Midweek internationals are always a pain in my arse. Coupled with people playing 90 minutes, you also have the soft-cocks that pull out for any reason whatsoever. Are they really injured? Are they crying wolf? Well we can only speculate… but let’s hope they pull through for us! (RVP I’m looking at you.)
Arsenal v Tottenham
Mannone; Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen; Arteta, Wilshere, Cazorla; Walcott, Giroud, Podolski.
Szczesny is back in contention, but I expect he will be given one more week. Elsewhere Santos will remain on the bench, with Vermaelen moving to the left. Walcott is a doubt but should start.
Friedel; Walker, Gallas, Caulker, Vertonghen; Huddlestone, Sandro, Dempsey; Bale, Adebayor, Lennon.
Adebayor will probably be given the nod again over Defoe, but with AVB who really knows. You shouldn’t be relying on either anyway. Dembele is still out for a couple more games.
Liverpool v Wigan
Reina; Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique; Sahin, Allen, Gerrard; Sterling, Suarez, Suso.
Having tinkered with a 3-5-2 against Chelsea, I expect Rogers to revert back to his beloved 4-3-3 for this home clash. Enrique played very well last week and will probably start ahead of Wisdom. Suso.
Al Habsi; Ramis, Caldwell, Figueroa; Boyce, McCarthy, Watson, Beausejour; Kone, Di Santo, Maloney.
The regular for Wigan, minus McArthur who remains a doubt. Watson will slot in for him.
Manchester City v Aston Villa
Hart; Maicon, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy; Y Toure, Barry; Nasri, Silva, Aguero; Tevez.
Maicon and Zab will be vying for the RB slot, but after an impressive display last week I’m tipping the Brazilian to be given the nod. Elsewhere, Milner is fit but probably won’t start, while Silva will have his second game back after that extended spell out.
Guzan; Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Bennett; Westwood, Ireland, Bannan; Weimann, Benteke, Agbonlahor.
Newcastle v Swansea
Krul; Simpson, S Taylor, Williamson, Santon; Ben Arfa, Tiote, Anita, Ferguson; Cisse, Ba.
Coloccini is still missing through suspension, while Cabaye and Guitierrez have been ruled out. Williamson will slot into the CB role, while Ferguson should feature on the outside of Anita who will play in CM.
Tremmel; Rangel, Chico, Williams, Davies; Britton, Michu, De Guzman; Hernandez, Graham, Routledge.
A huge list of doubtfuls for Swansea. Ki has been ruled out, but Chico, Williams, Graham, Routledge and Hernandez are all in doubt with niggles… it will be interesting to see who plays, but Dyer could easily fill in on the RW should Hernandez not come up. I think Britton and De Guzman are required players in the absence of Ki, but Michu should drop back into the midfield to plug a hole if neither of them are fit.
QPR v Southampton
Cesar; Bosingwa, Nelsen, Ferdinand, Traore; Hoilett, Mackie, Granero, Faurlin; Taarabt, Cisse.
Zamora is still out so Taarabt will plug the gap behind Cisse. Fabio is fit this week and could feature instead of Traore, but it’s a coin toss.
Gazzaniga; Clyne, Fonte, Yoshida, Fox; Cork, Schneiderlin, Ramirez; Lallana, Lambert, Puncheon.
Gazzaniga has played in between the posts the last two games, so I’ll tip him to again start instead of Boruc.Puncheon will probably maintain his place above Rodriguez, while Lambert seems to play 1 of every 2 away games, so be wary he may not start.
Reading v Everton
Federici; Gunter, Gorkss, Morrison, Shorey; McCleary, Tabb, Leigertwood, McAnuff; Hunt, Roberts.
Gorkss and Morrison seem to be the new favourite CB pairing, after having trialled both Pearce and Mariappa there. Kebe is AGAIN injured, so McCleary will probably start on the right. Roberts has been favoured to the Pog in recent weeks. Karacan is still injured.
Howard; Coleman, Distin, Jagielka, Baines; Naismith, Osman, Neville, Pienaar; Fellaini; Jelavic.
Mirallas is the notable omission from the side that drew with Sunderland last week, with Naismith filling in for him. Nothing else should really change, unless Hibbert earns his RB spot back.
West Brom v Chelsea
Foster; Jones, Olsson, McAuley, Ridgewell; Odemwingie, Yacob, Mulumbu, Brunt; Morrison; Long.
Brunt returned for his first start of the season last week, and has pushed Dorrans to the bench. Morrison is rated a doubt but I think that was purely to avoid international duty. Lukaku is unavailable to play against his parent club.
Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Cole; Mikel, Ramires; Mata, Oscar, Hazard; Torres.
Luiz and Cole are both doubtful, meaning Azpilicueta could feature at RB and push Ivanovic to CB. Cole would obviously be replaced by Bertrand.
Norwich v Man United
Ruddy; Whittaker, Bassong, Turner, Garrido; Snodgrass, Tettey, Johnson, Pilkington; Hoolahan; Holt.
Martin is still unavailable so Whittaker will remain at RB. Tettey has recovered from his midweek “injury” just in time for the fixture. How convenient.
De Gea; Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra; Carrick, Valencia, Carrick, Scholes, Young; Chicharito/Hernandez, Van Persie.
Smalling is fit and could replace either Evans or Rio, but you’d have to be a brave man to pick it. Chicharito has been penned in as a starter for SAF midweek, who confirmed he would not be warming the bench following his second half display against Villa last week. RVP surely will play. Rooney could very well be rested… be warned.
Fulham v Sunderland
Schwarzer; Riether, Hangeland, Hughes, Riise; Dejagah, Sidwell, Karagounis, Kacaniklic; Ruiz, Berbatov.
Duff seemingly has been usurped by Dejagah on the right, while Diarra is out and so is Baird. That means Karagounis pretty much gets the CM slot by default this week- his first start for the cottagers. Richardson is injured, so Kacaninklic will feature on the left, unless Ruiz drops back and Rodallega starts up front… not likely though.
Mignolet; Bardsley, Cuellar, O’Shea, Rose; Johnson, Larsson, Cattermole, McClean; Sessegnon; Fletcher.
Bardsley will get his RB slot back after Gardner accumulated his fifth yellow card of the season. Elsewhere it’s much of the same.
West Ham v Stoke City
Jaaskelainen; Demel, Reid, Collins, McCartney; Diame, Noble, Nolan; Benayoun, Carroll, Jarvis.
Again, much of the same for West Ham following their win at St James Park last week. O’Brien will slog it out with G-Mac for the LB spot, while Demel is likely to get the RB spot back after recovering from injury.
Begovic; Cameron, Huth, Shawcross, Wilkinson; Whelan, Nzonzi, Adam, Kightly; Walters; Crouch.
Cameron and Wilkinson will continue at full-back, while Whelan and Walters are both doubtful. This could see Whitehead or Palacios being deployed in midfield, while Kightly may surrender his left flank role to Etherington for the second week running.If Walters doesn’t play… could we see Owen slot into the line-up? Probably not.
Well that’s it. Good luck for the Gameweek- and let’s hope we’re not screwed by selection. I’ve got a terrible feeling regarding RVP. Surely they can’t start without him though given he’s virtually the reason they’re at the top of the table. Or can they? … 😉