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Around the Grounds FPL Team News

Team Talk Gameweek 15

IntroWell I think we’re still all catching our breath from Wednesday nights action, but it’s time to move on and look forward to GW15. The game-week starts Saturday lunchtime at Old Trafford as United host Newcastle and is followed by five 3pm kick-offs as Crystal Palace welcome Cardiff, the Hammers have the unenviable task of trying to contain Luis Suarez at Anfield, Man City go to Southampton, Stoke entertain Chelsea and West Brom play Norwich. The cameras are at the Stadium of Light Saturday evening as Sunderland host Tottenham. Sunday sees Fulham entertain Aston Villa and a mouth-watering affair at the Emirates as Arsenal play Everton. The game-week finishes Monday evening down at the Liberty Stadium as Hull travel to Swansea.

Let’s go around the grounds to catch up with all the latest team-news

Man Utd vs Newcastle (Sat 7 Dec 12.45)

Doom and gloom is surrounding Old Trafford right now, the league looks an impossible dream this season and  a Champions League spot seems to be the best David Moyes can hope for in his first season in charge. Even Newcastle are above the Champions in the league – and it’s the Toon who are the visitors this weekend. Alan Pardew’s men were on a great run of form, before succumbing to Swansea in the week and they, just like United, will be desperate to get back to winning ways. Well, it wouldn’t be the fixture Newcastle would select if they are to continue their ambitions of a top 4 spot, they haven’t won at Old Trafford since 1972 – then again Everton went to United on Wednesday having not won there for twenty one years – and we all know what happened!

With Wayne Rooney suspended, all United fans were looking forward to hearing some positive news from Moyes in this afternoon’s press conference. Unlucky. In fact, any news would be helpful…but no. When asked about RvP, he said, “You can ask, that doesn’t mean I will answer. We have injuries like every club. Some have a chance, some don’t” – errrr thanks Dave. My take on that…and please note, this is just my take, not an official comment, is that this injury is more serious than is being made out. What I do know is that the manager’s decision not to give more transparency is not doing himself any favours with the fans. Shinji Kagawa has been unwell since Wednesday and will be monitored but the manager hopes he is available. Key midfielder Michael Carrick continues to be missed.

Pardew, meanwhile, is hopeful that midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa can shake off illness before the weekend, but striker Papiss Cisse is a doubt with a heel injury – both players have at least trained and the manager is optimistic they will be fine. Ryan Taylor is the only long-term casualty.

Crystal Palace vs Cardiff City (Sat 7 Dec 15.00)

Having seen off West Ham in GW14, Palace welcome another fellow relegation candidate, Cardiff, to Selhurst Park, with the knowledge that a second successive win could lift them out of the relegation zone, if other results go their way. It’s impossible to predict which Cardiff will turn up, but Malky Mackay will be concerned about their lack of goals, they have scored just three times in their last six games, meaning goals could be very scarce here, especially when you bear in mind Palace are the only team to score fewer goals than Cardiff this season! A clean sheet bonanza perhaps?

Tony Pulis has no fresh injury concerns after the midweek win, though Jerome Thomas is still unlikely to feature as he continues to suffer with a groin injury. Yannick Bolasie serves the last of his three-game suspension and Glenn Murray, Jack Hunt and Paddy McCarthy remain sidelined. Jonny Williams will again be pushing for a start, as will Jimmy Kebe, who impressed after coming on against West Ham.

Malky Mackay is pleased to reveal that Craig Bellamy has travelled with the squad to the game, but may still require a late fitness test, while fit-again Andreas Cornelius could feature at some point. Left back Andrew Taylor, who failed a fitness test before the draw at Stoke, is also available again and Mackay must decide whether to put him straight into the side after Declan John impressed in his place.

Liverpool vs West Ham (Sat 7 Dec 15.00)

A daunting trip to Anfield awaits Big Sam and his team – and his sleep pattern would not have improved after seeing Luis Suarez single-handedly destroy Norwich on Wednesday evening. He will, instead be reminding his team of the 0-0 draw between the two at Anfield last season, although many will no doubt be highlighting the fact that the Hammers haven’t won at Liverpool since 1963, when goals by Martin Peters & Geoff Hurst were good enough to beat the Reds. Suarez, with 13 goals this season, has scored more than West Ham, while keep an eye on Glen Johnson – he has scored in three of his last four PL games against his old club.

Rodgers revealed Suarez played with a tight calf on Wednesday evening, which may be worth keeping a watchful eye on, but the manager says there are no new serious injuries in the squad. Jose Enrique, Daniel Sturridge & Sebastian Coates are all long-term absentees.

