Around the Grounds FPL Team News Gameweek 22
Welcome to Around the Grounds FPL Team News Gameweek 22. Wasn’t that a pleasant week last week? After all the soul-searching and grumbling, GW21 saw some proper scores – it’s like the good old days! And GW22 promises to be similar with some decent looking matches with some promising points potential – then again it rarely works out as we imagine! Our game-week begins on Merseyside as the Swans visit Anfield Saturday lunchtime before we are treated to five 3pm kick offs – home loving Bournemouth welcome Watford, struggling Palace host the rampant Toffees, Payet-less West Ham go to Boro, Sparky’s Potters welcome his old mates from United and the mercurial Baggies entertain the woeful Black Cats. Feet up early evening as Spurs try and fill the Etihad in what should be an entertaining encounter – especially with City’s defending skills. Sunday sees our final three games as the struggling Saints take on the struggling Champions and then we end up with a couple of games that could make our scores especially mahoosive – Arsenal take on Burnley at the Emirates before Hull visit Stamford Bridge.
Let’s carry on last week’s momentum but firstly go Around the Grounds to see who Conte and Bilic have fallen out with this week.
Liverpool vs Swansea (Sat 21 Jan 12.30)
Klopp briefly fell out with Jose last weekend but then promptly shrugged it off as he does with his usual mix of class and humour. He then fell out with an even bigger force than Jose (if there is such a thing, in Jose’s mind) as he clashed with FIFA over the availability of Joel Matip. The former (he retired) Cameroonian international is is under a cloud as his nation seem to have suddenly lost it’s ability to respond to simple emails and FIFA themselves, the great leaders of the world game, seem to have lost their ability to govern the game. No surprise there then, maybe they’re just waiting on the brown envelope to arrive. With or without him this should in theory be a home banker as Liverpool are undefeated at Anfield in the league, winning 7 of their 9 there so far scoring 26 goals in the process. Contrary to popular belief the stats point to them being solid in defence as well with just 7 conceded in those games. Swansea on the other hand have lost 7 of their 10 on the road, conceding 22 and scoring just 9. They’ve conceded 27 goals in their last 9 games. Doesn’t seem to matter who is in charge on any given week, they’re just very very consistent… Liverpool are 7/1 to win 3-0. Some teams don’t get such low odds to just win. Go on, do yourself a favour with that spare tenner*.
*Please gamble responsibly and all that.
According to Klopp today is D-Day for Joel Matip but at the time of the press conference the club had not heard from FIFA. Surprise, surprise! Klopp was happy to give Coutinho 65 minutes against Plymouth on Wednesday night. Don’t be surprised to see the Brazilian back in the starting XI against Swansea. Clyne and Henderson should be back training with the team today. Clyne has had two running sessions. Both are likely to be available for selection. Mane continues to miss out as he’s away scoring goals for Senegal.
New signings Tom Carroll and Martin Olsson will feature for the Swans at Anfield as manager Paul Clement desperately searches for the points to lift the Welshies off the bottom of the table. The third new lad, Luciano Narsingh is not expected to recover from his calf injury in time to play.
Bournemouth vs Watford (Sat 21 Jan 15.00)
Speaking of odds and in particular ones of the 7/1 variety that’s exactly what Watford are to go down right now. That suggests they are likely to stay up but keeps us tempted for an outside flutter. Swansea, Sunderland and Hull are odds on for the dreaded drop of course but one seemingly safe team usually gets sucked in and Watford need to be careful as they haven’t won a league game now since the 2nd week in December and have lost their last 5 away games. Bournemouth will be looking to make that 6 and they’ve garnered 17 of their 25 points at home so far so we know where their strength lies. As with most mid table teams though it doesn’t lie with consistency – humiliate Swansea, humiliate Arsenal for a half but then forget that a game has 2 halves and then get humiliated yourselves by Hull.
