*Oh what a sight*
Hello and welcome back to another edition of the News Wrap. We’re back after a little break and boy is there some good news. Yes you saw correctly, our lord, our saviour is back… Back in training this is! This little 9 day break has come at the right time as it has given the opportunity for the injured superstars of the competition a chance to return to training. There was however FA Cup action during the break, lets see who is available for a big gameweek 21!
- After missing the past 5 games after suffering a knee injury against Everton, Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has finally returned to first team training. The Argentine was in sizzling form before his injury, reflected through the fact he is still the highest scoring forward, even despite the fact he has missed the past 5 games. Aguero returned to training during the Premier League break and has been included in the squad to face Everton this weekend. Seeing as it’s been such a long lay off and he’s such a crucial player I can almost guarantee he will not be risked by being started straight away. He will look to be eased into the coming fixtures but gee it’s going to be great to have perma-captain Sergio back – let’s just hope he can stay injury free! I’ll be giving him a few games to get back into the swing of things before I bring him in but with the January Wildcard now available it’s time to plan getting the godsend in! Edin Dzeko and Vincent Kompany have also returned to training during the week and the pair have also been included into the squad to face Everton this weekend. With a plethora of world class players fully fit in their positions it would not surprise me if they are eased back into things. A spot on the pine likely.
- After only playing 30 minutes in the last 7 games, due to an injury and then reoccurrence of that injury, Angel Di Maria returned for Manchester United in there FA Cup clash with Yeovil Town last weekend. The Argentine marked his return with a spectacularly taken goal to seal the victory for the Red Devils to stamp his intent for the coming weeks. Di Maria will be available for the game against Southampton this weekend, it is just a matter of whether or not Van Gaal sees fit to start him. Could well be worked back into things.
- Mesut Ozil is another superstar that has returned to training during the week, with the German midfielder now in contention for the game against Stoke this weekend. Ozil has been absent from the Arsenal XI since their game against Chelsea back in October, meaning he has missed the last 13 gameweeks. After training with the first team strongly during the week he is available for selection against Stoke this weekend but due to his large injury lay-off it would be surprising if he returns straight to the starting XI. I imagine he will be eased into things over the coming games as he begins a bid to return to 100% fitness and conditioning. A spot on the bench likely. Theo Walcott returned to the Arsenal First XI against Hull City in the FA Cup and put in a strong performance, playing 76 minutes before being replaced. The midfielder has not started at all in the league this season but after recovering form a groin problem is now available to amend that statistic. At 8.9m and 0.2% ownership he is definitely one to consider. With the January Wildcard available definitely consider after he returns to the starting XI in the league. Danny Welbeck is again expected to miss out as he continues to battle with a thigh injury.
- Liverpool summer signing Adam Lallana was withdrawn early against Leicester on New Years Day after the midfielder sustained a thigh injury. Previous to the Leicester game Lallana had recorded scores of 5, 3 and 15, indicating he was in good form and a reasonable pick at 8.3m. Unfortunately it has emerged during the week that he is likely to miss around a month of football with that thigh strain. Rogers said when asked on the injury, “more or less a month, it might be shorter. It’s a slight strain that he has, hopefully it won’t be as long as that”. Not good news for Liverpool and Lallana.
- In shocking news for Newcastle United, injury prone defender Steven Taylor will miss the remainder of the season after rupturing his Achilles Tendon against Burnley on New Years Day. At 3.9m he was a very handy option for our FPL benches but unfortunately due to his injury he will need to be replaced. Sad news considering his run with injury.
- Diafra Sakho was all set to leave the country and take part in the Africa Cup of Nations but unfortunately has suffered a reoccurrence of his troublesome back injury. The West Ham striker has been battling a niggling back injury all season and something that has hampered his game time. The initial assessment will see him miss around a month, meaning he will take no part in the Africa Cup of Nations as originally planned. This injury is not as relevant because he would be unavailable for Premier League selection had he been fully fit anyway as he would be taking part in the Africa Cup of Nations. Expect a return in February.
- Manchester United fullback Rafael suffered a fractured cheekbone against Yeovil Town in the FA Cup and as a result had surgery during the week. The Brazilian posted a photo on Instagram of him giving the camera a thumbs up after a successful bout of surgery, and also indicated that he has organised the fitting of a face mask so he will be still able to play despite the injury. It is unknown whether he will play against Southampton, with it being more likely he will not be risked, but once the face mask has been fitted and is feeling comfortable he should be available for selection.
- Southampton midfielder Saido Mane was another player set to depart for the Africa Cup of Nations but has had to temporarily postpone those plans due to injuring himself during the New Years Day fixtures. The Senegalese midfielder strained his calf against Arsenal but thankfully initial reports suggest he will only be sidelined for around 2 weeks. Will still be available for the Africa Cup of Nations.
- Hull City have experienced somewhat of an injury crisis after the New Years Day fixtures with trio Liam Rosenior, Gaston Ramirez and Andrew Robertson all set for extended stints on the sidelines. Rosenior has suffered a rapture to his hamstring with the gaffer ruling him out of action for around 12-14 weeks. Robertson and Ramirez are expected to return earlier than Rosenior however, with the pair expected to be out for around a month. News also emerged during the week that defensive midfielder Mo Diame could miss the remainder of the season due to his knee injury sustained in December, with Bruce saying, “Mo is in a knee brace and he’s a long way off from making a full recovery”. Not good for the already struggling Hull City.
- Tim Krul has missed the last 8 games since injuring himself during training in November but the Newcastle Keeper has finally returned to training during the week. The Dutchman has fully recovered from his ankle injury sustained in November and is now in contention to return against Chelsea this weekend. All reports suggesting he will be welcomed back into the starting XI straight away – especially considering the injury crisis to goalkeepers experienced by the Toon of late!
- Nathaniel Clyne missed out against Arsenal on New Years Day after suffering a leg laceration during training. The fullback has returned to training during the week and has seemingly recovered from the injury, making him available for selection against Manchester United this weekend. Expected to return.
- Aston Villa centre half Ron Vlaar sustained a knee injury against Crystal Palace on New Years Day and unfortunately scans revealed during the week that he will be sidelined for around 6 weeks. Ciaran Clark and Jores Okore likely to remain as centre half partners until at least Mid-February.
- James Tomkins, Martin Skrtel and Fernando are all available for selection for their respective managers this weekend after missing the New Years Day fixtures due to accumulating 5 yellow cards. With January arriving players will have their cards accumulated reset, meaning those on the brink of suspension will not be suspended should they reach the dreaded 5 card number.
- After being sent off against QPR, Oliver Giroud is available for the game against Stoke this weekend after serving his suspension. With Welbeck still under doubt he may slot straight into the starting XI, providing Wenger has forgiven him for his actions!
- Paul Konchesky, Stephen Quinn and Morgan Schneiderlin will also be available this weekend after serving their 1-match suspension on New Years Day for all being sent off in gameweek 19.
Well that wraps up another edition of the News Wrap. Good luck for this weekend and feel free to post any last minute selection queries in the comments below. Cheers!