Hello and welcome to another edition of the News Wrap. The Premier League to a break over the weekend to allow for some FA Cup action and the Champions League & Europa League returned during midweek, meaning a lot of our players have featured some heavy minutes since gameweek 25. With a big gameweek 26 on the horizon, let’s see who’s set to return and who’s facing a stint on the sidelines!
- Alexis Sanchez made his return against Leicester in gameweek 25 after being sidelined for two games with a hamstring complaint. The winger struggled to make much of an impact during the game and seemed to be plagued by his previous injury, only lasting 67 minutes before being substituted. After the game it was alleged he had suffered another injury setback and that he was facing an extended stint on the sidelines, however this was rubbished and he featured in their 2-0 FA Cup win against Middlesborough during the week. Is fit and firing to face Crystal Palace this weekend.
- Raheem Sterling was an unexpected absentee from Liverpool’s squad against Tottenham last week after the youngster was ruled out with a calf problem. Since then however he has returned to training and featured off the bench in their Europa League clash with Turkish outfit Besiktas. He is now fully recovered and is in line to return to the starting XI against Southampton this weekend.
- QPR will be without midfield powerhouse Leroy Fer for around 8-10 weeks after he damaged his MCL against Sunderland in gameweek 25. He has been a very important player for the R’s this campaign and will be sorely missed in his absence. In some good news for QPR however, Charlie Austin is set to return to the starting XI against Hull this weekend after missing the one game against Sunderland last week with a foot problem.
- Stevan Gerrard is set to be sidelined for around 2-3 weeks with a hamstring complaint after injuring himself in their win against Tottenham last week. He’ll be keen to return for the game against Manchester City in gameweek 27, but if he doesn’t get up in time then a return in gameweek 28 against Burnley seems the go.
- Jermain Defoe is a big doubt for this weekends game against West Brom after picking up a calf injury during the week. He did not feature against Bradford City in the FA Cup on the weekend and gaffer Poyet said he “doesn’t know” when he is likely to return. At this stage it’s looking likely he will miss the West Brom game.
- West Ham have suffered a huge blow to their European hopes after scans during the week revealed that star striker Andy Carroll is set to miss the remainder of the season after undergoing knee surgery. You’ve got to feel bad for Big Andy and West Ham as he really cannot catch a break with these injuries. Has huge potential but cant seem to stay on the park long enough to prove it. Shattering news for the Hammers.
- Mile Jedinak has missed the last 5 league games for Crystal Palace due to his involvement in the Asian Cup with Australia, and he was looking set to miss more after returning to London with a knee injury he picked up while on International Duty. Reports suggested he was a big doubt for the game against Arsenal this weekend however he has come out and said during the week, “we’ll have to wait, but at this stage it is going really well.” Will face a late fitness test before the game that will determine whether or not he returns.
- Diego Costa made his return to the Chelsea starting XI for the first time in 3 games during the week against PSG after the striker was suspended for his actions against Liverpool in the League Cup. He struggled to make a big impact against the likes of Marquinhos and Thiago Silva but this could be expected due to the minimal game time he has played against quality opposition while he has been serving his suspension. He is of course now available to face Burnley at the Stamford Bridge this weekend where he will be looking to mark his return to the Premier League with a bang. Good to have you back Diego.
- Liverpool fans will be loving life at the minute as Daniel Sturridge made his full return to the starting XI in last weeks 3-2 win against Spurs. The striker looked lively, gaining two assists for a total of 8 points. With him now fully fit and back starting games for Liverpool he simply must come into consideration – especially if you’re after a Diego Costa alternative. Upcoming games against Southampton, Manchester City, Burnley, Swansea and Manchester United will prove difficult however, but if Liverpool want to get their season back on track they will need to win these games, meaning Sturridge will surely be involved.
- Both Yaya Toure and Wilfried Bony will be available for selection against Newcastle this weekend after the pair have missed the past 5 gameweeks due to International Duty with Ivory Coast. Manchester City have really struggled without Toure during this time so they will definitely welcome his class back into their starting XI. It will be interesting to see how Bony’s career at the Etihad turns out, especially with the likes of Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic very much behind Lord Aguero in the pecking order. Keep an eye out on how Pellegrini looks to use the Ivorian.
- Gylfi Sigurdsson is available for selection against Manchester United this weekend after missing the last 3 games due to a red card picked up in the FA Cup several weeks ago. Swansea have missed his creativity over this period so one would suggest he will slot straight into the starting XI when Swansea host the Red Devils at the Liberty this weekend.
- Leighton Baines is expected to return for Everton this weekend after missing last weeks clash with Chelsea due to a knee complaint. The fullback was rested for their midweek Europa League adventure to Switzerland, with the hope that it will give him a few extra days to get his knee 100% for the Leicester game this weekend. Not featuring against BSC Young Boys would have done him the world of good, I’d suggest he’ll return back to the starting XI this weekend, especially after Martinez said, “Leighton has made huge progress and I would be very surprised if he is not fully fit for Sunday.”
- Luke Shaw will be available for selection against Swansea this weekend after serving his one match suspension last week against Burnley. The fullback was sent off in gameweek 24 against West Ham and having served his suspension is free to take on Swansea this weekend. Van Gaal has confirmed that both Robin Van Persie and Phil Jones will return to the squad for the trip to Swansea after both missing the FA Cup clash against Preston last Monday.
- Gareth Barry will be unavailable for the game against Leicester this weekend after he was sent off in the dying embers against Chelsea last week. He now faces a one match ban and will return in gameweek 27 against Arsenal.
Well that wraps up another edition of the News Wrap. Feel free to post any last-minute selection queries in the comments below and I’ll be back next weekend for another edition – Cheers!