With another international break under our belt, which saw some truly breathtaking performances by a number of players (I'm looking at you, Cristiano and Zlatan) looking to help their countries qualify for next year's World Cup, we get back to the regular routine of Premier League play.
There seem to be a higher number of injuries after the international break, which is a little surprising given how many players used the two weeks to rest various injuries. Nevertheless, the matches will still go on, so here's what we seeing on the injury front heading into matchweek 12:
Everton vs. Liverpool
Out: Arouna Kone could miss the entire year due to knee surgery. Darron Gibson (knee) remains out for a number of months. Jose Enrique is set to have surgery on his knee, which has been bothering him for much of the season.
Not Expected to Play: Apostolos Vellios (knock) was unable to feature during Greece’s World Cup qualifying playoff match against Romania on Tuesday.
Expected to Play: Antolin Alcaraz (hamstring) has returned to full match fitness but manager Roberto Martinez has indicated he may hold him out this week. Steven Gerrard has had a nagging hip issue but he should be good to go after featuring in Tuesday’s friendly against Germany. Daniel Sturridge played for England with a thigh injury and will be given a late fitness test.
Stoke City vs. Sunderland
Out: Stephen Ireland will miss out with an ankle injury.
Expected to Play: Andy Wilkinson could still feature despite a knee issue.
Newcastle vs. Norwich City
Out: Alexander Tettey (ankle) is out for a number of months. Mark Bunn will miss four-to-five weeks after undergoing ankle surgery. Elliott Bennett could miss the entire season due to a knee injury. Ryan Taylor (knee) remains out long-term.
Not Expected to Play: Ricky van Wolfswinkel (toe) will likely miss out and could potentially miss the following weekend’s match against Crystal Palace as well.
Expected to Play: Anthony Pilkington (hamstring) did not play over the international break but has trained the last few days with the Norwich squad. Paul Dummett and Steven Taylor both appear ready to return following hamstring injuries.
Hull City vs. Crystal Palace
Out: Adlene Guedioura will likely miss at least another four weeks after fracturing two ribs and suffering lung damage during a collision in early November. Jack Hunt (ankle) continues to do light training but he doesn’t have a set timetable for a return yet. Glenn Murray (knee) remains out for the long-term. Sone Aluko (Achilles) is expected to be out until at least January. Allan McGregor (thigh) could be ready by the first week of December.
Not Expected to Play: Jonny Williams (ankle) is still likely another week away from returning. Patrick McCarthy (groin) could make his debut next weekend.
Expected to Play: Robert Brady should be ready after recovering from hernia surrey back in September. James Chester (hamstring) looks ready to make his return.
Fulham vs. Swansea City
Out: Hugo Rodallega (groin) still has a number of weeks on the sideline before a return to the pitch. Matthew Briggs remains out after having hernia surgery in October. Garry Monk (knee) may be able to return before the end of 2013. Michu is likely two weeks away from returning from an ankle injury. Pablo (thigh) is also likely two weeks away from getting back.
Expected to Play: Brede Hangeland (leg) looks set to return after being unable to play before the international break. Friday update: Hangeland has been ruled out.
Arsenal vs. Southampton
Out: Yaya Sanogo continues to sit out with a back injury. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee) is now not expected to begin training until mid-December, which means he isn’t likely to feature in a Premier League match until January. Abou Diaby (knee) remains out for the long-term. Guly do Prado remains out with a knee injury.
Not Expected to Play: Lukas Podolski (hamstring) is close to getting back to first-team action after returning to training at the end of last month. Jack Cork will likely miss out with an ankle injury.
Expected to Play: Aaron Ramsey (hamstring) pulled out of international duty for Wales but has returned to training. Theo Walcott (abdomen) is set to make his return after missing out since mid-September. Tomas Rosicky trained for a portion of this week and will undergo a late fitness test Friday.
