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Around the Grounds FPL Team News

Team Talk Gameweek 16 Live Match Chat Gameweek 16 FPL Fantasy Premier League

IntroWelcome to GW16 and it promises to be a real cracker, with no easy home fixtures for the “big” boys, meaning the likes of Sergio Aguero and Luis Suarez are not necessarily such obvious picks for captain this week. So it’s a week that promises to really test the skill of fantasy managers and with injuries and suspensions mounting up, it could also be a test of the strength of our squads, rather than just the starting XI.

With that in mind, let’s go around the grounds and see what the managers have said regarding team news for GW16.

Man City vs Arsenal (Sat 14 Dec 12.45)

What a way to start the game-week as we head up to the Etihad as 4th placed City entertain table-toppers Arsenal. With both teams successfully qualifying for the next stages of the Champions League, they can now concentrate solely on the Premier League and both are looking to return to winning ways after draws last week. City, as we are aware can really turn it on at home, and have won seven out of seven on their own patch this season, but Arsenal travel pretty well, though they did lose the last time they visited Manchester, when United turned them over in early November. It may be interesting to note that Arsenal’s record at City is pretty good – they have scored more goals than any other away team at City in the PL and no team has won away at City in the PL more than the Gooners and Chelsea. There have been six red cards in the last six meetings between the clubs and only two of the last eight meetings between the two have ended in home wins.

Arsene Wenger says that striker Lukas Podolski is available but is not yet regarded as match fit, but is expected to play a part in the Christmas schedule, while defender Bacary Sagna is to undergo a fitness test today. When asked about Theo Walcott, Wenger said he has trained well this week and is now back to “full power and sharpness” and is expected to be close to a first start since coming back from injury. Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshire, who were both rested from the starting line-up in Naples, are expected to be recalled.

Manuel Pellegrini was fortunate enough to be able to rest captain Vincent Kompany, strikers Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo and ex-Gooner Samir Nasri in the midweek victory over Bayern and all four should be expected to start the game. It was also a significant evening for David Silva, who managed 73mins vs Bayern on his comeback from injury and will certainly feature at some point vs Arsenal. Micah Richards picked up an injury in Munich and is ruled out, but Gael Clichy is expected to be available for selection and will be competing with Aleksandar Kolarov for the left-back berth. Matija Nastasic is recovering well from his calf injury and may come into contention next week and striker Stevan Jovetic has returned to full training, but is not available for tomorrow. Now, the big speculation around City has been that the manager is ready to reinstate keeper Joe Hart between the sticks – Pellegrini was, understandably guarded at the press conference, saying “We’ll see who plays tomorrow” – those looking for a clean sheet from Costel Pantilimon, be warned!

Cardiff City vs West Brom (Sat 14 Dec 15.00)

With both teams heading in the wrong direction in the league, both managers will be desperate to win this game and put some daylight between themselves and the drop zone, heading into the frantic Christmas period. Neither side is in good form, Cardiff haven’t won in five matches now, while the Baggies have lost their last three and have won just once on the road this season…although that win was at Old Trafford! Cardiff have failed to score in their last three matches and may look to influential midfielder Peter Whittingham for inspiration – he has scored in his last two appearances against the Baggies.

There is mixed news for Steve Clarke -firstly the good news. Goalkeeper Ben Foster, who has missed the majority of the season with a foot injury has returned to training and could be back in contention in a week or two. Winger Scott Sinclair could also be available, while Nicolas Anelka is also available. The bad news is that striker Victor Anichebe is a doubt due to illness, but will be given every opportunity to make the game. Defender Jonas Olsson is back from suspension.

Cardiff manager Malky Mackay reports no new injuries, while left back Andrew Taylor has declared himself fit after he has missed the previous two games through injury. Much of the focus may be concentrated on ex-Baggie striker Peter Odemwingie, who now features for Cardiff – he fell out big time with the West Brom fans after trying to engineer a move to QPR last January and can expect a hostile reception from the visiting fans. Will he have the last laugh?

