Around the Grounds FPL Team News Gameweek 32
Welcome to Around the Grounds FPL Team News Gameweek 32. Thick and fast, just as we like them. Anyway enough about a night in Essex, we have another game-week to negotiate. Points galore are in store ladies and gentlemen, we truly are in the business end of the season. This weekend is a slightly more sedate affair than the midweek fun – GW32 lasts three days and starts at the Lane where Spurs host Watford. Five 3pm matches follow – Man City will be a FPL favourite this week as they welcome Hull, Boro and Burnley bore us to sleep, Liverpool go to Stoke, West Brom entertain Southampton and West Ham and Swansea face off in the capital. The evening sees Chelsea’s trip to Bournemouth. Sunday starts with another bore-fest as Man United look to draw again, this time at Sunderland before the Foxes attempt six wins in a row as they visit Everton. Finally we have a Monday night special as Arsenal face a tricky night under the lights at Selhurst Park.
No time to waste – let’s go Around the Grounds to see the latest team news.
Spurs vs Watford (Sat 8 Apr 12.30)
Wednesday’s late show at Swansea maintains Spurs’ position as Chelsea’s only realistic challenger – realistic of course until they fluff their lines when it really matters in embarrassing fashion. But until then it full steam ahead and five wins in a row can become six with the lunchtime visit of the Hornets – Watford of course have hit form themselves, winning two in a row. Don’t laugh, this is form for Watford and this club record run (joke) has taken them to 10th. However, Spurs went to Watford on New Year’s Day and battered them 4-1 with Harry Kane and Dele Alli sharing the goals. The ‘Arry and Alli show won’t be performed this weekend, but you may see the Alli and Erik show or the Alli and Son show. Whatever the combo, expect the Spurs charge to continue, they have won the last six in all competitions vs Watford and haven’t lost at home to the Hornets since 1985.
Great news for Spurs as Poch reveals that Harry Kane returned to first-team training this week – ‘we will see if he can start or come from the bench’. Hugo Lloris and Victor Wanyama will be assessed ahead of the game with Lloris a particular priority after Michel Vorm picked up a knee injury at Swansea. Danny Rose is continuing his rehab with a view to returning to full training by the end of April, while the season is over for Harry Winks and Erik Lamela.
One look at Watford’s squad on FPL looks more like a set of traffic lights, without the green. It’s red and orange everywhere, injuries galore with manager Walter Mazzarri coming out with the lines, ‘I would’ve liked to have been able to play against Tottenham with a full team’, ‘I told my players this morning that whoever is going to play Saturday has the chance to show that they deserve to have been playing in the past as well’ and ‘we may not have a defence vs Spurs.’ Oh dear, sounds like Poch could partner Roberto Soldado with Vincent Janssen and still get a result. It’s fitness test central at Watford today – keeper Heurelho Gomes and midfielder Étienne Capoue have emerged as fresh doubts, while Troy Deeney, Tom Cleverley and Abdoulaye Doucouré are all ‘fatigued’ and will need to be monitored. Defenders Sebastian Prödl and Younès Kaboul will certainly be absent after injuries suffered against West Brom and Sunderland respectively, and Ben Watson, Mauro Zárate and Roberto Pereyra also remain sidelined. Added to that, Miguel Britos serves the first of a two-game suspension following his sending off against the Baggies on Tuesday. There was some good news to report however, with Belgian international defender Christian Kabasele returning to the training pitch on Thursday. It could get messy.
Man City vs Hull (Sat 8 Apr 15.00)
It’s four games without a win for Pep and City and they enter the weekend 14pts behind Chelsea. The league has therefore gone, but a top four spot is very much still in the balance….well, it would be if Arsenal and Man Utd got their asses in gear. Saturday’s visit of Hull should get City back to winning ways for they have won five of the last six vs Hull and drew the other – combine that with Hull’s away record which reads 12 losses in 15 matches on the road with just one win and that was in GW2 at Swansea. City won 3-0 at Hull on Boxing Day and although they have drawn their last two at home, they should have more than enough for Hull on Saturday.
