Around the Grounds FPL Team News Gameweek 15
Welcome to Around the Grounds FPL Team News Gameweek 15. Good day folks, here we are again, another Friday, another Around the Grounds as the Christmas schedule really starts to kick in now. On that subject, firstly be informed that after GW15, we have another game-week starting on Tuesday as GW16 takes place in midweek. So be prepared for with any luck some of our mini league opponents won’t be!! OK, back to GW15, let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. It’s a 2-day game-week and starts at Watford on Saturday lunchtime as Everton come to town. Four 3pm matches follow – Arsenal ‘welcome’ Stoke to the Emirates, Bournemouth travel to Burnley, Hull host Palace and it’s huge at the bottom as Sunderland meet Swansea down in the valleys. The evening match sees low-flying Leicester welcoming Kun-less City/ And then onto Sunday and 7th placed West Brom go to league leaders Chelsea, Man Utd host Spurs, Boro go to Southampton and we are wrapped up by comedy defensive duo Liverpool and West Ham.
There has been European action this week with Man City, Spurs, Arsenal, Leicester, Southampton and Man Utd all playing. Couple all this with the quick turnaround into GW16, let’s see what the managers have had to say.
Watford vs Everton (Sat 10 Dec 12.30)
So we kick off down at Vicarage Road with Everton the visitors and both teams looking for a win to kick some momentum back into their season. For the Hornets it’s been three defeats in four, while the Toffees having won just one match in the last nine. Yet both teams sit fairly healthily in the league, Everton in 8th and Watford in 11th. Let’s be frank and not dress this up to be something it’s not – unless you’re playing your Capoue or Holebas or Lukaku, there won’t be a load of interest here, which is a shame, but c’est la vie. For those that do care or are just reading this out of politeness or boredom then take note that the two meetings between the pair ended in draws last season, but before that Everton had won the last nine. You can sleep now.
Watford welcome back Miguel Britos and Valon Behrami from suspension but lose Roberto Pereyra who misses out after being sent off vs West Brom last weekend. Daryl Janmaat returned to training this week and should be ok to rejoin the squad, but Younes Kaboul remains a doubt and Craig Cathcart and Adrian Mariappa are still injured.
The big news for Everton is of course that Yannick Bolasie will undergo ACL surgery next week and will almost certainly be out for the season. Koeman challenged the likes of Ross Barkley to step up to the plate and “bring more productivity” to his game. Elsewhere Seamus Coleman is expected to be ok having suffered a rib injury against Man United last weekend. Or was it a shoulder injury? Or a chest / abdominal one? Or indeed a head one as the FPL site themselves proclaim?! Either way he hurt something north of his pelvis and now he’s probably ok. Besides those it’s a fairly clean bill of health for the regulars. The only question left really is in which minute Gareth Barry will get his yellow card. This guy really, really must want Christmas off.
Arsenal vs Stoke (Sat 10 Dec 15.00)
Last week’s battering of the Hammers has taken the Goonies above Liverpool and City into 2nd place and they’ll be feeling pretty confident that they can maintain that as Stoke come to town. Of course the rivalry between these two has been fierce for the best part of six years now, following a Ryan Shawcross tackle on Aaron Ramsey put the Arsenal midfielder out for long while. However, most of the discontent appears to come to the fore when Arsenal travel to the Britannia – when the two meet at Arsenal then things are very different – Arsenal win. Always. Well they’ve won the last 14 meetings at home anyway and if that’s not a conclusive enough stat for you, then so be it. That being said, the Potters have lost just one of their last nine league matches this term and after a shaky start have hauled themselves nicely into the top half of the league.
The main injury news concerns Hector Bellerin who has a slightly surprise chance of returning ahead of schedule against Stoke and the young right back will have a fitness test to determine his availability. Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck remain out and are a good few weeks from returning. Francis Coquelin returns to the squad after his suspension. Long term absentee Santi Cazorla has ungergone surgery and it will be a good couple of months before he returns. Your typical Arsenal ‘couple of months’ mind you, see you in August then Santi….
