Swansea sign a new left-back as a replacement for the injured Neil Taylor. Abou Diaby is a worry for Arsenal after sustaining a muscle injury, Seb Larsson is keen to cement a central midfield role for Sunderland, while West Ham admit Andy Carroll is set to be sidelined for Saturday’s trip to Norwich:
Michael Laudrup’s search for a new left-back ended yesterday with the news that Dutch defender Dwight Tiendalli has signed for Swansea until the end of the season. The new boy spoke to the club’s official website upon completion of the move..
“I’m looking forward to working under Michael Laudrup, who is a massive name in football, and showing him what I have to offer. I’m sure I will fit in very well because I share the same philosophy as the club. Having started my career in Ajax’s Youth side, I see the style of play here is one that has a real Dutch and Spanish mix, and that will really suit me. I can’t wait to work hard in training and try to force myself into the starting XI.”
The move now raises real question marks over the acquisition of Ben Davies as a cut-price route into the Welsh club’s defence. With regular left-back Neil Taylor out for the season, Davies was pencilled in as a possible transfer in ahead of (EVE, RDG, WIG) in the next five Gameweeks but with Laudrup bringing in his own man, it’s a case of wait and see with this one. If Tiendalli can nail down a regular role, his price across the Fantasy games will be eagerly anticipated.
Still in the Swans’ camp and Laudrup has again expressed his surprise at the red card dished out to Chico in the 2-2 with Sunderland, admitting that both he and the player will need to adapt to English referees..
“I think if Chico made that challenge ten times, given the place where he was on the pitch, nine times he would get a yellow card with only one red.He knows that he went high with his leg, but I know he did not do it to hurt the opponent…Chico is aggressive, but that is like a lot of the players over here…Chico was shocked that he got sent off and then he was shocked again to get a three-game ban, because that’s different too…We are all learning every day, and that’s a good thing.”
Chico will be missing from Swansea’s next two league matches as he serves out his ban – opening the way for Alan Tate to slot into the defence as his likely replacement. Like Davies, Tate could tempt short-term investment – he is priced at 4.0 in the FPL, with Sky Sports making him available for just 3.6.
Abou Diaby is out of France’s game against Belarus later this evening. The national team coach, Didier Deschamps, admitted:
“Diaby took a bad shot and he has muscular discomfort. He is not free in his movements.”
The news is a real worry for Arsene Wenger, given the midfielder’s recent form. The opening three Gameweeks have quickly shown just what a fully-fit Diaby can bring to the Arsenal first XI, with Alex Song’s departure to Barcelona quickly forgotten. Given Diaby’s injury history, it’s impossible to speculate with any sort of certainty here – any possible absence is likely to benefit Aaron Ramsey or Francis Coquelin in the double-pivot alongside Mikel Arteta.
Wenger received some mixed news concerning his forwards yesterday – Theo Walcott is out of England’s game with Ukraine due to sickness, while Olivier Giroud is fit for France after recovering from a muscle problem. Yet to find the net this season, Giroud has been transferred by just over 1,000 Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers ahead of a home game against Southampton, while Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski have received a combined 93,000 – highlighting just how little faith we have in Giroud right now. According to the Frenchman, it won’t be long before he’s amongst the goals:
“I’ve been freezing up a little bit just when I’ve been about to pull trigger and that’s exactly what happened in my first few matches for France. I’m not too worried about it, because I’ve been scoring in training and I feel pretty comfortable being a part of this team. I just need to not think about things too much, so that I feel as relaxed as possible when the time comes to stick the ball in the net.”
Paul Lambert has a selection dilemma at left-back on his hands for next Saturday’s home showdown against Swansea after summer signing from Middlesbrough Joe Bennett revealed he has returned to training. The Villa boss handed Eric Lichaj the chance to impress at Newcastle in Gameweek 3 but with Bennett recovering from an ankle knock, he may reassess the situation, with the midlands club still to register a clean sheet this season.
Jonny Evans has allayed any injury fears after earlier reports suggested he was a doubt for Northern Ireland’s match with Luxembourg this evening. The centre-half revealed he has shrugged off the ankle problem picked up early on against Russia on Friday:
“I have only played one reserve game for United this season after having the surgery in the summer so, to be honest, it was just good to get back on the pitch. But I felt my ankle after about five minutes. It was the same one I had surgery on in the summer but I got a heavier strap put on it and I was able to carry on for the second half. I was disappointed I felt pain so quickly in the game but if I am being honest, I always expected I would feel a little pain – just not that early. After a couple of painkillers it did feel a bit better and if anything I felt stronger as the game went on, but like I say, I had a heavier strapping on then.”
Evans’ return is likely to hand Sir Alex Ferguson a defensive quandary for the visit of Wigan next weekend. With Rio Ferdinand fit to start alongside Nemanja Vidic for the previous match at Southampton, United had a natural pair of centre-halves for the first time this term, having previously relied on Michael Carrick to drop back from midfield. Vidic, certainly, looks nailed-on as a first-choice option but Evans and Ferdinand could well cancel each other’s potential as Fantasy prospects if Ferguson decides to rotate them. Ferguson did, however, indicate that he was looking to establish stability in the centre of his defence, suggesting that Vidic and Ferdinand will be given the opportunity of sustained starts, injury permitting. The right-back position could still be profitable for Fantasy managers: Phil Jones and Chris Smalling both still sidelined, Rafael’s potential as a cheap route looks appealing, though it’s still unclear how much his manager rates his defensive qualities ahead of trips to (liv, new, che) in the next six.
Seb Larsson has admitted he is keen to establish himself in the heart of Sunderland’s midfield. The Swede has switched to a central position due to the arrival of Adam Johnson and is more than happy to continue there:
“I’ve really enjoyed it there. All three games so far I’ve featured there, the two Premier League games and in the cup. It just takes a bit of getting used to. I played there a lot when I was younger. But it’s a position that I will hopefully play a lot more. I think it can be fun. There’s a bit to learn about positioning and when to hold it a bit more rather than going forward. I’d like to see myself as being able to dictate the play rather than bombing on all the time.”
Larsson’s delivery from the flank was a real selling point from a Fantasy perspective and while a move away from a wide position should limit his potential for crosses, his set-piece duties came to the fore against Swansea last time round. With the predatory Steven Fletcher installed up front, Larsson still provided an assist for his 7% FPL owners, drawing him level with James McClean on eight points.
An article on West Ham’s official website indicates that Andy Carroll is unavailable for selection ahead of the club’s Gameweek 4 trip to Norwich. The club gave a couple of hints on the player’s problem with the following two comments..
“While the manager will have to make at least one change in the striking department…While Andy Carroll continues his rehabilitation from a hamstring injury….”
Both statements certainly indicate Carroll is out of the Canaries match – a real blow for Sam Allardyce, with Carlton Cole looking likely to be installed as the focal point in the Hammers’ 4-3-3. With nothing definitive on the length of injury, Allardyce will be desperate for a quick return for Carroll – the next six Gameweeks affords his side home games against Sunderland and Southampton and trips to Wigan and QPR. The Hammers could well be in a position to prosper, though whether Cole’s presence will have quite the same effect as Carroll’s is perhaps debatable.