With a slew of international friendlies, Fantasy managers are cursed by the usual array of injuries – some genuine, some phantom. This week we’ve already seen a number of withdrawals from international squads, casting some doubt, howver minor, over participation in league matches for the coming weekend.
Daniel Sturridge yesterday confirmed his withdrawal from England’s squad to face Brazil tomorrow evening. The Liverpool striker is suffering from a thigh injury and, although he joined up with the squad, has returned to his club for assessment and treatment prior to Sunday’s Anfield meeting with West Brom. Sturridge has been a top transfer target as we approach Liverpool’s double Gameweek, attracting over 70,000 new owners to this point – more than any other player. Having played to the final minute in the 2-2 draw at City on Sunday, there is obviously confidence in Sturridge’s availability for Sunday’s match; we can only wait on further updates from the club as the week progresses.
Marouane Fellaini is perhaps the next biggest name to be affected. Having suffered a bang to his hip in the dramatic 3-3 draw with Villa on Saturday, the Belgian reportedly missed training with his national side on Monday and has been declared a doubt for their friendly with Slovakia. Again, Fantasy managers won’t be too concerned by these reports just yet. Such is the importance of Fellaini to Everton, it seems likely that the Belgium national team respect the club involved by not taking any risk with such a player for a friendly encounter. Had the match been a qualifier, we may see a very different scenario but, until we hear more from Goodison on the injury, Fellaini is nothing more than a minor doubt for the weekend’s trip to Old Trafford.
The finger injury sustained by Chelsea’s Petr Cech appears to be more of an issue. The Czech stopper has been withdrawn from his national side’s squad for their clash with Turkey with confirmation that he’s suffered a broken little finger. The player brought us this on his latest setback…
“2013 started unfortunately for me. At first it was groin, then calf and now the finger. Hopefully I have had my share of bad luck for the whole year already. I punched the ball and the head of one of Newcastle players at the same time. I thought it was nothing but went for an X-ray just in case. However, it showed there was a fracture.”
The early reports suggest that Cech is already ruled out of the weekend home meeting with Wigan, whilst also casting doubt on Cech’s chances of facing former club, Sparta Prague, in the Europa League next Wednesday…
“It will depend on whether we find a solution where it would not threaten my health and, at the same time, I would be able to perform adequately…I have to be able to cover the shots, push the players away and so on. If I were unable to give 100 per cent, I would not play. With the splint I have now it would not be possible at all.”
Once again, it will likely be Ross Turnbull who deputises for Cech in the Chelsea goal should he be confirmed absent from the Wigan meeting on Saturday.
Across West London, Harry Redknapp is sweating on the fitness of new striker Loic Remy, with the lastest reports suggesting that the Frenchman is facing up to two months on the sidelines. Remy suffered a groin injury in training on Friday and subsequently missed the 0-0 draw with Norwich on Saturday. While Redknapp stated that Remy had suffered a torn groin, he later retracted this and indicated that it was merely a strain. This was later confirmed by assistant boss Joe Jordan. Despite this, a report in the Daily Mail are far from optimistic on Remy’s prognosis, stating that a prolonged spell out is on the cards. Others have followed suit with similar claims.
With Bobby Zamora fighting for match fitness, Redknapp’s options up top are scant: Jamie Mackie is his only fit recognised striker, with Adel Taarabt recently being asked to play a striker’s role. While Taarabt’s start and attacking responsibilities will be assured should Remy face a term of absence, Fantasy managers will perhaps have little confidence in QPR’s attacking potential without their new signing in the starting XI.
Man United’s Phil Jones was a notable withdrawal from England’s U21 international with Sweden tonight. Jones also missed Saturday’s victory at Fulham and, while United have been vague on his situation, Stuart Pearce has confirmed that he has been ruled out of his U21 squad due to a bout of shingles. A report in the Daily Telegraph this morning states that Jones is now a doubt for United’s Champions League tie with Real Madrid next week. His absence against Everton this weekend seems almost certain, then, cutting Sir Alex Ferguson’s rotation options ahead of the big European tie.
Moving away from injuries and illness, it was interesting to find Martin O’Neill discussing his tactical options following the recent acquisition of Danny Graham from Swansea. The Sunderland boss gave Graham his debut from the bench at Reading at the weekend but recent articles have discussed the option of O’Neill fielding both Graham and Steven Fletcher in a 4-4-2. O’Neill certainly seems to be considering such an option…
“We’ll see, we’ll develop something with them – I don’t see it being a problem…Steven Fletcher, although he’s been brilliant as a centre-forward, I think he can drop in and easily play in another position…We’ll see what develops with the two of them playing together.”
That statement indicates that Fletcher could well be deployed in a support striker role, linking the midfield and Graham as the focal point of the attack. That would not only have implications on the role of Stephane Sessegnon, it could also possibly impact on Fletcher’s output from this point on. The former Wolves man has been outstanding in his first season on Wearside, scoring 10 times in the league so far in a side that, earlier in the season, was creating little but scraps in front of goal.
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|
“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