Team Talk Fantasy Football GW8
Well here we are finally, time to get back on it – your FPL holiday is over. You have survived a nervous fortnight fearing unexpected price rises for your dream transfer, the internationals have come and gone (for now) and it is about time we got back to doing what we do best. Moaning about team selections, dodgy captain choices and getting all fluffed up for a great gameweek. “Stop waffling and get on with it then!” Right, fasten your seat belts, here we go. Our gameweek kicks off Saturday lunchtime up at the Emptihad as City entertain Spurs, before we are treated to no less than six 3pm matches. Hull travel to face the Gooners, its a claret and blue shoot out as Burnley take on West Ham, there’s a London derby down at Selhurst as Chelsea go to Palace, Everton host Aston Villa, Leicester go to Newcastle and Southampton entertain Sunderland. There’s no evening kick off this week, so get those brownie points in – take your loved one out for dinner, hoover the lounge, fix the shower head, clean your bedroom, whatever. Sunday sees QPR welcome Liverpool to Loftus Road before Stoke play Swansea. And that’s it. Or so you thought. Cos we have a little treat – Monday Night Football!!! And it’ll be a good ‘un, there’ll be goals and incident and comic defending as West Brom take on the might of the United attack and the joke of the United defence at the Hawthorns.
A word of warning – as well as the European qualifiers and the South American friendlies which generally were complete by the start of the week, most of the African Cup of Nations qualifiers were held on Wednesday evening…i.e. less than two days ago. So many of those players involved will literally be arriving back as you read this. It may well be that some knocks have been picked up, or game or travel fatigue leads to their manager maybe benching them.
It’s gonna be big, it’s gonna be fun – let’s go laaaaarge!
And without any more random waffling, let’s go Around the Grounds to see what damage the internationals have done to our teams.
Man City vs Spurs (Sat 18 Oct 12.45)
Spurs chief Manuel Pochettino says that keeper Hugo Lloris and influential midfielder Nacer Chadli are both doubts and will need to be assessed after training on Friday. Kyle Naughton and Kyle Walker both remain out, must be the name – so Eric Dier will continue at right back. Emmanuel Adebayor and Nabil Bentaleb only arrived back from international duty on Friday so will need to be checked.
City’s only definite absentees for the match are defender Eliaquim Mangala, who has a small muscle problem and Samir Nasri who continues to recover from his groin operation. Martin Demichelis will likely partner captain Vincent Kompany at the back. A late decision will be taken on Yaya Toure, who only returned from Africa on Thursday – interestingly, the last time he was on international duty on a Wednesday night ahead of a Saturday lunchtime kick off, he was left out of the squad that weekend. Fernandinho is expected to shrug off his hamstring injury.
Arsenal vs Hull (Sat 18 Oct 15.00)
The casualty ward at the Emirates continues to be oversubscribed – Mesut Ozil, Laurent Koscielny, Mathieu Debuchy, Aaron Ramsey, Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott, Serge Gnabry and Yaya Sanogo are all ruled out of the weekend. However, it’s not all negative. Honest. Mikel Arteta will return to the squad on Saturday. Wooohooo, told you there was good news. Oh, I’m only joking, you over-sensitive Goonies, there really is good news. Calmed down and ready? Danny Welbeck has shaken off the knock he got while playing for England. Aaron Ramsey should return to training on Monday and will be in the squad for the Champions League match vs Anderlecht in midweek. Koscielny aggravated his achilles injury whilst with France, but the positive news is that he will not require surgery. Tomas Rosicky should also be ok for the weekend after collecting a kick on the calf on international duty. Walcott will play in an U21’s match on Friday evening to boost his match fitness and a return to the first team squad is imminent. Happy now? Good – cos we turn negative again now. Callum Chambers is suspended for this week, so the defence is likely to include Nacho Monreal alongside Per Mertesacker and Hector Bellerin filling in at right back.
Steve Bruce says that all his players who have returned are fine and raring to go – in form midfielder Mohammed Diame is due to fly back today and will meet up with the team in London, while striker Sone Aluko will need to be assessed. For what? He’s only played 55mins this season – no one cares Brucie. Ahmed Elmohamady, who pulled out of the Egyptian squad through injury, is set to play after having a good rest. Bless him. Keeper Allan McGregor remains out so Steve Harper will continue to deputise between the sticks. Robert Snodgrass is of course out for a while.
