David Silva remains a doubt for City’s home clash with Swansea after flying to Spain for further hamstring treatment. Sir Alex Ferguson heaps praise on Rafael’s recent displays, Andre Villas-Boas is hopeful of a quick return for Moussa Dembele, Nigel Adkins promises to keep to his attacking principles for Southampton and the defensive injury worries continue for Villa ahead of Norwich’s visit this weekend…
Reports in the Mail last night suggest David Silva has flown to Spain for intensive treatment on his injured hamstring. Earlier in the day, City assistant boss Brian Kidd had indicated Silva could be in line for a quick return this week but this now seems highly unlikely, with the playmaker expected to miss tomorrow’s Champions League match with Ajax and, in all probability, the Gameweek 9 home clash against Swansea. City look primed for investment with three home matches (SWA, TOT, AVL) in the next four but Silva – who was moved on by almost 30,000 Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers after limping out of the World Cup qualifier against France – could may be set for further sales if the news proves correct.
Nigel Adkins has vowed to continue with Southampton’s attacking style of play – despite seeing his side hammered 4-1 at Upton Park last weekend…
“The style of play dictates that we are scoring goals, (but) it’s obviously not keeping the ball out of the back of the net. There’s all different ways to go and there’s a principle on how the football club wants to go and we’re good at doing that. Maybe if we looked at alternatives who’s to say that’s going to be beneficial to us, because we are scoring goals? Individually some players are getting found out, but it’s a collective thing and that’s important. The football club want to play football and that’s been demonstrated again, but it’s a simple game where you keep it out at one end and stick it in at the other. You’ve got to stick to principles.”
While Adkins’ determination to stick to his principles is admirable, the Saints are perhaps finding the step up to the Premier League a little tougher than expected – they have now conceded 24 goals in the first eight Gameweeks, seven more than any other side. From an attacking perspective, they have found the net 13 times – the same number as Arsenal, for example, despite winning just one of their opening eight matches. While their defence is a no-go area for Fantasy managers, the likes of Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert look strong options ahead of a run of four home games (TOT, SWA, NEW, NOR) in the next six. Lallana has now scored or assisted in each of the last four Gameweeks, while Lambert has started every home game thus far and has averaged 6.5 FPL points per St Mary’s fixture; somewhat atoning for the fact he has now been benched in two of Southampton’s four away matches.
Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna edged nearer a return to full fitness for Arsenal yesterday. The pair managed the full 90 minutes in the Gunners U21’s 2-1 win at Everton, with Wilshere supplying the assist for his side’s second. For the hosts, Thomas Hitzlsperger also played the entire match as he looks to perhaps stake a claim for the left flank role in this Sunday’s Merseyside derby due to Steven Pienaar’s one-match suspension, while Tony Hibbert made his comeback from a calf injury to also manage the 90 minutes; he could also come into contention for the Goodison encounter with Liverpool at the expense of Seamus Coleman at right-back.
Paul Lambert could be facing a defensive headache ahead of Villa’s home clash with former club Norwich this weekend. The Villas boss saw Nathan Baker subbed off with an ankle problem away to Fulham last Saturday just after the hour mark and revealed:
“I don’t know how bad Nathan is. I thought he did great with some of his blocks, but we’ll just have to wait and see how he is. Ciaran (Clark) hurt his knee with Ireland, which is a blow, so we’ll have to wait and see how he is as well. Richard’s (Dunne) out as well so it does leave us a little light on numbers. But Matty Lowton in there looked as if he’d played there all his days, so we’ll have to see. I don’t know yet whether Ciaran or Nathan will be able to be involved next weekend, but we’ve got a full week to see how they are.”
At present, Lambert has only one fit centre-half – summer signing Ron Vlaar – but with Norwich scoring just two goals in their four away games so far, the chances of a second clean sheet of the season had looked a real possibility. The Villa boss will be desperate for his regulars to return, though; after the Canaries clash, his side then face (sun, MUN, mci, ARS) – hardly the easiest of schedules to engineer with a full strength XI, never mind a possibly patched-up defence.
Andre Villas-Boas is hopeful of a quick return to action for Moussa Dembele after the midfielder missed out against Chelsea due to a hip injury sustained on international duty for Belgium last week…
“He had a scan, but we haven’t seen the results yet. He suffers discomfort and pain on his hip which is not something that shows on the scan so it’s difficult to assess. Fulham took him off for a period of two weeks. He had a chance to play (on Saturday) and had a late fitness test but the pain didn’t go away. It’s something that comes back to him.”
Dembele’s absence at the weekend proved significant in the 4-2 defeat by Chelsea. Spurs have won all four of the league games he has started, while his Gameweek 3 debut against Norwich saw the former Fulham man climb off the bench to earn his side a draw. Spurs now square up to Southampton and Wigan before then facing trips to City and Arsenal – it may well be that Villas-Boas chooses to be careful with the Belgian over the next fortnight in order to ensure he is ready for the Etihad clash in Gameweek 11.
Having revealed he will rest Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra for United’s Champions League clash with Braga this evening ahead of the weekend trip to Chelsea, Sir Alex Ferguson sang the praises of Rafael, hinting that the Brazilian is developing into a key member of his back-four this term…
“He is maturing and learning all the time. Rafael has all the ingredients of a great player. He is blessed with great enthusiasm, skill and speed. He was quite impulsive and tended to over-commit himself. We have gone over it a few times but, bit by bit, it is all coming together and he was easily our best player Saturday.”
Rafael has now started the last seven for United, having missed the season opener at Everton. While the Red Devils have returned just two clean sheets thus far, the Brazilian has found the net twice and has averaged five FPL points per game – he has now risen to 6.0 from a starting price of 5.5 and despite the imminent return of Chris Smalling, Ferguson’s ringing endorsement suggests the Rafael could be firmly in the driving seat as a first-team regular as the season continues to unfold. Yesterday, Ferguson stated that both Chris Smalling and Phil Jones were still “two or three weeks away” from a return.
Two stricken goalkeepers are closing in on returns according to reports this morning. Liverpool’s Pepe Reina has spoken out on his minor hamstring injury that ruled him out of the 1-0 victory over Reading. He remains hopeful of a return for the Merseyside derby on Sunday…
“I’m getting better, little by little. It wasn’t worth taking any risks because you risk it getting worse. I’ll be patient and get really good.”
Reading’s Adam Federici is another stopper who is close to a return to contention. He kept a clean sheet in Reading’s U21 victory over Norwich on Monday evening and is now likely to threaten Alex McCarthy for his start in the Royals’ goal.
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For Gameweek 38
- van Persie
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|No Change||Hart||MCI||B, Vs|
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