West Brom’s Jonas Olsson was the first player to topple off the Tightrope this calendar year after receiving his tenth yellow card of the season in last Saturday’s 2-1 win over Swansea. The big centre-half is now set to serve a two-match ban, which rules him out of crucial encounters with Hull and Cardiff as Pepe Mel looks to build on his first win as manager of the Midlands outfit:
Olsson is one of five players set to spend time on the sidelines after last weekend’s action. The Baggies defender is joined by Nemanja Vidic, who was dismissed after receiving two yellows in Sunday’s Old Trafford humiliation at the hands of Liverpool. Unfortunately for David Moyes, he’ll be without his skipper for both matches of double Gameweek Gameweek 31 – away to West Ham and at home to Man City – as yesterday’s dismissal was Vidic’s second of the season.
City captain Vincent Kompany will miss the first match of double Gameweek 31 at home to Fulham after being sent off for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity in Saturday’s win at Hull. The Belgian should be available for the trip to Old Trafford, though reports suggest he could face an extension to the ban, having appeared to make an inappropriate gesture towards the home fans. The FA are awaiting referee Lee Mason’s match report and could act retrospectively if the incident is not included – it’s worth noting that Jack Wilshere received a two-match suspension earlier in the season for a similar offence after Arsenal’s 6-3 defeat at the Etihad.
Joining that trio of centre-halves on the sidelines are a couple of Chelsea players after Jose Mourinho’s side finished Saturday evening’s defeat at Villa with nine men. Ramires’ dismissal for serious foul play, as a result of his challenge on Karim El Ahmadi, means he is set to miss the next three league matches against Arsenal, Palace and Stoke, whilst Willian skips the weekend Gunners clash after receiving a couple of yellows at Villa Park.
Stoke pair Charlie Adam and Jon Walters are both still banned for this weekend’s clash with Villa. Adam serves the last of a three-match ban, whilst his fellow Potters team-mate will also sit out the following week’s Britannia showdown with Hull.
On the updated Tightrope, Ramires is also now just a single caution away from a further ban and is joined on nine yellows by Arsenal’s Mathieu Flamini, who was cautioned just minutes after appearing off the bench in Sunday’s north London derby. Steven Gerrard (with four bookings in his last six league matches) and Pablo Zabaleta (four in his last eight) are the two new entries this weekend – both will need to avoid a couple more bookings before the second Sunday in April (Gameweek 34) to avoid suspension.