West Ham vs. Chelsea
Out: Winston Reid (ankle) is out for another nine-to-10 weeks. Ricardo Vaz Te still does not have a definite return date after suffering a dislocated shoulder at the end of October. Andy Carroll (foot) has had his tentative return date pushed into January. Alou Diarra has just begun training and is still not close to a return. Marco van Ginkel (knee) is still months away from a return.
Not Expected to Play: Razvan Rat picked up a knock and was subbed off after just 26 minutes of Romania’s draw with Greece on Tuesday. Joey O’Brien picked up a hamstring injury while on international duty. Mladen Petric and Matthew Taylor remain sidelined with calf injuries. Ashley Cole (ribs) will be given a late fitness test after re-aggravating a rib injury while on international duty.
Expected to Play: Fernando Torres (leg) looks set to return.
Manchester City vs. Tottenham
Out: Christian Eriksen could miss up to a month with an ankle injury. Emmanuel Adebayor (knee) remains out of Tottenham’s plans.
Not Expected to Play: David Silva (calf) is still likely another week away from returning. Vincent Kompany (thigh) is close to returning, although he’s likely still a week away. Nacer Chadli continues to sit with a hamstring injury.Friday update: Chadli will be available for the match.
Expected to Play: Fernandinho picked up a knock but should be good to go after resting during the international break. Stevan Jovetic (calf) is expected to return to fitness, although he remains behind Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo and Edin Dzeko on the depth chart. Danny Rose looks to finally return from his ankle injury. Friday update: AVB said Rose is still another two-to-three weeks away from returning.
Cardiff City vs. Manchester United
Out: Michael Carrick suffered an Achilles injury that is expected to keep him out for six weeks, although there has been talk that it could cost him the whole season. Danny Welbeck could be headed for surgery to correct a fluid build up in his knee.
Not Expected to Play: Phil Jones picked up a groin injury while on international duty but could return by next week. Darren Fletcher (illness) continues to work on his match fitness after missing nearly a full year. Aron Gunnarsson injured his ankle and was subbed off after 72 minuted during Iceland’s World Cup qualifier against Croatia on Tuesday.
Expected to Play: Robin van Persie pulled out of two international friendlies with toe and groin issues but he’s fully expected to be fit for Premier League action this weekend. Nemanja Vidic suffered a concussion in United’s last match against Arsenal but should be good to go after resting during the international break. Rafael also used the international break to rest his ailing ankle. Andreas Cornelius (ankle) looks finally set to return after making it through a midweek friendly against Yeovil Town.
West Brom vs. Aston Villa
Out: Jores Okore (knee) remains out long-term. Charles N’Zogbia (calf) also remains without a specific return date.
Not Expected to Play: Joseph Bennett (back) is likely a week or two away from a return. Gary Gardner (back) is expected to resume training soon but it will be awhile before he’s match ready.
Not Expected to Play: Chris Brunt pulled out of international duty with groin and knee issues. Billy Jones is still sidelined with a hamstring injury. Zoltan Gera (knee) and George Thorne (knee) continue to work their way back to fitness. Ben Foster (ankle) is likely a week away from a return.
Expected to Play: Christian Benteke injured his knee while playing for Belgium against Colombia last Thursday and did not play in Tuesday’s friendly against Japan. However, he is expected to be fit for the West Brom match. Fabian Delph has missed the last two Premier League matches for Villa due to an illness but has recovered over the international break. Ciaran Clark was held out of international duty but is expected to be ready by Monday. Brad Guzan was also held out during the break for rest and should be good to go. Andreas Weimann was hampered by a hamstring injury before the break but is expected to return. Antonio Luna has dealt with a hamstring and other injuries over the past few weeks but the club is optimistic he’ll be good to go after resting over the last two weeks. Gabriel Agbonlahor could be ready to return from an ankle injury. Boaz Myhill skipped Wales duty to have treatment on his injured Achilles and thumb. Nicolas Anelka (groin) missed West Brom’s match against Chelsea before the international break but should be good now. Scott Sinclair (hamstring) appears finally ready to return to action.