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Premier League injury update ahead of Matchday 8

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After a busy two weeks of international games, there are plenty of injury concerns for Premier League managers ahead of Matchday 8.

[ MORE: Wenger on Bellerin ]

Below is a roundup of the major injuries at each club as the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Mousa Dembele could return after making the most of the two week break and healing quickly, while Aaron Ramsey and Harry Kane remain out and it’s not looking good for Liverpool duo Georginio Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana.

Here’s the ProSoccerTalk injury report.


Arsenal

Francis Coquelin (declared fit)
Olivier Giroud (back injury, doubtful)
Aaron Ramsey (stepping up recover, not available this weekend)
Per Mertesacker (knee injury, January return)
Danny Welbeck (knee injury, January return)
Carl Jenkinson (returned in U23 game, week or so from match fitness)


Bournemouth

Harry Arter (back in full training, in squad)
Marc Pugh (back in full training, in squad)


Burnley

Tom Heaton (calf strain, should return to squad)
Ashley Barnes (hamstring injury, late October return)


Chelsea

Victor Moses (back in squad, available)
John Terry (back in squad, available)
John Obi Mikel (back in squad, available)
Kurt Zouma (knee injury, late October return)


Crystal Palace

Scott Dann (declared fit)
Loic Remy (thigh injury, November return)
Pape Souare (broken leg, April return)
Jordan Benteke (knee injury, late January return)


Everton

Phil Jagielka (thigh injury, out)
Romelu Lukaku (in full training after thigh injury)
Leighton Baines (in full training after hamstring injury)
James McCarthy (in full training after groin injury)
Darren Gibson (in full training after groin injury)
Mo Besic (knee injury, out until February)


Hull City

Michael Dawson (knee ligament injury, close to return)
Alex Bruce (Achilles injury, out until December)


Leicester City

Danny Drinkwater (groin injury, back in training and squad)
Matty James (ankle injury, no return date)


Liverpool

Georginio Wijnaldum (awaiting scan on hamstring injury, highly doubtful)
Adam Lallana (yet to train after groin injury, questionable)
Dejan Lovren (groin injury, should be in squad)
Nathaniel Clyne (knee injury, should be in squad)


Manchester City

Kevin de Bruyne (returned to full training, could return to squad)
Raheem Sterling (hamstring injury, could return to squad)
Vincent Kompany (back in training, not likely to be risked)
Fabian Delph (could return this weekend)
Bacary Sagna (hamstring injury, early November return)


Manchester United

Henrikh Mkhitaryan (thigh strain, should return to squad)
Phil Jones (knee ligament injury, late October return)


Middlesbrough

James Husband (dislocated shoulder, now available)
Grant Leadbitter (hernia, late December return)


Southampton

Ryan Bertrand (hamstring injury, questionable)
Cedric (foot injury, set to return)
Matt Targett (questionable)
Shane Long (hamstring injury, questionable)
Jay Rodriguez (groin injury, set to return)
Sofiane Boufal (in full training, could make debut as part of squad)
Jeremy Pied (ACL tear, out for season)


Stoke City

Joe Allen (hamstring injury, no return date)
Glen Johnson (hamstring injury, back in squad)
Jack Butland (ankle injury, November return)
Stephen Ireland (broken leg, February return)
Ibrahim Afellay (ACL injury, February return)


Sunderland

Jason Denayer (groin injury, out)
Jan Kirchhoff (hamstring, late November return)
Victor Anichebe (groin, back in training)
Lee Cattermole (back injury, could return to squad)
Steve Pienaar (hamstring, could return to squad)
Adnan Januzaj (ankle injury, early November return)
Fabio Borini (groin injury, late December return)
Vito Mannone (elbow, late November return)
Sebastian Larsson (knee ligament, February return)


Swansea City

Jefferson Montero (back in training, could be in squad)
Federico Fernandez (back in training, could be in squad)
Fernando Llorente (back in training, could be in squad)
Nathan Dyer (ankle injury, mid November return)


Tottenham Hotspur

Mousa Dembele (returned to training, questionable)
Harry Kane (remains out, may return to full training late next week)


Watford

Issac Success (dead leg, back in squad)
Craig Cathcart (groin injury, back in squad)
Miguel Britos (thigh injury, back in squad)
Daryl Janmaat (shoulder injury, late October return)
Jerome Sinclair (hamstring injury, no return date)
Stefana Okaka (hamstring injury, back in squad)


West Bromwich Albion

No injuries


West Ham United

Gokhan Tore (out injured, thigh injury, mid November return)
Sam Byram (hamstring injury, no return date)
Arthur Masuaku (knee injury, no return date)
Andre Ayew (thigh strain, late October return)
Diafra Sakho (Back injury, late October return)
Aaron Cresswell (returned to full training, in squad)
Havard Nordtveit (returned to training, in squad)
Jonathan Calleri (returned to training, in squad)

Infantino says closing stadiums only a short-term coronavirus solution

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FIFA president Gianni Infantino has stated that he does not support playing closed-door games as a long-term solution to avoiding the threat of coronavirus.