Chelsea vs Crystal Palace (Sat 14 Dec 15.00)

Having been brought down to earth with a bump at Stoke last week, Jose Mourinho has begun the mind games, suggesting Chelsea only have an outside chance of the league and expects Man City, with their “far superior squad” to claim the crown. We all know he doesn’t really believe that and he’ll be eyeing three points on Saturday at home to Crystal Palace, but his star performers will have to break down a defence that has conceded just one goal in their last five games. Palace, unsurprisingly, haven’t got the best record at Chelsea, their last win there came in 1982 when both teams were in the old Second Division. Chelsea’s recent record in London derbies is pretty impressive – they are undefeated in their last seven derbies, which have brought five wins and two draws – another win here looks on the cards.

Tony Pulis looks set to continue with Joel Ward at left back after he switched there to replace the injured Dean Moxey 25mins into the win over Cardiff. Adrian Mariappa is likely to continue at right back, after he too impressed last week. Moxey may actually be available for the weekend, but the manager has been singing Ward’s and Mariappa’s praises, “I felt Mariappa did well at right-back. We looked solid enough with that pairing”. Pulis has no other injury concerns and Jerome Thomas, Jack Hunt, Adlene Guedioura, Paddy McCarthy and Glenn Murray are all still injured. Winger Yannick Bolasie returns from suspension.

Mourinho revealed that Gary Cahill will miss the game with a small thigh injury, meaning David Luiz is likely to step in alongside John Terry, while Cesar Azpilicueta will again play left back in place of Ashley Cole, who will play in the Capital One Cup quarter final vs Sunderland in the week. Petr Cech will return in goal after he gave way to Mark Schwarzer in midweek, while Ramires, Andre Schurrle, Juan Mata and Fernando Torres will also all be hoping for a start. Midfielder Marco Van Ginkel and Ryan Bertrand continue to miss out.

Everton vs Fulham (Sat 14 Dec 15.00)

The game at Goodison will be the primary focus for many an FPL manager on Saturday – with the Toffees unbeaten in eight and having taken four points out of a possible six against Man Utd & Arsenal, I understand many a manger has doubled up on Everton defenders, chosen Romelu Lukaku as captain, or pinned their hopes on Kevin Mirallas, Gerard Deulofeu or Ross Barkley. Well, it’s difficult to argue against the logic – after all Fulham, despite beating Villa at the Cottage last week are slumped in the relegation zone, lost their previous six matches before last weekend and have lost the last three on their travels, conceding nine goals in the process. The omens are clearly not in Fulham’s favour – they have never won at Everton in the league and have lost their last twenty matches there – the Toffees themselves are unbeaten in their last sixteen at Goodison. Doesn’t bode well for the Cottagers does it, but as Everton and Newcastle have both showed over the last fortnight – records are there to be broken.

Fulham boss Rene Meulensteen is delighted to reveal that striker Darren Bent has trained well all week and is available for the game, but defender Fernando Amorebieta will have to be assessed. He said he is also keen to work closer with maverick midfielder Adel Taarabt in an effort to help him fulfil his potential. Defender Brede Hangeland continues to miss out after undergoing surgery and striker Hugo Rodallega remains sidelined.

Roberto Martinez will be without suspended midfielder James McCarthy this weekend, meaning Leon Osman is favourite to start the game in his place. The manager gave an update on Leighton Baines and said the defender is recovering very well and should be available again in a couple of weeks, while fellow defender Tony Hibbert has suffered a small setback, but should be available next week.

