Remember at the start of the year when you could just pick a gun and lock them in? There was no worry of whether they would be rested, no midweek CL ties to concern yourselves with, and most importantly, not a bloody league cup. The League Cup is annoying because it concerns EVERY player from EVERY team, not just the 4 that qualify for CL. So who started? Who starred? Who looks like being benched? Let’s take a look…
Chelsea 6 – 0 Wolves
If Matty Craig still had an erection after seeing Nolan score, it has now all but surely ceased. Chelsea gave his beloved Wolves an absolute shellacking, reminding everybody why they are considered a powerhouse. They were clean, crisp, and assured. Their starting lineup read as follows:
Turnbull, Azpilicueta, Terry, Cahill, Bertrand, Ramires, Romeu, Oscar, Moses, Torres, Piazon.
There was one goal apiece to Cahill, Bertrand, Ramires, Romeu, Moses and Mata. Interestingly Romeu took a penalty (because it was his 21st birthday- talk about arrogance), while Lampard and Mikel were given rests- pretty much inking them in to start at CM on the weekend. Torres , Oscar and Ramires were subbed off for Marin, Hazard and Mata in what surely was a ploy to keep them fresh.
Crawley 2 – 3 Swansea
Swansea suffered a scare, but thankfully Monk headed them home in injury time. Michu thankfully reminded us he could play football with a good finish, while Graham nodded home from close range. Starting lineup was as follows;
Tremmel, Monk, Davies, Tiendalli, Britton, Routledge, Ki, Michu, Gower, Richards, Moore.
A fair bit of rotation, but Britton returned to fitness with a start, while first team regulars Routledge, and Michu both started. Ki‘s inclusion hints that he may be rested for this weekends fixture (he actually started at CB!) while Michu was subbed off after 58 minutes, and Graham was subbed on for the last 23. Expect the latter two to start on the weekend.
Leeds United 2 – 1 Everton
Didn’t really see this coming. Everton went in with a semi strong squad, but were outplayed by a hungrier Leeds outfit. They only received any solace late, when Distin rose to finish. The lineup was as follows;
Mucha, Heitinga, Oviedo, Coleman, Distin, Fellaini, Santos da Silva, Naismith, Mirallas, Gueye, Anichebe.
A semi strong squad, as Fellaini played a full ninety minutes, as did Distin, Heitinga and Mirallas. Jelavic returned from his knock to feature for the last half, as did Pienaar and Phil Neville. The owners of Mirallas should be concerned- playing a full 90 minutes with Jelavic only playing about 30 will surely hurt his GW6 chances, while one of Distin and Heitinga will make the Saturday XI. Fellaini will play 90 again, the man is just too good to ignore.
Man City 2 – 4 Aston Villa
As the great man Borat once said, Wow-wow-wee-wow. Lineups as follows
Pantilmon, Lescott, Kolarov, Nastasic, K Toure, Milner, Barry, Razak, Suarez, Tevez, Balotelli.
Major alarm bells should be ringing for Tevez owners… he played the whole 120 minutes (ET). Surely he can’t be in line for a start on saturday v Fulham. Yaya, Aguero, Silva and Zabaleta were all unused, while Dzeko and Sinclair made substitute appearances that were meant to be brief…. but ended up being an hour long!
Given, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Bennett, El Ahmadi, N’Zogbia, Delph, Beneteke, Agbonlahor, Weimann.
Not a huge amount of news here, just that to put 4 goals past Man City is a cracking effort. A formation that resembled a 4-3-3 was employed, and the three pronged attack looked dangerous. Albrighton returned from injury to make a brief appearance, as Holman, Bent and Bannan were both rested.
MK Dons 0 – 2 Sunderland
Westwood, Kilgallon, Rose, Gardner, Cattermole, Vaughan, Meyler, McClean, Sessegnon, Saha.
Gardner struck with a sweet free kick before a McClean squeezed shot made it a routine 2-0 win for the Black Cats in a game that lacked quality for large periods. Saha was wasteful, so pinpoint Fletcher still looks unchallenged up front, while Adam Johnson returned from his injury for about 10 minutes, indicating he will be ready to feature this weekend! Cattermole saw red again, for the fifth time in his Sunderland career, so they will have to manage without the midfield enforcer for the next three weeks.
