Coming out of a Champions League gameweek, it’s always wise keeping on the injuries and suspensions accumulated at the big clubs. There may just be opportunities for underdogs to thrive if the elite are laid low with absentees.
So if you plan on having a flutter on the Premier League this weekend or have a fantasy team to set, make sure you know the in’s and out’s….
Leicester City vs Stoke City (Saturday, 12:30pm)
Leicester’s only confirmed injury absentee is Shinji Okazaki, who has a bad knee. Claude Puel must decide whether to bring in fit-again captain Wes Morgan in defence or continue with Aleksandar Dragovic.
Paul Lambert will have to make do without football’s ultimate Plan B, Peter Crouch, who has an ankle injury. Bruno Martins-Indi should be fit to return, however.
Bournemouth vs Newcastle United (Saturday, 3pm)
Some good news for Bournemouth fans this week: Jermain Defoe is back in training following his foot injury. He won’t be ready to feature here, however, and nor will Tyrone Mings.
Islam Slimani could make his full Newcastle debut here after shaking off a thigh injury, while defender Ciaran Clark could also return. Jesus Gamez remains sidelined for the foreseeable future, however.
Brighton vs Swansea City (Saturday, 3pm)
There are no new injury concerns for Chris Hughton to worry about at Brighton, and so Jiri Skalak, Isaiah Brown and Steve Sidwell remain his only absentees.
The ever-cheery Carlos Carvahal has every reason to be chipper this week: key defender Alfie Mawson should have recovered from a knee knock to start here. Renato Sanches, Leon Britton and Angel Rangel remain sidelined however, and Leroy Fer and Wilfried Bony won’t kick a ball again this season.
Burnley vs Southampton (Saturday, 3pm)
Late fitness tests will dictate whether Chris Wood (knee), Scott Arfield (calf) and James Tarkowski (groin) are able to take their place in Sean Dyche’s starting eleven. Tom Heaton, Jon Walters and Dean Marney could all return next week.
Mauricio Pellegrino believes that Shane Long and Sofiane Boufal will be ready for this trip north, although Charlie Austin, Steven Davis and Maya Yoshida all remain sidelined.
Liverpool vs West Ham (Saturday, 3pm)
Adam Lallana, Joe Gomez and Ragnar Klavan are all back fit for Liverpool, which means Jurgen Klopp has just one injury absentee – Nathaniel Clyne.
Manuel Lanzini could make his long-awaited return for West Ham, and David Moyes is hopeful that Winston Reid will also take his place at the heart of defence. Arthur Masuaku is suspended, Andy Carroll is targeting an April return and Pedro Obiang is out for the season.
West Brom vs Huddersfield Town (Saturday, 3pm)
Beleaguered Baggies boss Alan Pardew can call upon Kieran Gibbs, Hal Robson-Kanu and Jake Livermore here; the latter being part of the infamous Barcelona knees-up that landed he and a trio of his West Brom teammates in hot water. Daniel Sturridge is out, and James Morrison and Nacer Chadli are still weeks away from a return.
Aaron Mooy is still struggling with a knee injury and will watch on from the stands here. The Aussie will be flanked by Sean Scannell and Elias Kachunga, although Chris Lowe and Michael Hefele could both feature in David Wagner’s plans.
Watford vs Everton (Saturday, 5:30pm)
Watford may finally be able to welcome back Will Hughes, Younes Kaboul and Tom Cleverley after their various ailments, although Miguel Britos and Kiko Femenia are struggling. Almost definitely out are Heurelho Gomes, Christian Kabasele and Molla Wague.
Everton have something of a defensive crisis: Coleman, Baines, Mangala and Jagielka are all struggling for fitness, while midfield shield James McCarthy is also absent.
Crystal Palace vs Tottenham (Sunday, 12:00pm)
Crystal Palace’s injury woes don’t get any easier, although Mahmadou Sakho and Martin Kelly could return here. Wilfried Zaha and Jeff Schlupp are doing light fitness work, although there is no return in sight for messrs Sako, Speroni, Loftus-Cheek, Dann and Puncheon.
Tottenham play Rochdale in an FA Cup replay next week, so how will they line up here? You suspect Mauricio Pochettino will field a strong starting eleven, and he has a full and fit squad to choose from.
Manchester United vs Chelsea (Sunday, 2:00pm)
Jose Mourinho will be hoping that Ander Herrera (hamstring) and Phil Jones (knock) are fit to start against his old club. Marouane Fellaini, Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo are definitely out, although the word is that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is creeping back towards full fitness.
Chelsea have a trio of injury concerns but none of them will trouble Antonio Conte too badly here: it’s unlikely that David Luiz, Tiemoue Bakayoko or Ross Barkley would have started here anyway.