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Kuyt Ruled Out

Kuyt Ruled Out - Yahoo! Sport UK
Dirk Kuyt will miss Liverpool's next two games with an ankle injury sustained playing for Holland at the weekend.

Although a scan has revealed the injury is not as serious as first thought, strained ankle ligaments will keep him out of the home game with Blackburn on Saturday and next Wednesday's Champions League trip to Bordeaux.

Liverpool hope Kuyt may recover in time to face Manchester United at Old Trafford on October 22.

Hernia operation sidelines Tainio

BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Tottenham Hotspur | Hernia operation sidelines Tainio

All the more reason to have Danny Murphy (WELCOME BACK, MAN!) in the squad. Maybe he'll play at the point of Spurs' midfield diamond rather than on the left, with Davids coming in there.

Monday Morning Manager

The Manager's biggest fear over the international break is injuries. Injuries suffered in games or feigned in the avoidance of games. Paging Mr. Giggs. Mr. Ryan Giggs. Which injuries will affect the Manager's team coming back to the league. Who needs a "late fitness test" and who might be ruled out for a long spell.

This latest "break" (pun intended but sorely regreted) will see a number of managers (fantasy and otherwise) counting the cost of national pride.

Benitez fumes after Kuyt injury blow

Middlesbrough confirm Woodgate injury blow

Sorensen, Bendtner injured | Ljungberg sidelined

Ferdinand Fitness Improves

Add these to AJ's injury and there may be challenges and opportunities for the fantasy manager this upcoming weekend.

Best of luck to all, and keep reading the blog as the week and the season develops.
The Manager


ENGLAND SET TO USE 3-5-2 - All The News - Football365
McClaren, aware of the abundance of centre-halves at his disposal, is determined that England will experiment with different formations before Euro 2008.

With Gary Neville deployed as the right-sided central defender...
Huh? (and forgive me that this isn't strictly fantasy Premiership, but still) You read the first part and think, "abundance of centre-halves", ok... Terry, Ferdinand, King, PrimusCampbell, etc. And yes, I know Neville has played in the centre of defence before (and done it quite well) for ManU, but why move him infield if you have an "abundance of centre-halves"?

Seems to me that this is over-thinking whatever problem he's trying to solve. Lampard and Gerrard in the same midfield perhaps?

Ooijer: PSV Forced Me Out

Ooijer: PSV Forced Me Out - Yahoo! Sport UK
Blackburn defender Andre Ooijer has claimed he was forced out of PSV Eindhoven after the club failed to keep their word over a new contract.
The way he's played in the EPL, I can understand their reluctance to keep him. From the man himself,

"I had a bit of an unlucky start but things are going well now," he said. "I scored an own goal and I conceded two penalties.

"But my overall game isn't bad. It is somewhat like I expected," added Ooijer
Unlucky? Like I expected? At least Bramble has the good sense to keep his mouth shut and just let his football do the talking... even though what it says isn't pretty.

Gunners boosted by return of Clichy and Senderos

ESPNsoccernet - England - Gunners boosted by return of Clichy and Senderos

Arsenal duo Gael Clichy and Philippe Senderos made comebacks from injury in the reserve-team victory over West Ham at Upton Park.

Neither defender has played in the first team this season, and full-back Clichy came off at half-time as planned to protect his foot injury. Switzerland centre-back Senderos, who suffered a shoulder injury in the World Cup game with South Korea, played the entire match.
I wouldn't stick either into your lineup just yet, but again, it is something to note and look out for. When healthy, what is Arsene's first-choice back four? Eboue and Toure, sure. But does Senderos start at center back and if so, does Gallas play on the left?

Next Friday's Team News Today

Moyes hoping AJ can tackle Boro - Yahoo! Sport UK

Everton boss David Moyes is optimistic of having striker Andrew Johnson in his line-up for the trip to Middlesbrough on October 14.The summer signing from Crystal Palace, who has scored six goals this season, pulled out of the England squad for the Euro 2008 qualifiers with Macedonia and Croatia because of a hamstring injury.

But Moyes told the club's official website: "It should take about 10 days to heal. He couldn't play this weekend but he may be able to resume training before the trip to Middlesbrough.


"may be"

Oy. Get ready for a host of "late fitness test", "given every opportunity to prove his fitnesss", "is expected to", and "hopes to be fit".

Free-agent Sutton joins O'Neill at Villa

ESPNsoccernet - England - Free-agent Sutton joins O'Neill at Villa
Chris Sutton has been reunited with former Celtic boss Martin O'Neill at Aston Villa.
I would assume that Sutton will just be cover for JPA, but it is something to note.

Blog Favorite Ashley Young

Remember, you read it here first!
But my sleeper, dark horse, Nigel Reo-Coker pick of the season is Ashley Young. You gotta like that he's being called a "Thierry Henry" type player. He's small, but quick and strong. A winger that will play striker (listed as a middie... hello, the rules, anyone?), takes kicks, and scores goals.

Benitez Backs Pennant For England

Benitez Backs Pennant For England - Yahoo! Sport UK
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez believes Jermaine Pennant is close to receiving an England call-up.
If only the lack of regular first-team football wasn't holding him back!