Mark Hughes expects Marko Arnautovic and Bruno Martins Indi to be ok for the trip to the Emirates and BMI will be vital with Ryan Shawcross again ruled out. Geoff Cameron, Phil Bardsley, Ibrahim Afellay and Stephen Ireland all remain out as does keeper Jack Butland. The update on Butland is that after suffering a minor setback in the warm up of the U23s match last week, Hughes expects Butland to continue his recovery next week which will likely be a couple of U23 matches.
Burnley vs Bournemouth (Sat 10 Dec 15.00)
After a half decent start to the season, Burnley have now lost three in a row and will be desperate for a win just to get things back on track. Fortunately for them then, they appear at home this week where their form is in stark contrast to their abysmal form on the road. Bournemouth come into the weekend full of beans after last week’s superb and memorable 4-3 win over Liverpool, which saw them come late with three goals to take them to victory. Like Burnley, the Cherries are very much a home team, having won just once on their travels and it may be worth nothing that Bournemouth have never won at Burnley. These two have never met in the top flight – their previous two meetings in the Championship in 2013/14 both ended in 1-1 draws.
The main news for Burnley concerns Tom Heaton as Dyche confirmed his star keeper is back in contention to start at the weekend which will be a relief to many as we know some of you have been bravely soldiering on with no goalkeeper for a few weeks. “(he) has had a good few days. As long as there’s no reaction he’ll be back in contention”. In other news Joey Barton has been allowed back into the Burnley players WhatsApp group, small steps and all that but Dyche did say that no deal had yet been discussed.
Having been forced off before the hour in last weekend’s stunning win over Liverpool Junior Stanislas is ruled out with an ankle injury. Eddie Howe is hopeful he will miss weeks rather than months. Having returned to training during the week Charlie Daniels is available although there is no guarantee he will make the starting XI.
Hull vs Crystal Palace (Sat 10 Dec 15.00)
Bollocks. Last week’s tirade against the Lord had the opposite effect than that which was desired, so I’m going to have to be nice and hopefully double bluff the git. The Eagles’ 3-0 win over Southampton came out of nowhere to be honest – they had lost the previous six and things were going to plan just perfectly. Bloody Southampton. This week Palace travel to Hull and for anyone who watched Micky Phelan’s men ‘play’ at Boro on Monday night, they would quickly deduce that Palace may just make it two out of two. For Hull were dreadful, they even made Boro look half-exciting. Ignore the fact that Hull have won the previous two encounters by 2-0, the Lord will lead his people onto another victorious victory. Let’s see if this works.
Mike Phelan is well aware that Hull aren’t scoring enough goals…there’s no flies on our Mike! Unfortunately with Will Keane, Dieumerci Mbokani & Abel Hernandez all unavailable the Tigers only have one fit striker, Adama Diomande. Phelan assures us that they do prepare well, but sometimes concentration is lacking. There is some good news as Shaun Maloney has recovered from a back injury and will be available to face Palace.
The Lord was quite concerned by the injury Yannick Bolasie picked up last weekend, very touching. Moving onto his own team and Loic Remy is still two to three weeks away from a return to training. Steve Mandanda has had surgery on his knee and is likely to miss four to five weeks. The Lord spoke about adding to the squad in January…he’d like a left-footed defender and with Connor Wickham out for the season he may look to bring in another striker.
Swansea vs Sunderland (Sat 10 Dec 15.00)
Resurgent Sunderland go to bottom feeder Swansea with just a hint of confidence surrounding the team. The same cannot be said of the sorry Swans, who lost 5-0 at Spurs last week, creating a pretty sorry tale for Bob Bradley and his team of underperforming numptys. Of course this may be some sort of Trump-inspired act of devolution for the Welsh and if so then all we can say is ‘see ya’ or ‘gweld ya’ as they sing in the valleys. There is not much to be optimistic about for Swansea – just two wins all season and a league worst 31 goals conceded speaks for itself and we can’t even look to fixture form for any positives for it was only in January that Sunderland travelled to the Liberty and strolled off with the three points after a 4-2 victory with Jermain Defoe plunging a hatty. Defoe has already scored eight goals this season and four in his last five matches and it wouldn’t be the biggest shock to see him plunge the Swans into more disarray come Saturday evening.
