Whether you like the international break or not (let's face it--nobody likes it) happening this early in the season, it has come and gone. With it have come injuries, delayed returns for players, and a lull in the early portion of the Premier League season. However, we get rewarded for our patience with a wonderful matchup, as the Manchester Derby will open the weekend's festivities on Saturday morning.
There have been a lot of players whose playing status has been impacted in the past two weeks, but fret not. We are here to help you navigate the tricky waters and make those last-minute transfers for your team!
We've been waiting for two weeks to see this matchup, and it's finally here. Jose versus Pep. Paul Pogba versus David Silva. Zlatan Ibrahimovic versus Sergio Aguero....oh, wait, that's not happening. The Argentine striker decided to take a cheap shot at Winston Reid, and now he will sit out for three matches after the FA suspended him three matches for violent conduct. With Wilfried Bony shipped out of town, it appears the only direct replacement for him will be Kelechi Iheanacho, although Nolito or Raheem Sterling might play up top. However, City could also play with a false nine, which would raise the value of players such as Silva or Kevin De Bruyne even higher than usual.
In other City team news, Bacary Sagna has claimed that he is ready to return, and should be a game-time decision. It's also possible that Ilkay Gundogan could make his debut, although that will likely not be known until the team sheet comes out as well. However, it has been announced that Claudio Bravo will make his debut between the posts for the Citizens, after Joe Hart was shipped out of town.
For the hosts, there is some bad news, as Mourinho might finally have to make a few changes to the lineup. While he is not injured, Antonio Valencia is not set to return from international duty until Friday, which means he could make way for Matteo Darmian on the right. In addition, Luke Shaw has a leg knock that should be healed in time, but is still a concern. On the bench, Henrikh Mkhitaryan was injured last week during a friendly and returned to Manchester for treatment, but it is still unknown what his status will be for the derby.
The biggest lineup news from this match is the likely debut of Jack Wilshire, following his deadline-day move from Arsenal. On loan for the season, he should slot right into the Cherries' midfield immediately, and will be relied upon to control the attack. As for injuries, the team has a clean bill of health for the first time since entering the Premier League. They could see the return of Junior Stanislas. The wide player actually played at right-back in a friendly against Milan over the weekend, but that was most likely an experiment, as he should return to his attacking wing position this weekend.
West Brom is getting close to seeing Chris Brunt return to the lineup--but not quite yet. Luckily for the visitors, that is really their only major injury issue. Jonathan Leko was injured against Middlesbrough on August 28, after coming in as a substitution, but he appears to be fit and ready to go. It will be Nacer Chadli that you will need to keep an eye on, as his move from Tottenham will be looked at to reinvigorate the team after a rough start to the season.
Middlesbrough v. Crystal Palace
The hosts will be without Fabio for this match, as he was injured in a cup match against Fulham before the international break. However, that is the only player that should be out this weekend. Alvaro Negredo should have a chance to continue his solid start, but it will be a game-time decision whether Brad Guzan or Victor Valdes start in goal.
Palace, on the other hand, have some question marks coming into the match. Loic Remy, who was expected to help with their scoring woes, was injured this week and has returned to Chelsea for treatment and might not return for two months. However, Christian Benteke should get his debut at striker following his big-money move from Liverpool. In the midfield, Yohan Cabaye and James McArthur both pulled out of international duty to nurse injuries, and both will be looked at for late fitness tests prior to the match. McArthur is likely to be fit, but Cabaye is less likely to participate. Mathieu Flamini was signed on Thursday, and it's very possible he could get a start right away in the midfield.
Stoke City v. Tottenham
Stoke City badly needs to regain their form, and the addition of Bony and Bruno Martins Indy on deadline day should greatly help their chances. However, the Potters will be without Jack Butland for a few months, as he had a second surgery on his ankle during the break. Xherdan Shaqiri will also miss out on the match due to his calf injury, and Ibrahim Afellay, Glen Johnson, and Mame Biram Diouf will also be unavailable for selection.
For Spurs, they will continue to be without Moussa Dembele, who is serving the final match of his six-match ban from last season. In the midfield, we will likely see the debut of their big signing, Moussa Sissoko, signed just before the deadline from Newcastle. We will likely also see Ben Davies slot into the lineup, as Danny Rose will miss out after an injury with the England national team. Most importantly for the visitors, Hugo Lloris will regain his spot in goal, as it was confirmed that he will return from his injury in the first match of the season.
