With league matches last weekend, this midweek and then again in this upcoming weekend, a number of managers shifted their starting XIs to give certain players rest or avoid hampering injuries further. For example, Olivier Giroud, Roberto Soldado, and Alvaro Negredo were all held out of their Wednesday's fixtures, whereas Christian Benteke didn't come on until 65 minutes into Villa's match.
Regular lineups are expected to return this weekend, although there are still a few high profile players who will be missing, such as Leighton Baines, and Daniel Sturridge, while Robin van Persie is also expected to miss out. There are a few other players heading for late fitness tests, so be sure to check for updates before you finalize your fantasy roster for gameweek 15.
Manchester United vs. Newcastle
Out: Wayne Rooney is suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card Wednesday. Michael Carrick (Achilles) is still weeks away from returning. Darren Fletcher (illness) played another 90 minutes for United’s U21 side, as he works his way back to match fitness. Ryan Taylor (knee) remains out long-term.
Not Expected to Play: Robin van Persie continues to battle a groin injury and manager David Moyes does not know when RVP will return. Papisse Cisse was slated to start Wednesday’s match against Swansea but picked up a heel injury during warmups.
Expected to Play: Hatem Ben Arfa was held out of Wednesday’s match due to an illness but he’s set to be recalled.
Southampton vs. Manchester City
Out: Victor Wanyama is out up to six weeks after chipping a bone in his leg during Wednesday’s match against Aston Villa. Artur Boruc is out for up to six weeks with a broken hand. Kelvin Davis sits with a back injury. Guly do Prado (knee) could return in January. Matija Nastasic (calf) could return in two-to-three weeks.
Not Expected to Play: Nathaniel Clyne was forced off of Wednesday’s match with a hamstring injury. Gaston Ramirez could be held out due to illness. Morgan Schneiderlin missed the Villa match with a groin injury.
Expected to Play: David Silva (calf) is likely to return. Stevan Jovetic (calf) is also expected to be available for selection. Friday update: Silva and Jovetic are both unlikely to play, with Silva possibly returning next week against Bayern Munich.
Stoke City vs. Chelsea
Out: Marco van Ginkel (knee) is a long-term injury. Robert Huth is out for a number of weeks after having knee surgery.
Not Expected to Play: David Luiz (knee) is likely a week away from returning. Friday update: Luiz has been ruled out.
Expected to Play: Oscar missed Wednesday’s match against Sunderland after suffering an ankle injury last weekend against Southampton, but he seems ready to return. Samuel Eto’o (hamstring) is scheduled to return, although he may not be inserted back in the lineup so quickly.
West Brom vs. Norwich City
Out: Jonas Olsson is out due to suspension. Anthony Pilkington (hamstring) is likely to return in January. Robert Snodgrass (knee) may return around Christmas-time. Mark Bunn (ankle) is still weeks away from returning. Alex Tettey (ankle) is expected back in February. Elliott Bennett (knee) remains a long-term injury. George Thorne (knee) remains out for the long-term.
Not Expected to Play: Ricky van Wolfswinkel (foot) is likely another week away before coming back. Ben Foster (ankle) is likely another week away from being available.
Expected to Play: Nicolas Anelka (groin) and Scott Sinclair (hamstring) could return from their injuries.
Crystal Palace vs. Cardiff City
Out: Adlene Guedioura (ribs) will try to return before the end of 2013. Jack Hunt (ankle) could be a week away from match action. Glenn Murray (knee) is supposedly on track to return in January.
Expected to Play: Jerome Thomas (ankle) and George McCarthy (groin) are on track to finally return. Craig Bellamy (hamstring) missed Wednesday’s match against Stoke but should be good to go this weekend.
Liverpool vs. West Ham
Out: Mladen Petric remains sidelined with his calf injury. Winston Reid (ankle) is likely at least another eight weeks away from getting back. Ricardo Vaz Te still does not have a return date from his dislocated shoulder. Andy Carroll (foot) continues to work his way back, although he does not have a return date yet. Alou Diarra (knee) could miss the rest of the season. Daniel Sturridge (ankle) could miss at least six weeks. Jose Enrique (knee) will try to get back by February. Sebastian Coates (knee) remains a long-term injury.
Sunderland vs. Tottenham
Out: Christian Eriksen (ankle) may be able to return later this month. Danny Rose (ankle) is expected to resume training this week and could return within 10 days. Then again, we’ve heard that before.
Not Expected to Play: Mousa Dembele was expected to start Wednesday’s match against Fulham but was pulled due to a hip injury. Jan Vertonghen suffered an ankle injury in Wednesday’s match. Friday update: Vertonghen has been ruled out. Emmanuel Adebayor has been battling a knee injury. Friday update: Adebayor has been ruled out.. Carlos Cuellar (hip) is likely another week away from returning.
Fulham vs. Aston Villa
Out: Jores Okore (knee) will likely miss the rest of the season. Charles N’Zogbia (calf) has no timetable for a return. Hugo Rodallega (groin) could return in two weeks.
Not Expected to Play: Ron Vlaar had to be replaced at halftime of Wednesday’s match against Southampton due to a calf injury. Matthew Briggs is likely another week away.
Expected to Play: Joseph Bennett (back) appears ready for a return. Brede Hangeland could return after dealing with a sciatic nerve issue in his leg.
Arsenal vs. Everton
Out: Ryo Miyaichi remains out with a hamstring injury. Yaya Sanogo (back) could be back in the middle of January. Lukas Podolski (hamstring) is expected to resume full training shortly and could be ready for game action by next weekend. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee) will likely get back in January. Abou Diaby (knee) is expected back in March. Leighton Baines (toe) is expected back in January. Arouna Kone (knee) could miss the rest of the year. Darron Gibson (knee) remains out for the long-term.
Not Expected to Play: Mathieu Flamini suffered a groin injury in Wednesday’s match against Hull City, although he was able to play the full 90 minutes. Bacary Sagna missed Wednesday’s match and he has no clear timetable for a return.
Swansea City vs. Hull City
Out: Garry Monk (knee) will try to return before January. Stephen Quinn could return by the end of December. Sone Aluko (Achilles) is targeting a January return, although it could be later.
Not Expected to Play: Alvaro Vazquez was forced off after 28 minutes in Wednesday’s match against Newcastle with a groin injury. Angel Rangel remains sidelined with a calf injury. Wilfried Bony is likely another week away due to his hamstring injury.
Expected to Play: Michu (ankle) has returned to light training and may be fit by Monday. Paul McShane could return from his hamstring injury.