City have no fresh injury concerns following their midweek loss, which leaves Bacary Sagna, Gabriel Jesus and Ilkay Gündogan as the only definite absentees. Pep says he was very impressed with Fabian Delph at Chelsea and will ask his medical staff whether he and Vincent Kompany are fit to play tomorrow.
Harry Maguire will miss the trip to the Etihad after picking up a minor knee injury vs Boro. However, the news is more positive on Abel Hernandez who is available despite picking up a dead leg in the same match. Dieumerci Mbokani once again misses out with a hamstring injury and Tom Huddlestone serves the last game of his suspension. Omar Elabdellaoui, Ryan Mason, Moses Odubajo and Will Keane all remain sidelined.
Middlesbrough vs Burnley (Sat 8 Apr 15.00)
In terms of boredom levels, this is definitely up there – it’s just as well we have the likes of City, West Ham and Liverpool playing at the same time to keep us entertained and amused. It’s must win time for Boro now otherwise they’ll be consigned to the Championship quicker than an Andre Gray tweet gets deleted. Ah poor old Gray has gone four games without a goal which probably means he is due and will fancy his chances against a Boro defence that we all were told is solid but conceded four to Hull on Wednesday. It was the naughty tweeter that scored the only goal when the teams last played out a bore-off on Boxing Day and the Clarets beat Stoke by the same scoreline in midweek giving Burnley their first win in eight matches. Boro haven’t won in the league since 17th December, that’s 13 matches, when a Negredo brace contributed to a 3-0 win over Swansea. It is upon the Spaniard’s shoulders that Boro’s survival hopes rest – which is about as useful as being stuck in Stringfellows with Barry Manilow.
Steve Agnew says that George Friend and Callum Chambers continue to miss out while Fabio cannot play due to suffering concussion last weekend. Gaston Ramirez participated in some light training this morning and will be assessed later today. Everyone else is fit. Agnew admits his team need to score more goals but says they won’t always play with two strikers.
Burnley go to Boro with seemingly problems just in midfield – Dean Marney is a long term absentee, Steven Defour was unable to train after Tuesday’s win because of a dead leg and will need to be assessed and Johnann Berg-Gudmundsson has returned to training with the main group but is lacking match fitness.
Stoke vs Liverpool (Sat 8 Apr 15.00)
Strange people these scousers – they have a reputation for stealing yet given a gift horse in the mouth and they reject it. Wednesday’s home draw with Bournemouth prevented Klopp’s crew on turning the screw on Arsenal and Man Utd for a top four spot and while they remain six points clear of the pair, both teams have two games in hand. And so what better for Liverpool than a trip to Stoke – dirty dirty Stoke who have overtaken West Brom on the way to the airport and look to be half way down to Nikki Beach as we speak. Three losses in a row will no doubt leave Mark Hughes fuming but Crouchie and friends have more fun on their minds. Liverpool will have to remember how to win away however as fixtures have dictated they have been home birds of late and you have to go back to the derby at Goodison on December 19th for their last victory on the road…or across the park at least. Stoke fans (and many others) will recall Stoke’s 6-1 victory over Liverpool in Slippy’s final game, but since then Liverpool have won all three matches vs the Potters scoring nine goals in the process….there are of course no clues as to which Liverpool player to pick as Firmino, Coutinho and Origi have all contributed to those nine goals…..even our old mate Sturridge has some form vs Stoke.
Sparky says Jon Walters will need to be checked before allowing to play after he missed the midweek loss due to concussion – certainly Hughes will want him to play for Walters has scored more goals against Liverpool than any other opponent. Xherdan Shaqiri has trained and looks like he will be available, but Marc Muniesa and Mame Diouf suffered bangs to the knee at Burnley and will need to checked, though the manager said he is hopeful. Jack Butland continues to build up his fitness and the only other definite absentee is Stephen Ireland.
