The first weekend after an international week and once again the toll of playing two demanding national team games in the space of five days has taken its toll on many Premiership players. Wayne Rooney is already confirmed as out of Manchester United’s with Bolton while Liverpool duo Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres are both struggling to be fit for Liverpool’s clash at Sunderland and Wayne Bridge looking a doubt for Manchester City.
It would, therefore, be a very good idea to check the last minute team news for any players who are doubtful before Saturday this week as many teams have doubts over regular first team players.
These injuries, combined with a full programme of games over the weekend, will mean that fantasy managers need to be careful in selecting their team. The big game on Saturday is at Villa Park where Aston Villa take on Chelsea in what looks like being a classic encounter. Chelsea will be buoyed after their 2-0 win over Liverpool, but Aston Villa, after their slow start, have been in good form of late and this looks like being a tight one. Ashley Young should recover and he and Gabriel Agbonlahor could shine against Chelsea’s defence which does lack pace down the right side, especially if Bosingwa is not in the team.
Arsenal players may well feature high on the list of fantasy managers this weekend. Fresh from their destruction of Blackburn, the Gunners face Alex McLeish’s Birmingham at the Emirates and no doubt owners of players such as Cesc Fabregas, Robin Van Persie and Andrei Arshavin will be hoping for a big return from them against the blues. It certainly doesn’t look the fixture to be playing too many of City’s defensive players in your team.
Manchester United’s attacking players are always popular, but expect their defence to be untroubled by Bolton at Old Trafford. Evra, Vidic and Ferdinand look good bets to start and it seems likely Van Der Sar will return in goal for United. Rooney’s injury, combined with Owen’s, means that there may be a start for either Macheda or Welbeck.
Harry Redknapp returns to Pompey in what looks likely to be a fierce encounter contested in a fiery atmosphere. Spurs look good value for the win and with a relatively intact squad and his team in good goalscoring form, it may be worth considering Keane and Defoe for the game, though one wonders if Peter Crouch’s double for England in midweek may see him earn a spot in the side at the expense of one of the other strikers.
A good tip for your fantasy team this week may be Everton, who take on Wolves at Goodison Park. David Moyes side are in fine form after a slow start and not even an injury to midfielder Steven Pienaar should concern them too much. Marouane Fellaini, fresh from controversy over his omission from the Belgian squad, has been named and he and Tim Cahill could find themselves on the scoresheet against Wolves.
Anyway, here’s our list of who is hot and who is not for this weekends games… and we wish you the best of luck in your own fantasy league!
HOT : Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Van Der Sar, Berbatov, Giggs (Manchester United), Fabregas, Van Persie, Arshavin, Gallas, Vermaelen (Arsenal), Cahill, Fellaini (Everton), Agbonlahor, Young.A (Aston Villa), Drogba, Anelka (Chelsea), Benayoun (Liverpool), Bent (Sunderland)
NOT : Rooney, Foster (Man Utd), Gerrard, Torres (Liverpool), Clichy (Arsenal), Bridge, Lescott (Manchester City), Davies.S (Fulham), James (Portsmouth)