely involved in our targets.”
Asked if Callum Hudson-Odoi (£4.2m) will start against West Ham, the Chelsea boss stated: “I don't know, I have to decide who is going to play against West Ham and Slavia Prague.” The Blues travel to face the Czech Republic outfit in the first leg of a Europa League quarter-final three days after their BGW33 fixture. On the possibility of Ruben Loftus-Cheek (£5.2m) earning regular starts, Sarri added: “Maybe, but we need to check every day the condition of his back. This morning he had only a recovery session because he needs time to recover after a match. The problem is he probably cannot play 90 minutes.”
Gonzalo Higuain (£9.5m) dropped out of the Chelsea XI midweek, with replacement Olivier Giroud
(£7.7m) scoring in the club’s 3-0 win at home to Brighton. On the Italian striker’s form, Sarri explained: “He has to improve physically and mentally and he will be useful for us in the last part of the season. It’s not easy in the first months to play in the Premier League, it was a problem for Luis Suarez in the first season at Liverpool, in the second season he scored 24 goals. It’s not easy for a striker to play immediately well. I think he needs time to improve his condition and be suitable for the Premier League but I think he is able to do it. We are lucky because we have Giroud and he is in a very good mental and physical condition. We play every three days so we need both.”
Mamadou Sakho (£4.9m) is the only player Roy Hodgson cannot call upon at present. The Eagles manager said: “We're ok, the same as before. It’s only Mama Sakho who is out. We have a full squad to choose from.”
Hodgson could alter his XI considering Palace played twice during DGW32. He added: “It's a short turnaround for us this week which is never easy but I'm hoping I'll see a good reaction and we'll go up and give [Newcastle] the type of game which will enable us to pick up points.”
Marco Silva did not report any fresh injury issues at his press conference, with Yerry Mina (£5.4m) still sidelined. On whether Jordan Pickford (£4.9m) is in the right frame of mind to play following last weekend’s events, Silva stated: “No problem, no problem at all. No-one is happy with the situation, it wasn't a good thing to happen on his day off. It's something he is not to do as a football player. But now it's done, we've already spoke and the matter is finished in this moment. We have a full focus during the week to prepare for the coming match.”
On injuries in his squad, Jan Siewert said: “Terence Kongolo (£4.3m) had a small problem today, we will look how he develops. Philip Billing (£4.5m) has a back problem. Matty Daly (£4.5m) has an illness so couldn’t train properly.”
Issac Mbenza (£5.9m) could be available, while Laurent Depoitre (£5.1m) may not be ready for BGW33. Siewert added: “Lolo (Laurent Depoitre) is back in training now, but not in full training. He hasn’t had it for two weeks. It took time because his foot had problems. Isaac (Mbenza) is in training. He could finish his second week now, so he could be an option. DD (Demeaco Duhaney) is just back in training. We have to take care of his hamstring because the injury was more serious than we thought. He’s in training now, performing and I’m excited to see him playing. Adama (Diakhaby) isn’t yet in team training, he is working on his endurance. Maybe he needs two weeks.”
Brendan Rodgers has no new injury concerns. The Leicester boss said: “Our team has been training very well. The spirit is high, and we’ve got another day to prepare. Thus far, everyone is ok.” On facing relegated Huddersfield, he added: “This is a division where you have to fight for every result, and that will be our intention.”
Marc Albrighton (£5.1m) could return before the end of the campaign. Rodgers explained: “He's progressed very well. It’s great to see him back there training and working. He's worked very hard to get back earlier than we thought. He joined the squad today (Thursday) and hopefully, in the next couple of weeks, he’ll get up to speed. He won't be available for the weekend, just short of football fitness. He’s done great to get back in before he was due. I’m sure he’ll play some part between now and the end of the season.”
Virgil van Dijk (£6.6m) is available for the Reds’ clash at Southampton tonight. On team news, Jurgen Klopp said on Wednesday: “It looks quite good [overall]. No major concerns, actually, so we have to see until the matchday obviously but after the [Spurs] game you’re probably thinking about Virg. He trained normal, everything OK. Yesterday [Tuesday] we only had a second recovery session but he was involved in that and I heard nothing different that he could maybe not train today. No, it looks all OK.” Joe Gomez (£4.8m) returned to training last week.
Fabian Schar (£4.6m) returns to contention for the Magpies after a head injury but Rafa Benitez does have some other knocks among his squad. The Newcastle boss explained: “Schar is fine – he is available. Apart from Sean Longstaff, who is not available, we have two or three issues. Isaac Hayden
(£4.4m), Mo Diamé (£4.8m) and DeAndre Yedlin (£4.5m) have some little problems and we have to check on them before the game.”
Danny Ings (£5.4m) is ineligible to face his parent club. Shane Long (£4.6m) and Jannik Vestergaard (£4.6m) face late fitness tests. Ralph Hasenhuttl said
yesterday: “Ingsy is not allowed to play so we have to have a new guy in the offensive position. Longy is back in training and Jannik trained again with the team too; he might be an option but we have Jack Stephens (£4.2m) as an alternative. It is a pity that Mario Lemina (£4.7m) is not back in training with us as well, he needed a bit more time to rest.”
On the switch to a back four last time out, Hasenhuttl explained: “The flexibility of our game is rising and that means we can play different shapes now. In the last game we switched to a 4-2-2-2 and surprised them [Brighton] a little bit; I must say I like this shape and it worked very well. This is the kind of development we need at this stage of the season, to have the ability to do something different.”
Felipe Anderson (£7.0m) and Samir Nasri (£5.1m) look set to be available for the Hammers. Manuel Pellegrini said: “About the squad, we have the continuing injuries for Carroll, Sanchez, Yarmolenko, Wilshere and Reid. Those five are not available. Felipe Anderson couldn't play the last game, and Nasri too, but they have worked with the squad. Ryan Fredericks (£4.5m) was also
injured, he’s OK.”
Asked about the form of Marko Arnautovic (£6.8m), Pellegrini responded: “It happens to players that at moments of a season a player isn't in his best moment, and they need our support. I've spoken to Marko and he wants to do better. Marko absolutely has the right mentality, and with support he will return to what he demonstrated some months ago.” On the forward’s state of mind, the Irons boss added: “I don’t think anybody can be happy. The fans are not happy, Marko is not happy but this happens to players, they are not in their best moment. They need support more than punishment. Marko wants to do things better, he is absolutely involved with our team. China is over. Anyone thinking Marko doesn’t want to be here, they are wrong. He is not in a good moment but supporting him, he will return.”
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