Injuries and Suspensions

So, the information starts trickling in and it is up to us to make some sense of it.  Before I get to the Injuries and Suspensions post though, I figured I'd check in with Major League Soccer since I had the occasion to do so last night for the first time since the beginning of the season.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not a snob about these things but if you saw DC United play this season, you'll realize why I couldn't stomach the idea of going out of my way to watch them play live (which now requires a 45+ minute drive for me) or even on TV.  I tuned in to the playoff match between New York Red Bulls and the San Jose Earthquakes and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of play.  It wasn't up to the standard of the Premier League by any stretch of the imagination but it was certainly very watchable.  Did I enjoy it more because old friend Bobby Convey (fellow Philadelphian, former DC United player, and subject of some good stories told to me by the head of marketing at Reading FC from his time in the Prem and Championship with the Royals) scored two goals and got the winning assist? Definitely.  Even more so because New York lost despite fielding three "designated players" (for those not familiar read "really expensive guys from Europe")? Even more so.  Here are a couple observations:
  • Funny to see that the move down to MLS hasn't made TH14 any better at heading the ball - he missed a fantastic opportunity to tie the match in the late going but didn't even put it on frame from about 4 yards out.  Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose. (Look at me breaking out a few years of being a mediocre French student).
  • 17 year old forward Juan Aqudelo looks like he's going to be really good.  He just kept making things happen.  Very interesting to see the next generation of USMNT players starting to emerge.  
  • For those interested in learning a few names before they hit Europe, here are some names that will become the next few who start appearing in the rumor mill - Aqudelo, Andy Najar (M, DC United), Tim Ream (CB, New York), and Omar Gonzalez (CB, LA Galaxy).  All are eligible to play for the USA and seem likely to have the upside to attract interest from England, Spain, Italy, and/or Germany in the next two to three years.  
OK, on to the injuries and suspensions and analysis of what it all means:

  • Rooney/Nani/Giggs/Valencia - That's a lot of attacking talent wearing street clothes and if you look below, there's another pretty large group of barely adequate reserves who are also questionable for this weekend.
  • Lampard/Bosingwa - Somewhere along the line Lamps went from "quite possible" to "out" while Malouda went from "out" to "possible" [and now "in" --]- what we do know is that Bos is out but Zhirkov is in (and playing in midfield)
  • RvP/Vermaelen - The important thing about this list is that Cesc, Arsh, Song, and Denilson are not on it meaning that Arsenal have a relatively (for them) healthy squad.  The downside here is that it means a lot of fantasy question marks around selection (Nasri? Wilshere? Denilson? Walcott?).  My bet is that Nasri plays along with Song, Cesc, Arsh, and Chamakh for sure and I wouldn't want to risk any fantasy budget on the debate over who claims the final midfield/forward spot. 
  • VDV - From the sounds of it, VDV is definitely out with a hamstring injury.  I'm keeping him because I have him under 6 and it sounds like he'll miss two games at the maximum.  The important thing here is this means that Bale should be the main provider again which makes him an excellent fantasy buy as opposed to being a questionable value.
  • Bramble - Suspended as part of Sunderland's complete capitulation to NUFC last weekend. Nothing to see here.
  • Frazier Campbell - No, his absence isn't terribly important but Gyan looks like he'll *finally* start - way to use a huge stack of cash there Mr. Bruce.  Gyan could be value against a mediocre Stoke side traveling to the Stadium of Light.
  • Gabby/Carew/Heskey - Remember all that talk of Villa having a great first team but not much beyond that - uh oh, not good when all of your recognized strikers with any track record in the Prem are crocked.  I'm not a Houlier fan particularly but I wouldn't put too much blame on his lap quite yet.  Delfouneso could represent value if you're looking for a cheap striker but @FUL with little attacking power might be a hard ask.
  • Noble - With Cameron Jerome and Zigic likely to partner in an attacking line-up for Brum, WHU could get all the help it can find to defend but Noble won't be among those trying as he recovers from appendix surgery.
Late Fitness Test
  • Ramires/Essien/Malouda/Kalou - Anceloti was coy about these two choices (Ramires/Essien and Malouda/Kalou) at his press conference today.  Given that most of these guys are pretty expensive, it means that I'll likely be leaving all of them out in favor of players who will definitely be playing.
  • Anderson/Gibson/Fletcher/Evans/Macheda - Does SAF even have enough healthy bodies to field a full squad? With the exception of Fletcher, this crew has been felled by the flu so you could see one or more sucking it up and playing if they had to but it seems likely that both Oberton and Bebe will get starts along with Park, Chicharito, and Berbs.
  • Tevez - He's back in the country so that's a start but he's not a sure thing which puts him, K2, and Balotelli in question as far as their fantasy value.  I'd ignore all three unless something more definitive comes out later today.
  • Odemwingie - There hasn't been much information about his injury but he's still listed as "doubtful" so it seems like a good idea to not only wait until it seems like he'll play, but perhaps a week after that to see if he is really back to the form he was enjoying before he was injured.
  • MTay - Taylor isn't injured but seemingly, neither is MPet who seems likely to return from a little-publicized injury that kept him out of the line-up the last couple weeks.  As a result, MTay is doubtful to start due to coach's decision.
At the end of the day, we didn't learn too much other than that Chelsea's attacking midfielders and Citeh's forwards have little value because we don't know which ones will play.  The one bit of clarity we got was that van der Vaart won't play which increases Bale's value significantly.  

See you tomorrow for Live Chat.

Cheers - Neal


  1. Anonymous5:02 PM

    That's what Henry gets for playing fair. He should have gone with his instincts: catch the ball and throw it into the net.

  2. As a DC United fan I also enjoyed watching Convey help bring down New York and I have to implore you to share some of those Reading stories.