There we were wondering which Liverpool midfielder to choose and BOOOOM they’re falling like flies. Or Gerrards. Klopp confirms that Sadio Mane’s season is over as he will need surgery on his knee. Meanwhile current favourite Phillipe Coutinho is still feeling sick, poor chap. He hasn’t trained this week, but will be given every chance of travelling with Klopp saying, ‘it vill be reeeeally close’. Adam Lallana is much better but not yet training and Jordan Henderson is, like Lallana, making progress but not yet training. Roberto Firmino is fit is it makes you all feel better? Oh and Daniel Sturridge, good ol’ sicknote himself – the poor lad is still building up his fitness.
West Brom vs Southampton (Sat 8 Apr 15.00)
The battle of the mid-tablers sees 8th placed West Brom host 9th placed Southampton in the least meaningful game since England’s last international. It’s difficult to get too excited about this one, but at least it’s not Boro vs Burnley. The Baggies recent form shows signs of an early summer holiday, but of course not on the levels of Stoke, while Southampton have won three of their last five including Wednesday’s win over in-form Palace. Tuesday saw West Brom fall to 10-man Watford – this is as bad as it can get for Tony Pulis and while he may spout desires of adding to their 44 point total, his players may need some convincing. West brom actually won at St.Mary’s in the reverse fixture on New Year’s Eve with a certain Matty Phillips scoring – remember him? That was Phillips last goal for the Baggies and the AWOL midfielder returned to the pitch in midweek after having a few weeks off. This is waffling of the highest class, but you were warned.
‘We have one or two knocks’ – yep big Tone returns with what may have been just a pre-recorded message week by week. He then went on to say ‘potentially we could have a full squad, potentially we could have a couple missing.’ Potentially mate, how about you stop being a complete dick? Dick hopes that Matty Phillips may be able to start while Dick talking him up saying he gives the team perfect balance. Regarding the ‘one or two knocks’, it may be worth mentioning that Gareth McAuley and James McClean were both withdrawn at Watford due to fatigue, but dare Dick bench his Goal Machine? Potentially.
Claude Puel says there is no real update on Manolo Gabbiadini and the striker will be assessed after training to see ‘if we can take him in the squad or no.’ Steven Davis is a doubt as he picked up an ankle injury, which will be a blow for the Saints with midfield enforcer Oriol Romeu ruled out through suspension. The manager hopes Ryan Bertrand can play but like Gabbi, he’ll need to be assessed after missing the win over Palace after feeling something in his hamstring.
West Ham vs Swansea (Sat 8 Apr 15.00)
Just as we thought that Paul Clement was onto a good thing, the Swans concede three late goals to Spurs and at the same time Hull are dispatching Boro with consummate ease – the result being the Welshies falling back into the drop zone. Fortunately for our Welsh contingent, they visit West Ham this week while Hull go to the Etihad giving Swansea an immediate chance to leapfrog the Tigers once more. Just one point from four games is relegation form and Clement has some work to do, yet a win at West Ham will see Swansea climb to within two point off the Hammers who have now lost five in a row and are doing their best to be playing Sunderland again next season. We can dream. Fortunes always hiding. And all that. This is a pretty tough time for Slaven Bilic and the poor Serb may not have long left – I’m not sure I’d want to be the person who sits on the other side of the desk and tells him he is sacked mind you. It could turn nasty. Maybe the Snake wasn’t as slippery as we all thought and saw all this coming….just as he is relaxing in the spring sunshine of the South of France. The Hammers won 4-1 at Swansea on Boxing Day and conversely Swansea won 4-1 at West Ham last season.
Bilic says Michail Antonio and Andy Carroll both have a chance of being fit for Saturday’s crucial game. Carroll was substituted at Arsenal as a precaution after complaining of ‘feeling something in his groin’ (insert joke) while Antonio has been suffering with sickness but was feeling much better at home Thursday morning. Carroll cannot play three 90min games in a week and is expected to play for up to 60mins vs the Swans. Diafra Sakho played 27mins at the Emirates and is a good option for the manager as the Hammers try and find a win out of somewhere.
