Glen Johnson’s ankle injury may be worse than first feared. Eden Hazard skips training for Belgium with an Achilles complaint. Jozy Altidore is passed fit after a recent hamstring problem, Rafael could be set to return soon for United, while Luis Suarez may have to make do with a role on the flank this season for Liverpool.
Johnson Ankle Worry
Liverpool issued an official injury update on Glen Johnson yesterday after the right-back pulled out of England duties. The Reds defender was subbed off towards the end of Sunday’s win over United with an ankle problem and the club revealed:
“After being examined by the club’s medical staff at Melwood, Johnson is required to rest his ankle this week. A further review will then take place to check stability and decide on further management. Therefore, Liverpool have not put a timeframe on Johnson’s return to fitness at this stage.”
The Scout Says: A spell on the sidelines for Johnson would undoubtedly be a bitter blow for Brendan Rodgers. The full-back has been an integral part of the defence that has registered three back-to-back clean sheets so far and with a kind upcoming schedule on the horizon, was set for increased investment. Fantasy managers could be afforded a real bargain, though – Andre Wisdom comes in at just 4.4 in Fantasy Premier League (FPL) and looks the obvious candidate to benefit if Johnson is indeed ruled out for any length of time. Martin Kelly, also at 4.4, is the other option available to Rodgers.
Hazard Concern for Belgium
Reports in The Mail suggest Eden Hazard has been forced out of training with Belgium due to an Achilles problem. The Chelsea winger has allegedly told his national team’s doctors he has been suffering with the problem for “two to three weeks” and has been ordered to rest ahead of Friday’s showdown with Scotland.
The Scout Says: With Belgium in a strong position to qualify for next year’s World Cup, it’s highly unlikely they will risk the wide man over the next week if the injury is any real worry. Certainly, any potential absence would have a major effect on Fantasy line-ups – while Jose Mourinho has a multitude of attacking midfielders to choose from, Hazard is the most popular midfielder in the FPL game and currently resides in over 24%. An injury update from the Belgium squad will be keenly awaited as his owners hope for a positive prognosis with 10 days still to go before domestic action resumes.
Altidore Hamstring Relief
Sunderland’s Jozy Altidore has been given the all-clear to resume training with the US national squad. The forward missed out on last Saturday’s defeat at Crystal Palace due to a hamstring injury and was expected to be sidelined for at least a couple of weeks but an MRI scan has shown there is no serious damage ahead of games against Costa Rica and Mexico.
The Scout Says: This will be welcome news for Paolo Di Canio after the weekend loss against the Eagles. Having sold Stephane Sessegnon to West Brom, the Black Cats’ boss awaits news on Connor Wickham, who has withdrawn from England Under 21 duty, and with Steven Fletcher lacking fitness and new loan signing Fabio Borini also short of sharpness, Sunderland will be more reliant than ever on Altidore ahead of a run of games which sees them entertain Arsenal, Liverpool and United over the next four Gameweeks.
Rafael on the Mend
United’s Rafael has conveniently handed Fantasy managers a heads-up via his Instagram account by revealing he is set to return to training next week after missing the start of the season due to a hamstring injury.
The Scout Says: David Moyes will be relieved by the Brazilian’s speedy recovery after seeing Phil Jones forced off against Liverpool with an ankle injury. The former Blackburn man has deputised at right-back in the Brazilian’s absence but has since withdrawn from England duties with the problem – a possible return for Rafael would bring him firmly back onto Fantasy radars ahead of a run which see the champions face four home games (CPL, WBA, SOT, STO) and a trip to Sunderland in the next six.
Suarez Set for Wide Role
Reports in this morning’s Times suggest Luis Suarez will be shifted to the flank upon his return to action for Liverpool later this month. The Uruguayan is due back in time for the Gameweek 6 trip to Sunderland and with Brendan Rodgers bringing in Victor Moses on loan, Philippe Coutinho could be set for a move to “the hole” behind Daniel Sturridge as the Reds boss rolls out a 4-2-3-1:
The Scout Says: Sturridge’s form certainly has been worthy of the lone forward role. The former Chelsea man has not only notched in each of the first three Gameweeks, he has now found the net 10 times in the eight games Suarez has been suspended for – a clear indication of his goal-getting abilities. Such a scenario would not only cement Sturridge’s appeal for Fantasy managers, it would also re-ignite Coutinho’s potential – the Brazilian has failed to produce any returns in the opening three Gameweeks and has resultantly been sold on by over 106,000 FPL managers. Sturridge missed training for England yesterday with the thigh problem that had bothered him prior to the United match but his absence is thought to be precautionary.
Parr Boost for Palace
Crystal Palace left-back Jonathan Parr stepped up his recovery from an ankle ligament injury by turning out for the Eagles’ second-string side yesterday. The Norwegian, along with Paddy McCarthy, started the 2-1 defeat to Cardiff U21s before making way at the break in his first match since being sidelined towards the end of last season.
The Scout Says: Parr was a key player for Ian Holloway’s side last term and turned out 38 times in their promotion-winning campaign. His absence has afforded Dean Moxey the chance to deputise in the back-four but, once fully-fit, it’s likely that the Norway international will regain his starting berth – handing Fantasy managers another budget option, with a 4.0 price tag in the FPL game.