Hello and welcome to another edition of the News Wrap. Well wasn’t that a better week last week hey? Well it certainly was for me, that’s for sure! My wildcard team produced the goods big time and I finally had a week looking at green rather then red arrows – always a welcomed sight in my opinion! It’s a big gameweek this weeks, let’s hope it can be another high-scoring one. Let’s check out who the latest casualties are and who expected to make a return!
- The biggest news to emerge this week is that Arsenal superstar, Alexis Sanchez has experienced continual trouble with the hamstring injury that forced him to miss last weeks demolition against Aston Villa. Sanchez was expected to recover in time for the North London Derby this weekend however news has emerged early that he will not feature against Arsenal’s biggest rivals, instead returning in midweek against Leicester. Sanchez should just miss this game against Tottenham and then return against Leicester at the Emirates on Tuesday, with Wenger saying, “Sanchez is not far away, the Leicester City game is a possibility. He is training but it’s light training”
- Andy Carroll is expected to be sidelined for around 10-14 days after the striker injured his ankle against his former team Liverpool last weekend. The big target man is expected to miss out against Manchester United this weekend, and more than likely the midweek fixture against Southampton, and will be assessed before next weekends game against Tottenham. If he does miss the Tottenham game a return against Crystal Palace in gameweek 27 seems the most likely scenario.
- Oliver Giroud was replaced against Aston Villa earlier than expected last weekend, but gaffer Wenger has confirmed during the week that is was nothing more than a precautionary substitution, with the striker getting a kick earlier on. Wenger said, “He got a kick during the game & I was a bit cautious with him.” Will be fine for the North London Derby this weekend.
- Raheem Sterling was subject to some close marking during Liverpool’s come from behind 2-1 win against Bolton during the week. Sterling was often caught late in challenges and as a result pulled up more sore than usual. Rogers however has dismissed claims it would keep him sidelined for the Merseyside Derby this weekend, saying he is ‘fine’ to feature against the Toffees.
- Cesc Fabregas did not feature against Manchester City last weekend after the creative midfielder suffered a hamstring injury in Chelsea’s win over Liverpool in the Capital One Cup Semi Final. The Spaniard has been targeting a return against Aston Villa this weekend and it is looking likely he will achieve this and indeed make his return this weekend. Jose Mourinho said in his pre match conference on the fitness of his squad, “Filipe Luis is injured, and the player you suspend is suspended. Everyone is fit other than that.” Felipe Luis is seemingly the only casualty for Chelsea ahead of their trip to Villa Park this weekend.
- Stoke City will be without their skipper Ryan Shawcross for at least a couple of weeks after the centre half injured his groin against QPR last weekend. He is expected to miss the Newcastle game this weekend after Hughes said, “Unfortunately Ryan will be missing for a couple of weeks”. Not likely to return for the midweek fixtures either.
- Ryan Bertrand will be unavailable against QPR this weekend after the fullback was sent off in the dying stages for a challenge on Swansea’s Modou Barrow last weekend. Consequently Bertrand will miss this weekends clash, and games against West Ham and Liverpool in gameweek 25 and 26 respectively. If after Southampton coverage, a straight swap to Nathaniel Clyne seems like the most appropriate move. Or a short term gamble on his replacement, Matt Targett, could prove its merit.
- Danny Welbeck is finally set to return from injury this weekend after missing the last 4 league games with a thigh injury. Welbeck is expected to be added to the squad for the North London Derby however a spot in the starting XI is fairly unlikely, especially with an in-form Giroud available. A spot on the bench is looking likely as he builds full match fitness.
- Southampton are expected to welcome back key midfield duo Victor Wanyama and Morgan Schneiderlin this weekend after the pair have both missed the last two league games. Both should slot straight back into the starting XI due to their importance to the team and solid recovery process.
- Manchester City are in a good position injury wise ahead of their clash against Hull City this weekend. Gaffer Pellegrini indicated during the week that he has a fully fit squad to pick from this weekend, saying “We have no injuries, we have a full squad for tomorrow. Mangala and Nasri are fine and will be in the squad.” Only their African Cup Of Nations players in Bony and Toure remain out as their national team, Ivory Coast, managed to make the final.
Well that wraps up another edition of the News Wrap. Good luck this weekend and feel free to post any last-minute selection queries in the comments below, cheers!