The hectic Christmas period is one of the best times of the year for football fans, with more matches to watch than at just about any other time of the year. For players and managers though, juggling the schedule with keeping squads fit poses a significant challenge for clubs up and down the country. With that in mind, here's a look at which players each Premier League side will have to do without as matches start to become more and more frequent over the coming month. Eddie Howe's side have...
Eddie Howe's side have of one of the most daunting Christmas schedules in the league, with trips to both Manchester sides sandwiching games at home to Liverpool and away to Chelsea.
Cherries fans will therefore be thankful to have all of their regular starting XI available, with Adam Smith set to return from suspension at Old Trafford after missing this weekend's trip to Crystal Palace through suspension.
Left back Tyrone Mings and third choice goalkeeper Adam Federici are the club's only long term absentees, with back and knee problems respectively.
Many Arsenal fans must surely wonder what might have been had Santi Cazorla not had so many injury problems in recent seasons.
The influential midfielder hasn't featured in the Premier League for The Gunners since October 2016, and following another recent setback, the Spaniard is now looking to be back on the pitch early next year, having been told he was lucky simply to be able to walk again.
Arsene Wenger's only other minor injury concern is centre back Shkodran Mustafi who is expected to be back for Wednesday's trip to West Ham at the latest.
Brighton and Hove Albion
Brighton's promising start to their first ever Premier League season has seen them stick with a largely unchanged lineup throughout the opening exchanges of the season.
Manager Chris Hughton will hope to see that continue, with veteran Premier League campaigner Steve Sidwell the only man unavailable at present, with the midfielder only now returning to training following back surgery which took place at the start of September.
Burnley's strong start to the season has seen them labelled by some as potential contenders for European football.Those hopes took a hit this week however with the news that winger Robbie Brady could be out for the rest of the season after rupturing a tendon in his knee during Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Leicester.
Nick Pope looks set to deputise ably in goal for Tom Heaton, while the experienced duo of Dean Marney and Jon Walters are yet to have dates set for their return, though Matt Lowton is rumoured to be close to making a comeback from a medial knee ligament injury.
The defending champions only major worry at the moment is defender David Luiz, who's yet to set a date for his comeback from knee injury, though given rumours of a rift with manager Antonio Conte, you wonder just how involved the Brazilian would be even if he was fit.
Young midfielders Kenedy and Charly Musonda are the only other members of the squad currently out of action.
When you're embroiled in a relegation battle, it often seems as if luck is always against you. Eighteenth place Crystal Palace will certainly feel that way after goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey picked up a back injury in the warm up before Saturday's goalless draw at West Brom.
The Welshman joins a long injury list featuring first teamers such as Yohann Cabaye, Scott Dann, Chung-Yong Lee, Damien Delaney, James Tomkins and Connor Wickham. While Dann and Cabaye are close to a comeback, with fixtures against the likes of Bournemouth and Swansea on the horizon, Roy Hodgson will hoping to avoid any more injuries ahead of some vital encounters in the fight for survival.
Everton are a side that have been plagued by injuries since before the season began, with the likes of Seamus Coleman, Yannick Bolasie, and Ross Barkley all yet to feature this season and some weeks away from a return as a result of long standing injuries.
Leighton Baines is now also back on the sidelines with a calf strain, though James McCarthy is rumoured to be close to a first appearance of the season following a thigh injury.
With Rajiv van la Parra just one game away from a return from suspension following his post-match sending off against Manchester City, much of David Wagner's first choice side from recent weeks will remain available.
Midfielder Phil Billing is however still some weeks from fitness, though defenders Michael Hefele and Jon Stankovic are reportedly close to full fitness.
Claude Puel has facing just two injury concerns heading into the Christmas period, something that will please the Frenchman as he looks to continue the form that he has brought to the club since his arrival.
Midfielder Matt James could be set to return at the weekend, and although Robert Huth may have wait a bit longer to return from an ankle injury, the German is still expected to return before Christmas.
Liverpool's defensive problems this season have not been helped by injuries to a number of their back four at one point or another.
