Hello and welcome to another edition of the News Wrap. Finally we’re back after a pointless set of International Fixtures! The season is really hotting up now and the trades you make could well make or break your season. It’s been a while since the last gameweek so that always leaves room for players getting injured, conversely it gives players time to recover from any little niggles they were battling. Let’s see who’s out of action and who’s returning this weekend!
- Southampton have somewhat of a goalkeeper crisis after their last league game with first choice keeper Fraser Forster injured ahead of this weekend’s clash against Everton. News emerged during last week that Forster had been ruled out for the remainder of the season, and possibly longer, after undergoing surgery on his knee, meaning Kelvin Davis now becomes extremely relevant at only 4.4m. With Forster out for an extended period of time and Southampton one of the best defenses in the league Davis could be a fantastic alternative to the likes of Pantilimon and Myhill.
- Romelu Lukaku did not feature for Belgium over the International Break due to a hamstring injury sustained in Everton’s last League game against QPR. The Belgian has overcome the complaint however and is set to be fit to face Southampton on Saturday.
- Daniel Sturridge is another big striker who was withdrawn from International Duty due to injury, this time due to a thigh injury he sustained against Manchester United last gameweek. The striker sat out of England’s games against Lithuania and Italy in the hope that the rest would see him available against Arsenal at the Emirates this weekend. It seems as though his withdrawal from the squad has paid dividends, with the striker set to be fit to face The Gunners this weekend.
- Diego Costa was withdrawn early against Hull in Chelsea’s last League game due to a hamstring injury, which consequently forced him to also withdraw from International Duty. His decision not to represent Spain has proved beneficial, with the striker overcoming his complaint and is now fit to face Stoke at Stamford Bridge this weekend.
- Christian Benteke was withdrawn early against Swansea in Aston Villa’s last League game due to a hip injury, however he played and scored for Belgium over the break, which indicates he has recovered from the troublesome problem. Benteke will now be fit for Villa’s DGW against Manchester United and QPR, proving he may well be a good option for those after a differential.
- Danny Welbeck ‘tweaked his knee’ while on International Duty for England which caused enough concern to leave him out of the team to face Italy during the week. The striker was rested through precaution however and is expected to be fit against Liverpool this weekend. Only minor.
- Raheem Sterling is another player to have returned back to their club with an injury complaint after being on International Duty, this time the young winger was complaining about a toe injury he sustained over the break. Sterling announced during the week that he would have an injection in the lead up to the Arsenal game which would see him available for selection, however it is clear he is not at 100% fitness. Due to the importance of this game I imagine Sterling will start the game but be aware he may not be fully fit.
- Tottenham will be without first choice keeper Hugo Lloris for this weekend’s game against Burnley after the Frenchman suffered a knee injury against Leicester only minutes into the game last weekend. Pochettino confirmed his absence during the week saying, “Lloris is still recovering form his problem – he is out.”
- Liverpool will be without Steven Gerrard for the next two matches against Arsenal and Newcastle after he was sent off against Manchester United last weekend, only seconds after entering the pitch in the second half. The ex-Liverpool skipper showed his frustration with a stamp on Ander Herrera which consequently saw him receive a straight red card. In more bad news for Liverpool, they will also be without key center half Martin Skrtel for three matches after the FA deemed his stamp on David De Gea worthy enough of a suspension. Skrtel will now miss upcoming games against Arsenal, Newcastle and Hull City before returning against West Brom in gameweek 34. Not good news at all for Liverpool
- Adam Lallana is hoping to be fit to face Arsenal this weekend after he was substituted at Half Time against Manchester United last weekend with a groin injury. The attacking midfielder has recovered well over the International Break and is looking likely to be fit in time to face the Gunners at the Emirates this weekend. Good news considering Stevie G’s absence.
- Reports have emerged during the week that Robin Van Persie could return from his ankle injury earlier than expected, so much so he could be set for a spot on the bench against Aston Villa this weekend. Initially he was targeting a return in the Manchester Derby next weekend but his recovery has gone well and he was considered a chance for a spot on the bench this weekend. Unfortunately Van Gaal has put an end to this speculation, declaring in his press conference yesterday that he will not be available to take on Villa this weekend. I suspect a return next weekend like initially planned.
- Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Debuchy, Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby have all returned to training over the International Break, however “none are ready yet” according to Wenger, meaning they will not be available to take on Liverpool this weekend. As they continue to build their fitness over the coming weeks a return in the not-too-distant future is likely.
- The International Break came at the most ideal time for Winston Reid as it allowed him to rest a hamstring injury that has kept him out since the game against Chelsea in gameweek 28. The centre half has now fully recovered from the injury and is fit to face Leicester this weekend.
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!