Hello and welcome to another edition of the News Wrap. It’s an extremely short turnaround between gameweeks with gameweek 18 only 2 days ago! This is the best time of the year for football viewing which goes hand in hand with fantasy football playing! Managers like to throw selection curve balls during this time however so being aware who is available and who is unavailable is crucial. Let’s take a look!
- Angel Di Maria missed out against Newcastle on Boxing Day after the Argentine re-injured his pelvis he has had trouble with in recent weeks. He has not started a game since the start of December against Stoke and was only starting to make his return to fitness through appearances off the bench. After the win against Newcastle Van Gaal indicated that Di Maria had re-injured his pelvis during training on Christmas Eve and consequently is set to face another stint on the sidelines. His exact return is unknown at this stage but over the coming days we will grasp some sort of indication as to how long he is expected to be out for this time. Van Gaal also added that Fellaini and Januzaj will miss the trip to Tottenham through illness.
- Everton keeper Tim Howard has apparently ‘pulled his calf’ according to Roberto Martinez and is a serious doubt for the trip to Newcastle on Sunday. He will face a late fitness test but at this stage is looking likely to miss, with Joel Robles the obvious replacement. Will be targeting a return against Hull on New Year’s Day if he does happen to miss out.
- After replacing Simon Mignolet in the Liverpool Starting XI, Australian keeper Brad Jones was forced off early against Burnley on Boxing Day after injuring his thigh. Mignolet was consequently restored in goals and managed to keep a clean sheet, albeit an unconvincing one. Rogers said after the game, “It was his thigh muscle. We’ll have to look at it to see. We’ve got Danny Ward, he would come onto the bench”. A time frame for Jones is unknown at this stage so Mignolet is seemingly set to recapture his starting spot with youngster Ward set to warm the pine.
- Manchester City have been light on for strikers in recent weeks but their luck is set to change on Sunday with the potential return of Stevan Jovetic. The striker has been battling a muscle injury in recent weeks and has not featured in a Premier League game since the start of December. He made the bench against West Brom but did not feature because of the appalling conditions of the pitch, with Pellegrini saying “He was available to play today without any problem but it wasn’t important for him to play and the pitch was difficult for a muscle injury.” Is available to start it just depends on whether or not Pellegrini selects him for the starting XI.
- Oliver Giroud will be on the ‘hate list’ of many FPL managers after the France and Arsenal striker was sent off against QPR on Boxing Day for a rather stupid and unnecessary incident with Nedum Onuoha. The striker was shown a straight red for head-butting the centre half and as a result is now facing a 3 match suspension, meaning he will miss crucial games against West Ham, Southampton and Stoke. He will be available for Arsenal’s gameweek 22 trip to Manchester City, but from Wenger’s unhappy reaction after the QPR game he may not be restored straight into the starting XI… Interesting to see
- After serving their respective suspensions for the accumulation of 5 yellow cards, Cheick Tiote, Jake Livermore and Connor Wickham will all be available for their respective teams for this weekends games. James Chester, Jamie Vardy, Gabby Agbonlahor and Steven Naismith are the latest casualties to the 5-yellow-card rule and will all be unavailable this weekend. All set to return for New Year’s Day however.
After scoring against Crystal Palace on Boxing Day, Ryan Bertrand will be unavailable for Ronald Koeman against Chelsea this weekend due to the loan negotiations between the two clubs when Southampton signed the fullback. He will however be available for their New Year’s Day game against Arsenal.
- Carl Jenkinson will be unavailable for West Ham this weekend as the Hammers face Arsenal, Jenkinson’s parent club. Due to the conditions of his loan deal, much like Bertrand, he will be unavailable this weekend. Will be available next weekend against Southampton.
Well thats a wrap of the latest injuries and team news ahead of a big gameweek 19! It’s a relatively short version with a quick turnaround, but good luck and feel free to post any last-minute selection queries in the comments below. Cheers!