Gameweek 10 is just around the corner and ATFPL ponders the never-ending Costa conundrum, Rooney’s potential return, Silva’s injury, and the possible return of Walcott.
Costa Included in the squad
Diego Costa troublesome hamstring is turning into a soap opera of repeating issues at the dawn of each Gameweek. Is he fit? Will he feature? Is Mourinho telling the truth?
Fortunately for Fantasy managers, Jose Mourinho has confirmed the forward is in the squad for the QPR match and is expected to start in place of Didier Drogba who has deputised admirably in the summer recruits absence. Despite Didier Drogba’s fine performances, Costa is simply a better striker with Drogba’s powers having diminished with age. Nine goals in seven games with a solitary blank, backed by great underlying stats, is too big to ignore so Fantasy Managers have to include Costa in their plans. So start him, or plan to get him back into your squad, but expect more drama with international dates coming again in November.
Mourinho on Chelsea’s squad for the weekend;
“Diego will play. Good for us. It is difficult to have one striker available. When we have two, obviously the situation improves.”
“He was having problems with Chelsea, and the way we managed to keep him fit, and after the national team, we lost him for four matches in three different competition.”
“He is available, but he needs, obviously, to be under special care and we are going to do that.”
Wayne Rooney is expected to be fit to face Manchester City on Sunday, and according to the papers will start. However, Radamel Falcao is still doubtful after picking up a knock in training that kept him out of the Chelsea match.
This means Louis van Gaal is likely to start both Rooney and Robin van Persie, but will likely start Rooney behind the Dutch striker, perhaps at the expense of Juan Mata. With Fellaini impressing in the last two games and Manchester United unlikely to field two out-and-out strikers against the firepower of City, Van Gaal could look to pack the middle.
This means starts for Blind and Fellaini, and possible inclusions of Ander Herrera or Darren Fletcher, with the Spaniard a more likely candidate. Michael Carrick is also an option, but could yet need more time to become fully match fit.
If Mata is left out it ends his already tenuous viability as a Fantasy option while yet another start for Fellaini puts him on Watchlist status.
David Silva’s knee injury, suffered early on in the League Cup loss against Newcastle, will rule him out for at least the game against United. This could force Manuel Pellegrini to reshuffle the formation, but the more likely outcome is that Samir Nasri steps into Silva’a place, either in behind Sergio Agüero or as a nominal winger.
Yaya Touré was also withdrawn against Newcastle, but only due to a groin complaint and could yet feature.
If both are out, James Milner’s odds of starting grow, and Pellegrini could decide to go for his work rate to compensate for starting with two strikers up front. But it’s often hard to second guess team selections, so in Fantasy terms it’s best to stick with the proven players. That means Agüero and Silva before the injury for City, and Rooney and Di María for United.
Pellegrini on Silva’s injury;
“David has some ligament damage and he will be out for three weeks. It is a blow because he is a very important player but we have a good squad and we have the players to replace him.”
Adding a brief comment confirming Yaya’s likely inclusion;
“We will assess it tomorrow but I think Yaya will be all right.”
Although confirmed as not starting, Theo Walcott is set to mark his return to the Gunners squad after a lengthy absence against Burnley this weekend. Arséne Wenger has indicated he will introduce Walcott back slowly claiming the England speedster is fit but is not match fit to compete in a physically challenging competition so he’s likely to come off the bench. But even as a substitute, he brings an injection of pace to the team and could yet form part of a fast and agile front three with Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sánchez.
Arsene Wenger’s comments on Theo Walcott;
“Theo is not ready yet. He’s been out for too long to start the game.If I can give him some competition I’m happy to do it. He’s eager to play, but that is always the period when the patience of the player is tested. They feel ready and want to play. Usually they realise only much later they are not completely ready.”
“I know Theo very well. He’s an intelligent player so he knows as well he’s not completely there yet.”
Elsewhere Jack Wilshere has been ruled out of the game against Burnley while full back Kieran Gibbs also facing a late fitness test as he faces an uphill battle to be fit to face the Clarets.
In Other News
- Alan Hutton remains on the sidelines with a pestering ankle injury than we see the Scottish international remain out for a further two weeks.
- Diafra Sakho remains “50/50” to feature against Stoke City this weekend according to his boss Sam Allardyce.
- Gylfi Sigurdsson is expected to brush off a groin injury picked up last weekend after being rested mid-week to protect the Icelander.
- Sadio Mane has returned to training in a bid to prove his fitness ahead of the clash against Hull City.
- Papiss Cisse is “touch and go” to recover from a knee injury ahead of Newcastle’s match against Liverpool.