Swansea are hopeful that Fernando Llorente can return after missing the last two games with an ankle injury. Kyle Naughton picked up a knock in midweek and could be replaced by Leroy Fer if he doesn’t make it while keeper Lukasz Fabianski will also need assessing after suffering – reserve keeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt is on standby to play if necessary.
Bournemouth vs Chelsea (Sat 8 Apr 17.30)
Short of a major collapse and Spurs not bottling it, the title is heading back to Stamford Bridge and into the arms of Hazard, Costa and Fagregas et al. Mourinho will be so pleased. The Blues head down to a Saturday night in Bournemouth knowing that another win will be a massive step closer to clinching the league in Antonio Conte’s first season at the club. Bournemouth of course won’t lay down and being on 35pts they will think that they probably need another win or two to guarantee safety. However, Chelsea have only lost at Arsenal and Spurs this season and will confident of completing the double over the Cherries after winning 3-0 at the Bridge in December. Eden Hazard’s midweek brace against Man City takes his season’s tally to 13 and with three goals in his last two matches vs the Cherries, the Belgian is at the top of his game again and will go into the game confident of leading his team closer to the finishing line.
Chief Cherry Eddie says the mood in the camp is good after their five game unbeaten run – ‘the point at Anfield was huge for us. We believe we can get points against any team’. A good attitude with the Champions-elect coming to town. Dan Gosling is 50-50 for the game, which is better than fellow midfielder Andrew Surman who is definitely ruled out, while Howe is ‘not sure’ is Junior Stanislas will be included. What the hell has he done to you Eddie, go on tell us pleeeease. Tyrone Mings misses out as he completes his suspension and Callum Wilson is a long term absentee.
Victor Moses has recovered from his calf injury and is fit to come back into contention for the trip to Bournemouth. Conte says there are no injury worries in the squad but is expecting a tough test tomorrow and says his team will have to be at their best.
Sunderland vs Man Utd (Sun 9 Apr 13.30)
United will be glad to get away from Old Trafford where they can only seem to draw these days. There are no comforts either home or away for the Black Cats who seem destined to be relegated this season after their latest defeat, this time at Leicester. The Stadium of Light has become the Stadium of Plight for Moyesie and crew who have failed to even score in their last four at home and haven’t won there since GW17. United don’t mind an away trip, they have won five and drawn the other of their last six on the road, although Sunderland is not their favourite hunting ground, having lost there last season and failing to win on any of their last three visits there. A win is vital for both teams, for different reasons – don’t expect a classic, it won’t be pretty, but what else are you likely to be doing at 1.30 on a Sunday afternoon?
It’s win or bust now for the Black Cats with Smasher Moyes saying, ‘we’re in a position where we have to take risks.’ Only six months too late Ginge but don’t slap me. One of those risks could be Victor Anichebe who played 18mins at Leicester – Moyes admits his big striker is unlikely to be fit enough to play 90mins. Lee Cattermole trained today with the manager admitting the team have missed his leadership (aggression). John O’Shea will miss following the death of his father, while Adnan Januzaj is ineligible to play vs United. Ginge says his team will not give up and hopes they can still turn things around, starting on Sunday.
United will continue to be without Wayne Rooney while Ashley Young will also miss the trip to the North-East. Young’s absence means Antonio Valencia will likely retrun to the team after his midweek rest. Juan Mata remains out as do long-term crocks Chris Smalling and Phil Jones.
Everton vs Leicester (Sun 9 Apr 16.00)
It’s five wins in a row for Leicester, Shakey can do no wrong, safety is all but assured and they can use the “we’ll concentrate on Europe” line before long. Sunday sees Shakey’s biggest challenge yet, a trip to Goodison where Everton have won their last six with a goal difference of 22-3. Last week’s trips to Liverpool and Man United were never going to be easy but they reacted well from the derby defeat and will take that confidence into this weekend. The Foxes knocked Everton out of the FA Cup at Goodison in January and also won at Everton last season with the Toffees winning at Leicester on Boxing Day. So the fixture form is somewhat mixed and an exciting encounter is expected – will it be six on the spin for Shakey’s Foxes or seven in a row at Goodison for the Toffees?