Under pressure boss Bradley was defiant in his press conference and vowed to fight on and hopes his players will follow his example. He’s odds on to be the next manager sacked having only taken up the role on October 3rd. Which handily synchronises with his team too as they are odds on to be relegated. In injury news it’s still just the two broken toes causing issues with Frederico Fernandez and Sung-Yueng Ki both ruled out.
Moyesie says Seb Larsson is now fully fit and may just be the man to replace Duncan Watmore who is likely to miss the rest of the season as he is set to undergo ACL knee surgery. Jan Kirchoff is also 100% now, while Fabio Borini is likely to make the squad after training successfully for the last week. Paddy McNair, Jack Rodwell, Lynden Gooch and Lee Cattermole continue to be sidelined. Moyes is looking for his boys to continue their improved form of late and is looking for his deadly duo of Defoe & Anichebe to punish a Swansea defence that has conceded nine goals in two games. Steven Pienaar and Jason Denayer should both be available.
Leicester vs Man City (Sat 10 Dec 17.30)
Oooops Pep, that didn’t quite go to plan last week did it pal? Unfortunate, or if you prefer ‘wasteful’, not to be leading comfortably vs Chelsea they of course were taken apart from a Diego Costa led comeback before Sergio Aguero’s shocking tackle on David Luiz saw the teams descend into a 30-man brawl. I say ‘descend’, that is harsh, for as a United fan I thought it was magnificent entertainment. But you have to bear in mind there is not much else for us to laugh at right now. Things aren’t really that bad for City, it was only their 2nd defeat of the season and they’ll be ok. For the Foxes, well they need to find some form somewhere or they’ll be caught by Sunderland. The shame. Our Champions haven’t won in five and appear to be struggling to find any motivation in the league while also clearly missing the influence of N’Golo Kante in front of their defence. Last season’s meeting at Leicester ended goalless but with both defences looking more fragile than a European government, it would be a surprise to see the same outcome on Saturday evening.
Having been hammered by Porto in midweek Ranieri is suddenly coming under pressure, not that you’d know it by looking at him in the press conference though! Cool as ever, he had the air of a millionaire without a care in the world, one who’d just won the PL last season in fact. Funny that.. Anyway he revealed that Robert Huth had a small back problem in midweek but should be fine to feature this weekend, Nampalys Mendy came through the midweek game fine and is available again after his long standing ankle problems and that both Danny Drinwater and Kasper Schmeichel should be fit and available for the midweek trip to Bournemouth and that Schmeichel may even make the game at the weekend – Drinkwater serves the final match of his suspension this weekend.
Pep says Raheem Sterling trained well on Thursday as did Fabien Delph and “all of them are good”. Good they may be but a few of them are suspended, namely Sergio Aguero, Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi, while Vincent Kompany is of course ruled out for a few weeks yet. John Stones and Aleksandar Kolarov are likely to start in central defence, but Ilkay Gundogan, Leroy Sane and Nolito all played 90mins vs Celtic and are not certain starters while KdB, David Silva, Yaya Toure and Fernando are possibly more likely to play with Kelechi Iheanacho expected to start up front. But this is Pep and second guessing him is dangerous given that Pablo Zabaleta was spotted making marauding runs from midfield vs Celtic!
