Around the Grounds FPL Team News Gameweek 28
Welcome to Around the Grounds FPL Team News Gameweek 28. Small is beautiful they say – and there is some truth to that. Remember Michael Owen bursting through the Argentian defence. Or Kylie parading that little white dress in Can’t Get You Out Of My Head. Or for you ladies, Tom Cruise in Top Gun. It’s not the size that matters, it’s how you use it, they also say – and there is definitely some truth in that. Which leads us beautifully into our GW28 preview. It’s a game-week with a difference – just four fixtures await us due to the FA Cup Quarter-finals. So should we expect an average score 40% of the usual size? Should we attack the game-week or resist changes and hope for a low average? Now where is the fun in that? After all we are told that if we look after the pennies, the pounds will look after themselves. And that mighty oaks from little acorns grow. So let’s attack the game-week – let others play conservatively and accept a score of 20 basing all the hopes on GW29 and beyond. Let’s post a 60+ point week. Go large or go home. OK, that’s the quote book exhausted for another week so let’s see what we have to work with. Three of our four fixtures kick off at 3pm on Saturday as Bournemouth host West Ham, Everton welcome West Brom and Swansea go to Hull. Sunday sees the end of our GW28 mini-series as Burnley look for their first away win of the season as they go to Liverpool – but which Liverpool will turn up?
A reduced game-week means all our selections take on the utmost importance so let’s Go Around the Grounds to see what the managers have had to say.
Bournemouth vs West Ham (Sat 11 Mar 15.00)
Last week’s battling draw at Old Trafford surprised many who were busy writing Bournemouth’s Premier League obituary after four successive defeats had seen the south coasters plunge towards the drop zone. Although it was only a point, it was more about the performance, the fight, the determination, something that may just give the Cherries the belief that they have enough to stay up. The Hammers meanwhile were fairly toothless vs Chelsea on Monday – the description of “a bad Sam Allardyce tribute act” may be harsh but was fairly accurate, although it’s tough to accurately rate any mid-table team vs the Champions elect. The Hammers have won the last two meetings but Eddie Howe will want his team to push on from last week and stamp their authority on the game – they will have to get back to winning ways at some point if they are to stay up and the Cherries last won at home in mid-December. The last time West Ham travelled to the south coast they won 3-1 at Southampton and with Slaven Bilic’s men not keeping a clean sheet in six matches and Bournemouth even worse (they haven’t kept a clean sheet in nine), it’s reasonable to expect goals at both ends.
Tyrone Mings misses the next five games having trod on a certain Swede last weekend. Simon Francis is progressing and Howe will give him as big a chance as possible to make it. Should Francis not make it expect youngster Baily Cargill to partner Steve Cook at the heart of the defence. Andrew Surman misses out following the red card he picked up against United. Junior Stanislas remains AWOL but the official line is that he has a groin injury while Callum Wilson remains out for the season.
Bilic says that both Andy Carroll and Robert Snodgrass sustained cuts vs Chelsea but both will be fit to face Bournemouth, while the return from suspension of Michail Antonio will aid the Hammers’ attacking efforts. There could be issues at the back however as both Winston Reid and Jose Fonte are struggling – Reid suffered a “minor leg injury” on Monday and the medical team are working hard to try and get him ready or Saturday while Fonte “felt something” (probably Hazard ghosting past him on a regular basis), though Bilic is optimistic he will be fit. Angelo Ogbonna and Diafra Sakho remain out – Ogbonna is “progressing well” while Sakho is to step up his fitness work with a view to joining full training in April.
Everton vs West Brom (Sat 11 Mar 15.00)
The battle for 7th place really hots up this week as 7th meets 8th. An away win for Albion would cut the gap to just a point but as we know the Baggies aren’t great on the road while the Toffees have won their last four at Goodison. Defeats last week for both teams dented their faint hopes for a top six spot, although with Man United not playing this weekend, Everton could conceivably cut the gap to two points with a victory. West Brom haven’t kept a clean sheet on the road since their opening day trip to Palace, while Everton have failed to score just once at home this term. Therefore it’s reasonable to expect Everton to score – they have indeed scored 15 in their last four home matches but will be wary of an inconsistent Albion who won on their last trip to Goodison and drew on the two occasions before that. However, last week’s home defeat to Palace may just signify that some of the Baggies may already have packed their bags for the summer.
No new injuries for the Toffees as they look to return to winning ways. Koeman says last week’s defeat has illustrated that his team needs to improve and it may just be the reminder they needed to refocus. Dominic Calvert-Lewis is available for selection and will be considered, while Mo Besic is training with the main group but will need game time with the U23s to build up his match fitness.
