The international break is finally over, but unfortunately it brought with it some knocks and fatigue which could impact a slew of starting line-ups.
This is a rundown of current injury and suspension news:
Chelsea v. Leicester City
John Terry returns from a lengthy injury absence and will likely replace Gary Cahill, with David Luiz and Cesar Azpillicueta expected to remain in back. Willian is out on compassionate leave, opening a spot for Pedro or perhaps Michy Batshuayi.
For the Foxes, Danny Drinkwater is a doubt but is expected to pass fit while Nampalys Mendy will likely continue to miss out with a bum ankle. The internationals who featured during the break for the away side should be in shape for the big match at Stamford Bridge.
Arsenal v. Swansea City
Olivier Giroud remains out with a toe injury, while Francis Coquelin has passed fit and should retake the starting defensive midfield spot from Granit Xhaka. Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez are expected to be ready for action following national team duties; if either were to be rested, Alexis would seem the more likely candidate given the greater time played and distance traveled over the break for the Chilean star. But with Aaron Ramsey, Danny Welbeck and Per Mertesacker remaining long term absences on top of Giroud being out, Arsene Wenger will have difficulty showing enough restraing to keep Ozil or Alexis out of the starting 11.
Bob Bradley surely would have hoped for a less difficult task for his first fixture in charge of Swansea, and the American with the stylish hair cut (alright, maybe I’m biased!) also has to worry about fielding a team without offensive options in Fernando Llorente (rib & knee) and Jefferson Montero (calf) while Nathan Dyer remains out following knee surgery. However, defender Federico Fernandez is available after recovering from a gimpy groin and should retake his central spot from Mike van der Hoorn.
West Brom v. Tottenham
Salomon Rondon and Darren Fletcher face the dreaded game time decision due to fatigue and injury, respectively, from international duty. Saido Berahino will likely feature up top in Rondon’s place. Meanwhile, Brendan Galloway has recovered from illness and should retake his wing back spot from Allan Nyom.
As for Spurs, Mousa Dembele suffered a foot setback in training, likely putting him back on the shelf along with Harry Kane. Of the internationals, Erik Lamela and Song Heung-Min are the likeliest to be rotated out of the starting line-up due to their recent travels and travails, with Vincent Janssen and Moussa Sissoko possible beneficiaries. Danny Rose has recovered from injury and could retake his starting spot from Ben Davies.
Stoke City v. Sunderland
Joe Allen returned from international duty with a balky hamstring and is a doubt for the visit of Sunderland, with Gianelli Imbula, Bojan Krkic and Jon Walters offering fill-in options. Glen Johnson suffered a training injury and will be out for a few weeks, giving Phil Bardsley an opportunity.
For the Black Cats, Belgium’s Jason Denayer suffered injury over the break, joining Fabio Borini, Adnan Januzaj, Jan Kirchhoff, Vito Mannone and Sebastian Larsson on the long injury list. In better news, Victor Anichebe has returned to training after recovering from a groin problem but is likely to start on the bench. After coming off the bench against West Brom, Patrick Van Aanholt should be restored to the starting line-up; otherwise Jack Rodwell and Lynden Gooch offer options on the offensive end.
Bournemouth v. Hull City
Harry After returns to health following the hamstring injury suffered against Watford, while Joshua King could make a push for the starting line-up after making the bench for that game after his own recovery from a bad hammy, with Jordon Ibe likely making way in that case.
The Tigers’ injury woes continue as striker Dieumerci Mbokani will miss out due to a hamstring problem suffered on international duty; Abel Hernandez should earn the start in his place up front. Ahmed Elmohamady is raring to go following the finish of his red card suspension, with David Meyler looking to make way. Captain Michael Dawson has returned to training following a pre-season setback, but continues to build up fitness and will not make the weekend trip.
Manchester City v. Everton
Never a shock, Sergio Aguero was injured over the international break, but fortune smiles on the Etihad as Kun has passed fit for the Toffees’ visit. Fabian Delph, Kevin de Bruyne, Vincent Kompany and Raheem Sterling are all doubtful, with Sterling the most likely to start among the bunch. Defender Bacary Sanga suffered an injury for France over the break and will be sidelined for a few weeks; Pablo Zabaleta started in his place against Tottenham and should remain.
Following recovery from surgery, James McCarthy started twice for Ireland over the break, much to the chagrin of Ronald Koeman who will likely view another intensive appearance for the midfielder as too much too soon. Darron Gibson is also available following surgery recovery, while Leighton Baines has passed fit so Bryan Oviedo will likely return to the bench. Phil Jagielka and Romelu Lukaku are fine following knocks suffered during the international break. Meanwhile, Aaron Lennon could see some action but it would likely come from the bench.
Crystal Palace v. West Ham
Scott Dann has returned to training following a hamstring injury but remains out with his fitness level not yet up to snuff; with Pape Souare not close to returning, the back line should stay the same as it was against Everton. After coming off the bench in that game, Yohan Cabaye will push for a return to the starting line-up, with James McCarthur, Joe Ledley and Wilfried Zaha hoping to hold on to their spots.
West Ham’s long injury list has abated slightly with Aaron Cresswell recovering from injury, which comes none too soon for the worst defense in the league; Sam Byram, who picked up his own knock, should make way. Havard Nordtveit has also returned to training and offers an option in defensive midfield. Gokhan Tore is out for several weeks with a thigh issue, leaving Simone Zaza up front with Andre Ayew and Andy Carroll still recovering from injury.
Middlesbrough v. Watford
Middlesbrough has no new injury concerns and its international contingent offers little in the way of fatigue worry. Gaston Ramirez and Alvaro Negredo, after coming off the bench last time out at West Ham for Viktor Fischer and Jordan Rhodes, respectively, will push for starts as a more offensive-minded approach seems in order in front of the home crowd.
For the visiting Hornets, Craig Cathcart remains out with an injury, with Juan Zuniga continuing in his stead. Valon Behrami and Miguel Britos look to be game time decisions with chances to start; if Britos passes fit, Younes Kaboul would likely make way, though alternately it could be Sebastian Prodl.
Southampton v. Burnley
Ryan Bertrand and Cedric Soares are out with leg injuries, leaving Matt Targett and Cuco Martina filling in the wing back spots; Targett picked up a minor injury over the break but has passed fit, avoiding calamity for the Saints back line. On the offensive end, Shane Long is a coin toss along with Jay Rodriguez and most likely bench places are in order.
Burnley keeper Tom Heaton has recovered from an injury suffered over the break, allowing for an unchanged line-up as there are no other concerns other than long-term absentee Ashley Barnes.
Liverpool v. Manchester United
The Reds have concerns with Adam Lallana and Gini Wijnaldum attempting to get over knocks, while Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino are dealing with fatigue from Brazilian duty. However, the Monday fixture leaves plenty of extra time for those four to recover and leave the same starting line-up as seen in the victory at Swansea; Daniel Sturridge of course would certainly love to get into the picture. On the defensive end, Nathaniel Clyne and Dejan Lovren had injury issues for their international sides but have returned to training and are expected to be fine for starts.
The visiting Red Devils have passed Henrik Mkhitaryan and Luke Shaw fit for selection. Of the duo, Shaw seems more likely to start, perhaps displacing Daley Blind or Chris Smalling. Otherwise, the only question is whether Jose Mourinho wants to squeeze Wayne Rooney or Marouane Fellaini back into the starting 11 or instead keep things as they have been more recently with Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata.
As more news comes in ahead of the deadline, please share in the comments to help your fellow fantasy managers. As always, don't forget to save your teams! Good luck!