For the Hammers, Andy Carroll has returned to light training, with Big Sam hoping he will be available soon. Fellow striker Ricardo Vaz Te continues to miss out with a dislocated shoulder, defender Winston Reid is recovering from an ankle injury and leading scorer Ravel Morrison is suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card in the defeat at Palace, meaning Joe Cole could get a start against his old club.

Southampton vs Man City (Sat 7 Dec 15.00)

Two weeks ago this match would have been seen as a real tough test for Man City, but three successive defeats for the Saints and an impressive victory for City at West Brom, sees Manuel Pellegrini’s men start as favourites. City are on a great run of form, having won four of their last five, scoring nineteen goals, but will be wary of the trip down to the South coast having lost 3-1 there last season.

Southampton defender Jose Fonte had a knock and wasn’t fit to play 90 minutes in the week – he will need to be assessed before the game, but fellow defender Nathaniel Clyne and midfielders Victor Wanyama and Morgan Schneiderlin are definitely ruled out through injury. First choice keepers Artur Boruc & Kelvin Davis remain unavailable so Paulo Gazzaniga continues between the sticks while Guly do Prado & Danny Fox are longer term absentees. Better news of Gaston Ramirez, who could be available after suffering with a heavy cold.

Pellegrini has no fresh injury worries and says that Vincent Kompany came through the win at West Brom fine with no reaction, and thinks his captain is ok to play two games in four days, but bear in mind City do have a CL game away to Bayern Munich next week and then host Arsenal in GW16. Matija Nastasic is expected to be out until the New Year, but it is hoped that David Silva will return to training on Monday. Striker Alvaro Negredo may receive a recall after making way for Edin Dzeko in the week.

Stoke City vs Chelsea (Sat 7 Dec 15.00)

Mark Hughes welcomes his old club to the Britannia knowing he is another manager being pulled precariously close to the drop zone after a run of just one win in eleven games. Therefore it’s not the time to be playing a Chelsea side who are in good form, have won their last three and sit in 2nd place, four points behind Arsenal. Last season’s encounter was a 4-0 drubbing in the Blues favour and having already taken three points this week off old boy Gus Poyet, Jose Mourinho’s men will be hoping for another disappointing reunion for Sparky. Interesting fact: the Special One has never lost a PL league game in December and with Chelsea winning eight and drawing two of their last ten matches vs Stoke, it would appear that Jose’s run is likely to continue.

Hughes is again going to have to do without central defender Robert Huth, who continues to sit out with a knee injury, while fellow defender Erik Pieters will need a late fitness test after being forced off at half time against Stoke with a groin injury. Jonathan Walters has recovered from a dead leg and will look to improve on his nightmare performance in this fixture last season when he missed a penalty and scored two own-goals!

The news that most will be interested in concerns Oscar. Mourinho says that the midfielder’s ankle injury is  better, but he is not sure if he will play tomorrow – the tone doesn’t sound that positive for Oscar owners, but bear in mind this is Mourinho!! David Luiz is definitely still sidelined, but striker Samuel Eto’o has recovered from injury and is available for the game.

West Brom vs Norwich (Sat 7 Dec 15.00)

Fresh from their mauling at Anfield, Norwich have another tough looking away trip as they visit The Hawthorns to play a West Brom side who have their own problems and have managed just one win in their last eight since beating United at Old Trafford in September. The Canaries have lost five of their last seven matches against the Baggies, although interestingly they have won on three of their last trips to the Hawthorns  and another win there on Saturday would see them leapfrog West Brom in the table – but having conceded 18 goals in their previous four away games, Chris Hughton will be concerned that the likes of Shane Long could be in for a fruitful afternoon.

Hughton reports no fresh injuries from midweek – Ricky van Wolfswinkel has returned to light training but is  unlikely to be rushed back and could instead be kept back for GW16. Norwich are again affected by injuries in midfield with Robert Snodgrass, Anthony Pilkington, Alex Tettey and Elliott Bennett all still unavailable, meaning youngster Nathan Redmond, should see increased game time.

Steve Clarke has said that defender Billy Jones and winger Scott Sinclair are both available for selection, but Nicolas Anelka probably won’t make the game, despite resuming training. Defender Jonas Olsson is suspended and the manager has been talking up Stephane Sessegnon in the local press, suggesting a recall for the game after he was left out of the defeat to City. Midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu returns from suspension.

Sunderland vs Tottenham (Sat 7 Dec 17.30)

Having won for the first time in five matches on Wednesday, Spurs travel to the Stadium of Light knowing they are in for a real dogfight against a Sunderland team that continues to fight for their Premier League survival and who ran Chelsea close in the week, before finally surrendering in a seven goal thriller. The Black Cats have failed to beat Spurs in their previous six battles, but finding themselves five points away from safety, they will need to put some wins together if they are to avoid being left stranded at the bottom of the league. Steven Fletcher will be looking forward to the game, having scored in three of his last five PL games vs Spurs.

