Hello and welcome to another edition of the News Wrap! It’s another short turnaround as we have yet ANOTHER gameweek just two days after the last one! I LOVE IT. The wrath of rotation reared it’s ugly head slightly last round but I have a feeling it might be a little worse this gameweek. Let’s take a look
- Danny Welbeck is under doubt for the game against Southampton on New Years Day after the striker has been battling thigh problems after Sunday’s 2-1 win against West Ham. Whether or not he plays against Southampton will be determined by a last minute fitness test before the game. Wenger said during the week, “We have one alert after the game at West Ham and thats Welbeck. He could be short for Southampton on Thursday. He has a thigh problem.” Looking like missing out at this stage. However there was some good news for Arsenal coming out of Wenger’s press conference, with news emerging that Walcott is now “ready to play” according to Wenger. Just a matter of building up his playing time at this stage I would suggest. Definitely one to watch.
- Nathaniel Clyne did not feature against Chelsea on Sunday after the fullback suffered a leg laceration during training. Koeman said after the Chelsea game that he “got a kick on his ankle. He’s out for around 10 days. I don’t think he’ll be available for Arsenal game”. Looks like he is set to miss once again with Yoshida likely to continue at Right Back – providing he is not off for the Asian Cup preparations of course.
- Stevan Jovetic came off the bench in Manchester City’s 2-2 draw with Burnley on Sunday and played a solid 30 minutes in his bid to return to full fitness. With City seriously struggling for out and out strikers, and having just stumbled against lowly placed Burnley, it would not surprise me if Jovetic returns to the starting XI against Sunderland at the Etihad.
- Yaya Toure was one of the biggest stars who had succumb to the hectic festive period with the Ivorian not featuring at all against Burnley on Sunday. Pellegrini said after the game that Toure “had a muscle injury” (in his groin) but thankfully for Manchester City Pellegrini eluded to the fact that he was a chance to front up against Sunderland on New Years Day. His absence against Burnley seems to have been more precaution than anything else after the Ivorian tweeted out during the week confirming he was rested. I would expect that he will be fit and firing to face Sunderland on New Years Day before heading off to the African Cup of Nations as of January 5th as Pellegrini said during the week, so this will be his last gameweek for a few weeks. A downgrade to the in-form Silva seems the go.
- It has gone from bad to worse for Everton during the week with first-choice goalkeeper Tim Howard ruled out for 5-6 weeks with a calf strain. The American sustained the injury against Stoke and consequently missed out in their loss to Newcastle on Sunday. He was sent for scans during the week which unfortunately revealed shocking news for both Howard and Everton, that he would indeed be sidelined for 5-6 weeks. Martinez said during the week, “Tim will be out for between 5/6 wks. Its an injury to his calf. As a Goal Keeper its unusual to get an injury kicking.” Back-up keeper Joel Robles to start between the sticks while Howard is out.
- Stoke’s summer signing Bojan indicated after the game against West Brom that he will have a scan before the Manchester United game on New Years Day after the Spaniard was withdrawn after 77 minutes in gameweek 19 due to injury. He has been ruled out for the game against Manchester United and is currently awaiting the results of the scans to give a better indication of his return. More information regarding his injury will filter throughout the rest of the week.
- Vincent Kompany was a chance to return for Manchester City against Sunderland on New Years Day after the City skipper returned to training during the week. He has been absent from the starting XI since their 1-0 victory over Leicester in gameweek 16 after battling with an ongoing injury. Pellegrini however has ruled him out of the Sunderland game, saying “Kompany and Dzeko injured… Vincent will not be fit this week”. With Demichelis and Mangala both fit and available he has obviously opted not to risk his skipper, especially considering the hectic festive period. Is hopeful of a return against Everton in gameweek 21.
- Oscar was absent from the Chelsea squad against Southampton on Sunday for the second time in 3 games. Heading into the gameweek 19 set of fixtures there was no news of injury to the Brazilian so everything became clear when Mourinho confirmed after the game that he missed out due to illness. He should be available for Chelsea’s trip to White Heart Lane on New Years Day should Mourinho feel fit to start the attacking midfielder. Cesar Azpilicueta was another very relevant FPL player that missed out due to rotation with the fullback being rested for Chelsea’s summer signing Felipe Luis. Thankfully his absence was only due to fixture congestion and not through injury, so the Spaniard will be fit and firing for selection against Tottenham on Wednesday, once again should Mourinho see fit to start the Spaniard.
- Carl Jenkinson will be available for selection for Sam Allardyce against West Brom on New Years Day after the fullback was forced to miss the gameweek 19 clash against Arsenal due to the conditions of his loan spell. Should slot straight back into the starting XI.
- Ryan Bertrand, similar to Carl Jenkinson, will also be available for his manager this gameweek after the fullback was forced to also miss the most recent set of fixtures due to the conditions of his loan spell between Chelsea and Southampton. With Matt Targett only 19 years of age and very inexperienced I’d expect Bertrand to slot straight back into the starting XI against Arsenal on New Years Day.
- James Chester, Nathan Vardy, Steven Naismith and Gabby Agbonlahor will all be available for their respective managers on New Years Day after the four were absent last gameweek due to accumulating 5 yellow cards and therefore earning themselves a game off. James Tomkins, Martin Skrtel and Fernando are the latest stars to have earned a holiday after picking up 5 yellow cards themselves. Both available for their teams gameweek 21 fixtures against Swansea and Everton respectively.
- Paul Konchesky, Stephen Quinn, Morgan Schneiderlin and Fabian Delph all got sent off on Sunday and will all miss their teams New Years Day clash. All will return in gameweek 21, aside from Fabian Delph, who will be available in gameweek 22.
- Pappis Cisse will be unavailable for Newcastle’s next three matches after the FA decided that the incident in the penalty box with Everton’s Seamus Coleman on Sunday was necessary of disciplinary action. The striker will now miss games against Burnley, Chelsea and Southampton, before returning in gameweek 23 against Hull. Jonjo Shelvey was another player that had an incident from last gameweeks fixtures looked at by the FA and as a result he has been suspended for 4 games for deliberately raising an arm into the face of Liverpool midfielder Emre Can. The Swansea midfielder accepted his punishment handed down by the FA and consequently will miss Swansea’s next 4 games against, 3 of which in the league against QPR, West Ham and Chelsea. Silly silly Jonjo,
- Gary Monk has confirmed that both Wilfried Bony and Ki Sung-Yueng will depart for the Africa Cup of Nations and Asian Cup respectively as of the end of gameweek 20. This therefore means that these players will be unavailable for selection for Swansea, instead plying their trade for their national team. Definitely time to trade these players after the game against QPR on New Years Day.
- This gameweek is seemingly the last gameweek for those who have nations playing in the African Cup of Nations and Asian Cup respectively. This therefore means those players selected to represent their country will be unavailable over the coming weeks in the Premier League. Make particular note of your transfers during this time and be careful note to bring anyone in who will be unavailable, like popular options in Diafra Sakho from West Ham or Yaya Toure from Manchester City for example.
Well thats another wrap of the latest injury and team news ahead of the New Years Day fixtures. Good luck this gameweek and I hope you have a safe and happy New Year. May 2015 be as good as 2014 both in your life and on this site! Feel free to post any last-minute selection queries in the comments below. Cheers!