Carlos Tevez publicly apologises and withdraws his appeal against City. John Terry is set to undergo investigative surgery. Ryan Taylor returns to training, Gabby Agbonlahor is available for selection and Martin O’Neill is looking to get more from Stephane Sessegnon in a central role:
Carlos Tevez has finally issued a public apology to Man City after his recent misdemeanours. The Argentine has also withdrawn an appeal over the club’s decision to severely fine him- this was due to be heard by the Premier League this week but Tevez’s actions may help draw a line under the whole sorry saga. The ball is now in Roberto Mancini’s court- the City boss has his apology and, with Tevez undergoing a training program to bring him up to full fitness, it seems he may, after all, play come part for the league leaders over the remainder of the season. This further complicates matters up front for Fantasy managers and, considering Tevez is omitted from the club’s Europa League squad, his chances of playing in the league could well be boosted, raising question marks against the guaranteed game time previously enjoyed by Sergio Aguero, in particular.
Chelsea confirmed last night that John Terry is set to undergo surgery to ascertain the extent of the damage to his injured knee. The Blues skipper had trained prior to last night’s 3-1 defeat in Napoli but was in no state to play- Gary Cahill continued alongside David Luiz in Terry’s absence and, with a possible two-month absence on the cards for the latter, Cahill’s game time could be set for an increase. The official club statement went on to say:
John has tried hard to be ready for tonight’s game but it was clear after training last night that it was not going to be possible. He will undergo an exploratory arthroscopy in the next day or so, after which the club’s medical team will be better placed to advise on a prognosis.
Andre Villas-Boas went with a 4-2-3-1 formation for the trip to Napoli. This allowed Juan Mata to play centrally, tucking in behind Didier Drogba, with Florent Malouda taking up the left wing berth. Mata grabbed the opener, firing home just before the half-hour mark, and with Bolton, West Brom and Stoke up next for the Blues, could well be ready to pick up the Fantasy points if his manager continues to field him in a central berth. An upturn in Fantasy fortunes won’t be difficult, though; Mata has returned just a goal and assist in his last seven league games.
Fantasy owners of Ryan Taylor will be relieved to hear he returned to full training for Newcastle yesterday, having recovered from his recent leg injury . The club’s official website confirmed both Taylor and Cheik Tiote turned out and, with Yohan Cabaye also back from suspension, the Magpies midfield is looking close to full-strength ahead of the weekend match with Wolves.
Gabby Agbonlahor is fit and available for selection ahead of Villa’s trip to Wigan this Saturday. The forward has missed the last three league games due to back and hamstring problems but has undertaken a new fitness regime and is “flying” in training, according to Alex McLeish.
The Villa boss received some mixed news after yesterday’s reserves match with West Brom. Chris Herd returned to action for the first time in a couple of months, managing an hour in the 4-1 win. Herd had begun to establish himself in the first XI alongside, starting six gameweeks (10-15) in a row before succumbing to an ankle ligament injury. Eric Lichaj continued his comeback from hip surgery by playing the entire match, while Barry Bannan revealed via twitter he had picked up an ankle injury in the game.
McLeish also revealed Ciaran Clark is hoping to return in a month’s time from his recent knee problem but there are fears that Fabian Delph could be sidelined for the rest of the season. The midfielder picked up an ankle injury during his one-month loan spell at Leeds and his manager admitted he’s unsure if he will return before the end of the current campaign.
Martin O’Neill confirmed he intends to utilise Stephane Sessegnon through the middle as much as possible for Sunderland. The Benin international had occasionally been used as a wide man by Steve Bruce but with Seb Larsson and James McClean in such sparking form on the wings for the Black Cats, Sessegnon has been afforded a license to spark his side into life in the opponents’ final third. O’Neill admitted just how crucial a player Sessegnon is for the Wearsiders, saying:
He has individual quality and all the best teams have individuals who can turn games. It is nice to have one in our team. He can hold it up, bring people into play and he can turn and twist and get at players. He has been so important to us. He can go out wide right but playing up the middle and as close to the opposition goal as possible is best. But sometimes he has got to drop in for us.
Paul Scharner is a doubt for West Brom this weekend. The midfielder was forced off in the 5-1 win at Wolves after suffering a blow to the ribs and has yet to train after sustaining the injury. Shane Long has returned to full training for the Baggies, after finally overcoming a recent chest problem and, while Chris Brunt is in line for a return to training at the end of the week, Roy Hodgson refuses to put a timescale on his first-team comeback.