Oh, how miserable it is to be an Arsenal supporter these days. Critical matches to start the season, two excellent players seemingly out the door, two questionable suspensions from the first match of the season, and now the typical injury-riddled squad adding to the misery. Here's the quick round up of the latest injury news heading into the weekend and the implication for fantasy owners:
Arsenal - As stated above, Cesc gone for sure, Nasri seeming to be at 99%, Gervinho and Song suspended, Gibbs, Rosicky, Wilshere, Djourou, Traore, and Diaby crocked. I'm not sure what will happen on the left side of the defense - will Sagna or Jenkinson slide over and play out of position? Will one of the CBs deputize in a Stoke-like alignment? In midfield I think we can assume that we'll see Frimpong, Ramsey, and whichever of Lansbury or Ryo Wenger thinks is the most ready. Up front we should see Arshavin, RvP, and Walcott assuming Arshavin isn't hurt/in the doghouse. Not an ideal situation with Liverpool coming to town but it could certainly be worse (RvP/Verm/Koscielny could be absent too). The downside is that I'm not confident enough in any of the subs to recommend any of them as inexpensive options for your line-up.
City - No injuries to report really. No information at all really.
Chelsea - As reported earlier on this site and pretty much everywhere else, Cech is out for a month leaving Chelsea very vulnerable at the back. I'd think two, three, or even four times before investing in Hilario or any of Chelsea's (rather expensive) defenders.
United - I haven't seen any new official news out of United but just a reminder of what we already knew. 1) DDG is probably a bit shaken after his two ugly goals allowed; 2) His veteran defense is decimated by injuries to Rio, Rafael, and Vidic for sure and we're not sure about Evra since he was held back last weekend as well. You can look at it two ways, the cheap replacements (Smalling, Evans, Jones, Fabio) looked very good in the Community Shield or "that's just too much risk with Bale/VDV/Modric/Spurs coming to town". I lean toward the latter way of thinking for this weekend (and likely next with Arsenal on tap).
Villa - The big question was Given and his groin but it sounds like he/they are a go so nothing negative to report here.
Rovers - On the other end of what looks like a nice match for Villa is the fact that Samba and Nelsen returned to training during the week. I can't imagine they're fully back up to speed but it is likely still an upgrade over the alternatives so maybe a slight downgrade to the value of Villa's attackers (DBent, N'Zog).
Sunderland - With a solid home match, it appears that Gyan has shaken off his injury which means he's a reasonable option at forward. It also devalues Sessegnon somewhat and pushes Wickham, Dong-won, et al to the bench.
Everton - Perhaps the most annoying note of all is that from Everton which indicates that Arteta will be available but gives no indication from the manager as to whether he'll start. What we do know is that Osman (who had been listed on PhysioRoom.com as uncertain until today) is OFF the injury list. Coleman (injury) and Bily (suspension) are definitely out. Sort of a mess figuring out who is likely to start for EVE in a juicy fantasy match-up at home against QPR. The obvious choices are Howard, Baines, Distin, Jagielka, Neville, Fellaini, Cahill, and Saha. The questions are Heitinga, Rodwell, Osman, Arteta, and Beckford. If I were Moyes and I'd watched QPR get worked by Bolton last weekend I'd put the pedal down and start two forwards and only one holding midfielder type (Fellaini) but he seems to prefer the one forward alignment with two of Fellaini, Heiti, and Rodwell holding. If they are healthy enough, I'd expect Arteta and Osman to start regardless of the others but I'm not feeling good enough about any of them at this point to make that call.
Stoke - Nothing that's likely to make a dent in your fantasy line-up to report here but I thought it worth mentioning that Woodgate appears set to start his second straight league match in a row. That's sort of big news for him.
Wigan/Swansea - Neil Taylor is back in Swansea's line-up after finishing up a suspension last weekend. I'm interested to see/hear how he does since the pre-season reviews sounded optimistic as a defender who gets forward. For Wigan, Yayga isn't 100% to start so you may want to hold off even if you like the match-up for Wigan.
There you have it, probably more than you wanted or needed to know. We will be getting started early tomorrow morning with the Live Chat for the Arsenal/Liverpool early match and then carrying through for the 10 AM (EST)/3 PM (GMT) matches. See you there and then.