Burnley vs West Ham (Sat 18 Oct 15.00)
Burnley boss Sean Dyche has confirmed that Danny Ings, Nathaniel Chalobah and David Jones are all fit again and are in contention to make the starting XI vs West Ham. Midfielder Dean Marney is touch and go, while defenders Kieran Trippier and Michael Keane will also need late fitness tests. Matty Taylor will need to go under the knife to sort his achilles injury and will be out for the foreseeable future.
Hammers midfielder Mark Noble, who has missed the previous two matches, has trained all week and should be fine, while Enner Valencia returned late from international duty and will need to be assessed for fatigue, but Big Sam expects him to play. Defenders Carl Jenkinson and James Collins and striker Ricardo Vaz Te are all expected to travel with the squad, but Guy Demel, like Valencia will need a late check. Joey O’Brien, Cheikhou Kouyate and Andy Carroll all remain out.
Crystal Palace vs Chelsea (Sat 18 Oct 15.00)
Although Palace defender Scott Dann’s knee injury that he picked up vs Hull is not as bad as first expected and the defender has returned to training, this weekend will certainly be too soon for him and in fact he is not 100% certain of playing in GW9 – manager Neil Warnock says GW10 is a more probable return date at this stage. Brede Hangeland or Martin Kelly are the contenders to replace Dann in defence.
Classic presser from Jose at lunchtime – guess what. Oh come on, don’t play with me now, you already know. Diego Costa is a doubt for the trip to Palace, due to his ongoing hamstring injury. Playing twice for Spain hasn’t helped and, of course, Chelsea play Maribor in the Champions League on Tuesday and with Didier Drogba struggling, caution will have to be taken. So what does this mean for Costa? A genuine rest this weekend, a place on the bench or a repeat of GW3 when he was a “big doubt” for the trip to Goodison? Well we all know what happened there don’t we. He started, he scored a brace – and some of us looked very stupid for selling him. So, if you have him, play him, don’t captain him and bloody well don’t sell him!! Well, aside from “he who can’t be sold” and Drogba, Mourinho says Ramires, Andre Schurrle and Jon Obi Mikel are also doubtful for the game.
Everton vs Aston Villa (Sat 18 Oct 15.00)
James McCarthy, Steven Pienaar and Seamus Coleman all remain doubtful for the visit of Villa, but Roberto Martinez is expecting them to be available for the Europa Cup tie vs Lille on Thursday. With John Stones ruled out for the medium term, the manager is pleased to reveal that Sylvain Distin is refreshed, back in training and will compete with Antolin Alcaraz for the spot alongside Phil Jagielka at the heart of the defence. Midfielder Ross Barkley has returned to training with no problems and is close to a return. Martinez gave particular praise to “intelligent” (editor – really?!, guess who) striker Steven Naismith and young defender Tylas Browning, who he said would get lots of opportunities as the fixtures pile up.
Villa star man Christian Benteke will again be included in the squad and Paul Lambert says the striker is desperate to start the match – whether he gets his wish remains to be seen as the manager seeks to not rush him back too quickly. Lambert is delighted to welcome back defender Ron Vlaar to the starting line up, but Fabian Delph is a major doubt with a shoulder injury, while Philippe Senderos is expected to miss out with a thigh injury.
Newcastle vs Leicester (Sat 18 Oct 15.00)
Toon keeper Tim Krul and defenders Daryl Janmaat and Paul Dummett have all been passed fit to play vs Leicester – a win is not likely to be enough to lift Pardew’s men out of the bottom three, but it will certainly close the gap between them and mid-table points wise and inject some confidence into the club. Davide Santon, Siem de Jong, Rolando Aarons and Jonas Gutierrez all remain sidelined. The managerial genius has said that Gabriel Obertan will start the game – now there’s a differential for ya, 4.4mln – what more could you want? Emmanuel Riviere is rumoured to have picked up an injury in training – probably a severe case of over excitement at the thought of getting on the end of those wonderful Obertan crosses.
The Foxes have no new injuries and welcome back veteran midfielder Esteban Cambiasso from injury. Manager Nigel Pearson has said he will need to monitor Jeffrey Schlupp and Riyad Mahrez on Friday after both arrived back late from their internationals. Matthew Upson remains out.