Southampton 2 – 0 Sheffield Wednesday
Gazzaniga, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Richardson, Seaborne, Ward-Prowse, Cork, Guly, Chaplow, De Ridder, Rodriguez.
Finally Rodriguez got an opportunity and capitalised on it with a well compiled brace. Southampton looked in complete control of the match, and should have been more than 2-0 up by the end. Hooiveld returned from injury to feature at CB alongside Yoshida, while the only PL First XI to play a full midfield game was Ward-Prowse. I wouldn’t expect him to feature on the weekend.
West Ham 1 – 4 Wigan
Henderson, McCartney, Tomkins, Potts, Spence, Jarvis, O’Neill, Noble, Vaz Te, Maiga, Hall.
In the words of Sam Allardyce “We couldn’t have defended a fish supper tonight”. That just about rules out any of the back four as challengers to Demel, Reid, Collins or O’Brien then. Jarvis played a full 90, while Vaz Te and Noble were given breaks in the second half. Maiga powered home in the 7th minute, and with the ageing Cole struggling this year, and Carroll still a few weeks away from fitness, he may be afforded more first team starts. He can definitely play, that’s for sure.
Al Habsi, Stam, Ramis, Caldwell, Lopez, Figueroa, Jones, McArthur, McManaman, Boselli, Miyaichi.
Miyaichi played a full 90, meaning he will probably be relegated to the position as squad depth and league cup winger. Boselli continued his trend of scoring in league cups, adding another 2 to take his tally to 4. Pity he hasn’t scored a PL goal yet. Figueroa, Ramis and Caldwell all are first teamers who played full 90 minutes, but all should retain their position, unless Alcaraz returns from injury.
Man United 2 – 1 Newcastle
Newcastle fielded a second string side, while Man United rested most of their stars for the midweek clash, which saw Cleverley net his first Man United goal, before Anderson returned to form with a well taken striker. Cisse finally found himself on the scoresheet again, but it was a case of too little too late for the Toon.
Elliott, Coloccini, Williamson, Perch, Tavernier, Gosling, Tiote, Marveaux, Obertan, Sh Ameobi, Vuckic
Krul missed with injury, as did Simpson and R. Taylor. Coloccini returned to the side before being subbed on the hour mark (one would assume to preserve him for the weekend game), while Tiote made his return from injury before being subbed off after 71 minutes. Cisse played 30 minutes of the clash and looked in good knick.
De Gea, Buttner, Wootton, Vermiji, M Keane, Anderson, Fletcher, Rooney, Cleverley, Hernandez, Welbeck.
Rooney made his return from that nasty leg gash that his kept him out for the good part of this month. Man U fielded an unrecognisable back four (bar Buttner), and played Hernandez, Welbeck, Anderson, Cleverley and Fletcher for a full 90 minutes. Don’t expect them to back it up with full games this weekend! Van Persie and Kagawa fill your boots, neither appeared mid-week.
Arsenal 6 – 1 Coventry
Martinez, Santos, Djourou, Angha, Miquel, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Coquelin, Arshavin, Yennaris, Giroud.
A few blokes in this lineup could be minotaurs and I’d have no idea, some of them are complete randoms. Slamming 6 is a good effort, albeit against Coventry. The pleasing thing from a Gunners perspective was that the 5 scorers; Giroud, Walcott (2), Arshavin, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Coquelin are all in the first team fray and will be pushing for a start. Coquelin, Ox and Giroud were all subbed off, so you could expect them to have some involvement on the weekend.
Carlile 0 – 3 Tottenham
Cudicini, Vertonghen, Gallas, Dawson, Smith, Dempsey, Huddlestone, Sigurdsson, Falque, Townsend, Mason.
Vertonghen, Townsend and Sigurdsson all netted for the Spurs in what was a routine win again against a League One side. Interestingly Naughton was still unfit, and AVB will be preserving him for saturday so he can start him at LB- meaning he can free Bale up towards the final 3rd. If Naughton doesn’t come up in time, Vertonghen is a left-footed CB who can play as a full-back, and I’d expect him to start at LB above Bale. Sigurdsson played a full 90 minutes so if anyone still owns him, monitor him carefully, while Dempsey was substituted after 75 minutes. Defoe, Lennon and Sandro all didn’t feature, while Adebayor missed with his hamstring still giving him grief.
