Eden Hazard picks up a calf injury as Chelsea move into the last four of the Champions League thanks to goals from Andre Schurrle and Demba Ba. Wayne Rooney seems set to return for United’s crucial clash with Bayern tonight. Leon Osman is expected to be available for Everton’s double Gameweek. Aaron Ramsey looks to pick up where he left off after returning from injury, whilst Grant Holt is keen to nail down the Villa lone striker spot over the final five Gameweeks:
Hazard Limps off as Blues Squeeze Past PSG
Chelsea’s Champions League win over Laurent Blanc’s side came at a cost last night after Eden Hazard lasted just 18 minutes before being forced off with a calf complaint. The Belgian’s replacement, Andre Schurrle, grabbed the hosts’ opener before substitute Demba Ba notched a dramatic late goal to ensure the Stamford Bridge side progressed on away goals and reached the last four.
After the game, Mourinho went on to say:
“It is a calf. After 10 minutes he was saying he cannot do it and even when muscle injuries are not serious it is normally a couple of weeks out minimum, but I have no idea of the dimension of the injury. “
Hazard, meanwhile, offered up his own take on the problem:
“I had already felt some pain in my calf during the warming-up. I didn’t want to take a risk.”
The Scout Says: A spell on the sidelines for Hazard would have huge repercussions across the Fantasy games. The Belgian is the second most popular midfielder in the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) game, with an ownership level of 39%, but has been sold on by 40,000 managers already this week after he was used as a sub in Saturday evening’s win over Stoke. With Mohamed Salah and Willian both impressing against the Potters and Schurrle grabbing a goal last night, Mourinho may choose to court caution with the player’s fitness in order to ensure Hazard is sidelined for a minimal amount of time as he chases the silverware on two fronts. With games against Swansea and Sunerland up next, Salah could be a real punt to consider after serving up a goal and assist last weekend on his first start last week – the Egyptian (at 5.5 in FPL) is ineligible for European duties – whilst Schurrle, at 6.9, could also be set to benefit. Given that Man City are poised to play twice this week, many will be prepared to part company with the Belgian and either opt for Yaya Toure, David Silva or Samir Nasri in midfield or perhaps purchase a cheaper option in order to free up the cash for a move for Sergio Aguero, should the Argentine be passed fit.
Injury Worries Ease for Moyes
The United boss was boosted by the return to training of a number of players as he prepares for this evening’s vital Champions League clash with Bayern. Wayne Rooney, Patrice Evra and Ashley Young all look to be in contention after picking up problems over the weekend, whilst Jonny Evans also stepped up his injury recovery by turning out for the club’s reserves on Monday evening. In his pre-match press conference, Moyes strongly hinted at a return to action for Rooney, who looks to have recovered from the toe problem that ruled him out of Saturday’s trip to Newcastle:
“Wayne was able to train and he is massively keen to play. He’s not trained all week so we have to be wary of that. We’ll do everything we possibly can. He’s happy to take an injection to play in the game, which shows you his feeling about the game and about the club. We think it’s okay. We wouldn’t do anything medically wrong. We’ve taken advice from the doctors and the people who advise us. Everybody knows the type of character Wayne is and he is determined to play. If he is determined we would be mad not to give him that opportunity.”
The Scout Says: Sitting seventh in the league and seven points off fourth spot with only five matches remaining, United’s chances of qualifying for next season’s competition look slim. From a Fantasy perspective, the Red Devils’ elimination would be the ideal scenario, with Moyes’ recent domestic team sheets heavily influenced by his side’s Champions League duties. Rooney has scored four times in his last three league matches but last week’s omission from the St James’ Park win, coupled with a blank this weekend, has seen over 100,000 FPL managers part company since his injury was announced late last Friday. With the prognosis looking positive on his toe, however, Fantasy managers will be once again be making plans for his acquisition – now down to 11% ownership, Rooney welcomes Norwich in Gameweek 36 before back-to-back home clashes with Hull and Sunderland the following week. Given that Everton play City in Gameweek 37, Romelu Lukaku owners will be looking for ways to free up cash in order to facilitate Rooney’s acquisition, once the Toffees upcoming double Gameweek 34 is done and dusted.
Osman Boost for Toffees
The Everton midfielder was back in training yesterday after being forced off with an eye injury with less than 10 minutes on the clock in Sunday’s win over Arsenal. In an interview with the club’s official website, Roberto Martinez was optimistic that Osman will be in contention ahead of the Merseysiders’ double Gameweek which sees them travel to Sunderland this weekend before hosting Palace at Goodison the following Wednesday:
“Knowing Leon, he will be ready and I will be very surprised if he doesn’t make the squad for Saturday.”
The Scout Says: With Ross Barkley also confirming his calf problem “is feeling better” after replacing Osman at the weekend, Martinez’ squad looks in good shape for their pair of upcoming fixtures. The versatile Osman has now started eight of the last nine league matches – bearing in mind Martinez’ recent rotation policy, he was perhaps due for a rest this weekend, but having been forced off so early in the 3-0 win, he could return to the starting XI once again. Kevin Mirallas and Barkley have both been the subject of significant investment already after racking up 23 and 24 FPL points respectively over the last four Gameweeks, but with all but Steven Pienaar to choose from in the attacking midfield areas, Martinez’ numerous options could frustrate Fantasy managers once again.
Holt Looking to Cement Starting Role
The Villa frontman is determined to fill in for the injured Christian Benteke over the run-in. Handed a rare start against Fulham last weekend, Holt notched his side’s only goal in a 2-1 home defeat and went on to say:
“When someone does what Christian does they are always big boots to fill, but you can only do what you do. I’ll just play the game the way I do and everyone else can make their own mind up. People will say I played well on Saturday and there will be people who say I didn’t. Some people you can’t keep happy, it’s just football. I’ve been waiting to play and you don’t want minutes because of what’s happened but when it comes it’s an opportunity to rise up and put a performance in.”
The Scout Says: Arriving on loan from Wigan in January, Holt has been a peripheral figure for the Midlands outfit up until now. Prior to last week’s appearance, he’d managed just 47 minutes in the previous seven Gameweeks, but with Benteke and Libor Kozak both nursing long-term injuries, he looks likely to earn further starts for Paul Lambert’s side. Priced at 5.1 in FPL, Holt – who also bagged a couple of bonus points in the Fulham defeat – plays fellow strugglers Palace and Fulham in the next three and also has a double Gameweek 37 on his agenda, with a home match against Hull preceding Villa’s trip to the Etihad.
Ramsey Keen to Finish Season Strongly
Having finally cemented his comeback from injury by climbing off the bench in last weekend’s loss at Everton, the Welshman vowed to make up for lost time. With an FA Cup semi-final against Wigan this weekend and the Gunners still firmly in the battle for fourth, Ramsey revealed:
“It was very frustrating for me to be out for three months of the season when things were looking so good. These things happen in football and I am just glad to be back out there now. Hopefully I can show what I can do, help this team achieve Champions League football again and hopefully have a medal at the end of the year.”
The Scout Says: Despite being absent since Gameweek 18, Ramsey‘s tally of 114 FPL points has still not been bettered by any Arsenal midfielder. Granted, that’s a damning indictment of his team-mates’ displays but also highlights just how crucial his contribution was over the first few months, with eight goals, six assists and 15 bonus points accrued. With his side toiling, he looks likely to return to the starting line-up for Tuesday’s home game against West Ham, and with trips to Hull and Norwich on either side of back-to-back home showdowns against Newcastle and West Brom, Ramsey – now down to 6.9 – has the schedule which could bring him back onto Fantasy radars for the last few matches, with 13,000 already snapping up his services this week.