Well isn’t it good to have the International Break over and done with. It’s come at the worst possible time really and as a result there is carnage heading into Gameweek 12! With some big injuries to some key players our bench players look important as ever this week. Let’s check out who’s under an injury cloud this weekend!
- Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has had an injury-interrupted start to the season but finally returned to training over the International Break. In a bid to ramp up his preparation for the game against Crystal Palace, Sturridge re-injured his troublesome thigh and as a result is expected to face another stint on the sidelines. Initial reports suggest he has suffered a grade two thigh strain, which will see him miss around 6 weeks. Not good news for Liverpool.
- Premium defender of the year so far, Leighton Baines, frustratingly injured his hamstring while on International Duty for England and as a result was forced to return to Merseyside for treatment. Initial reports suggest it’s a grade one hamstring tear which typically would sideline the player for 10-14 days. Martinez said on Friday, “we’re checking Leighton on a daily basis. We’re not sure if he will be fit for West Ham.” It’s looking unlikely he’ll get up but will face a last minute fitness test. Start him on the field and just make sure you’ve got adequate bench cover in case he doesn’t get up. Definitely don’t trade, will return next weekend against Spurs.
- Also while on International Duty for England, West Ham winger Stuart Downing received a knock during training and consequently did not feature at all for England over the break. The knock he received was not supposed to see him in doubt for The Hammers’ game against Everton but his condition worsened and now is considered a big doubt for the trip to Goodison. It’s nothing serious so if he does miss out expect him to return to face Newcastle at home the following weekend.
- David De Gea pulled out of the Spain squad due to a dislocation of his finger while on International Duty. Thankfully for the Red Devils their superstar goalkeeper will recover in time and is expected to face Arsenal at the Emirates on Saturday. In better news for Manchester United Angel Di Maria who suffered a knock against Portugal while on International Duty, has been declared fit to face Arsenal on Saturday despite initial thoughts suggesting he was in doubt. Good news for United ahead of a big game. As always with good news though it is seemingly followed by some bad news. This has been the case for United as holding midfielder Daley Blind is expected to face an extended stint on the sidelines after injuring his medial ligament while playing for the Netherlands. There were suggestions the midfielder was going to be sidelined for 6 months but Van Gaal has dismissed those rumours and said, “Blind has a brace on his knee. After 10 days rest he’ll have another scan that will say more about the injury. It’s not as bad as the doctors first thought after the match. It shall be a long story but not 6 months or something.” After this scan we will get a better indication about the exact extent of his injury.
- Newcastle United’s good run of form recently may be under threat as they face a defensive crisis ahead of their game against QPR this weekend. Skipper Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor have both been ruled out for this weekend. Pardew said that Coloccini “will miss the next three games” meaning a return against Chelsea in gameweek 15 is looking likely. Taylor looks like he might only miss the game against QPR and return for the trip to West Ham next weekend.
- West Ham and Senegal striker Diafra Sakho is another key Fantasy Premier League player who succumbed to injury whilst away on International Break. The striker was suffering with back pain and tweeted on Thursday saying “Dear fans, unfortunately my back pain makes me unfit for the game. I’m as devastated as you are, but I’ll be back. Thanks for your support.” From this I gathered that he was not going to be fit to face Everton but on Friday Allarydyce said, “we don’t know if he will be ok, we can wait until Saturday morning if need be.” This has me questioning whether he will play but it looks like it will depend on a fitness test before the game. Another touch and go one but I’m thinking he’ll likely miss. Should only miss the game against Villa and return against Newcastle next weekend.
- Chelsea received a massive help from Spain’s international coach when Del Bosque did not select both Cesc Fabregas or Diego Costa for their International Friendlies. This could not have come at a better time for the Spanish duo, Costa particularly, and would have given them time to freshen up not having to play two games of football. Fabregas was suffering with a hamstring complaint after the win against Liverpool and desperately needed that time to recover. The time he had off should have given him enough time to get over his issue and should be right to face West Brom this weekend.
- Radamel Falcao has been ruled out of the game against Arsenal as the Colombian striker continues to struggle with injury. The striker said, “I am getting better, I feel well and hope to come back soon. It is disappointing that I cant play, I have to be calm. I’ve been training cautiously and making daily improvements. I am getting better, I feel well, I hope to come back soon.” Will definitely miss the game against Arsenal but is returning to first team training on Sunday. Looking likely to return back in the first week of December. Jones and Rafael both need “two full weeks of training” before they can return according to Van Gaal meaning they too will miss the game against Arsenal. Expect them to return against Stoke or Southampton in gameweek 14 or 15.
- Manchester City skipper Vincent Kompany missed his teams 2-2 stalemate against QPR before the International Break and as a result was rested as a precaution for Belgium’s friendlies. The centre half has returned to training and is looking likely to return against Swansea this weekend. Silva, Kolarov and Dzeko have all been ruled out however for the champions.
- Arsenal striker Oliver Giroud has returned to training over the International Break after missing the last 9 league games through an ankle injury. The Frenchman has finally completed his rehab and in some good news ahead of their crucial clash against Manchester United, will be available for selection. Welbeck will face a late fitness test after copping a knock during the International Break. Wenger said, “his fitness will depend on the medical assessment this morning.” Likely to face a fitness test before the game and with the availability of Giroud he may well be benched if not 100%. I’m tipping him to be fine.
- Kyle Naughton will miss games against Hull and Everton over the next two weeks after receiving his second red card for the season in Spurs’ 2-1 loss to Stoke before the International Break. His ban will end in gameweek 14 ahead of their trip to Chelsea.
- Swansea have a fully fit squad to pick from ahead of their trip to Manchester City this weekend and will be boosted by the return of Jonjo Shelvey. Shelvey was sent off against Everton and missed their win against Arsenal, but having served his suspension is now ready to return.
- Chris Smalling will be available for selection against Arsenal this weekend after serving his suspension against Crystal Palace before the International Break. The centre half was sent off against Manchester City in the Derby in what was really a brainless challenge for his second bookable offense. Should slot straight into the starting XI given United’s injury-ravaged defence.
Well that wraps up a massive edition of the News Wrap! My team has been hit pretty hard from the International Break and having made my trades straight after gameweek 11 it looks like I’ll be carrying a few injured players! Feel free to leave any last minute selection queries in the comments below. Good luck and I’ll be back next Saturday! Cheers.