The international break is a terrifying time for Premier League managers; they must hope and pray that none of their stars returns home with a catastrophic injury.
Unfortunately for them, Antonio Conte and Jurgen Klopp will head into big games this weekend without N’Golo Kante and Sadio Mane respectively – both struck down by injuries while representing their countries. It truly is the biggest bugbear of any top-flight boss.
Who else will be missing this weekend?
Liverpool vs Manchester United (Saturday, 12:30pm)
Two of the biggest rivals in the land meet on Saturday lunchtime, and the bad news for all those tuning in at home is that a couple of the brightest stars in their respective sides will not be taking to the Anfield turf.
Sadio Mane picked up a hamstring strain while away on international duty, and he is expected to be sidelined for the rest of October. But Liverpool fans at least have the consolation of knowing that Paul Pogba, the most expensive footballer on the planet, will also be absent as he battles a thigh injury.
United will also be without combative midfielder Marouane Fellaini (knee), while on both sides of the red divide Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marco Rojo, Nathaniel Clyne and Adam Lallana remain long-term concerns.
Burnley vs West Ham (Saturday, 3pm)
Burnley’s Tom Heaton remains a long-term injury absentee after shoulder surgery, and his deputy Nick Pope – who signed a new three-year deal at the club this week – will continue in goal.
The Clarets’ summer signing Nakhi Wells is nearing a return after surgery of his own, although Jonathan Walters will be on the treatment table for a few more weeks yet.
The trip north may have come too soon for both James Collins and Edemilson, while Javier Hernandez will be monitored after returning home late from Mexican international duty. Pedro Obiang is fit to start, however.
Crystal Palace vs Chelsea (Saturday, 3pm)
There’s good news and bad news for Crystal Palace fans: the bad is that Christian Benteke won’t be back until November after the knee injury he picked up prior to the international break has proven more serious than first imagined.
The good is that Wilfried Zaha is back in full training, and he may well be fit enough to play some part this weekend.
There’s been a double-dose of injury woe for Chelsea boss Antonio Conte. N’Golo Kante tweaked a hamstring while playing for France last week, and he may not be seen again in a blue shirt in October.
Top goalscorer Alvaro Morata is also battling a thigh injury, but he should be fit enough to play some part against the Eagles.
Manchester City vs Stoke City (Saturday, 3pm)
Sergio Aguero returned to training on Wednesday following the rib injury he suffered in a car collision, although Pep Guardiola may opt to save him for next week’s Champions League clash with Napoli – likewise Vincent Kompany, who is battling back to full fitness.
Ryan Shawcross and Bruno Martins-Indi are both definitely out for Stoke – a huge blow against a free-scoring City side, and Mark Hughes will wait and see on the condition of Joe Allen, who suffered concussion playing for Wales against the Republic of Ireland on Monday.
Swansea City vs Huddersfield Town (Saturday, 3pm)
Both Renato Sanches and Wilfried Bony are major doubts for Swansea – the former after picking up a thigh strain while training with Portugal, and the latter after returning home late from the Ivory Coast.
Aaron Mooy should make the Huddersfield squad after travelling back from Australia on Wednesday, although Steve Mounie and Collin Quaner are rated as doubtful at best. Daniel Williams should have sufficiently recovered from his broken foot to make the bench.
Tottenham vs Bournemouth (Saturday, 3pm)
Mousa Dembele, Danny Rose and Victor Wanyama all remain sidelined for Tottenham, and while this week is too soon for the trio they have all been pencilled in for some game time against Liverpool next weekend.
Josh King is rated as no better than 50/50 to make the Bournemouth side here given his tight hamstring, and Ryan Fraser, Tyrone Mings, Adam Federici and Callum Wilson remain in the stands for the time being.
Watford vs Arsenal (Saturday, 5:30pm)
Both of these teams have been ravaged by injuries to defensive players, with Prodl, Cathcart, Kaboul and Chalobah likely to be out for Watford and Koscielny, Mustafi and Chambers missing for Arsenal – with a late fitness test granted to Saed Kolasinac.
Mesut Ozil and Danny Welbeck should return for the Gunners, although checks will be made on Alexis Sanchez after his punishing international schedule with Chile.
Brighton vs Everton (Sunday, 1:30pm)
Brighton must continue to wait on the fitness of Sam Baldock and Beram Kayal, while Davy Propper may be absent for a while with a thigh injury. Tomas Hemed is suspended.
November has been slated as the return date for Seamus Coleman, Ross Barkley and Yannick Bolasie, while James McCarthy may make his long-awaited return next week. Phil Jagielka should have shaken off a hamstring strain in time to make the trip to the south coast.
Southampton vs Newcastle United (Sunday, 4pm)
Shane Long missed out on representing the Republic of Ireland on Monday night, and his hip injury looks likely to sideline him for the Saints on Sunday too.
Newcastle will be hoping that Christian Atsu will be passed fit after suffering a knee injury, although Jonjo Shelvey and Matt Ritchie should be available. Paul Dummett and Massimo Haidara are still in the midst of their rehabilitation.