Mario Balotelli faces a four-match ban after appearing to stamp on Scott Parker. Reports suggest Peter Crouch could also be under investigation for an alleged eye-gouging incident at the weekend, Nani could be out for a fortnight, while Frank Lampard is set to miss Chelsea’s FA Cup game with QPR.
Mario Balotelli has until tomorrow evening to appeal or accept the charges of violent conduct dished out by the FA last night. Having examined footage of the incident in which Balotelli appeared to stamp on Tottenham’s Scott Parker, referee Howard Webb confirmed he would have dismissed the Italian striker. A three-match ban is the normal punishment for such a charge, but with Balotelli already seeing red at Anfield earlier in the season, he now faces a four-match ban which will begin with tomorrow night’s Carling Cup tie with Liverpool.
Should Balotelli look to appeal, he will be eligible for tomorrow’s game, although an unsuccessful appeal could extend his ban further. Given that the FA have already used footage to assess the incident and the fact that we’re dealing with Howard Webb – the FA’s most senior official – it would seem most unlikely that the charge will be overturned. City may feel more confident, however.
For Fantasy managers, Balotelli’s likely absence from three league games against (eve, FUL, avl), will raise the profile of Edin Dzeko as an option. The Bosnian has started City’s previous four games and earned an assist in Sunday’s 3-2 victory. Having begun the season in outstanding form, Dzeko clearly has the potential to offer an effective differential and provide at least a short-term alternative to the 11.1 Sergio Aguero.
Peter Crouch is another striker potentially in trouble. A report in the Daily Mirror claims that the FA have agreed to examine footage of an incident which appeared to show Crouch gouging the eyes of West Brom’s Jonas Olsson. Crouch could miss the FA Cup match with Derby on Saturday as well as league games against Manchester United and Sunderland.
There are further details emanating from Old Trafford concerning the casualties suffered in Sunday’s 2-1 win at the Emirates. On the plus side, The Times are amongst those reporting that Phil Jones’ ankle injury is not as severe as anticipated, suggesting that he has not suffered the ligament damage that Sir Alex Ferguson feared. There’s possibly a chance that Jones will be fit to face Liverpool in the FA Cup this weekend, with reports claiming he is feeling no real discomfort in the ankle.
Nani is more of a concern, however. There are several reports stating a likely two-week absence for the Portuguese winger, who was said to leave the Emirates wearing a protective boot. The Daily Mail claim that Nani has himself stating a likely absence and state that United are set to scan the injury, for fear of a cracked a metatarsal. Elsewhere, Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick are expected to be available for the weekend Cup tie, despite suffering ankle and hamstring problems respectively.
Chelsea hope to have Frank Lampard available for the trip to Swansea next week, after scans revealed that the midfielder suffered just a small tear to his calf muscle in the 0-0 stalemate at Carrow Road. Meanwhile, Andre Villas-Boas has confirmed the reasons behind Gary Cahill’s omission from the Chelsea squad at Norwich.
Gary Cahill trained with the team for three days and there are team principles to learn first, but he had a very good week and showed all his qualities.
Cahill is in line for his Chelsea debut this weekend and could make his first league appearance for the club at the Liberty next week. He is already amongst the most popular defensive signings in the Fantasy Premier League game, attracting over 6,000 transfers so far in the Gameweek, despite his no-show on Saturday. Look out for our Scout Report on Cahill’s prospects later in the week.
Still in West London, and the Mark Hughes revolution looks set to begin with the capture of AC Milan left-back Taye Taiwo. Reports on Sky yesterday claimed that a work permit has been granted as the deal reached its conclusion. Fantasy managers will be monitoring the Loftus Road entrance for new arrivals prior to the transfer window closing, as Rangers approach a run of opponents that could see their Fantasy output increase dramatically. A move for City’s Nedum Onuoha is also mooted, although a potential deal for Chelsea’s Alex looks to be in jeopardy amidst reports that the Brazilian prefers a move to Paris St Germain.
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For Gameweek 38
- van Persie
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“I love to attack and I love to go up front...It is a little more difficult than when you are playing centre-back. If you play the way that I want to play, I think my influence is better as a left-back. For the team, it is best that I play as a centre-back. I like to bring the ball out. You need to move the game quickly, and that is one of my qualities as well.”Jan Vertonghen outlines what he feels is his best position for Andre Villas-Boas