Chelsea vs West Brom (Sun 11 Dec 12.00)
The Blues are going from strength to strength and last week’s win at City sees Chelsea go into the weekend with a 3-point lead at the top – and this is before their “easy” run of games begins! The Baggies are the visitors to the Bridge on Sunday and they arrive on the back of three wins and a draw in their last four which has seen them climb into 7th place. I know!! 7th place, who would of thought it eh? Well, enjoy it while you can you Baggies cos Sunday is unlikely to see you rise any further just yet – for the Albion of West Bromwich haven’t won at Chelsea in the league since 1978 – for those that are old enough or educated enough, just to emphasise the time element, Peter ‘The Cat’ Bonetti and Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris appeared for the Blues that day. Now, I am not the FF247 Tipster (‘phew’, I here you cry) but I am going to give you a cheeky tip for your FPL team which is almost guaranteed to pay immediate dividends – Cesar Azpilicueta – the Spanish defender has scored in his last two appearances vs the Albion and with many of you looking for Chelsea defensive cover, he may just be your man. Chelsea meanwhile have won seven in a row this season and it’ll be a major shock if they didn’t make that eight on Sunday.
Antonio Conte says John Terry and Oscar are unavailable for Sunday’s visit of West Brom but Nemanja Matic has trained this week and is fit. He was coy on whether Matic would immediately replace Fabregas though simply saying that he had decisions to make on his midfielders. The manager says everyone else should be fine – which is good news for those concerned about the fitness of Diego Costa and Pedro. Conte is anxious that his team do not underestimate the Albion and calls on his team to ‘play with the same concentration and focus as in previous games.’
Now, as you well know, Tony Pulis and I don’t often get on well on presser day. His normal comments are, “we have a couple of knocks, but I won’t say who.” Well today he has been more specific as he tells us that Gareth McAuley and James Morrison have both missed training this week and are doubts for the trip but will be assessed later today. Nacer Chadli will likely start if Morrison is ruled out. Elsewhere Saido Berahino has returned from his ‘they sent me away to sort my head out camp’ but won’t be thrown straight in but will likely play for the U23s next week.
Man Utd vs Spurs (Sun 11 Dec 14.15)
A huge game in the battle for Europa qualification sees 6th host 5th, with the Spurs six points clear of United. A Spurs win would deal huge harm to United’s chance of a top four slot and it may just be that Spurs may come into this game as slight favourites. They will be confident after last week’s shooting practice afternoon vs Swansea while United looked like they’d come away from Goodison with the three points until Marouane Fellaini got all confused as to who he actually plays for – we’re still not sure. Both United and Spurs have drawn six matches this term (rivalled only by Boro) and another share of the points here is very much on the cards. Maybe it’ll be a shoot-out between Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Harry Kane for both are in decent form and are vying to be welcomed into many FPL teams spending their Kun dollars – Kane has scored 7 in his last 6, while Zlatan has 4 in his last 3.
United should be buoyed by Thursday’s Europa victory in the Ukraine with Henrikh Mkhitaryan impressing once again and Zlatan Ibrahimovic continuing his scoring form. Thursday saw a return to the starting line-up for defender Eric Bailly, while Phil Jones and Michael Carrick were rested and can be expected to play on Sunday. Chris Smalling remains missing but Wayne Rooney is available again after suspension.
Spurs go to Old Trafford in good spirits having won their final Champions League match on Wednesday. They will also be lifted by the return in defence of Toby Alderweireld who has missed the last six league matches. Also available is Ben Davies but he’ll have to accept a seat on the bench with Danny Rose in fine form, while Erik Lamela and Vincent Janssen remain out.
Southampton vs Middlesbrough (Sun 11 Dec 14.15)
Thanks a bunch Southampton – you made me look a proper prick last week when you succumbed so meekly to Palace. This week will not be any easier for you as Boro come to town. Boro, as I touched upon above, looked half-decent on Monday when they beat Hull 1-0 – and there lies the problem – they dominated possession, had all the chances, looked the better team by far yet struggled to a narrow victory. The Saints meanwhile continue to confuse – they hold Liverpool one week, outplay and beat Everton and then get trounced by Palace. Don’t expect many goals, these two can be as dreary as you like and put them together and an exciting 8-goal thriller it won’t be.
