A Robin Van Persie injury scare is like no other. I’m struggling to think of another event that can both create the Twitter storm and panic within the Fantasy Football community on a similar level. It can send shockwaves that remind us, and others around us, just how seriously we take our task.
Tuesday’s gradual news, or non-news, drip of Van Persie’s withdrawal at half-time in the Netherlands’ win over Hungary was something to behold. Twitter was awash with football fans, each with their own very different agenda, conspiring to generate a frenzy of mis-information which even included images of the stricken striker being stretchered off in an orange shirt when the Dutch were actually playing in change colours.
From a Fantasy Manager’s perspective, the garbled noise being produced by the social networks was a head-spinning experience. The 140-character kerfuffle was then inevitably followed swiftly by reports that Van Persie was an immediate doubt for the weekend clash with Wigan. As it turned out, this was not, and perhaps never was the case.
Doubtless a hasty report of Van Persie being a doubt for a weekend home clash has little impact on the lives of our football media. They can go home to their better halves and box sets and leave us Fantasy managers fretting. For us such a story can be the catalyst for change, for a full strategy rethink. It has consequences. It certainly has impact.
Throughout the last few days we remained frosty on the situation here on the site – observing that most news sources were more cautious than the likes of the Daily Mail on an “injury” that had already been dismissed by Dutch coach Louis Van Gaal. We refused to consider Van Persie’s “incident” as anything more than a knock. The Fantasy Premier League did not apply their flag and, as a result, Van Persie’s Fantasy owners were sparred the agony of potentially selling on their star asset, only to find he was declared fit by Friday lunchtime.
He is fit. Sir Alex said so, but now we must wait to see what Ferguson does with his shuffling pack ahead of United’s Champions League tie with Galatasaray on Wednesday. Things will be nervy until we get the teamsheet.
While no one single source amongst this morning’s papers dare suggest that Van Persie won’t start against the Latics, some give Alex Buttner his debut at left-back with Patrice Evra making way. The Independent – probably our favoured Saturday morning source, goes with this along with both Shinji Kagawa and Danny Welbeck in their United lineup.
The press as a whole appear to be split on David De Gea’s chances of a recall. The Independent, The Guardian and the Daily Mail all backing a return for the Spaniard, while our other four papers stick with Anders Lindegaard. For the record, we’re opting for De Gea.
Intriguingly, the Mail, the Telegraph and the Sun have dropped Ryan Giggs into the mix in their lineups – both omitting Kagawa in the process. We’re also seeing ad hoc appearances for Anderson amongst the media and, at one point yesterday, the Guardian dropped Michael Carrick back into defence – perhaps forgetting that both Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans are fit.
We forgive them. It’s been corrected since and it’s clear that Ferguson and United have us all in a tizzy. Not for the first time.
Elsewhere, there are perhaps few surprises. Again, using the Independent as my most reliable point of reference, we’re seeing debuts for Villa’s Joe Bennett and Christian Benteke, Leon Osman is coming in for the injured Darron Gibson, Adam Johnson is fit enough for the Sunderland lineup, Clint Dempsey starts for Spurs at the expense of poor old Gylfi Sigurdsson and Julio Cesar starts in nets for QPR.
All very viable and worthy decisions. Nobody can really be sure of course – these are best guesses or at least educated guesses like our own team news predictions. From my perspective it’s always fascinating cutting through the press noise, now compounded by Twitter’s streaming contribution. There’s no disputing that we have so much more information around us than when I started this thing five years ago. The job that myself and the team carry out on a Friday is a frantic one, sifting sources, weighing up credibility and reliability, listening in and taking managers on their word. That’s all we can really do.
Just how reliable can that be is difficult to say. There are always the odd surprise and, I’m almost convinced that kidology plays a part in some quarters. Let’s just hope it’s not been at play in the Old Trafford camp.
Commenting is now closed for this post.
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, £|
|No Change||Kompany||MCI||B, Vs, Rest|
|No Change||Vertonghen||TOT||A, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Luiz||CHE||A, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Boyce||WIG||C, Vs, OoP|
|No Change||Cuéllar||SUN||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Rangel||SWA||C, Vs|
|Up||Clyne||SOT||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Mata||CHE||C, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Hazard||CHE||B, Vs, Rest, Inj|
|Up||Maloney||WIG||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Y Touré||MCI||B, Vs|
|No Change||Silva||MCI||B, Vs, Inj|
|Up||Tevez||MCI||A, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Koné||WIG||B, Vs, £|
|Down||van Persie||MUN||A, Vs|
|Up||Lukaku||WBA||B, Vs, Rest|
|Down||Aguero||MCI||B, Vs, Inj|
|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|
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