Nathaniel Clyne is expected to be out until February with a back problem, though Joel Matip is thought to be able to return sooner from a thigh injury.
Manchester City suffered a significant blow this week with the news that David Silva could miss the Manchester Derby with a knock picked up in the win over West Ham, though the problem is not thought to be long term.
Elsewhere John Stones is expected to be out until the turn of the year with a thigh problem, while full back Benjamin Mendy will be out until April with a knee issue, not that it stopped him sprinting the length of the pitch to celebrate Raheem Sterling's last minute winner against Southampton recently.
United have plenty of injury problems of their own ahead of Sunday's derby. Nemanja Matic, Marouane Felliani and Phil Jones are all doubtful but may feature, though Eric Bailly is all but certain to miss out until at least the week after.
Paul Pogba meanwhile will miss the next three matches following his sending off at Arsenal on Saturday, while Michael Carrick is out for the foreseeable future following treatment for an irregular heartbeat.
With just one point from their last five league fixtures, Newcastle supporters will no doubt be looking for something of a pick me up.
The news that club captain Jamaal Lascelles, along with Paul Dummett and Christian Atsu as the club's only injury doubts, are well rated as 50/50 for Saturday's meeting with Leicester, could well be considered something of a decent start in that respect.
With Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United all on the agenda between now and the turn of the year, Southampton will be pleased to be heading into the festive period without any major injury worries.
The only doubts surround defender Cedric Soares (hamstring), and striker Shane Long (Calf), neither of which are thought to be long term problems.
As much needed as Saturday's 2-1 win over Swansea was for Stoke, it did come at something of a price, with Bruno Martins Indi picking up a groin injury that looks set to keep him out for at least three weeks.
The expected imminent return of fellow defender Geoff Cameron will therefore be welcome news to Stoke fans. Stephen Ireland is the club's only other absentee, with no date set yet for his return from a calf injury.
No wins in their last eight games have seen the Swans slip to the bottom of the table as they face the prospect of a first relegation from the Premier League since their promotion to the top tier.
They will at least have a close to fully fit squad to call upon in the coming weeks, with Kyle Bartley close to a return from a knee injury and Federico Fernandez is also set to return having missed the last three games on compassionate leave following the death of his father.
Tottenham face the prospect of being somewhat thin at the back for the next few games, with Davinson Sanchez suspended for three matches following his red card at Watford on Saturday, and Toby Alderweireld not expected to return from a thigh problem until after Christmas.
Elsewhere, Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is hopeful to have midfield enforcer Victor Wanyama back from a knee injury before January, the Kenyan having not featured in the league since the second game of the season.
With a number of defenders still sidelined by injury, the potential return of Miguel Britos this coming weekend will no doubt please Marco Silva. Of those still out at the back, Craig Cathcart is set to be back in January at the earliest, while no dates have yet been set for Younes Kaboul or Tommie Hoban.
Further forward, Will Hughes and Isaac Success may have to wait another week until they return from thigh and knee problems respectively, while the club are hopeful Nathaniel Chalobah will be back from his own knee problem by the end of March.
West Bromwich Albion
Although there are currently several first team players on the West Brom injury list, newly appointed manager Alan Pardew is expecting some quick respite from that problem.
Pardew says that both Chris Brunt and Matty Phillips could return when The Baggies face Swansea on Saturday, and he is also hopeful of having James Morrison, Nacer Chadli and Craig Dawson back at some point during the Christmas period.
One player there is more uncertainty around is Gareth Barry, with no date yet set on when he may return from a thigh strain.
West Ham United
Injuries haven't helped West Ham's poor start to the Premier League season, but David Moyes' side could soon be in for a much needed boost.
Winston Reid, Javier Hernandez, Andy Carroll and Sam Byram all thought to be close to returns ahead of Saturday's clash with Chelsea.
Longer-term, Jose Fonte looks set to be out until late January at least with an ankle problem, while question marks remain over James Collins' return after he suffered a setback in his return after tweaking his hamstring in an Under 23's game last week.