After fielding a team sheet that didn't include a fully fit bench, Hull made a fair amount of moves at the deadline to bolster their roster. Club signing Ryan Mason joined from Spurs, and was joined on the club by Jake Livermore, Tom Huddlestone, and Michael Dawson. It is unclear which of them will get the start at the moment, but my money would be on Huddlestone and Mason finding their way into the side right away. They will be without Greg Luer, still recovering from injury, and it appears Brian Lenihan is still a few weeks away.
For Burnley, Scott Arfield played twice for Canada during the break, so he might find himself rested for this match. Jeff Hendrick is likely to get his debut for the hosts after his move from Derby County. Patrick Bamford, another new signing, is likely to start on the bench.Dean Marney is likely to be recovered from his injury against Chelsea, but it is unsure if he will make the starting XI.
West Ham United v. Watford
West Ham is hoping to get the first starts of the season from Dimitri Payet and Sofiane Feghouli, while new signing Simone Zaza is likely to plug in at striker right off the bat. Andy Carroll and Andre Ayew are still weeks away from returning, and Diafra Sakho is still out, so Zaza should get starts the next few matches. Winston Reid should return from his facial injury at the elbow of Aguero, and Havard Nordveit is also healthy for the match.
Watford is likely to deploy Daryl Janmaat on the right in his first appearance since signing, and Robert Pereyra, after scoring as a substitute, is likely to get his first start. Craig Cathcart will be a likely scratch, but there are no other injuries that should impact the visitors.
Arsenal v. Southampton
Nacho Monreal looks like he will return to the lineup, after leaving the match against Watford two weeks ago with an injury. It is possible that Aaron Ramsey could be fit, but unlikely at this point. Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil will both likely star in midfield, and new signing Shkrodan Mustafi is likely to slot into the defense right away, partnering with Laurent Koscielny to shore up the back line. New signing Lucas Perez will probably be on the bench backing up Olivier Giroud, who is fit again and should start at striker.
For the visitors, it will be difficult to get their first win against the Gunners. However, their chances are boosted by the signing of forward Sofiane Bufal, although he won't be able to help them this month as he will be out until October with an injury. Frasier Forster will give them a boost as he returns from injury to start in goal for the Saints.
Liverpool v. Leicester City
This matchup is going to be a solid one, and Liverpool will likely field their best starting XI possible. The majority of the injuries for the hosts are to players who would not be in the lineup for a match of this magnitude, with only Mamadou Sakho possibly making the list. However, he is still out likely for another match or so. James Milner will again likely start at left back, and Roberto Firmino will lead the attack.
For Leicester City, there are probably going to be a few changes after the transfer deadline. Record signing Islam Slimani will partner with Jamie Vardy in attack, and Ahmed Musa is likely the odd man out, although it is possible he could slide out to the left flank in place of Marc Albrighton. Kasper Schmeichel is fit to return, but Papy Mendy and Jeff Schlupp will not be fit.
Swansea City v. Chelsea
There is little news from this match, honestly, as both sides will probably field their best teams. Swansea City will possibly see the return of Borja Baston, as he could find his name on the team sheet at the striker spot. However, it is more likely that he will debut on the bench with Fernando Llorente starting.
For the visitors, David Luiz will immediately slot back in alongside John Terry, with the remainder of their lineup the same. Eden Hazard has been enjoying terrific form so far this season, and he should have another solid match this time out.
The Monday afternoon matchup has some interesting lineup changes possible. Lee Cattermole is still out for Sunderland, alone with Sebastian Larsson, Vito Mannone, Fabio Borini, and Victor Anichebe all unavailable. Sunderland have had to make an emergency signing at keeper, with Mika joining the team late this week.
Everton, on the other hand, should have a lot of great options to pick from. Yannick Bolasie is likely to start following his move, with James McCarthy and Tom Cleverley still recovering from injury. Romelu Lukaku should cause problems all day for the Sunderland defense, and with a new keeper with little chemistry directing them, he's a great option for a breakout performance this weekend.
Well there you have it, it's time to make those final selections and lock in your healthy lineup. Who will you be looking at, based on injury news, for your lineups? Who will captain your team now, with Aguero set to miss three matches? Discuss in the comments section below!