Arsenal and West Ham both fight back to pick up 2-2 draws on their travels. Theo Walcott nets for the Gunners and former Dortmund youngster Thomas Eisfeld grabs his second from the bench in three games. Triallist Colin Kazim-Richards and Sam Baldock net for the Hammers, with the latter’s late strike his fourth already this pre-season. Spain’s elimination from the Olympic games could be good news for Juan Mata and David De Gea’s early Fantasy potential, while a furious Gareth Bale is set for ankle scans after Charlie Adam’s reckless challenge in Saturday’s 0-0 friendly draw:
Kitchee 2 Arsenal 2
Arsene Wenger started yesterday’s match with only two first-team regulars, Wojciech Szczesny and Theo Walcott, in the Arsenal XI. Marouane Chamakh led the line, while the likes of Abou Diaby and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain took their place in central midfield, with Kieran Gibbs once again getting the nod ahead of Andre Santos for the left-back role. At times, the Gunners backline was woeful, particularly in the first-half, and they went behind on eight minutes before Diaby slid in Walcott to equalise on 24 minutes. The pair then fired a chance apiece wide, while Chamakh came close with a header, but the hosts went in at the break 2-1 ahead after netting their second on the half-hour mark.
Wenger changed all 10 of his outfield players as the second-half progressed – Walcott caused Kitchee plenty problems before making way for Thomas Eisfeld with 20 minutes remaining and Mikel Arteta almost equalised with a long-range effort as the Gunners turned up the pressure. Eventually, Arsenal broke the home resistance once again – Gervinho teed up Eisfeld to fire home his second goal in three matches but, try as they could, the visitors were unable to find a third as they match finished 2-2.
Arsenal Starting XI: Szczesny; Eastmond (Jenkinson 46), Djourou (Bartley 69), Miquel (Yennaris 69) Gibbs (Afobe 46); Diaby (Aneke 46), Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arteta 69), Coquelin (Song 68); Walcott (Eisfeld 70) Chamakh (Gervinho 46) Miyaichi (Santos 46)
Energie Cottbus 2 West Ham 2
Sam Allardyce made four changes from the side that lost 3-0 to Dynamo Dresden on Friday evening and handed new signing Modibo Maiga his first start since joining from FC Sochaux last week. Ricardo Vaz Te and Nicky Maynard were given the wide roles up front, while Joey O’Brien got the nod at right-back and Matt Taylor began in midfield. The Hammers went a goal down inside 10 minutes before Vaz Te had their first real attempt, with a chipped back-heel forcing a superb save from the home keeper after a Noble free-kick found him inside the box.
The hosts had the better of the play and worked Stephen Henderson in the Hammers goal a couple more times before finding the net again to see out the half with a two goal advantage. Big Sam made seven alterations at the break, taking off Vaz Te and Maiga amongst others – Jussi Jaaskelainen replaced Henderson between the posts and made several crucial saves to keep the London outfit in the game. With 16 minutes remaining, Colin Kazim-Richards was one of two further substitutions by Allardyce and his introduction paid immediate dividend, as the triallist fired home from 20 yards out to reduce the deficit to one goal. Two minutes later and the Hammers were level – Sam Baldock nodding home a cross from the right to take his pre-season haul to four goals and earn his side a draw.
West Ham Starting XI: Henderson (Jaaskelainen 46); O’Brien (Lamey 46), Reid (Spence 46), Potts, McCartney (Mohsni 46); Noble, O’Neil (Moncur 46), Taylor (Hall 74); Maynard (Kazim-Richards 74), Maiga (Baldock 46), Vaz Te (Turgott 46)
In Other News
Spain’s elimination from the Olympic football tournament last night now leaves Fantasy managers facing the possibility that Juan Mata and David De Gea could be ready for action for the first match of the domestic season. While Roberto Di Matteo had hinted at resting Mata should Spain go all the way, the former Valencia man will now have time to recuperate and could well be in the mix for our Gameweek 1 thinking in just under three weeks’ time – bearing in mind the Blues have a double on the horizon, his level of investment should now soar. With question marks over just how quickly new boys Eden Hazard, Marko Marin and Oscar will settle and with Frank Lampard now confined to a role in the double-pivot, Mata – Chelsea’s top scoring Fantasy Premier League (FPL) player last term with 162 points – will surely now come into contention as a strong armband option for those eyeing up Chelsea midfielders.
With doubts surrounding Nemanja Vidic and Jonny Evans’ fitness ahead of United’s first game against Everton on Monday August 20 and with the likes of Rafael still involved in Olympic duty with Brazil, De Gea – priced at 6.0 in FPL and 5.9 in the Sky Sports game could also see an increase in Fantasy investment. The keeper squares up to (FUL, sot, WIG) from Gameweek 2-4 and looks a secure and relatively cheap route into the United defence – United goalkeeping coach Eric Steele claimed only yesterday that Anders Lindegaard could cement a first-team role due to De Gea’s Olympic involvement but with that no longer an issue, the Spaniard could well be back in the driving seat to reclaim the number one jersey.
Fantasy managers will be on red alert after news that Gareth Bale is set to undergo ankle scans later today. The Welshman was subject to a tackle by Charlie Adam midway through the first-half of Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Liverpool which Andre Villas-Boas subsequently described as “very, very nasty” and was removed at half-time after failing to recover. Bale left the ground on crutches and wore a protective boot over the ankle and admitted to the media:
My ankle is sore – very, very sore. We’ll have to wait and see how it goes.
The Welshman had plenty to say on the matter and revealed his fury over a challenge which may see Spurs report the Liverpool man to the FA. Labelling Adam a “coward”, Bale conceded he is set for scans, amid fears he could miss the start of the season – a potentially crucial absence, given Spurs’ strong run of fixtures from Gameweek 2 (WBA, NOR, rdg, QPR).
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For Gameweek 38
- van Persie
Next Six Ticker
|No Change||Hart||MCI||B, Vs|
|Up||Robles||WIG||C, Vs, £|
|No Change||Lloris||TOT||C, Vs|
|No Change||Foster||WBA||C, Vs|
|No Change||Vorm||SWA||C, Vs|
|No Change||Mignolet||SUN||B, Vs|
|No Change||De Gea||MUN||A|
|Up||Boruc||SOT||B, Vs, £|
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|No Change||Mata||CHE||C, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Hazard||CHE||B, Vs, Rest, Inj|
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|Down||van Persie||MUN||A, Vs|
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|Up||Rodriguez||SOT||A, Vs, £|
|Up||Defoe||TOT||B, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Ba||CHE||C, Vs, Rest|
|A, B, C||Current Form|
|Inj||Injured/Returning from Injury|
|OoP||Out of Position|
“I am happy with the way I’ve started, but on the other hand, I should have scored four or five more, so that’s something for me to work on.”Robin Van Persie talks about his early form at United ahead of his first Manchester derby