The Late Fitness Check | Gameweek Thirty-six

The Late Fitness Check | Gameweek Thirty-six


Round 36 presents one of the biggest double game weeks of the season, with no fewer than 12 teams playing twice. That gives FPL managers a huge opportunity to score big, and they all need to count with only three more chances to do so!


Mikel Arteta maintains that Ben White, hamstring, is “still in contention” despite his absence from the training pitches this week. “He needs to train tomorrow [Saturday] ” to stand a chance of making the XI. “For the rest, there’s no news. Everyone should be OK.” Bukayo Saka and Takehiro Tomiyasu were replaced because of cramp during the win at West Ham, and both are fine. Thomas Partey and Kieran Tierney remain out.

Aston Villa

Steven Gerrard believes the ankle issue that forced Leon Bailey off last weekend is “not serious”, although the game against Burnley comes too soon. Kortney Hause remains out of contention, having been sidelined since March because of an abdominal issue. Jacob Ramsey is rated as a “big doubt” following a training ground injury, but Morgan Sanson is in contention after returning to training. Midfielder Tim Iroegbunam, 19, who made his first Premier League start in the 2-0 win over Norwich, could be handed more minutes. “He’s still learning his way. We believe we can polish him up and shape him into a strong Premier League player. We want to give opportunities to young talent; we really believe in our academy.”


Thomas Frank is “convinced” that his players will continue to “fight and push for the last three games” despite securing their Premier League status. The Bees hit the 40-point mark in GW34 and followed it up with one of their worst performances of the season at Old Trafford. Saturday is too soon for Ethan Pinnock and Sergi Canós, although next weekend at Everton is realistic. Frank Onyeka is likely to miss the rest of the season along with Mathias Jorgensen. Saman Ghoddos (ankle) has an outside chance for the two remaining fixtures following the removal of his protective boot this week.

Brighton and Hove Albion

Graham Potter confirms Enock Mwepu suffered a “slight” groin injury at Molineux in GW35 that will “probably” rule him out of the remaining fixtures. Jeremy Sarmiento has been training with the Under-23s this week, but he won’t be considered; Jakob Moder (ACL knee) is the only other known absentee heading into this round of matches.


Jay Rodríguez is unlikely to feature against Aston Villa as the forward is still having a “little bit of a hamstring issue” that forced him out of last weekend’s game just before kick-off. However, there was better news regarding Pieters and Cornet, who could come into Mike Jackson’s plans. “Erik is back on the grass and looking really good in training, and Maxwel is also back on the grass.” Ben Mee has stepped up his recovery, but he still faces a race against time to play again in 2021-22. Ashley Westwood has successfully undergone ankle surgery, and Johann Berg Gudmundsson will not feature in the remaining fixtures.


N’Golo Kanté and Jorginho are out of the game against Wolves, and Thomas Tuchel is likely to turn to Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mateo Kovacic in midfield. Romelu Lukaku could make only his fifth league start of the year as the Blues boss hints at his inclusion. “Right now, he is an important part of the squad. We signed a big player; we still have a big player. He didn’t come on [in GW35] because we had three substitutes and had to use one for Jorginho. He trained very well and maybe starts.” Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell will not feature again this season.

Crystal Palace

“Everybody trained this week, and the only one [out] is Nathan Ferguson, who is following his individual training on the field,” Patrick Vieira told reporters. “Hopefully, he’ll train with the group before the end of 2021-22 [to prepare him for pre-season].” Tyrick Mitchell is vying with Joel Ward for the left-back spot, while Wilfried Zaha might be deployed centrally as Vieira feels the 29-year-olds future could be as a striker.


“We’ve had a pretty good week with recovery for the lads, a couple of little niggles, but hopefully we’ll be the same as we were,” confirmed Frank Lampard. André Gomes will be added to the squad, but Donny van de Beek remains sidelined. Regarding the availability of Richarlison, we need to address a couple of issues: firstly, his withdrawal last weekend was fatigue-related (cramp), so that’s not a worry. Secondly, he is managing a slight ankle sprain from the Merseyside derby, which isn’t a concern. And lastly, the goal celebration that saw him throw a flare back into the crowd after scoring the winner against Chelsea. The Football Association have paused any investigation until the Police have concluded their own inquiry, which means that, for now, the Brazilian will not face a potential violent conduct charge that could result in a 1-3 match ban.

Leeds United

Stuart Dallas has successfully undergone a lengthy five-and-a-half-hour surgery to repair a fractured femur, and the defender is not expected to return until 2023. “We believe the outcome was very positive, and they say it will be a long [and full] recovery,” said Jesse Marsch. “We can safely say six months. It could be longer. Nobody wants to rush him.” Patrick Bamford hopes to rejoin the group next week, which gives him a chance to play again this season. Tyler Roberts, Adam Forshaw and Crysencio Summerville are heading in the right direction. Liam Cooper and Diego Llorente trained on Friday to give themselves a chance of a recall.