Eddie Howe isn’t best pleased with the team’s defensive record of late. He says it’s difficult to explain but it’s something they’re working hard to improve. Marc Wilson is the only fresh injury concern. The Irish international limped off at Millwall in the recent cup game and while he had initially returned to training Howe confirmed that he has since suffered a setback. Tyrone Mings is likely to continue at the centre back as Simon Francis serves the final game of his three match ban. Lewis Cook played an hour for the clubs U21 side on Tuesday and is available for selection.
Hornets’ keeper Heurelho Gomes faces a fitness test today to see if he can make the trip – Gomes had to come off during last week’s draw with Boro with a back injury. Daryl Janmaat will also be tested, but Isaac Success and Nordin Amrabat won’t be available. Manager Walter Mazzarri says striker Odion Ighalo will travel despite speculation linking him with a move to West Brom, while Tom Cleverley could make his first start.
Crystal Palace vs Everton (Sat 21 Jan 15.00)
We all know the script, you’re a struggling Premier League team who need to secure their top flight status and Big Sam is out of work. Fast forward 6 months and Supersam has saved the day and as a result is now talking up his own credentials as the next England manager as a result. Ok, so Palace fans will be hoping that at least one of those scenarios is a reality come May, the 2nd is less likely but given the brass neck on this guy who knows. It’s not actually going to plan just yet though as he’s managed just 1 draw and 3 defeats in the league since taking charge. He’s back to his bullish best this week though as they hammered Bolton (League 1 Bolton) 2-1 in the FA Cup and sees this as their platform to build on. Straws clutched by blind men and all that. As for Everton we’ve seen this script before too, and far too many times. A break out performance and they are suddenly considered viable fantasy options again. Let’s not get too carried away here though. They have a habit of doing this and then falling back into obscurity again. Plus this last one was against Man City and you don’t get to play against the dynamic defensive duo of Stones and Bravo every week…
James McArthur, Fraizer Campbell and Scott Dann are all available for the game with Big Sam noting that this will give him different choices. Jeffrey Schlupp is ok and is also available for selection but Allardyce doesn’t know at this stage when Souare and Mandanda might return. He confirmed that they’re still interested in Jenkinson and Van Aanholt, and also insisted that no player will leave the club unless they receive an offer they can’t refuse. Never short of self-praise Sam informed us that he’s saved a few clubs in the past and he’s confident he can save this one.
Leighton Baines is struggling with a hip injury, but Everton manager Ronald Koeman expects him to play vs Palace – the manager said Maarten Stekelenburg is fit again but refused to say if he or Joel Robles will start at Selhurst Park. Mo Besic, Yannick Bolaisie and Bryan Oviedo remain out and Idrissa Gueye is at AFCON but Morgan Schneiderlin is pushing for a start.
Middlesbrough vs West Ham (Sat 21 Jan 15.00)
This is one of those games that is likely to feature at the end of Match of the Day, with two mins of highlights if we are lucky. Boro are proving tough to break down and have kept clean sheets in both of their last two matches – however they have also failed to score in both of those games, hence the antipathy towards this encounter. The Hammers meanwhile keep nicking the odd win without being completely convincing but they have at least risen to 12th place. The reverse fixture between the two in October ended in a 1-1 draw and a repeat of that may be as good as we can hope for here.
Boro will continue to be without trio Gaston Ramierez, Antonio Barragan and Daniel Ayala. Ayala is still suspended while Ramirez and Barragan are still struggling with injuries. New signing, striker Patrick Bamford, is expected to go straight into the squad.
Slaven Bilic has a number of doubts for the trip to Boro but is confident that they will all be ok. Andy Carroll has whiplash and has missed some training this week, while Sam Byram, Winston Reid and Sofiane Feghouli all picked up knocks in the win over Palace. Definitely missing is of course Dimitri Payet, while Andre Ayew and Cheikhou Kouyate are at AFCON.
Stoke vs Man Utd (Sat 21 Jan 15.00)
United take their 12 match unbeaten run to a venue that has not proved kind to them in recent seasons for they have lost two and drawn the other of their last three visits to the Britannia. Stoke are two out of two so far this year, though the two in question are Watford and Sunderland so I’m not sure we can read too much into that, though of course you can only beat what is in front of you. United were disappointing last week vs Liverpool, but have found a resilience in these last few weeks and will be determined to return to winning ways and close the gap further on those above them.
