Gareth Bale is amongst the goals yet again as Tottenham get the better of Inter at the Lane. A lacklustre Chelsea are beaten in Bucharest, Newcastle register a goalless draw with Anzhi but are set to be without Fabricio Coloccini for a number of weeks, Daniel Sturridge is back for Liverpool this weekend, while Shane Long is a doubt for West Brom’s home game with Swansea:
Tottenham 3 Inter 0
Andre Villas-Boas’ side continued their impressive form by sweeping aside their Italian visitors last night. The Spurs boss made three changes from the side that saw off Arsenal at the Lane last Sunday – Hugo Lloris and Michael Dawson dropped out for Brad Friedel and William Gallas at the back, while Jermain Defoe led the line with Emmanuel Adebayor still recovering from the knee problem that forced him off on Sunday.
While Gareth Bale hogged the headlines once more with a goal and assist, Gylfi Sigurdsson continued his renaissance on the Tottenham left. The Icelandic international mirrored Bale’s returns before making way for Lewis Holtby with 20 minutes – having notched a goal and assist in his last couple of league games, he is finally starting to suggest he’s ready to hold down a first-team role after a slow start to life at the Lane. Jan Vertonghen served a reminder of his threat from the back by nodding home the hosts’ third to leave Villas-Boas’ side with a commanding first-leg lead – they will be without Bale for the second leg in the San Siro, though, as the Welshman is set to serve a one-match ban after receiving his third caution of the tournament. The only downside for Villas-Boas from last night’s match was the late withdrawal of Aaron Lennon with what appeared to be a hamstring knock. Having started every one of Spurs’ 28 league matches, any possible absence would be a bitter blow for the flying winger – we should hopefully get further prognosis in this afternoon’s press conference.
Anzhi 0 Newcastle 0
With a crucial home clash against Stoke on the horizon, Alan Pardew made seven changes from the side that lost narrowly at Swansea for yesterday’s trip to Russia. Rob Elliott, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa Elsewhere, Yohan Cabaye and Moussa Sissoko were the four to retain their places – with Papiss Cisse missing out through illness, Hatem Ben Arfa was intriguingly handed the lone forward role upon his return from a long-term hamstring injury, though Pardew did admit beforehand he was concerned the synthetic surface could pose problems for Shola Ameobi’s ongoing knee issue. Ameobi replace the Frenchman just after the hour mark, while Steven Taylor came on with quarter of an hour left in what was a hugely uneventful match.
Post-match, Pardew admitted he would utilise Ben Arfa as a lone forward role again, if necessary:
“Hatem lasted longer than I thought and did well given he is not fit. I have thought about using him there before because if I was a centre-back he is the last person I would want to see with the ball at his feet. And I would certainly consider it again.”
Prior to the game, Pardew was left reeling from the news that Fabricio Coloccini is set to be sidelined with the back problem sustained in Gameweek 27 against Swansea. The Magpies boss has admitted his skipper could be missing for up to two months:
“Colo has gone back to Argentina. There’s no treatment he can have – he’s broken two of the bones in his back. We think it’s going to be anything between three and seven weeks. He’s gone back for a week.”
With Tim Krul also out due to an ankle injury, Pardew’s defensive problems are starting to rack up but luckily his winter transfer spree has come in handy. Yanga-Mbiwa now looks likely to be given the platform to secure a regular role alongside Steven Taylor in the heart of defence, though priced at 4.9 in FPL, he still will set you back more than Steven Taylor’s 4.6.
Steaua Bucharest 1 Chelsea 0
Rafa Benitez also made a number of changes ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup trip to Old Trafford. Cesar Azpilicueta and Ashley Cole dropped out of the back-four – Branislav Ivanovic moved to right-back as John Terry returned, while Ryan Bertrand was also afforded a start. With Ramires rested from the trip, John Obi Mikel joined Frank Lampard in the double-pivot, while Yossi Benayoun – fit again after an ankle injury – replaced Juan Mata in the attacking midfield three. Up top, Fernando Torres got the nod as Demba Ba is ineligible to feature. Benitez made a couple of substitutions during the course of the defeat; Eden Hazard was replaced by Marko Marin with 15 minutes left, while Benayoun made way for Mata just after the hour mark.
In Other News
Daniel Sturridge has been passed fit and is available for selection once again ahead of Liverpool’s home game with Spurs this weekend. The Reds’ assistant boss Colin Pascoe revealed to the press yesterday:
“He’s looking good. It was his first day training today and he has trained well. He will be available for Sunday. Everyone seems fit and raring to go and we can’t wait for Sunday.”
Having missed two of the last three, including last Saturday’s win over Wigan, Sturridge has been sold by over 14,000 FPL managers heading into the weekend – despite only 12 teams taking to the field this time round. Luis Suarez looks set for a change in role once again, with the Uruguayan tucking in behind Sturridge as Brendan Rodgers moves back to a 4-2-3-1 to accommodate the former Chelsea man in the starting line-up. Having scored or assisted in all five of his league appearances, Sturridge will no doubt receive plenty new investors after yesterday’ news – with Liverpool visiting three of the bottom five in addition to a home clash with West Ham this weekend, there’s plenty potential for further attacking points.
Shane Long is the only doubt for West Brom’s home clash with Swansea. Steve Clarke revealed the Irishman is struggling to overcome an ankle injury picked up during last Saturday’s game at Chelsea:
“The unfortunate thing for us is that Shane Long, who played last week with a bad ankle, has aggravated his ankle through the weekend. He trained Monday and Tuesday but unfortunately didn’t train today. He is doubtful for tomorrow – and the weekend as well. That’s a bit of a loss for us. Although, I’m ever the optimist and I haven’t ruled him out of the weekend yet.”
The news certainly eases any lingering fears for Romelu Lukaku’s Fantasy owners as the Baggies look to avenge their defeat at the hands of Michael Laudrup’s side earlier this season. Clarke’s habit of alternating the two for starting roles has played havoc with the Belgian’s game time, though with eight starts in the last 10, he has started to look a Hawthorns regular in recent weeks. Clarke has also revealed Chris Brunt has recovered from the ankle injury that kept him out of last week’s game, while Claudio Yacob, Steven Reid and Jonas Olsson are all fit and raring to go after shrugging off midweek knocks.
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