Fantasy Football Focus

Focusing on this weekend's matches with an eye on next weekend's as well.Good luck!

Jewell pleased with response

Derby County manager Paul Jewell has heard no complaints from his players after imposing a stricter training regime this week.

Jewell was seething with the Rams' performance in last Saturday's 2-0 defeat at former club Wigan Athletic and has vowed to whip the squad into shape.

He confirmed there has been a greater intensity in training in recent days and is looking for a response in this weekend's game against Sunderland.

What the hell was he waiting for?

I like Jewell and think he's a good, if limited, manager. But compare him to Juande Ramos. Ramos came in and found an out-of-shape and out-of-sorts side and immediately made changes. He changed their training regime. He changed their diets. He dropped under-performing players and replaced them with square pegs in round holes (THud and Zokora as central defenders, for example) if needed. Now they've won the Carling Cup and are progressing in the UEFA Cup and are moving up the League table.

Meanwhile, Derby are just as bad as they were under Billy Davies. Their new signings haven't made an impact, and if they are just now making changes to the way things are done, well then I'm afraid that speaks very poorly of Jewell and his managerial approach.

Lundekvam fears for career

Eurosport | Thu, Feb 28, 12:22

Southampton defender Claus Lundekvam says he fears for his career after suffering a serious setback in his attempt to return from an ankle injury.

Claus was the original DNH (do no harm) fantasy defender, back in the day. We wish him all the best.

F365`s Guide To The Relegation Strugglers

Parts One, and Two.

'Oh dear' is the best way to sum up Fulham's next few fixtures. Manchester United and Everton visit Craven Cottage, inbetween which are trips to Blackburn and Newcastle. Then, it's the clash of the titans when they travel to Derby. For any Premier League fans unfamiliar with the standard of football in the Championship, tune in to this one and you'll find out.

I am determined to overcome this injury,

Arsenal's Eduardo Da Silva suffers a serious leg injury ...

Arsenal's Eduardo Da Silva suffers a serious leg injury after being tackled by Birmingham City's Martin Taylor during their English Premier League soccer match at St Andrews in Birmingham, central England February 23, 2008. ACTION IMAGES/Lee Mills VIA REUTERS

Arsenal striker Eduardo said on Sunday he was determined to recover from a broken leg and play again after accepting his season, including Euro 2008, was over.

The Brazilian-born Croatia striker had an operation late on Saturday night after breaking his left leg early in Arsenal's Premier League match at Birmingham City, which ended 2-2.

"I am unsure at the moment of the extent of the injury and how long I will be out of action for but I know that I won't be able to play for Arsenal for the rest of the season or be ready in time for the Euros this summer," Eduardo said.

"But I'm not worried about that. My concentration and determination is on making as quick a recovery as possible. I am determined to overcome this injury," he told Arsenal's Web site (

Ahead of the Week Ahead

We're back and starting to look forward to the weekend's fixtures.

Torres boost for Reds

Fernando Torres has handed Liverpool an injury boost by returning to training.

The club's top scorer missed last weekend's draw at Chelsea after suffering a hamstring injury while on international duty with Spain.

Reds boss Rafa Benitez has declared Torres fit to face Internazionale in the Uefa Champions League next week and he is considering using him in this weekend's FA Cup tie with Barnsley...

Benitez has also been boosted by the return to fitness of defensive trio Sami Hyypia, Alvaro Arbeloa and Fabio Aurelio.

Castillo returns to training

Manchester City manager Sven Goran Eriksson has been handed a boost via Nery Castillo's return to training...

But the 23-year-old is nearing a return to first-team action after returning to training.

"The medical people say Nery is now allowed to do everything with the senior squad including physical contact and tackling, so that is good," Eriksson told the club's official website.

"It has not been easy for him having to work with the fitness coaches all the time."

With Bojinov back (having scored for the reserves last week, the "emergence" of Sturridge, and Benjani the presumptive first choice in Sven's 4-5-1, it looks like all of a sudden that there is a lot of competition for places in Citeh's attack.

FA Cup - Manchester United/Arsenal

The next chapter will be written this Saturday, 16 February 2008.

Scout appointment pleases McLeish

Birmingham City boss Alex McLeish says the arrival of new chief scout Paul Montgomery will improve their chances of recruiting top players.

Montgomery originally spotted Didier Drogba and Florent Malouda when he was with West Ham.

HA! How well did that work out for West Ham? At best you can argue that Drogba's arrival led to Carlton Cole being expendable and therefore available to West Ham. But even that's a stretch, at best. And Cole... he's a fantasy nightmare. Cheap enough to be tempting when West Ham have a good matchup, but as likely to get a yellow card (7) as an assist (6).