Southampton vs Sunderland (Sat 18 Oct 15.00)
Saints chief Ronald Koeman says none of his players have returned from international duty with injuries, although he is still waiting for attacking midfielder Saido Mane and striker Emmanuel Mayuka (anyone heard of him?) to actually return from Africa. Mane is the big dilemma here and of most concern for FPL managers – Koeman said he hopes his midfielder will be ok to play and that he has time to have a small rest and a light training session, assuming he returns injury free. James Ward-Prowse remains sidelined.
The Black Cats travel down south without defenders Billy Jones and Sebastian Coates and midfielders Emanuele Giaccherini and Ricardo Alvarez, This leaves manager Gus Poyet with just four fit defenders, namely John O’Shea, Santiago Vergini, Patrick van Aanholt and Wes Brown with the manager saying his squad is becoming stretched with the injuries and will be hopeful that the strikers Connor Wickham and Steven Fletcher can carry on where they left us vs Stoke.
QPR vs Liverpool (Sun 19 Oct 13.30)
The Jordan and Joey hamstring dilemma continues for Rangers, with both Barton and Mutch ruled out. Fellow midfielder Niko Kranjcar has a broken toe, but ‘Arry says he may be ok to play with an injection, while striker Eduardo Vargas and defender Mauricio Isla will both need to be assessed today after returning from international duty. Alejandro Faurlin remains sidelined.
Liverpool welcome back midfielders Joe Allen and Emre Can back into the squad after both successfully returned to training during the international break. Daniel Sturridge has also stepped up his work on the training ground, but Brendan Rodgers was a tad more sceptical about the striker’s return, saying he would be assessed further tomorrow. Bear in mind Liverpool face Real Madrid on Wednesday and with the words “burn out” and “tiredness” seemingly in vogue at Anfield right now, it’s possible the manager will use Sunday to give one or two a rest. Maybe. Who knows? Rodgers is hopeful that defender Dejan Lovren will be fit to face Rangers after his abdominal injury was not as bad as first feared, while Raheem Sterling’s performance in training was described as “brilliant” by the manager – must have had a good sleep, poor love.
Stoke vs Swansea (Sun 19 Oct 16.00)
Victor Moses should be fit for the visit of Swansea – the midfielder picked up a thigh injury vs Sunderland and pulled out of the Nigerian squad in the week, but has returned to training at Stoke this week and has said he is looking forward to Sunday. Glen Whelan has also picked up a thigh injury and could miss this week, but striker Mame Biram Diouf is hopeful of returning to the line up. Robert Huth has picked up a calf problem, while Marko Arnatouvic has a hip injury – both are doubtful.
Swansea are looking for their first ever Premier League win at the Britannia and also searching for their first league win in four matches, having won their previous four. Jonjo Shelvey is suspended after receiving his fifth yellow card vs Newcastle, while Angel Rangel returns from his ban. Jordi Amat remains out, Dwight Tiendalli faces a late test and Leon Britton has started his comeback and is running again – he is still not expected back for a few weeks though.
West Brom vs Man Utd (Mon 20 Oct 20.00)
Baggies midfielder Claudio Yacob will miss the game due to a family illness in Argentina. Chris Brunt, Victor Anichebe and Brown Ideye all face late fitness tests – the triop have returned to training and will be given every chance of playing on Monday evening. Midfielder Silvestre Varela remains sidelined.
LVG’s injury list is down to four – namely Johnny Evans, Jesse Lingard, Patrick McNair and Antonio Valencia, who picked up a hamstring injury in the win vs Everton. It is thought that Michael Carrick may make the bench on Monday, while Chris Smalling and Phil Jones will compete to partner Marcos Rojo at the back. Reports suggest that Ander Herrera may be given more time to recover fully and will not be risked vs WBA…..but that is just a rumour, nothing definite from LVG at this stage. All of the internationals returned home safely, great news for Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao owners. Wayne Rooney is still suspended. United have scored 25 goals in their last eight visits to the Hawthorns, winning seven and drawing the other in a 5-5 thriller. Goals look likely again here….at both ends.
That, my friends, is your preview complete. I emphasise the returning African players as potential problems this week – best guess is some will start and some may be benched, depending on their fatigue from travelling. Go well, score high and good luck for GW8!