Mark Hughes reports no new injuries and welcomes back unsettled Bojan Krkic into the squad. Jack Butland, Jon Walters and Geoff Cameron all remain unavailable for the Potters, while Wilfried Bony, Mame Biram Diouf and Ramadan Sobhi are at AFCON.
Jose confirmed that United have a buy-back clause for Memphis although something tells me we won’t see him play in a United jersey again, some might say he’s never played in one at all! Jose also confirmed more players may leave Old Trafford in the window, while he was full of praise for Antonio Valencia and Marouane Fellaini. On the injury front all is good with Jose commenting, “We have little problems, which is normal, but not big issues. We have a very good situation”. Eric Bailly misses out due to AFCON duties with Ivory Coast.
West Brom vs Sunderland (Sat 21 Jan 15.00)
Now I think we all have an interest (or two) in this match – whether it be a Baggie defender, Ben Foster in goal, Matt Phillips in defence or even Salomon Rondon or Jermain Defoe up front, it’s a safe bet to assume that the majority of us will be hoping for plenty of fantasy points. Now traditionally, this fixture has been pretty tight – just three goals scored in the last four meetings, but this is a Sunderland side leaking plenty of goals and a West Brom side who are playing in an usually flambuoyant manner and have been free scoring on those teams below them in the league.
West Brom confirmed the signing of Jake Livermore this morning, a player Pulis believes ads to both the quality and character of the squad. Although he suggested that he will likely start this game on the bench. Jonny Evans will undergo a late fitness test while the club are still waiting for FIFA as to whether they can play Nyom, best of luck with that lads. Pulis didn’t mention Chris Brunt which might suggest he’s ok for Saturday. Saido Berahino remains at the club. Pulis confirmed that Stoke have made a bid but it’s nowhere near what the club want. How much would they want if he actually played?!!
David Moyes expects to name the same useless squad that lost to Burnley in the Cup in midweek. There was a hope that Victor Anichebe and/or Steven Pienaar may return, but that seems unlikely now. Jordan Pickford remains out as does Paddy McNair, Duncan Watmore, Jan Kirchoff, Lee Cattermole and Lynden Gooch, while Lamine Kone, Didier Ndong and Wahbi Khazri are away at AFCON.
Man City vs Spurs (Sat 21 Jan 17.30)
Pep vs Poch! Only 3 points separates their teams in the overall table, yet if feels like there is a much bigger gap. Spurs are playing their best football of the season and City have lost four of their last eight. Tottenham has won three in a row vs City and their one meeting this season led to a 2-0 win for Alli and company. Surely Pep will be changing some things at City, off hand I can think of 11. Until then let us enjoy the wonders of Bravo and Stones on one team, sometimes life gives you gifts. However, be aware that City are strong at home and Spurs have struggled to beat the teams that sit somewhat high in the table when playing away.
Gabriel Jesus is fit and ready to be involved within the first team although Pep hasn’t decided whether or not he’ll feature against Spurs. Pep wouldn’t entertain any questions on the form of Claudio Bravo. Fernandinho is still out through suspension and of course Ilkay Gundogan is out for the season.
Mauricio Pochettino says that Jan Vertonghen will likely miss six weeks of action after his injury didn’t prove quite as bad as first feared. There is not good news on Erik Lamela however as there is little progress despite intense treatment and the midfielder will have another scan.
Southampton vs Leicester (Sun 22 Jan 12.00)
This promises to a very entertaining game and by that I mean I rather watch the Boro vs West Ham game. “Surely it can’t be that bad?” you ask. Well, give me a second. In their last four games Saints have scored two goals, combined! Leicester in their last four, has scored once. In their meeting this season they finished… ? go on, I bet you can guess. That’s right, a 0-0 draw. Some more good news before you sit down to enjoy this one. Southampton has the second lowest amount of goals scored at home in the EPL and Leicester averages less than one a game when playing away. Enjoy.
