Around the Grounds FPL Team News Gameweek 9
Welcome to Around the Grounds FPL Team News Gameweek 9. A change is as good as a rest, so they say. Well sadly for you, you got the rest from me rather than a change. I am back. Around the Grounds is back. Your weekly preview full of waffle, useless stats and lies and deceptions aplenty from the managers returns to confuse you just as you were on the point of deciding this week’s transfer. Our game-week kicks off Saturday lunchtime as in form Bournemouth host unbeaten Spurs. Six 3pm matches follow – Arsenal attempt to continue their form as they welcome Boro, Everton travel to Burnley, Hull and Stoke face each other, champions Leicester take on the Palace of the Lord, Watford go to Wales and West Ham host Sunderland. The evening fixture sees Liverpool taking on West Brom. Our game-week is completed on Sunday – first up sees leaders City welcome Southampton before Jose returns to Chelsea with United. Let’s get Around the Grounds to see if the managers can reveal anything interesting.
Bournemouth vs Spurs (Sat 22 Oct 12.45)
Something has to give here – Bournemouth are fresh off their six-goal mauling of the Hull Tiger, while Spurs remain the only unbeaten team in the division and are showing the form that saw them almost finish above Arsenal last season. This fixture will of course give Jack Wilshere the chance to get one over his old enemy as he continues his return to first team football while at the seaside. Fixture form however favours the Spurs who did the double over the Cherries last season by an accumulated 8-1, including a 5-1 trouncing at Dean Court – we should note that Harry Kane scored five of these eight goals last term and he ain’t around this time.
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe says his squad is in good shape, “There’s a few knocks and little problems but nothing out of the ordinary. Naturally when you win there’s a lift. Last week was a good week, but it’s back to work and focusing on a tough game”. It would be a surprise if Howe changed the team that smashed 6 past Hull last week, although Harry Arter is struggling with a knock. Maz Gradel could be available but Brad Smith and Lewis Cook are sidelined.
Spurs will be without key defender Toby Alderweireld but manager Mauricio Pochettino says his injury is not too serious and he should return soon. Danny Rose is a doubt after picking up a foot injury in the draw at Leverkusen on Tuesday, while Harry Kane remains unavailable but is “making good progress” and returned to light training just this week.
Arsenal vs Middlesbrough (Sat 22 Oct 15.00)
Here we go again, Arsenal are looking great pre-Christmas – six wins in a row sees them second to Man City on goal difference, and ahead of Spurs. Obviously. For Boro, things are looking tough and a long cold, hard winter awaits – just two points in their last six matches means they hover just above the relegation zone. These two haven’t met in the Premier League since 2009 so it’s unfair to quote any fixture form but it would appear to be a case of how many as the Goooners attempt to go top, albeit temporarily until City play on Sunday.
Wenger reveals that Santi Cazorla is a doubt after picking up a knock in the week, he will face a late assessment. Granit Xhaka is suspended while Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud continue to miss out. Nacho Monreal can be expected to return to the starting line up after Kieran Gibbs was given a run out in midweek.
Boro captain Grant Leadbitter has returned to training after missing the whole of the season so far after undergoing surgery on a hernia – he is unlikely to feature this weekend as he builds up his fitness. Calum Chambers is ineligible to play against his parent club, so Daniel Ayala could deputise. Fabio da Silva has recovered from injury but hold that excitement because James Husband continues to miss out.
Burnley vs Everton (Sat 22 Oct 15.00)
On first glance an away win for the Toffees appears to be a fairly safe bet – and it may of course turn out like that, especially as Everton held City at the Etihad last weekend – then again, they cannot expect the oppo to miss two penalties every week. However, Burnley’s home form has been ok – they have beaten Liverpool and Watford and lost by just the single goal to Arsenal – we’ll forget the draw with Hull. Burnley will probably want to forget that too. They will also want to forget last week’s loss at Southampton where they were second best by a long way.
Burnley midfielder Steven Defour has picked up a hamstring injury and has been ruled out of the weekend – he joins Ashley Barnes on the sidelines. Social media guru Andre Gray remains suspended.
Ronald Koeman says he wants more of his players to score goals, rather than relying on Romelu Lukaku all the time and suggests that Ross Barkley is in line for a recall – “Ross’s reaction to not starting at City was positive. He has trained well. It could be different this weekend.” Not such good news for Leighton Baines as the left back has been ruled out of the trip to Burnley after suffering a setback in his recovery from his hamstring injury. There are no fresh injuries and Aaron Lennon and Mo Besic remain out.
Hull vs Stoke (Sat 22 Oct 15.00)
Poor old Micky Phelan – he spends weeks waiting to see if he will be appointed full time manager and celebrates by taking his lads on a day trip to the south coast where they are right royally rogered by Bournemouth. The owners must be delighted. Stoke are the visitors this week and the Potters grabbed their first win of the season last week by beating Sunderland. The last two meetings between the pair at Hull have ended in a draw, though it may be wise to point out that Stoke are unbeaten in their last five clashes with Hull.
