Hello and welcome to another edition of the News Wrap. Last week was much better after the carnage we all shared in gameweek 16, let’s hope that continues again this weekend. There are some big games this weekend, let’s take a look at who is unavailable and who is making a return!
- Edin Dzeko would have been on a high ahead of Manchester City’s game against Leicester City last weekend as the Bosnian was set to return from injury and set to return to the City starting XI. That high was cut short however as the striker re-injured himself in the warm up and is now set for a further stint on the sidelines. Pellegrini said that Dzeko would be out for “more than a couple of weeks” meaning he will miss the busy festive schedule. A return at the start of January is looking likely. Skipper Vincent Kompany will join Dzeko on the sidelines after the centre half re-strained his hamstring against Leicester. Pellegrini said it was “impossible” for either of Kompany or Dzeko to return this calendar year. Both set to return early January 2015. Stevan Jovetic is also set to be sidelined for “a few weeks” according to Pellegrini which only adds to City’s growing injury list. With Aguero, Dzeko and Jovetic all injured City are seriously struggling for options going forward. It has been suggested James Milner might be used in a more advanced position during this time so he might be worth a look at only 5.4m. Definitely a POD with only 1.9% ownership.
- Manchester United have received a massive boost ahead of their trip to Aston Villa, with news that Angel Di Maria has returned to full training during the week. The Argentina Player Of The Year has missed United’s last three games but is finally set to return against Villa this weekend. Van Gaal has indicated his return will likely be from the bench but with Juan Mata in good form and Radamel Falcao returning to full fitness it will be interesting to see how Van Gaal selects his team over the coming weeks. A few selection issues going forward for United – if only they had an abundance of options defensively!!! Fellaini has been ruled out for United through illness. Should be available next weekend.
- Southampton have suffered somewhat of an injury crisis ahead of their game against Everton this weekend with Dusan Tadic ruled out and Davis and Pelle major doubts. Koeman eluded to the fact that the hectic Christmas Period has a lot to do with the selection against Everton this weekend. Hopefully the trio will be available against Crystal Palace next week should they miss out against Everton.
- Theo Walcott has been struggling with a groin injury in recent weeks, however the England International is finally set to return to the Arsenal line-up against Liverpool this weekend. He has only featured 23 minutes this season so there would be absolutely no chance of a return straight into the starting XI. Expect him to feature off the bench over the coming weeks. Wenger has said he has a “slight chance” against Liverpool this weekend. If not this weekend then hopefully the next. Will face a late fitness test along with Monreal and Oxlade-Chamberlain as to whether they face Liverpool this weekend.
- Thibaut Courtois is “hopeful” of a return against Stoke City on Monday night after the Belgian was a late absentee against Hull City last weekend. The keeper did not feature in Chelsea’s Capital One Cup victory of Derby during the week however he is expecting to be available for the trip to the Britannia. Should be available. Kurt Zouma was stretchered off midway through the Derby game after a head clash, however it was only precautionary and the young centre half will be available for the trip to Stoke, should Mourinho see fit to start the Frenchman.
- Kevin Mirallas was stretchered off in the dying stages of the game against QPR on Monday night in what looked like a serious ankle injury. The winger was sent for scans during the week and thankfully he has been cleared of any serious damage and is set to miss just one game – this weekend’s game against Southampton. Mirallas said when asked about the challenge, “I felt incredible pain in my ankle. I feared it was broke. I’ve been reassured and should be able to play on Saturday.” He has since been ruled out but it is somewhat good news for Everton that it is not overly serious as Mirallas has been in good form in recent weeks. Should return against Stoke next week.
- Glen Johnson is set to face a month on the sidelines after the fullback limped off against Manchester United early in the first half last weekend with a groin issue. Scans have revealed he has suffered a torn groin which is set to sideline him for at least a month. Will miss Liverpool’s entire festive schedule and the start of January.
- After a lot of FPL managers experienced a barrage of suspended players thanks to the carnage of gameweek 16, they will be in better spirits this gameweek as all of those key players have served their respective suspensions. All of Fabregas, Chambers, Fabianski, S.Taylor, Sissoko and Austin return for their teams this weekend after missing last weekends fixtures.
- As always with good news it is seemingly quickly followed by some bad news. With the goods news that Fabregas, Chambers, Fabianski, S.Taylor, Sissoko and Austin will all be returning, some bad news quickly followed in that Hutton, Cleverley, Richardson, Balotelli, Schneiderlin, Wanyama and Gardos will all be unavailable this weekend as they face respective suspensions. All these players have their suspensions inflicted due to an accumulation of yellow cards or a red card offence except for good old Mario Balotelli, who misses Liverpool’s game against Arsenal after receiving a ban and a fine for an ‘offensive Instagram post’…… Will return against Burnley next weekend….