Moore could miss rest of season

Moore could miss rest of season - Yahoo! Sport UK
Aston Villa's Luke Moore could be out of action for the rest of the season after suffering a recurrence of a shoulder injury against Chelsea.Moore is set to undergo surgery on the problem which has dogged him to varying degrees for the past three years and Villa manager Martin O'Neill is resigned to being without the player for the foreseeable future.
Shame for Moore as he's done really well so far this season. Looks like Villa will be forced to go with a 4-4-2 with Baros partnering JPA. Wonder how that impacts their midfield personnel. If Barry continues at left fullback, will we see Berger drafted to the left of midfield? And if so, does Davis drop to the bench assuming Petrov and McCann are first choice in the middle?

Or perhaps we see more of the 4-3-3 with Baros and Agbonlahor supporting Angel and McCann and Davis behind Petrov.

Don't know what I'm saying really other than too bad for Moore as he was really playing well.

Never bet on Bolton

No matter how many times we say it, it just doesn't seem to sink in for some people. Even when people begin the weekend by writing something like this:

"Bolton, for their part, remain fantasy poison."

You get this team sheet:

http// - Week 7

So as a public service to fantasy managers everywhere, those with and those without an internet soapbox, we will repeat:

Never, ever bet for or against Bolton.

Monday Morning Manager

The Manager would like to be the first to welcome Danny Murphy back into the warmth of the fantasy family. He began as nothing but the man who killed ManU for Liverpool before becoming a full-tilt fantasy stud at the beginning of last season. Charlton looked great with he and Bent scoring. Then, for whatever reason, it went wrong and Murphy ended up stuck on Spur's bench. But now after two good games, including yesterday's where he actually earned the points for his play, I would venture to guess that he finds himself on a lot of fantasy squads this morning.

Probably replaces Rosicky on most of them too.

Arsenal are winning these games that they should and Henry is getting his points, if not truly shining in the process. And even RvP (repaying the Manager's faith in him. woo hoo!!!!) came good after a shaky start and another yellow card. His 3rd of the season already! But Arsenal's midfield continues to be where fantasy points go to die. Even Cesc, who started the season on a 8-9 pt per game clip has faded. And worse yet, it's become a real 2 from 3 shell game for the wide midfield positions among Hleb, Freddie and Rosicky. Good luck to any fantasy manager brave enough to wade through that mess, though many will be tempted with Watford and Reading next up for the Gunners after the international break.

It's been a full month since the transfer window closed. Have we learned anything about our new options yet? One thing we learned yesterday is that Spurs bought well when they invested 10mil in Berbatov. He really looks to be a great player and Spurs really benefit from everything he does on the pitch. Shame his injury came when it did as he's now probably priced out of most fantasy manager's plans. However, he still may be worth the $ say if AJ's hamstring doesn't heal in the next 2 weeks. Speaking of AJ, let's just say Everton spent well and his record (on the pitch and for fantasy managers) with Crystal Palace wasn't a fluke. He's the real deal. Get well soon.

No other new striker has really made an impact yet. Martins scoring a brace in a 2-game week for Newcastle helped a lot of fantasy managers. But his lack of production otherwise has been a disappointment. Anelka and Tevez haven't done anything for their new clubs (who are heading in opposite directions themselves, but that's another post). Kuyt, to be fair, has been great. But Rafa's rotation policy really dampens the enthusiasm for any Liverpool player.

And then there is Sheva. The most prominent transfer and perhaps the biggest disappointment (at striker. Ballack has been the biggest nightmare. but that too is another post.). He's been scoring just enough fantasy points to make it worth keeping him at $5. Enough to make you think "this is the week he comes good". But not enough points that he's really going to help your team do anything other than afford Henry or Lampard.

In the midfield, Niko Kranjcar FINALLY takes over from Taylor on the left of Pompey's midfield. And while it resulted in a loss for POR, Kranjcar did earn 8 fantasy points. Hopefully he can take over where D'Alessandro left off last season.

Anyone else catch your eye this weekend?

Until next time, which will sadly be a while due to the international break.
The Manager

Fergie: Cristiano conjures up chaos

FOX Sports - England - Fergie: Cristiano conjures up chaos
There was more good news for Ferguson, who confirmed the injury which forced Gabriel Heinze off in the first half was nothing more serious than a strained hamstring.
Guess I shouldn't have sold him in a panic on Sunday. Oh well. I needed to free up the money to buy Danny Murphy anyway.

Johnson pulls out of England squad

Johnson pulls out of England squad - Yahoo! Sport UK

Everton's Andrew Johnson has pulled out of England's squad for the next two Euro 2008 qualifiers, with Charlton's Darren Bent his replacement...

However a hamstring injury, which Johnson sustained in the last minute of Saturday's 1-1 draw against Manchester City, will keep him sidelined for the games against Macedonia and Croatia.

WOW! What that ever a bad end to the game for Everton. First they lose AJ, and then they lose the win on Richards stunning half-volley. (Not to mention the cost to fantasy managers as Howard went from +9 to 0 in the blink of an eye.)

This will definitely be something to watch. Hopefully Johnson will be recovered well before Everton's next match @Boro and we won't have the "will he won't he" of late fitness tests and "expected to play".

2 minute brothers

Goal Tottenham Hotspur: Murphy (2)

Goal Wigan Athletic: Heskey (2)

Goal Reading: Seol (2)
With apologies to BWP, I guess they are more accurately described as 2nd minute brothers.