Good news for Hull as Michael Dawson has trained all week with Phelan saying, “I’m sure he’ll feature in the game.” Andrew Robertson suffered a calf injury at Bournemouth and misses out and will be replaced by Josh Tymon or Sam Clucas. Defender Moses Odubajo suffered a nasty injury in training yesterday, fracturing his patella and will likely miss the rest of the season. Allan McGregor, Dieumerci Mbokani, Alex Bruce and Brian Lenihan all remain out.
Stoke boss Mark Hughes says Joe Allen has surprised himself with his recent scoring run and the midfielder should be ok to feature as he has been managing a hamstring injury for a few weeks now. Jack Butland returned to training this week with Hughes saying he expects the keeper to push on quickly now, while Phil Bardsley is expecting to train today after limping off vs Sunderland. Glen Johnson, Stephen Ireland and Ibrahim Afellay all remain out.
Leicester vs Crystal Palace (Sat 22 Oct 15.00)
The champs have turned to chumps, the spirit of last season has deserted them, the Ranieri smile is fading. Why not, after last season? However the Foxes were hunted down last week by Chelsea so lucky for them it’s just Palace the visitors this week. Palace are sooooo bad that even the Hammers beat them. And kept a clean sheet – “can we play you every week” was the chant from those fickle cockneys. Idiots. Last season saw two 1-0 wins for Leicester over Palace courtesy of goals from Vardy and Mahrez of course. A similar outcome will get that smile back on Claudio’s face.
Ranieri reports that Jamie Vardy, Wes Morgan and Andy King all missed training after their midweek Champions League victory but expects all three to be available for the weekend. Matty James has also trained for a week for the first time in a long time with an excited Claudio saying, “It’s fantastic. We need a player like him.” Only Nampalys Mendy continues to miss out.
The Lord says that Christian Benteke will remain the penalty taker despite his miss vs the Hammers last week. Scott Dann has made good progress but is not quite ready for the weekend so James Tomkins and Damien Delaney will buddy up at the back. Loic Remy is expected back some time in December while Pape Souare is an obvious casualty for the foreseeable future.
Swansea vs Watford (Sat 22 Oct 15.00)
Down the valleys the man from the other side of the pond, Bob Bradley has a tough task on his hands with his Swansea side slipping into the drop zone after last week’s defeat at Arsenal. That defeat however was full of positive signs as the Swans went down with fight and spirit, the sort of which we rarely saw under Francesco Guidolin. Watford are the visitors and their win at Boro last week has leapfrogged them into midway – the Swans won the corresponding fixture 1-0 last season.
Bradley confirmed that striker Fernando Llorente will be fit after missing two games because of injury, while Mo Barrow is also available after an ankle injury, but Jefferson Montero’s calf problem keeps him out and Nathan Dyer remains on the sidelines.
Walter Mazzarri is resigned to being without Isaac Success this weekend as the injuries continue to mount up for the Hornets. The Nigerian has failed to train all week as he is suffering with a hamstring problem. Craig Cathcart is also still out and the word is the defender might require surgery to cure a groin and hip problem. Kenedy, who hasn’t trained for more than a week, is also in the treatment room. On the plus side, Daryl Janmaat returned to training on Thursday, but the game against Hull next week is a more realistic target for the Dutchman. Mazzarri reported that Stefano Okaka “is very close” to returning while Miguel Britos is expected to shake off the problem that saw him substituted at the Riverside last week.
West Ham vs Sunderland (Sat 22 Oct 15.00)
The Hammers are on an impressive run of two games unbeaten – the good times are back for Slaven Bilic and crew. Last week’s win over Palace may have been slightly fortunate, but who cares, it’s was another defeat for the Lord, so all is good. Now the Hammers are on a roll, they will expect to coast past the hapless Moyes Machine that is Sunderland – the Black Cats remain winless, and useless, and only Big Sam can save them this season. The Hammers are unbeaten in the last four meetings hosting Sunderland.
Aaron Cresswell’s sending off at Palace last week leaves Bilic with a defensive dilemma – he could choose to move Angelo Ogbonna to the left and recall James Collins to partner Winston Reid in the middle. Aside from Cresswell’s suspension, there is little change in terms of injuries – Sam Byram, Arthur Masuaku, Gokhan Tore, Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho all remain out, but Andre Ayew is making excellent progress in his recovery and has resumed training but is unlikely to be thrown straight back in vs Sunderland.
Moyesie has something to cheer as he reveals the injury list is shortening – Lamine Kone and PvA have returned to training. That’s the good news. Whoopeee doooo. Fabio Borini, Lee Cattermole, Seb Larsson, Jan Kirchoff, Adnan Januzaj and Jason Denayer all remain missing.