The Saints have been rocked by another shoulder injury for leading scorer Charlie Austin – the striker has already been ruled out of this weekend and the club are waiting for results of the scan before determining how long the striker will be missing. It is an old injury that Austin has suffered from before – he has generally recovered almost immediately, but it is understood that if he requires surgery, you’ll need to shift him from your team as he’ll be out for a number of weeks. Manager Claude Puel is hopeful that J Rod, Sofiane Boufal and Jose Fonte will be available for the visit of Boro while he also implied that Dusan Tadic (presumably with mask) could be in contention for a start. Matt Targett and Alex McCarthy remain out.
Problems for Boro in attack as both Gaston Ramirez and Alvaro Negredo are doubts for the trip to Southampton, while Jordan Rhodes was unable to train today. The only other issue is defender George Friend who is pretty much ready to return according to manager Aitor Karanka.
Liverpool vs West Ham (Sun 11 Dec 16.30)
For the conclusion of our game-week we have a special treat, but you’ll need to switch over to the Comedy Channel to see if both defences can perform quite as badly as last week. Last week’s loss at Bournemouth reminded us all why Liverpool are not yet ready to win the league, irrelevant of how many they score, while the Hammers were savaged at home by Alexis Sanchez with confidence in the east end looking brittle to say the least. Slaven Bilic’s men remain out of the dropzone but those beneath them are closing the gap – just a point separates the Hammers from Sunderland and Hull. Which Liverpool turns up on Sunday will likely decide the outcome – the Hammers have won 3 and drawn the other of the last 4 meetings and won 3-0 at Anfield last season. However, while you can imagine the scousers conceding 3, no way in the world will the Hammers keep a cleanie!
Jurgen Klopp says his team will be angry on Sunday as they seek to return to winning ways. They will continue to be without Daniel Sturridge who has a calf problem and the manager refused to put a timeline on Sicknote’s return. Joel Matip and Sadio Mane have both trained this week and should be fine for Sunday while Adam Lallana played 20mins at Bournemouth and will come into consideration for a start this week. Philippe Coutinho and Danny Ings remain out.
The Hammers welcome back Michail Antonio and Aaron Cresswell as they look to erase the memories of last week’s horror show. Sadly for Bilic and co, Cheikhou Kouyate is not quite ready for the trip to Merseyside and James Collins continues to struggle with a hamstring injury. Bilic hopes to be able to call on Andy Carroll, but it will only be from the bench as the manager says ‘we have to be very careful with him.’ Wise words Slav.
Suspension Report for GW15
Any player who receives 5 yellow cards before 31st December will face a one-match suspension. There are a number of players on four yellow cards so we thought it prudent to detail those suspended and those nearing a suspension in case it affects your transfer decision.
Suspended for GW15:
Danny Drinkwater (Leicester)
Sergio Aguero (Man City)
Fernandinho (Man City)
Nicolas Otamendi (Man City)
Roberto Pereyra (Watford)
One yellow card away from suspension:
Matthew Lowton (Burnley)
Dean Marney (Burnley)
Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace)
Diego Costa (Chelsea)
David Luiz (Chelsea)
Sam Clucas (Hull)
Christian Fuchs (Leicester)
Robert Huth (Leicester)
Danny Simpson (Leicester)
Aleksandar Kolarov (Man City)
Nicolas Otamendi (Man City)
Antonio Valencia (Man Utd)
Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City)
Lynden Gooch (Sunderland)
Billy Jones (Sunderland)
Didier Ndong (Sunderland)
Steven Pienaar (Sunderland)
Jodi Amat (Swansea)
Kyle Naughton (Swansea)
Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham)
Troy Deeney (Watford)
Craig Dawson (West Brom)
Michail Antonio (West Ham)
Pedro Obiang (West Ham)
Thanks for reading Around the Grounds FPL Team News Gameweek 15. This article was written by Cookie
Fixture Tracker – the next 6 games