Newcastle vs Southampton (Sat 14 Dec 15.00)

Southampton make the long trip up to Newcastle on the back of three defeats and a draw in their last four games, with many speculating that their bubble has burst. The Toon meanwhile are on a roll, having won five of their last six, which includes win over Chelsea, Spurs and last week at Old Trafford and have won nine and drawn one of the last ten meetings between these two at St James’ Park, or the Sports Direct Arena or whatever Mike Ashley decides to call the stadium this week. The Saints will be looking to reverse their somewhat disappointing record on the road which has seen them score just six goals in their last ten away games – then again the Toon haven’t exactly been slotting the goals – they haven’t scored more than two goals in a game since February.

Saints manager Mauricio Pochettino says he doesn’t expect to have any of his injured players back this weekend, although midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin has a slight chance, but certainly won’t be fit to play 90mins. This means Paulo Gazzaniga will continue in goal and Nathaniel Clyne, Artur Boruc, Kelvin Davis, Daniel Fox, Victor Wanyama and Guly Do Prado continue to be sidelined.

Key midfielder Yohan Cabaye misses the game through suspension after picking up his fifth yellow card in the win at Old Trafford, so Vurnon Anita is in line to deputise. Defender Matthieu Debuchy has recovered from a dead leg and will play, leaving Ryan Taylor as the only long-term absentee.

West Ham vs Sunderland (Sat 14 Dec 15.00)

West Ham welcome Sunderland to the Boleyn with both sides approaching Christmas with the threat of relegation looming over them. The Hammers have won just once in seven games, while the Black Cats have notched just the one victory in six games and whoever loses this one will find themselves under increased pressure, while the winner will be hopeful that a victory will lead to a change in form and fortune. Sunderland haven’t lost to West Ham in their last four matches and Gus Poyet is quietly confident his team can pull out a performance here – he certainly wins the award for quote of the week after he is reported to have said, “West Ham without Andy Carroll is like Barcelona without Messi”. Magnificent Gus, ten out of ten for wit and imagination.

Well, Big Sam approaches this game, not with the luxury of Lionel Messi to call upon, but instead a whole host of injuries and a key suspension. Winston Reid, Stewart Downing, Mladen Petric and Ricardo Vaz Te are all definitely ruled out with injury, while experienced midfielder Kevin Nolan is suspended after his sending off in the defeat at Liverpool. Defenders James Collins and Guy Demel have suffered through sickness this week, but the manager thinks they’ll be ok for the weekend and fellow defender James Tomkins will need a late fitness test before being made available for the match. Now onto Messi, or as he’s more popularly known in the east end, Andy Carroll – the striker has resumed training, albeit on his own – we think that’s precautionary rather than him being that much more skilful than his team-mates and Sam says he has no chance of playing for two weeks. Hang on a sec….isn’t the real Messi injured at the mo?– and more pertinently, can anyone actually claim to have seen both Lionel Messi and Andy Carroll in the same room together? Just a thought…..

Poyet remains without keeper Keiren Westwood, who is still struggling with a shoulder injury – it was hoped he’d be ok for the trip to West Ham, but the stopper suffered a relapse in the week and the manager now hopes to have him back for the visit of Norwich in GW17. Vito Mannone will continue to deputise. Defender Carlos Cuellar is the only other absentee, he is suffering from a hip injury which may see him sidelined for 8-9 weeks. Poyet is still to decide whether to continue with both Steven Fletcher and Jozy Altidore up front or revert back to the single striker.

Hull City vs Stoke City (Sat 14 Dec 17.30)

With just a point separating these two in the table and both defences seeming to be generally fairly tight, don’t expect an eight-goal thriller here, in fact I’d go as far to suggest that this game may be up there with the lowest ever viewing figures for a live Premier League match. But, as an old girlfriend said to me once, “never say never” and we live in hope of an action packed, exciting encounter at the KC Stadium. The last time Hull played at home they destroyed Liverpool 3-1 and indeed, the last time they entertained Stoke at home they won 2-1, so they will be confident going into this one. Stoke, however, will also travel with optimism, having disposed of Chelsea last weekend, although they have lost six out of seven on the road this season. In a week where Hull City have officially applied to change their name to Hull Tigers, Steve Bruce will be hoping for a roaring performance from his team, to send the fans home purring.