Liverpool vs West Brom (Sat 22 Oct 17.30)
Another night under the lights at Anfield awaits us and let’s hope this one is more exciting than Monday’s effort. Jurgen Klopp’s likely lads were stifled by United and one would imagine Tony Pulis will be attempting the same suffocation. The Baggies were close to beating Spurs last week, more by luck than judgement – however it is better to be lucky than good, so maybe the Baggies will feel they can nick something here. Klopp will have different ideas and will want to push on in the chase of City and Arsenal.
Klopp reports good news as Georginio Wijnaldum has recovered from injury and is in line to feature vs the Baggies. The only definite absentees are Mamadou Sakho and Joe Gomez, while Klopp spent much of the presser heaping praise upon Adam Lallana. Loris Karius is expected to remain in goal after the clean sheet vs United and James Milner has shaken off a slight knock picked up on Monday.
Pulis knows his team are in for a tough evening at Anfield but is pleased by their recent performances despite conceding late goals to Sunderland and Spurs which has cost the Baggies 4pts. Jonny Evans misses the trip to Liverpool after picking up his 5th yellow card last week – he is the only definite absentee although Pulis suggested Saido Berahino may have some work to do on his fitness. Jonas Olsson is likely to come in for Evans.
Man City vs Southampton (Sun 23 Oct 13.30)
One point out of six and yet City are still top – something tells me this could be their year. Oh well. They’ll want to bounce back this week though and they have won the last five league matches vs the Saints at the Etihad. However, Southampton have put some form together of late – four wins and a draw in their last five matches and just one goal conceded in the last four.
The midweek defeat in Barcelona appears to have escalated a huge amount of press “chat” – notably regarding the futures of Sergio Aguero and Vincent Kompany. Pep appears to have refuted such chat saying that “both Aguero and Kompany are in my plans. When Sergio decides to leave City, it will be his decision. Next time before you (the media) decide he is not in my plans you can call me.” Ok, so that’s the silly Kun talk out of the way. City will be without right backs Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna for Sunday’s match – Gael Clichy or Pablo Maffeo or even Nicolas Otamendi – all a bit of a FUBAR (Google it if you don’t know) if you ask me. What we do know is that Fabian Delph remains out! I take no responsibility for whatever team Pep puts out on Sunday!!!
Saints chief Claude Puel confirms that Shane Long is likely to miss the trip to City after the striker limped off at the San Siro on Thursday. Ryan Bertrand, Cedroc Soares and Matty Targett are also unlikely to make the game so Sam McQueen is likely to start at left back. Charlie Austin will start up front, while the Saints will hope that Nathan Redmond has successfully shaken off the knock that kept him out of the trip to Milan.
Chelsea vs Man Utd (Sun 23 Oct 16.00)
What a way to end our game-week. Jose returns to the Bridge and will be hoping to stop the likes of Hazard and Costa scoring – this shouldn’t prove too difficult for him as he perfected it well enough last season before being booted out. The Blues haven’t lost this fixture in ten meetings and United will need to show more imagination than they did at Anfield if they are to break that hoodoo. Chelsea showed some semblance of their old flair in dismissing the Champions 3-0 last weekend, but expect a tighter affair with both teams desperate not to lose.
Contrary to media speculation, John Terry is fit and available if called upon to face United on Sunday, though whether Antonio Conte decides to break up his back three of Cesar Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill and David Luiz remains to be seen. Willian has returned from an extended period away following the death of his mother and Conte says he has trained well but has still to decide whether the Brazilian will replace Pedro. There is a similar tale of Oscar who lost his grandfather and returned to Brazil. Kurt Zouma continues to miss out through injury, while Branislav Ivanovic and Cesc Fabregas should return soon as both have minor muscle injuries.
Mourinho is hopeful that Chris Smalling will be available after suffering a “bad muscular feeling” during Thursday night’s Europa win – the defender was replaced as a precaution. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is working hard to build up his fitness levels with the manager saying he expects the winger to be available soon. Phil Jones is the only other definite absentee though Morgan Schneiderlin has been carrying a knock and appears to have fallen down the pecking order anyway.
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 GW9:
Andre Gray (Burnley)
Jonny Evans (West Brom)
Aaron Cresswell (West Ham United)
One yellow card away from suspension:
Diego Costa (Chelsea)
Robert Huth (Leicester)
Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)
Marouane Fellaini (Man Utd)
Gaston Ramirez (Middlesbrough)
Marko Arnautovic (Stoke City)
Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City)
Jose Holebas (Watford)
Claudio Yacob (West Brom)
Thanks for reading Around the Grounds FPL Team News Gameweek 9. This article was written by Cookie
Fixture Tracker – the next 6 games