Saints boss Claude Puel says that Virgil van Dijk and Ryan Bertrand will return after being rested for the midweek Cup win over Norwich. Puel changed much of his line-up and promised big changes for the weekend. However, Steven Davis remains unavailable with a knock, while Sofiane Boufal, Charlie Austin, Alex McCarthy, Matt Targett and Jake Hesketh are still sidelined. Jose Fonte continues to be frozen out until his future is sorted.
Ranieri confirmed that defender Luis Hernandez has been given permission to speak to Malaga. However he feels that Ulloa will remain at the club for the rest of the season. He confirmed that the club are still looking to make new signings before the transfer window closes, but insisted he’s happy with his squad. Ulloa is unavailable to face Southampton due to a thigh injury. Everyone else is available for the trip aside from Mahrez, Amartey & Slimani all of whom are away at AFCON.
Arsenal vs Burnley (Sun 22 Jan 14.15)
Both teams enter this fray having won three of four. The Gunners have won the last three meetings between these two by a combined score of 5-0. Arsenal only has one blemish on their home record with an opening season loss to LFC. We could also say that Burnley only has one blemish on their away record. That being a tie (versus ManU, sorry felt the need to mention that), because the rest were losses. In 9 games away from Turf Moor they scored three times. Yes, three times! Guessing the only story left in this one is, if Arsene will dare remove Alexis when they are up 4-0 again. Personally, I hope he does, kinda tired of the Crying Jordan meme.
Olivier Giroud has recovered from the foot injury he picked up at Swansea and returned to training on Wednesday. Wenger reports no new injuries from the trip to Wales and welcomes back three players back into the squad – Hector Bellerin, Kieran Gibbs and Francis Coquelin. Theo Walcott remains out as does Per Mertesacker through the defender is back in training and is likely a few weeks away from being in contention.
Dyche confirmed that Ashley Barnes, Dean Marney and Johann Berg Gudmundsson could all be fit for the game but that Scott Arfield is doubtful.
Chelsea vs Hull (Sun 22 Jan 16.30)
Leicester to win the title before the start of last season would have been a safer bet than Hull to get a result at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Chelsea won their meeting earlier this season with a 2-0 win. As a team goal for Hull, I would say try to make it to halftime in this one only down by 2. If you enjoy stories of people being thrown to the lions, well then you’re in for a treat. Champion to be CFC with a plus 30 goal differential vs Hull with a negative 25. Chelsea has won nine out of ten at home, Hull has, oh forget it, no need to continue to blurt out stats. We all know the final outcome here, CFC players will be leaving with Tiger fur coats on.
Diego Costa is available for this weekend’s game. He trained with a fitness coach on Sunday & Monday to help his recovery from ‘injury’. According to Conte, Costa wants to stay at Chelsea and is very happy to play with the club. When asked if Costa will start on Sunday his response was, “I will see on Sunday”. He did however say that he has a number of excellent attacking players that are in good form and it’s not easy to choose between them. Read what you will into that. Ake is starting to understand Conte’s ideas and is a great option to have in different positions.
Marcos Silva is learning fast, he didn’t tell us much! The big news is that Robert Snodgrass hasn’t trained for the last few days because of some muscular problems and is therefore a doubt. Meyler will train today and is likely to be available. Maloney’s ear is ok. Apparently Jake Livermore was an important player for the club but it was a good deal for the player and the club. Silva wants to find a replacement quickly which will strengthen the squad and help them to achieve their goals…one of which is promotion from the Championship next season.
Suspension Report for GW21
Any player who receives 10 yellow cards before the second Sunday in April will face a two-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 GW22:
Simon Francis (Bournemouth)
Fernandinho (Man City)
Daniel Ayala (Middlesbrough)
One yellow card away from suspension:
Jose Holebas (Watford)
Thanks for reading Around the Grounds FPL Team News Gameweek 22. This article was written by Cookie, Mito and Inittowinit
Fixture Tracker – the next 6 games