Serie A will play games behind closed doors for the second straight weekend thanks to the rapid spread of the disease that has infected over 800 people in Italy. Most notably, the game between title contenders Inter and Juventus will be played in front of an empty Allianz Stadium in Turin.

“I don’t think it is sustainable in the long term to play behind closed doors,” Infantino said before a meeting in Northern Ireland. “Every competition organizer ultimately has to decide what is best for him. Obviously, on the short term it can be a solution [to play without fans] in order to move on. But you cannot imagine a few months of a competition being played, several matches being played, behind closed doors.”

Infantino went on to say he “wouldn’t exclude anything” when asked about possible solutions for international fixtures coming up in March, but admitted “I hope we will never have to get into this direction. We cannot underestimate and say it’s nothing but we don’t have to overreact and panic.”

Meanwhile, English tabloids reported Friday that the Premier League could close up shop early, costing Liverpool its league title should it take place before Liverpool is mathematically crowned champions. However, the Liverpool Echo reported that the Premier League is still considering all possibilities as solutions for coronavirus prevention and that scenarios like that are at this point considered “still at a hypothetical stage.”

Some Premier League clubs confirmed they are banning handshakes around the training ground, while others have told players to tone down fan interaction for the time being. Other leagues around Europe have taken more drastic measures, such as the Swiss league which has completely shut down until at least mid-March on instruction from the government.

French goalkeeper throws ball into own net

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There’s own-goals, and then there’s own-goals. French goalkeeper Brice Maubleu scored an own-goal.

The Grenoble goalkeeper, taking on fellow Ligue 2 side Caen on Friday, threw the ball into his own net in the 18th minute to give the hosts a 2-0 lead they would not relinquish.

It appeared that Maubleu was attempting to distribute the ball to one of his defenders only to pull back at the last minute, and upon his attempt to halt the throw, he instead tossed it back towards his own net. The 30-year-old captain attempted to scramble back and stop the ball, and he very well may have, but the referee gave the goal and replays were inconclusive.

You can watch video of the brutal own-goal here.

Maubleu confirmed that was his intention after the fact. “There are dark evenings and this is one of them,” the Grenoble captain said after the match. “On the goal, I wanted to quickly set Jerome (Mombris) away, but I saw that he was not looking at me so I revised my decision and then the ball left my hands”

Maubleu recalled when French goalkeeper Steve Mandanda did something similar while playing for Marseille in 2012, throwing the ball right to an opposition attacker who easily buried the ball into the empty net. “This happens sometimes and people think that it can’t possibly happen to others. In the end, I play the ball thinking that all was still ok but apparently the ball had already gone in,” Maubleu said.

“I am disappointed because it gave our opponent a two-goal lead. I will have to quickly get back working and move on, because it will likely do the rounds on social media. The goalkeeper position is exposed and there are risks. After that, I was back in my match and made saves even though those won’t be remembered.”

The 30-year-old Maubleu has played for just Tours FC and Grenoble in his career, making two Ligue 1 appearances in 2009 before spending the rest of his time in Ligue 2.

Arsenal posts loss as Champions League absence felt

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Arsenal announced Friday a loss of £27.1 million ($34.6 million) for the most recent fiscal year, citing the combination of high player wages and a lengthy absence from the UEFA Champions League competition as the main contributing factor for the poor financial performance.

The loss is the club’s first since 2002, according to Chairman Sir Chips Keswick.

Arsenal Holdings plc released the after tax total for the fiscal year ending May 31 2019, down from a $72.1 million profit the previous year. Commercial revenues were up significantly, increasing profits from $495.6 million to $504 million. Still, operating profits rocketed to $295.8 million thanks to what the club called “continued investments in player wages.”

“Our player trading profit for this financial year was limited and this combined with a second consecutive season of Europa League football has meant the club recorded its first overall loss since 2002,” Keswick said in a club statement. “For 2019-20 we will see increased commercial revenues from Adidas and our renewed deal with Emirates, but another season outside the Champions League will continue to apply pressure to our financial results.”

The Gunners were shockingly eliminated from the Europa League on Thursday at the hands of Olympiakos in extra-time, meaning the only way they end the Champions League drought will be to charge into the Premier League top four. Currently Arsenal sits ninth in the table, six points off fourth-placed Chelsea.

Back in July, Arsenal director Josh Kroenke – son of owner Stan Kroenke – warned that the club “had a Champions League wage bill on a Europa League budget.”

3 things to know about Inter Miami and Nashville S.C.

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The Major League Soccer gets under way this weekend, and for those fans who would like to get a better feel for the league as a whole, a good place to start is the two new clubs.

