Late Fitness Test

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Hello everybody.  I'm back from my 10 day football pilgrimage to Argentina.  I used the opportunity to soak in the incredible passion for the game that the Argentinians have and hopefully that extra passion and energy will translate into me making better picks for myself.  Looking back on my last 3 or 4 TWA posts, I am not disappointed by my logic or the suggestions I've been making but I've certainly been managing to choose the worst possible of those options for myself when it comes down to time to actually fill out my own squad.  Hopefully, spending a little time watching Boca Juniors among others live will change that luck up.  For those who are interested, here's a quick recap of my trip before getting to today's injury news...

1) The meat is stunningly good - especially the beef and sausage - I can't emphasize enough how well I ate while I was there

2) The non-stop energy at the football stadiums is really incredible - singing/chanting/jumping up and down in the stands started well before the match and was non-stop until halftime at which point everyone sort of milled around and socialized (no music blaring, no scoreboard to look at, no little kids playing matches against each other to kill the time - this was definitely an old school fan experience) - after the half the energy started up again from scratch and went well beyond the final whistle.

3) One other stadium note - we were forced to wait for 20 minutes to exit the stadium while the away supporters were given time to leave unmolested by the home supporters - in situations where there is even a hint of the possibility of violence this seems like a great idea (and the clubs would have more opportunities to sell merchandise/food/whatever to the home supporters while they're waiting to leave)

4) A final stadium note - they didn't sell beer or any other sort of alcohol so either the supporters were doing all of this without the benefit of alcohol or they were sustaining their buzz through 2 hours without adding to the initial consumption - in my old age, I find this impressive regardless of which of the above is generally the case (I'm sure it is a mix of both).

5) The streets of both Buenos Aires and Mendoza (the two cities we visited) were entirely tree-lined which made for an extremely nice environment for walking around and seeing the sites.  I wasn't sure exactly what to expect but the general attractiveness of the cities surpassed any expectations I had.

6) The football, for all the passion and excitement, wasn't spectacular.  It wasn't quite so bad as MLS but it wasn't even up to Germany or Holland let alone the big leagues of Europe.  I don't know what I was expecting given the economy and the size of the country but it wasn't fantastic.

The best final summary is that I highly recommend that you take a trip there if you have a chance.  If you have questions add them in to the live chat tomorrow and I'll be happy to answer.  OK, down to the injuries and suspensions...

Late Fitness Tests that matter...Beattie (one gamer so probably not worth it anyway), Kirkland (which makes him even less attractive as a potential one or no-gamer and two tough matches - both away to Stoke and Wigan), George McCartney

Out...Upson, CCole, Zavon Hines, Deco, Alex, Kalou, Essien, Tim Cahill, Yobo, Jummy, DDunn (likely out for the first of Rovers' two matches), KRich & Phil Bardsley (both suspended one match - probably not a good match to have anyone in Sunderland's defence),  Spurs centrebacks (King and Woody) which makes SeaBass a good value at 5.54, Wes Brown and Fabio (at least one match each as they recover from knocks), Bendtner, Eboue, Sicky.

Back...Noble (with two reasonable match-ups), Davies (two OK match-ups), Bellamy & Ireland (although with Citeh's success without them you wonder if they'll come right back in - I'd consider them risky compared to guys who are fully healthy and more likely to feature in both matches), Heitinga (but as a defender not farther up the field + he's a one-gamer), David James and Younes Kaboul (although their second match of the 2 is against CHE so not so interesting really), Modric (who diminishes both his own value and that of Kranj by his possible inclusion - my guess is that each gets 120 minutes between the two matches and that neither are worth their price), James Collins (who is still questionable given that Cuellar has done well in his absence - I'm sure he'll play some but probably won't be a 90 minute starter which, when combined with the ManYoo match-up makes him a tough buy), Nando, Theo, Song and maybe Diaby. 

A lot of information but my quick summary is that SeaBass is the biggest beneficiary of the injuries and that Theo has the most potential to make a relatively low-cost impact of those who will likely get a start due to injuries.


  1. Anonymous1:52 PM

    Glad you had fun, welcome back to the fight! LOL

  2. Anonymous1:53 PM

    Stupid comments not letting me add my name, Barnyard

  3. Anonymous2:25 PM

    Sounds like a great trip. Patagonia is on my list of places to visit, I hope to go to Argentina one day.

    Hopefully, I'll make it to the BDL Chat.


  4. Where are the pictures?

    I saw a game at Santos once. They lost to Cruzeiro even though they had Diego, Robinho and Alex. Lots of drums and singing.

    And I saw the Argentina/Holland WC game in '06. Boring 0-0 game but the Argentina fans sang for the whole game while the Dutch fans sat on their hands. The Argy fans were few but very impressive.

  5. Anonymous7:48 PM

    any news for dunn? flu or healthy?

  6. @ Steve, Did you bump into many Welsh people in Patagonia, apparently the largest population of welsh people outside of Wales is in Patagonia of all places! Crazy! And there's your little tid bit of knowledge for this Friday! I'm all over a Che CS for two in a row and I've heavily invested! Could this be a gross error putting so much moolay into my back line?? We shall see! God I love FF!

  7. Anonymous9:38 PM


    Sorry, you read it wrong. I want to visit Patagonia. Haven't been there yet. I have been kinda planning a trip, but nothing too serious. That's weird about hte Welsh people though.


  8. - Doing something I have never done ever. Going with the Mok. I had said Lamps was a HUGE disappointment. Maybe he needs 2 home matches against a depleted Everton team and a lowly Portsmouth team to kick start. I don't like the 'enabler' at all. But it is this week...
    - I found there was no 'middle tier' mids to go with. Not a fan of BFAR's matchups. Lee Bowyer?! Meh. Cahill/Hunt/Geovanni all play 1 game. Downing/Modric JUST returning from injury. Aquilani probably won't play the full 90.
    - could have gone Cesc/Mikel. But A) I have EdS/Arsh/Verm/Almunia. That's ALOT of Gooners in my basket. B)I think Lamps will be top scorer this week.
    - sold Milner/Jordi ---> Lamps/Mok

  9. Drogba/O'Hara/Mikel or Benitez/Kranjcar/Gibson?

    I told myself I wouldn't change anything anymore, but O'Hara and Drogs might miss the 2nd game if they're booked. I'm not a fan of Chucho, Kranjcar or Gibson but I have at least 5 starts from them.


  10. Anonymous5:47 AM

    gibson or thud or any middie @8.43

  11. Anonymous6:41 AM

    i dont think gibson will start both games~~
    btw Is deco injured??does that mean Jcole will start both games?

  12. Great post Neal - my girlfriend & I have been discussing the possibility of visiting South America next year & Argentina is a country that has always appealed; you're post has only added to my desire to go there to experience the culture, the football & the food!

  13. Oooh, you’re such an inspiration. I love this blog