Arsene Wenger plays down fears of an injury to Abou Diaby. John Terry and Ashley Cole return to training for Chelsea, Adam Johnson expects to be fit this weekend, Steve Clarke warns Goran Popov he may have to wait for a first-team chance, while Newcastle refuse to write-off Tim Krul’s chances of starting at Everton:
Arsene Wenger has dismissed any fears of a possible injury to Abou Diaby after the midfielder missed France’s win over Belarus on Tuesday evening:
“He has slight pain on the hip, on the sartorius muscle. It doesn’t seem serious at all to me. He even has a small chance to play on Saturday.”
With the Gunners’ Champions League campaign kicking off next Tuesday away to Montpellier, it may well be that Wenger will refuse to take any chances with Diaby this weekend. Bearing in mind the midfielders’ injury history, a home game with Southampton could well see the Arsenal boss opt for the likes of Francis Coquelin or Aaron Ramsey alongside Mikel Arteta instead – with a trip to City to follow in Gameweek 5, Diaby’s presence in the Gunners’ first XI is already proving to be more crucial than ever, with Alex Song now gone to Barcelona.
Steve Clarke has warned new loan signing Goran Popov he may have to bide his time before grabbing some game time this term:
“Goran is under no illusions. He knows he is coming in to fight for a place in the team and all the players now, after the start we’ve had, realise that they have to fight for their place in the team. As long as the competition is healthy then it can only be good for the club. If the team is performing well and getting results then the players not in the team will be disappointed but they’re not stupid. They understand that they have to wait for their chance. And it will come because it’s a long season.”
Clarke’s words are certainly good news for Fantasy owners of Liam Ridgewell and Gareth McAuley. The pair have accrued plenty interest after a couple of clean sheets in their opening three Gameweeks, with the latter already on 28 points in the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) game. A start for Popov at left-back would come at Ridgewell’s expense, though the former Birmingham man’s versatility could see him move to centre-half in favour of McAuley. Whilst such a scenario would hand us a headache, for the time being, at least, their places look secure ahead of a run of games that pits them against (ful, RDG, avl, QPR) in the next four.
Adam Johnson has handed Sunderland fans good news after taking to twitter to reveal he should be fit to face Liverpool this weekend. The winger missed both England games over the international break due to a thigh problem but looks on course to take his place on the right flank ahead of the Black Cats’ first home league game of the season.
Although doubts continue to build over Tim Krul’s availability for Newcastle’s trip to Everton next Monday, it seems Newcastle are determined to give the keeper until the last minute to prove his fitness. Krul pulled out of Holland’s match with Hungary after sustaining an elbow injury in training and he joins a list of defensive woes for Alan Pardew right now. The Magpies are yet to assess the full extent of Fabricio Coloccini’s hamstring problem – with Ryan Taylor and Danny Simpson ruled out and James Perch a doubt, Vernun Anita looks set to fill the breach at right-back at Goodison. The Dutchman admitted he has no qualms of moving to defence in a game that will see him square up to Steven Pienaar and Leighton Baines on the flank:
“We’ve got two injuries on that side so if the manager needs me on that side I’ll do my best for the team. It went well against Aston Villa. As a right-back you can come forward a lot, so I did that also and yes, I think it was a good performance. Central midfield is my position so the main focus is on the midfield – but if the manager needs me on the right side I can also play there.”
Roberto Martinez admitted Jean Beausejour remains a doubt for Wigan’s trip to Old Trafford on Saturday. The winger suffered a recurrence of a hamstring problem in the Gameweek 3 clash against Stoke, with his manager revealing:
“We did a scan straight after the game and it showed Jean had a tear in the hamstring. He has been recovering for the last week and a half, it’s been going well, but it’s still too early to tell whether he’ll be involved on Saturday. This one was the first summer in a while where he could actually rest his body after a long and demanding campaign. He suffered a couple of niggles trying to reactivate his body that we have to get through, but I’m hopeful he’ll benefit from this period in the long term. He is such a special player, such a consistent player, and once he’s fully fit he’ll go back to being a key member of our team.”
Beausejour’s four points per game in the previous FPL season had seen him earmarked as a viable mid-price candidate this time round. Providing seven assists in 16 games after moving from Birmingham last December, his role on the left of the Latics’ midfield four was a constant source of creativity – going on the above quotes Martinez clearly rates him and may decide to preserve the Chilean against United, with Maynor Figueroa moving back out wide to cover and Antolin Alcaraz returning to the back-three.
John Terry and Ashley Cole have both returned to light training ahead of Chelsea’s trip to QPR next Saturday. Cole has missed both England’s recent internationals, while Terry was sidelined for Tuesday’s draw with Ukraine due to an ankle problem – question marks must remain over their availability for the Loftus Road encounter, with David Luiz and Ryan Bertrand the obvious replacements. While Branislav Ivanovic has hogged the headlines at the back with his scoring exploits, Luiz’s presence has seemed beneficial to Roberto Di Matteo’s side – they have picked up clean sheets in both games the Brazilian has started this term.
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For Gameweek 38
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