With Seamus Coleman and Ramiro Funes Mori ruled out for the season, the last thing Everton needed was any more issues at the back, but Ashley Williams’ red card at Old Trafford means he is suspended for this week – Matthew Pennington is likely to partner Phil Jagielka in Williams’ absence. A late decision will be taken on Morgan Schneiderlin, while Aaron Lennon and James McCarthy remain doubts.
Shakey says the Foxes will continue to be without skipper Wes Morgan and Namapalys Mendy with no time frame given for the return of either. Yohan Benalouane will continue alongside Robert Huth at the back and Shakey says he has spoken to Ahmed Musa who assures him he hasn’t gone all Moyesie and all has been cleared up by the police. Despite the midweek Champions League encounter with Athletico Madrid, Shakey says his sole focus is Sunday’s match and he will pick a team to win at Goodison. There are a few ‘niggles’ in the squad with the manager hopeful that everyone can train fully on Saturday.
Crystal Palace vs Arsenal (Mon 10 Apr 20.00)
Oh this is all set up to be another horrible night for the Gunners. A night under the lights at Selhurst Park, the Gooners seemingly in disarray, Big Sam in the middle of yet another rescue mission. But stop. Hold the bus. Palace lost last time out at Southampton, Arsenal returned to winning ways (albeit only against West Ham) and Palace never beat the Gooners. Like never. Ever. Certainly at home. Palace last beat the Gooners at home in 1979 – Pat Jennings was in goal and that was Palace’s single ever victory at home vs Arsenal. They did win at Highbury in 1994 but the overall record reads: Arsenal wins 26, Palace wins 3, draws 11. Can Monday break the curse? Well maybe – Liverpool will tell you that Selhurst at night is not a fun place to be and the Eagles did of course win at Chelsea during their recent wins of four wins in a row before Wednesday’s loss at Southampton. It should at least be a fun end to the game-week, both teams need a win and your forwards and midfielders will likely be more rewarded than your defenders or keepers.
The injuries are beginning to mount up for Palace and Big Sam is concerned that they may have an impact given Palace’s hectic schedule. PvA, Scott Dann, James Tomkins, Pape Souare, Connor Wickham and Fraizer Campbell have been joined by Yohan Cabaye and Loic Remy. Remy didn’t even make it back onto the pitch before picking up a calf injury while Cabaye picked up a similar injury at Southampton. There is some positive news as Joe Ledley returns after the birth of his baby boy and James McArthur may also be back for Monday.
Mixed news for the Gunners – Petr Cech and David Ospina remain out, leaving Damian Emiliano Martinez to once again play between the sticks, though he should be confident after keeping a clean sheet in midweek. Laurent Koscielny is again ruled out, but Wenger says the injury is not as bad as first feared and is ‘a short-term injury’. Francis Coquelin returns after missing the win over Wets Ham due to personal reasons.
Suspension Report GW32
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, has already served his 2-match ban and is 3 bookings away from a 3-match ban.)
Suspended for GW32:
Tyrone Mings (Bournemouth)
Ashley Williams (Everton)
Tom Huddlestone (Hull)
Oriol Romeu (Southampton)
Miguel Britos (Watford)
The following players are one booking away from a 2-match ban:
Gareth Barry (Everton)
Sam Clucas (Hull)
Adam Clayton (Middlesbrough)
Joe Allen (Stoke)
Marko Arnautovic (Stoke)
Leroy Fer (Swansea)
Craig Dawson (West Brom)
James McClean (West Brom)
Mark Noble (West Ham)
Thanks for reading Around the Grounds FPL Team News Gameweek 32. This article was written by Cookie
The Tracker in full…
DGW34 IS ON THERE AS CONFIRMED BUT DGW37 IS VERY MUCH PROVISIONAL!
That’s our best guess as to how it will pan out and there is still Southampton vs Arsenal to be rearranged. That looks likely to be in GW35 or 36. The FPL site itself has said that they expect the remaining games to be confirmed on or around the 7th April.
Teams with DGW’s ahead… (with thanks to Rosco)
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