Gameweek 11 is just around the corner and ATFPL ponders QPR’s chances against Manchester City, a possible glut of goals at Old Trafford, and Harry Kane’s possibility of starting against Stoke.
Can QPR Trouble Manchester City?
Earlier in the season, the thought of Harry Redknapp’s troops troubling the champions would be absurd. But QPR look to be finding their feet under Redknapp’s tutelage and after a decent performance against Chelsea they could make the most of City’s recent struggles. The Citizens have lost three out of four fixtures in all competitions and are without the services of David Silva and Alexander Kolarov with influential defender Vincent Kompany a doubt due to calf problems.
Redknapp, however, was delighted to have his full squad for selection (bar the suspended Rio Ferdinand and long term injury victim Alejandro Faurlin), including Joey Barton, Niko Kranjcar, Jordon Mutch, and Nedum Onuoha:
“Touchwood, we’ve got a clean bill of health – everybody’s fit, probably for the first time since I’ve been at QPR! That’s great. It’s nice to have too many good players, as opposed to not enough. It’s great to have a full squad. All players should be available for selection at the weekend.”
Should QPR manage to shock City, expect questions to be raised about Manuel Pellegrini’s position. Oh, and a smug QPR manager in the post-match interview.
An Old Trafford Goal Fest
Despite picking up only a point in the two games against Chelsea and Manchester City, Manchester United have reasons to be optimistic. Marouane Fellaini’s performances have been an eye-opener for United fans, who would have welcomed his sale this summer, and Wayne Rooney’s performance against City was a good sign.
The hope for Louis van Gaal is that his players are finally starting to comprehend and execute his game plan; if so, the attacking talent at display should guarantee goals when Crystal Palace come to visit. Sporting a defence that has conceded 19 times already this season (picture Tony Pulis shedding a single tear in his morning coffee), the loss of captain Mile Jedinak to suspension is the last thing Neil Warnock needed. The combination of Rooney, Ángel Di María, and Robin van Persie should prove too much for the Eagles (Radamel Falcao is unavailable with calf problems).
Neil Warnock’s ray of hope lies in attack. United’s defensive problems have been well documented this season, and in Saturday’s game they’ll be in no better shape. With Ashley Young, Phil Jones, Jonny Evans, Marcus Rojo, Chris Smalling, Rafael, and Jesse Lingard all expected to miss out, Van Gaal is likely to start with a defence comprised of Antonio Valencia at right-back, Luke Shaw at left-back, and the central pairing of Patrick McNair and Michael Carrick, who commented on his possible starting spot in defence:
“[Defence] is not something I have played [in] an awful lot. I have had spells of it over the years playing two or three or four games in a season.
If I need to play there then fine – I have not had a lot of football recently so I will play anywhere.
I think we have different options and can play different formations. We have a good variety now. We just need to get players fit and have more options to choose from.”
Harry Kane scored his tenth goal in all competitions this season with a header in Tottenham’s Europa League game against Asteras Tripolis. Given Roberto Soldado’s lack of confidence and Emmanuel Adebayor’s apparent lack of interest, surely the time has come for Mauricio Pochettino to give the young striker his first Premier League start.
With eight goals in eight games and a price tag of only 4.8 million in the Fantasy Premier League the homegrown Englishman would be an interesting prospect for Fantasy managers.
However, his starting spot is far from guaranteed and with Adebayor rested for the Europa League game, the experienced Togolese striker would seem likely to be given the nod in Sunday game against Stoke. Pochettino indicated Kane’s chances of starting in the Premier League were improving but remained coy, giving nothing away:
“We will see on Sunday. I am happy for him because he scored again. I am happy for us because it was an important goal to get the three points and I am happy for all of us.”
So the cheap Spurs striker is a wait-and-see prospect for now.
In Other News
- Alan Hutton remains on the sidelines with a pestering ankle injury.
- Diafra Sakho is expected to return to West Ham’s starting lineup, bolstering Sam Allardyce’s attack for the game against Aston Villa.
- Theo Walcott is in Arsenal’s squad although he’s still likely to come off the bench as Arséne Wenger eases him back to match fitness. Mikel Arteta is a confirmed absentee after suffering a hamstring injury in Arsenal’s draw against Anderlecht. Jack Wilshere, who has missed the last two games, is expected to be fit again and take Arteta’s place in midfield.
- Brendan Rodgers confirmed that Daniel Sturridge hasn’t recovered fully and is not in the squad to face Chelsea on Saturday:
“Daniel is out on the field today with the rehab team. He was moving very well but he is probably a bit of time away I think.”