Leicester City

With their top-flight status secure and no European distractions after losing to Roma in the Europa Conference League, the Foxes’ season is at risk of petering out. Wilfried Ndidi and Ryan Bertrand are the only confirmed injury absentees, but Brendan Rodgers is likely to make changes given the quick turnaround. James Maddison is still being bothered by the hip problem that hampered him last year, and Jamie Vardy may not be risked from the start after playing 90 minutes in Rome after his recent return from injury. Jonny Evans is another player who has been managed in recent weeks with Çaglar Soyuncu and Daniel Amartey options in defence.


Jurgen Klopp may not include Roberto Firmino as the Brazilian builds fitness after injury. “I don’t know [if he will feature], but he’s ready for training. The foot thing meant he couldn’t do a lot, but we have to make sure he has a couple of sessions. It might be possible, but it might make more sense to train through the weekend.” The Reds are likely to rotate given their midweek Champions League exertions, but I feel that the most changes could come against Aston Villa next Tuesday and not against Tottenham.

Manchester City

Their focus must now shift from a disappointing Champions League exit to the Premier League with City still in pole position to retain their title. In terms of team news, there was very little to report as most questions during the press conference related to the shock loss to Real Madrid. Therefore, we remain in the dark over the fitness of John Stones (hamstring) and Kyle Walker (ankle), although Kevin De Bruyne is available. “He’s good. It was a tactical [switch on Wednesday night].” Aymeric Laporte should be OK as well.

Manchester United

Harry Maguire has trained, but Ralf Rangnick will be tempted to name an unchanged side after describing the win over Brentford as “one of our best performances in the last six months.” A game that also saw Juan Mata start in the Premier League for the first time this season. Marcus Rashford is sidelined with bronchitis, while Luke Shaw is out for the season. Paul Pogba (calf) and Jadon Sancho (tonsilitis) are trying to recover for the finale at Selhurst Park in two weeks. Fred and Edinson Cavani are fine after coming through a brief cameo on Monday night.

Newcastle United

Callum Wilson has “trained all week”, and the clubs’ leading goal scorer is on the cusp of a return after more than four months out. “He had two really tough days, and he’s come through them well. He’s put a lot of work in to get to this point. He looks in a good place, and there’s a good chance he’ll be involved on Sunday.” Although he has done bits with the squad, Kieran Trippier is “slightly behind”, and Eddie Howe will make a late call. Fabian Schär (foot) was sent for an X-ray after the loss to Liverpool, but despite being cleared of a fracture, he hasn’t been involved in the team sessions, and he faces a fitness test with Jamaal Lascelles waiting in the wings.

Norwich City

Dean Smith insists his side will not down tools despite being relegated to the Championship. “The approach is still to try to win games. We don’t want to finish bottom, and it’s still possible to finish above Watford. We want to get some momentum going into next season.” Kenny McLean, toe, and Josh Sargent, ankle, have been ruled out for the rest of the campaign after aggravating injuries last weekend. “Like Andrew (Omobamidele) and Adam (Idah), they will work to get ready for pre-season,” said the Canaries’ boss. “(Christoph) Zimmerman is still out with a groin problem.”


Ralph Hasenhüttl confirms the Saints have no fresh injury worries ahead of the game with Brentford. Following the return of goalkeeper Alex McCarthy for the Under-23s on Sunday, Tino Livramento (ACL knee) is the only absentee, with the young defender scheduled for reconstructive surgery next week.

Tottenham Hotspur

Left-back Sergio Reguilón will not be available to face Liverpool on Saturday. “He hasn’t had a training session with us,” confirmed Antonio Conte. “Honestly, I don’t know. It’s only two weeks until the end of the season, and I’m not sure if he’ll be back.” The Spaniard joins Matt Doherty, Japhet Tanganga and Oliver Skipp in the treatment room. Dejan Kulusevski should be handed a recall after teeing up Heung-Min Son twice following his introduction on Sunday to help Spurs to a 3-1 win.


Craig Cathcart and Tom Cleverley will be assessed before the trip to Selhurst Park, although both players have trained after recovering from the illness and injury that kept them sidelined for the loss to Burnley. Cucho Hernandez has returned to the training pitches, but he continues to work on an individualised programme away from the group.

West Ham United

Angelo Ogbonna is the only listed absentee and having seen Kurt Zouma and Issa Diop return to the squad in recent weeks; it seems unlikely that the centre-back will be rushed following a long-term knee injury. Craig Dawson returns after serving a one-match ban. David Moyes’ only hopes of European football next season rely on a seventh-place finish, so there should be no letting up. The Hammers have rotated heavily after playing on a Thursday evening, but it’s time to start taking risks with only three games remaining.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

There was confirmation from stand-in coach Tony Roberts that Nelson Semedo and Max Kilman will not play again this season. The 52-year-old was covering for Bruno Lage on Friday after his positive COVID test. Daniel Podence is taking part in aspects of training, and while he won’t be considered for a start, he could make the squad.


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