[ MORE: MLS Week 1 preview ]

Inter Miami and Nashville S.C. will both get a difficult welcome to the U.S. top flight this weekend, with Nashville hosting Atlanta United on Saturday while Miami travels to LAFC on Sunday. Neither clubs are expected to be immediate playoff contenders, but as both their debut opponents will tell them, there doesn’t always have to be a learning curve for new introductions.

[ MORE: 2020 MLS season predictions ]

So, with that in mind, let’s learn more about the two expansion clubs that take the MLS total to 26.

INTER MIAMI

Seven years after David Beckham retired from Major League Soccer franchise and began pursuit of club ownership, his team finally takes the field. It has been a brutally long journey for the South Florida side, but the beginning is finally here. The roster looks solid and the coaching staff is well built, so don’t be surprised if they put up a fight in the playoff race.

1. The team is stocked with MLS veterans

Inter Miami had a clear strategy while building its initial squad – hoard experience. The team acquired USMNT midfielders Lee Nguyen and Wil Trapp, former champions AJ DeLaGarza and Alvas Powell, longtime NYRB goalkeeper Luis Robles, journeyman Juan Agudelo, and former NYCFC defender Ben Sweat. The players may or may not click together, but if one thing is for certain with Inter Miami, the club doesn’t feel as brand new when looking at the roster.

2. Matias Pellegrini will lead the way

While the squad is loaded with domestic experience, the club looked abroad for its first two Designated Players. 26-year-old Mexican international Rodolfo Pizarro joined from Monterrey for a hefty fee, and he will be critically important moving forward in midfield. Young striker Julian Carranza is injured for the first month but will be a major factor up front as well. However, 19-year-old Matias Pellegrini will likely be the club’s most important player. The Argentine is an electric player, and how he integrates with a squad full of veterans will make Inter Miami an intriguing watch early in the campaign; if he doesn’t hit the ground running, the Inter Miami attack will sputter.

3. Depth is a strength

This team may need time to gel, but it is a well-constructed roster that is built to weather a storm. The only position that looks thin is center-back where Powell and Nicolas Figal are backed up by just inexperienced Grant Lillard, 19-year-old Christian Makoun, and 20-year-old Andres Reyes. Everywhere else is covered by experience. DeLaGarza provides excellent cover for Sweat and recent college graduate Dylan Nealis. Nguyen may not be an everyday starter any more but he is as good as bench options come. Robbie Robinson will likely begin the season up front but eventually take a back seat to Carranza and be a solid option off the bench, while Jerome Kiesewetter brings European experience as well.

NASHVILLE S.C.

Making less of a splash than Inter Miami is new Western Conference members Nashville S.C. Unlike Inter Miami, Nashville isn’t starting completely from scratch, having two years in USL under their belt. Still, there are plenty of questions to be asked about how Nashville can compete on a consistent basis this season.

1. This team is strong defensively, and not so much up front

This squad is clearly built for one thing – defensive strength. Nashville brought in USMNT veteran Walker Zimmerman from LAFC who will be partnered with 26-year-old former LA Galaxy defender Dave Romney. Dax McCarty provides good cover in midfield, and while Daniel Lovitz can get forward, the full-back group doesn’t exactly scream “attack attack attack.”

On that sense, going forward may be an issue. Nashville scored nine goals in preseason, but playing against other sides’ backups for much of the time it’s hard not to take that with a grain of salt. Dominique Badji’s MLS numbers with Colorado and FC Dallas are mediocre at best and Hany Mukhtar’s production abroad doesn’t jump off the page either. David Accam can create for himself but only has 17 assists in 124 career MLS appearances, so while goalscoring can be there, the creativity is lacking greatly. Abu Danladi hasn’t quite lived up to his expectations thus far and will be hoping a change of scenery can unlock a new level, but it’s hard to see the season-long consistency there.

2. The roster is full of scrappy players

A number of guys on the fringe of the Nashville S.C. roster may actually end up contributing more than expected. Randall Leal is an exciting player who could find himself a fan favorite with his swashbuckling style of play. With the expected inconsistency up front, Daniel Rios could get a look if he can translate his USL goalscoring numbers (40 goals in 62 games) to the MLS level – obviously a major question, but also one deserving the time of day. McCarty is a well-liked player who puts in a shift in midfield, and his partner Anibal Godoy plays the crunching style expected of a Central American defensive midfielder. This team will be a grind to break down.

3. Nashville probably needs to look for a few more pieces

With only Mukhtar signed on as a Designated Player, Nashville is probably a few more key contributors away from a playoff spot. Should they hold down a respectable start to the campaign, a summer signing could push this team into contention, but as it stands the cohesion brought on by two years in USL likely won’t be enough to see them keep pace with the stronger teams in the West. With an opening trio of games against Atlanta United, Portland, and Toronto FC, it will be difficult for the new boys to hit the ground running this season, and at times it could feel like a slog.