Mark Hughes says defender Erik Pieters has recovered from a groin injury and is available for the game, but there is a doubt over keeper Asmir Begovic, who has a slight knock on his thigh and will need to be assessed before the weekend. If Begovic misses out, Thomas Sorensen will play his first league game for over two years. Winger Matthew Etherington is fit, but hasn’t trained enough, so is unlikely to feature, while midfielder Jon Walters misses through suspension. Defender Robert Huth is still sidelined.

Bruce is pleased to report he has no new injuries to contend with and will select from the same group of players that were available for the draw at Swansea – only Stephen Quinn, Sone Aluko & Joe Dudgeon remain unavailable.

Aston Villa vs Man Utd (Sun 15 Dec 13.30)

What can we say about United right now? Every week we think they’ll turn a corner and get their season back on track, but successive home defeats to Everton and Newcastle sees them lying down in 9th place in the league. But surely they’ll beat Villa, they always beat Villa, they haven’t lost at Villa in the league since 1995, you remember the match, Hansen giving it the bigun’ with the infamous remark “you can’t win anything with kids”. Well, Everton hadn’t won for years at Old Trafford, Newcastle hadn’t won there since 1972, so frankly I’m not going to say anymore…..although Villa were horrendous at Fulham last weekend and have only won twice in nine games, so surely they won’t beat United, surely…..will they?!! Oh I don’t know anymore.

Paul Lambert has to cope without suspended midfielder Fabian Delph for Sunday’s match, while defender Ron Vlaar remains a doubt. Antonio Luna may be back with Lambert saying “Luna trained this morning so hopefully he’ll be ok”. Striker Libor Kozak is back in training but Lambert may opt to go with Andreas Weimann, Gaby Agbonlahor and Christian Benteke up front again – Benteke has now gone 10 hours and 40 minutes without a goal and will be desperate to end that run sooner rather than later, especially when you bear in mind that Villa have failed to score in three of their last four games at Villa Park. Charles N’Zogbia and Joe Bennett are longer term casualties.

Well if United are to win it will be without RvP, who David Moyes has ruled out for a month with a thigh injury, which he claims the striker picked taking a corner in midweek – call me cynical, but the rumours of a “dead relationship” with Moyes and the striker twice handing in a transfer request will only now gather pace. Anyway, expect many managers to now trade out of RvP and into Wayne Rooney, who will now continue to assume free-kick, corner and penalty duties – the “hair-challenged” striker has scored eight goals in his last ten PL games vs Villa and it seems he will be required to continue that run if United are to gain some ground on the leaders. Moyes says that star midfielder Marouane Fellaini, you remember the chap, cost United £27.5m in the summer, scored errrr no goals but at least he’s assisted in errrrrr no goals – well he’s got a back injury. With Michael Carrick still sidelined with an achilles injury, expect Phil Jones to continue his midfield duties for a few weeks – he could be an interesting differential for a month or so….defender in FPL terms, playing out of position further up the field. Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic and Chris Smalling are all unlikely to be fit for the weekend, leaving United pretty threadbare at the back. May put a cheeky tenner on Benteke to finally score….

Norwich vs Swansea (Sun 15 Dec 13.30)

Another hard match to predict here, involving two teams who you don’t quite know how they will perform and can be exhilarating on their day but equally as frustrating the week after. Two important wins in their last three matches has seen the Canaries inch away from imminent danger at the bottom and for now, take some pressure off manager Chris Hughton, while the Swans have been as enigmatic, but have also picked up vital points of late with their only defeat in five matches being inflicted at the Etihad. This game has generally seen goals over the last few years, with twenty three goals scored in the last five matches between the two.