AvB has confirmed that defender Jan Vertonghen rolled his ankle in late on in the win at Fulham and will miss the trip to the Stadium of Light. Also out are Christian Eriksen and Emmanuel Adebayor. Danny Rose suffered a minor setback on his quad but is expected to train before the match, though the game will come too soon for him.

Gus Poyet suggests he may partner Steven Fletcher and Jozy Altidore up front in a tactical switch from lone striker role in an effort to reverse their fortunes. Keeper Keiren Westwood and defender Carlos Cuellar will miss out again.

Fulham vs Aston Villa (Sun 8 Dec 13.30)

Well the new manger syndrome failed to help Fulham beat Spurs in the week, so Rene Meulensteen will hope its second time lucky against an Aston Villa side who have been pretty impressive on the road this season, losing just the once in GW2 at Chelsea. The Cottagers have now lost six in a row and with their relegation rivals all picking up the odd win, it could be a bleak midwinter down by the Thames if the new manager cannot reverse their fortunes soon.

Villa have problems at the back with Ron Vlaar struggling with a calf injury and speculation that left back Antonio Luna may miss out with a minor knock. Paul Lambert has to decide whether to recall striker Christian Benteke after he was left out of the win at Southampton in favour of Libor Kozak, who did himself no harm by scoring. Andreas Weimann has now fully recovered from injury. Longer term absentees Charles N’Zogbia and Jores Okore continue to miss out.

Fulham need at least a draw to avoid setting a new PL record of seven successive defeats. Central defender Brede Hangeland is expected to be out for another six weeks having undergone surgery on a leg injury, while full-back Matthew Briggs and striker Hugo Rodallega also definitely miss out.

Arsenal vs Everton (Sun 8 Dec 16.00)

The game of the weekend takes place at the Emirates as league leaders Arsenal take on Everton, who will still be on a high after their midweek victory at Old Trafford. The Gunners have won eleven of their last thirteen matches and kept clean sheets in five of their last six, while the Toffees are unbeaten in seven and sit level on points with Liverpool in fifth place.

Wenger has revealed that striker Lukas Podolski has returned to full training, but he is not likely to be ready for this weekend. Theo Walcott is hoping to be involved after being laid low with illness. With rotation still in the manager’s mind, its worth noting that Jack Wilshire, Kieran Gibbs and Olivier Giroud may be set for a recall after being rested against Hull. Bacary Sagna is again ruled out with a hamstring injury, meaning another outing for Carl Jenkinson.

Roberto Martinez says his team picked up a few niggles in midweek, but nothing serious and the squad will be the same. Antolin Alcaraz is now fully fit but is expected to have to wait for a chance in a defence that is performing superbly right now. The manager says Leighton Baines is expected back in 3-4 weeks, but striker Arouna Kone and midfielder Darron Gibson are unlikely to play again this season.

Swansea vs Hull City (Mon 9 Dec 20.00)

The final match of GW15 takes play on Monday as 11th place Swansea host 12th place Hull, with just a point separating the two teams in mid-table. Both sides will take encouragement from their midweek performances, with the Swans brushing off the Toon with ease and Hull restricting the Gunners to just two goals at the Emirates.

Hull striker Sone Aluko is out until January with an achilles injury while Paul McShane & Stephen Quinn are both expected to miss the game with hamstring injuries. Steve Bruce expects to name a similar squad to that which travelled to Arsenal in midweek.

Michael Laudrup has admitted that he could be without all three of his strikers for Monday’s game – Alvaro Vasquez suffered a groin strain during the midweek win over Newcastle, Wilfried Bony is thought to be touch and go for the game, while Michu has returned to training this week but is not expected to be match fit until next week. Jonjo Shelvey could be an interesting short-term punt for fantasy managers – he was pushed further forward when Vasquez went off vs the Toon and went on to score and assist and his manager has said of him, “I think that position suits him very well. I think he can play the more dynamic midfielder alongside a holding midfielder”.

Please see below the list of four players who will miss GW15 due to suspension.


Four Yellows!
Any player who picks up 5 yellow cards prior to 1st January will serve an automatic 1 match suspension. The following players all have 4 yellow cards to their name, meaning, if they collect just 1 more before that date, they will receive an automatic 1 match suspension.


This article was written by Cookie

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  1. 97
    TJ says:

    Another clean sheet gone, somehow I don’t think I’ll get 112 this week.

  2. 98
    Veer says:

    I knew I couldn’t keep getting green arrows. Very bad Gameweek for me so far. I went with my gut and messed up my transfer, none of my players are doing well, and Lovren injured.

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