- Per Mertesacker is set to be sidelined with an ankle injury
- John Terry returns to light training for Chelsea
- Emmanuel Adebayor praises his new strike partner
- Carlos Tevez sounds far from apologetic
- Alan Pardew hints that Ryan Taylor is crucial to Newcastle’s midfield
Reports suggest Per Mertesacker could be out for more than a month with an ankle injury sustained in Saturday’s win at Sunderland. The German slipped in possession, allowing James McClean to fire the Black Cats ahead, and was subbed off with the problem at the Stadium of Light. His absence looks likely to afford Thomas Vermaelen a return to centre-half, with Kieran Gibbs set to make his first appearance since October.
Chelsea issued an injury update on defensive duo John Terry and Ashley Cole yesterday. Terry –who hasn’t played since Gameweek 22- returned to light training, while Cole is set to be monitored, after picking up bruising of the calf in the weekend loss at Everton.
Carlos Cuellar admitted he is happy to play anywhere for Aston Villa right now. The Spaniard has started Villa’s last three games, stepping in for the injured James Collins, then, upon Collins’ recovery, moving to left-back against City on Sunday, as Alex McLeish shook things up after a poor performance at Newcastle the previous weekend. With Richard Dunne out for up to eight weeks with a fractured collarbone, though, Cuellar is likely to return to centre-half alongside Collins once again.
While Peter Odemwingie earned the plaudits for his hat-trick at Wolves, Roy Hodgson has praised another of his West Brom forwards- Marc-Antoine Fortune. The Frenchman had played no part in the Baggies league season until Gameweek 21, and has since started their last four, even playing in a withdrawn midfield role at Molineux, with Odemwingie the lone striker. Judging by Hodgson’s comments, he looks to have went some way to securing a first-team place:
He looks a different player. He continued to work hard and fight even through the lean moments where he was sometimes not even on the bench. I’ve admired him for that. A little bit of confidence could be the reason for things looking up and his loan spell at Doncaster helped him a little bit as well. All those factors play a part and against Wolves on Sunday I thought he was very good.
Emmanuel Adebayor has talked up his partnership with Louis Saha, after the pair dismantled Newcastle at the weekend. Starting for the first time together as a strike duo, they grabbed 3 goals and 5 assists between them, as both banished their recent poor form in sensational style. Saha hadn’t netted in any of his previous fourteen appearances for Spurs and former club Everton, while Adebayor went into the match with no goals in his last seven. The latter admitted they have struck up an instant understanding, saying:
It was easy because I know him from France and I know how he plays. We talked a lot before the game. I know where he goes on the pitch and we talked a lot on the pitch. That made it easy for us.
The papers are full of the Carlos Tevez Fox Sports interview. While the Argentine heads back to Manchester, with Roberto Mancini expecting an apology in order to consider playing him again, Tevez –as always- was in defiant mood. By the looks of things, Mancini will need to be in a very forgiving mood if he is to turn a blind eye to Tevez’s ranting, with the player – despite insisting he wants to win back the fans’ support- going on to claim:
He’s in the middle of an argument so then he tells me to keep on warming up and treats me like a dog. I was just sitting on the bench and you can see from the footage that I was calm and just talking with Zabaleta. Mancini said some horrible things to me.
Alan Pardew’s call for a swift response to Newcastle’s defeat at Spurs was intriguing for Fantasy managers. While Cheik Tiote and Yohan Cabaye are regarded as crucial to the Magpies’ midfield, Pardew seemed to allude to the loss of Ryan Taylor at the Lane as significant, too, going on to say:
We had three key midfielders missing, and when you play a team as good as Spurs, you need all of your best players. We didn’t have that and we were punished for not having round pegs in round holes.
In Taylor’s absence on Saturday evening, Pardew started with Gabriel Obertan on the right, before introducing Shane Ferguson at half time in a damage-limitation exercise, with his side already four down. Judging by Pardew’s comments’ though, Taylor seems in the driving seat for that right midfield berth for the game against Wolves, providing he can recover from an ankle injury in time.