Michael Laudrup is happy that his two chief attackers, Wilfried Bony and Michu, have both returned from injury this week and got some valuable game time under their belts. The biggest concern seems to be keeper Michel Vorm, who continues to carry a knee injury and is due to have an operation in January. Until then, he will manage that injury carefully and is hopeful of being ok for Sunday’s trip to Norwich. Defender Chico Flores is suspended, while fellow defender Angel Rangel will have to pass a late fitness test to be available for the game. Alvaro Vasquez, Leon Britton and Garry Monk are still out.

Hughton could welcome back striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel after a seven-match absence, although he is likely to start from the bench if he passes a late test, especially with Gary Hooper in good form, having scored three goals in his last five matches. Problems still concern the manager in midfield with Robert Snodgrass, Anthony Pilkington, Alex Tettey and Andrew Surman still unavailable, but with Leroy Fer equalling Hooper’s run of scoring, the manager will be hopeful the Canaries can cope and leapfrog the Swans in the league. Hughton said last week’s win has given the squad a huge lift as has defender Sebastien Bassong’s signing of a new contract with the club this week.

Tottenham vs Liverpool (Sun 15 Dec 16.00)

Our game-week ends down at White Hart Lane on Sunday afternoon as Spurs host Liverpool, with both sides very much still in with a chance of claiming a Champions League place. Spurs have steadied the ship having won their last two matches, as have Liverpool, scoring nine gaols in the process, with Luis Suarez scoring six of them (though please note, the second one vs West Ham last week was only awarded to him retrospectively, so in FPL terms he was only awarded the assist). Boo!

Brendan Rodgers confirms that captain Steven Gerrard is likely to miss 4-6 weeks with the hamstring injury he picked up vs West Ham last weekend. The other bad news for the Reds is that midfield dynamo Jordan Henderson will be fit for the weekend – he has trained well this week after being injured by Kevin Nolan. Daniel Sturridge remains on the sidelines, but defender Martin Kelly says his injury is behind him and he’s looking to fight for a place in the team – with Liverpool struggling to keep a clean sheet, there is a possibility that Kelly could slot into right back, with Glen Johnson moving over to the left. Daniel Agger should be available again having been absent through illness last week.

Spurs manager AvB will need midfielder Christian Eriksen & defender Danny Rose to pass late fitness tests before the game. Both were able to play part of Thursday’s Europa Cup game and the manager will hope both will be available, especially Rose as Jan Vertonghen is definitely missing and could be out for four weeks with an ankle injury. The better news for AvB is that central defender Vlad Chiriches has a good chance of recovering from injury and, assuming he does, he will partner Michael Dawson at the heart of the defence. With Roberto Soldado scoring a hat-trick in the victory over Anzhi, AvB has a selection problem up front – he still has to decide between the Spanish striker and Jermain Defoe. Emmanuel Adebayor remains unavailable.

This article was written by Cookie

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  1. 97
    JEET TOP 4 says:

    Guys should I feel disappointed scored 53 PTS with 3 still still to play how did you guys do

  2. 98
    JEET TOP 4 says:

    Is it worth a punt on buying a Aston villa defender for the next couple of Game weeks

    • 98.1

      I got Vlaar a while back anticipating this run of nice fixtures sad

      Wait and see what happens tomorrow. I would be cautious about getting a Villa defender now, they have been leakier without Vlaar and Luna (though maybe Luna will be back tomorrow?)

  3. 99
    JEET TOP 4 says:

    Guys Walcott or Silva ?

  4. 100

    1) Ltd
    #Deulofeu is facing a spell on the sidelines after suffering a hamstring injury today,a scan will determine the severity of the problem
    *** That has just cemented Mirallas place in the first 11 !!!

    2) Koscielny’s photo on twitter of his injury – looks really bad !
    He might be sidelined for some time…

    3) is Aguero likely to be out till after the Christmas period? Ltd ?@physioroom 1h
    @quite possibly, we will know more after the scan

    Some bad news this GW…started with Gerrard’s injury :/

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