Early Doors

This "week" just keeps getting stranger and stranger.  It began, of course, with Wigan/Bolton postponed and since then we've gone through the "Nasri or won't he" drama.  But the news just hasn't stopped.  So we've got updates from Chelsea, Manchester United, Spurs, the African Cup of Nations and more.

Let's start with top of the table Chelsea.
Already missing are Michael Essien and Nicolas Anelka, both ruled out for the matches against Birmingham and Fulham, while Deco is the latest to join the list of casualties.

That means Daniel Sturridge will be given a first Chelsea Premier League start alongside Didier Drogba, who could be playing his final game before departing for Angola and the African Cup of Nations.
So I assume we'll see a lot of JCole and Malouda, for better or for worse.  And Sturridge becomes a viable two-game option at just over 6.  Now what about the implication above that Drogba will be a one gamer this week?  Ancelotti continued by saying that,
Against Fulham maybe we have only Sturridge and Borini, but in January we have Anelka.
Great.  So nothing definitve/100% but maybe as close as we're going to get. Pick him or sell him according to your preferences but I think he may be a goner for me.  Yes, he'll start earning the big points again in February but it won't be any fun to have the zeros for a month.  And a month is a long time to be in a lousy mood over a hole in one's fantasy roster.  Further, in a week featuring potential three-game players, I don't even think I can countenance having a one-gamer in my eleven.  Especially one playing @Birmingham, which isn't an easy match these days.

Next stop is Manchester, where United may have reinforcements.
The Reds still have a depleted backline, but the Da Silva twins could both be available, with Fabio having come on as a substitute in the Fulham reversal. Gary Neville and Wes Brown are also on the mend and have an outside chance of being included, while Nemanja Vidic (calf) and Ryan Giggs (hamstring) are set to return. Edwin van der Sar is still struggling with a knee complaint.
Kuszczak would have been a great buy for this week but somehow he jumped in price after losing 5 points against Fulham.

Spurs got some good news today.
Tottenham defender Sebastien Bassong has not been included in the Cameroon squad for next month's African Nations Cup.

The 23-year-old, who moved to White Hart Lane from Newcastle in the summer, missed a couple of qualifying games but had been expected to join team-mate Benoit Assou-Ekotto in Paul Le Guen's 23-man group. His omission will come as a boost for Spurs boss Harry Redknapp, who has been without central defenders Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate for much of the season due to injuries.
That article also notes that Cameroon's camp doesn't start until Jan 5, so maybe the likes of BA-E, Song and Bikey play both of their club's matches this week - or in Song's case all three.

And speaking of potential three gamers, I say potential because Bolton could see another match postponed.
Doubts have been cast over whether Wanderers’ Boxing Day game against Burnley will go ahead as planned...

It is understood the undersoil heating at Burnley will ensure the pitch surface is playable, despite heavy snowfall in the last 24 hours.

But there are concerns over safety in the surrounding areas, including roads, pathways and car parks around the ground.

Clarets staff are believed to be working hard with the local council to make sure the sell-out game goes ahead, and there are encouraging signs that temperatures are likely to rise slightly towards the weekend.
That would be a blow to those with the likes of Lee, Klasnic, etc on their teams but at least Bolton could still play two matches. Eagles owners could find him with only one match, at Everton.

Neal will be coming along shortly with a big Week Ahead post, but that's the state of play right now.


  1. Nice informative post JSpitz, thanks. With all this talk of triple gamers, I'm actually looking forward to this more than Christmas!! Who's with me!!??

  2. Anonymous3:41 PM

    Definatly should be a very interesting week.D.Moorinho.TTFC.

  3. Anonymous3:46 PM

    Yeah Ketz, I'm with you. Looking forward to footie and brews baby! and cheese, crackers, and meat as well.
    Jeremy - Thanks for the info, looking forward to BDing Sturridge if he looks up for the challenge...I'm not convinced yet.
    Anyways, thanks to you, Jeremy, Neal, and our friends at the blog for the great info/advice regarding team selection. Happy Holidays and Happy footie...may we and it live forever.

  4. ryan goldschlager4:00 PM

    Do people assume that Sanata Cruz is done with Hughes gone?

  5. @Goldschlager: YOu can never tell what a new manager is going to do with his new team. If I were you I would wait and see if he comes out with anything "cast iron" and if you have no clue then stay away and barn door players after the first starting line-up is announced. i know this doesn't help you too much as I have a feeling you probably have RSC at a nice discount, but if I were in your shoes I would off load all City players for 3G players. Just my opinion though, I'm sure someone else has a different idea.

  6. Anonymous4:40 PM

    i would avoid Chelsea players like plague. i reckoned that they would not perform without drogba,essien,kalou,mikel and with anelka's injury.

  7. Chelsea are certainly a different proposition without their main strikers...I still think they have enough to do the biz but they only have 2 games. I've loaded my WHOLE team with 3G'ers and the muti-match-players have always served me with HUGE points totals. It's the only way!

  8. - I'd take Fantasy Footy over Christmas any day!
    - GREAT post! lots of answers! Helps out big time!
    - I think RSC is not looking good at ALL with Mancini at the helm. RSC was a Hughes guy he brought in. If I had RSC I'd drop him. If I had him at a discount, I'd drop him.
    - Dunno if I'm sold on Sturridge.
    - I'm thinking I'm more inclined to KEEP Drogs. A) Seems like most will drop him B) He's on a goal scoring roar right now. Unless there's a viable option at 10.66, I'll bite the bullet.

  9. Anonymous6:10 PM

    Read on ESPN that Drogba is leaving for ACN on Sunday and will miss the Fulham game.

    "The Italian coach will be without Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou against Fulham on Monday as they are heading off to link up with the Ivory Coast on Sunday."



  10. Bradley7:33 PM

    I hope Burnley can be excavated in time. The loss of Bolton players will mess up my plans. Plus, I'll have to eat the 0 from Eagles. Decent midfielders aren't plentiful at the 6.24 price range, so as long as he's healthy, I'd like to keep him.

    The news about Drogba makes the decision to drop him easier.

  11. Anonymous8:53 PM

    @goldschlager - Even if Santa Cruz only plays 1 game and gets 12 points, he's still tripled his original price of 4. for example, some people take risks with fillers such as M.Brown(4) and Mokoena(2) such and such, but in my opinion Santa Cruz is a risk I'm willing to take.

  12. Just when I thought my team was complete with Klasnic and Cahill, rumours about the Burnley-Bolton game being postponed. This match would be the best chance for Bolton players to score. If this match is going to be postponed, I would rather take a punt on a low-scoring Nasri.

  13. Anonymous5:10 AM

    need some help with my team i've diaby,milner and steven fletcher..wanna choose two to start..what do u think?????????????????

  14. Should I drop Drogba?? Is it true that he is going to play only one game?