Pulis has confirmed that Matty Phillips won’t be fit for the game, apparently he’s lost his hamstrings! While it’s not good news for Phillips’ owners it was good of Pulis to actually confirm something for once. However it didn’t take our friend Tony long to revert to type as he hinted that he may make changes following the defeat to Palace, ‘One or two look like they need a rest’. Now who that is likely to be is anybody’s guess but I suspect it might be one of their more creative players as Tony bemoaned their performance against Palace. If this is the case it would appear that the likes of Brunt, Chadli & Morrison are most a risk. Pulis has also promised to give 18 year old Sam Field more minutes (wouldn’t be hard!) but expect this to be from the bench.
Hull vs Swansea (Sat 11 Mar 15.00)
A massive clash at the bottom is not the title of Katie Price’s latest autobiography, but rather the continued tale of the survival hopes and fears of Hull and Swansea. It is the Welshies who are writing the better script right now for they have won four of their last six to see them climb five points clear of the drop zone. For Hull, early signs that Marco Silva could lead Hull to safety may have been premature for just one point from a possible nine leaves the Tigers in deep trouble in 19th place. However, one look at fixture form suggests hope for Hull – they have won the last three vs Swansea, although one of those was in the FA Cup and another in the League Cup, though they will need to be at their best if they are to stop the inform Swans from climbing further away from trouble.
Just the one piece of good news from Marco Silva ahead of the clash which was that Curtis Davies has resumed training this week and is available for the game on Saturday having missed the last five because of a hamstring issue. This could mean immediate recall the centre of defence for Davies with either Ranocchia or Maguire making way for him. Evandro and Michael Dawson remain as absentees with calf issues. Elsewhere they are likely to be largely unchanged but there is a possibility that Abel Hernandez replaces Oumar Niasse which would be of little surprise as they’ve had more than enough chance to see for themselves now what an utter donkey the bloke is.
Swans’ boss Paul Clement says that Ki Sung-Yueng and Jefferson Montero have both trained this week and could play some part at Hull, but full back Kyle Naughton will miss the trip due to a hamstring injury. Angel Rangel will likely deputise for Naughton. Clement says the aim for the club is to finish 17th or above, nothing more nothing less and if winning at the weekend is not possible then the Swans will do all they can not to lose the game and ensure the 6 point gap between the sides remains intact.
Liverpool vs Burnley (Sun 12 Mar 16.00)
We’ve all been made aware of the shortcomings about Liverpool – great against the ‘bigger’ teams but struggle vs the ‘smaller’ teams who are more likely to sit back and attempt to keep things tight. The Clarets will likely try and keep it tight but will need the league’s top saver, Tom Heaton, to be at his very best to keep out Liverpool’s attacking midfielders. It was a man-of-the-match performance from Heaton that helped Burnley beat Liverpool 2-0 in the reverse fixture in GW2. It was noticeable that Heaton was absent last week as Burnley conceded three at Swansea, the first time the Clarets have conceded more than two since GW12. Liverpool as we have already mentioned are consistently inconsistent – they have the best record in matches against the other top 6 teams, yet have already lost to relegation threatened Leicester, Hull and Swansea this calendar year. Jurgen Klopp will hope his team can repeat recent home performances Arsenal and Spurs, while Burnley’s record of just two points on the road suggests another home win. Probably!
The big news from the Reds camp was that Roberto Firmino is struggling with Klopp revealing that he “felt something” after the Arsenal game and hasn’t been able to train this week as a result. He didn’t completely rule him out though, simply saying that “we need to wait a little bit more and then we will see”. Likewise with Dejan Lovren, Klopp simply said that he hadn’t made a decision on whether he would start the game yet after he returned to the bench last week. He did however definitely rule out skipper Jordan Henderson and (of course) Daniel Sturridge. Henderson has an ongoing foot problem whereas Sturridge is simply working his way through the medical dictionary.
Sean Dyche growled. Honestly, that was all he did, we couldn’t understand a word of it. Having read some stuff afterwards it appears that he indicated that Tom Heaton would indeed return between the sticks this week having been taken ill just a few hours before last weeks game. He confirmed that Joey Barton is now available having recovered sufficiently from a slight hamstring strain and also having had his FA hearing for gambling irregularities postponed. He ruled out a return for Johann Berg Gudmundsson. News on Steven Defour is cloudy though to say the least as Dyche appeared to both rule him in and out! He first said he was out and then appears to have said he that he may have a chance after a good week of training. Unless he meant next week… who knows!
Suspension Report GW28
Any player who receives 10 yellow cards before the second Sunday in April will face a two-match suspension (Jose Holebas is on 12 already!)
Suspended for GW28:
Tyrone Mings (Bournemouth)
Andrew Surman (Bournemouth)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Man Utd)
Thanks for reading Around the Grounds FPL Team News Gameweek 28. This article was written by Cookie
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