Norwich 1 – 0 Doncaster
Bunn, Ward, Tierney, R Bennett, Fox, E Bennett, Butterfield, Tettey, Holt, C Martin, Kane.
Tettey scored the lone goal for Norwich as they limped into the last 16 tie v Arsenal. Interestingly Holt played a full 90 minutes, following his bench appearance for the Canaries on the weekend… Holt cracked a poo-poo with the club and handed in a transfer request after Lambert moved to Villa, and with all these substitute appearances beckoning I reckon he won’t hang around long. Jackson was subbed on for Kane after 50 minutes, so I’d expect to see them both at some stage on the weekend. Butterfield made his first full debut for the club and played a whole 90. Hoolahan came on in the 71st minute, so he should be ripe for the weekend.
QPR 2 – 3 Reading
Another all Premier League clash resulted in Reading only deepening QPR’s miseries. After leading 1-0, then 2-1, the Hoops made a mess of things in the last ten minutes, allowing Shorey and Pog to net to add to Gorkss’s first half finish.
Cesar, Hill, Onuoha, Mbia, Park, Granero, Faurlin, Dyer, Hoilett, Mackie, Cisse.
In what I thought was surprising for QPR, Green was again left out for Cesar, despite it being a league cup clash…Things aren’t looking good for the former West Ham and England stopper. Hoilett and Cisse netted for the Rangers, with Faurlin, Dyer and Park being substituted off. This left Hoilett, Cisse and Granero on for the whole 90 minutes. Given how integral Granero is to their CM partnership it was strange to see him play a full game. Mbia made his first start since transferring, while Diakite returned from his self imposed leave of absence, to feature in the last five minutes.
McCarthy, Shorey, Cummings, Gorkss, Mariappa, Kebe, Karacan, Tabb, Robson-Kanu, Pog, Hunt.
A full 90 minutes was given to both Robson-Kanu and Pogrebnyak surprisingly, which casts immediate doubt over their spots on the weekend. Kebe made his first start for the year after recovering from a hamstring strain, while Pearce was given a rest at CB in favour of Gorkss. McCarthy kept his spot over Federici, which makes me wonder if he’s sleeping with McDermott’s daughter- the guy just can’t get a game.
West Brom 1 – 2 Liverpool
Foster, Olsson, Ridgewell, Jones, Tamas, Thorne, Dorrans, Mulumbu, Rosenberg, Lukaku, Fortune.
A semi strong squad for West Brom, who gave up an early lead, as Sahin announced himself as a Red’s player by scoring in either half. Mulumbu and Dorrans played full 90’s, as did Olsson. The former pair may have more trouble backing it up for the weekend, so monitor them both. Long and El Ghannasay came on for Lukaku and Fortune, meaning all should be fresh for the upcoming fixtures.
Jones, Coates, Carragher, Wisdom, Robinson, Sahin, Henderson, Downing, Assaidi, Pacheco, Yusil.
Given Agger‘s lengthy lay off , it was strange to see his two possible replacements, Carragher and Coates, play 90 minutes each. Sahin, Downing and Henderson all played full games, but with Shelvey‘s ban from his two footed lunge v United, I expect Sahin to feature this weekend regardless. Suso was subbed on for the last ten minutes, while Sterling and Suarez were given a break.
Faurlin (QPR) Knock – Should be fine for Saturday.
Kane (Nor) – Ankle – Stretchered off, scans are due later in the week. Won’t play v Liverpool.
Ridgewell (WBA) – Calf – Looks a doubt for the game v Aston Villa.
Well that just about does it from the games. Scour through the lineups and forecast as you please! There should be some interesting lineups this GameWeek, and I might have my work cut out for me on Saturday. Stay tuned to @FPLaddicts as everyone returns from Exams and FIFA Hibernation. Any questions I’m more than happy to answer @tseagrim