Arsenal's new central defensive partnership? Possibly not.
As is often the case after a midweek of Champions League and Europa League football, we have a lot of injury fall-out thrown on top of the injuries and suspensions picked up last weekend, so let's waste no further time ... this is what you need to know as we approach the Week 11 deadline.
Let's start with Arsenal, who face West Brom at home and will of course welcome back the league's in-form player, Robin van Persie, to the starting line-up after his Champions League rest. I'd expect Arsene Wenger to stick with the same front six of Song, Ramsey, Arteta, Walcott, Gervinho & RvP, but things are slightly less clear cut in defence. Johan Djourou and Carl Jenkinson are both options at right-back, while Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and Thomas Vermaelen will battle it out for the two central slots. Koscielny got a rest in midweek so you'd expect him to start, meaning it's a straight fight to the death (possibly) between Verm & Mertz. I currently have Vermaelen in my team so this creates a doubt that I could've done without at this time on a Friday. Kieran Gibbs is still out so Andre Santos will continue at left full-back.
Manchester City were might impressive against Villarreal despite resting approximately £100trillion worth of talent and Queens Park Rangers won't be looking forward to the return of those players this weekend. Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko were both benched so they should be the chosen partnership up front, and bargain of the week Stefan Savic (5.45!) should keep take the place of the suspended Vincent Kompany. Alexander Kolarov's renaissance continues as he's set to push Gael Clichy back to the bench after a rest in midweek, but there is a concern over David Silva, who picked up a back injury in that game. It's not serious but with James Milner and Adam Johnson waiting in the wings Mancini may not risk the Spanish wizard in what should be a fairly easy game. I'm holding Silva at 8 so will probably hang on but I wouldn't be bringing him in at full price.
It's a big weekend for Villas Boas as Chelsea come off back-to-back league defeats for the first time in 33 games. Didier Drogba is still suspended so Fernando Torres will continue up front, presumably supported by Juan Mata and Daniel Sturridge. Away at Blackburn can be quite a rough game so Mikel will probably be preferred to Raul Meireles with Ramires and Frank Lampard completing the midfield. it will be between David Luiz and Jose Bosingwa for the final defensive place, with Branislav Ivanovic partnering John Terry or taking the right-back spot depending on that decision.
Liverpool could stick with the same side that beat West Brom as Steven Gerrard remains out with an ankle infection and Jamie Carragher doubtful with a calf injury. That would mean a starting XI of: Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique, Henderson, Adam, Lucas, Downing, Carroll, Suarez although there's a chance Dirk Kuyt could come in on the right of midfield in place of Jordan Henderson. I feel really sorry for Martin Kelly who has done nothing wrong, yet finds himself on the bench with Glen Johnson taking his place. I much prefer Kelly as an all-round full-back - what say you Liverpool fans?
Manchester United will be looking to pick up the first half of their annual 6 point gift from Fergie's old mate Steve Bruce as Sunderland visit Old Trafford this weekend. United have some problems with Ashley Young, Ryan Giggs, Chris Smalling and Tom Cleverley missing so it's very possible that Wayne Rooney continues his central midfield role, with Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez leading the line. I've read two stories today indicating that Patrice Evra will be missing to attend a family funeral (UPDATE: confirmed Evra is NOT in the squad), which would mean Fabio (4.31) has a chance of a start at left-back. Park Ji-Sung or Antonio Valencia will take the wing spot vacated by Young.
Tottenham Hotspur face a tricky trip to Craven Cottage this weekend, where Fulham are showing signs of life after a slow start under good ol' Martin Jol. Spurs rested their entire team in the Europa League on Thursday night and you have to think that was done because Harry Redknapp plans to stick with the same team that beat QPR. As a reminder that would mean Friedel, Walker, King, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Parker, Modric, Bale, Van Der Vaart, Adebayor start this one, although William Gallas may have something to say about that, with Younes Kaboul the most likely to make way, although that would be harsh on Kaboul who has been playing pretty well. Rafael Van Der Vaart will be looking to score in his 6th successive league game, which would be a club record.
Newcastle are having a sensational start to their season and could actually reach 2nd spot if results (however unlikely) go their way this weekend. They will be without Gabriel Obertan against Everton as he has an infection and is likely to be replaced by Sylvain Marveaux or Hatem Ben Arfa, with Marveaux the most likely, which is frustrating for those of us who want to take advantage of Ben Arfa's price. Cheik Tiote remains a doubt so Danny Guthrie could continue after impressing in the win at Stoke on Monday night and Demba Ba will be looking to continue his amazing goalscoring form.
Wolves manager Mick McCarthy needs to decide whether to risk Stephen Fletcher, who has just returned to full training, or continue with Kevin Doyle up front on his own in a 4-4-1-1 for what could be a season defining game against Wigan. Jamie O'Hara and Stephen Hunt are both likely to feature, Matt Jarvis should return to the the starting line-up and Adlène Guédioura (3.67) who has been impressing off the bench and got a start against Manchester City last weekend, could continue.
Darren Bent and Gabby Agbonlahor will continue upfront for Aston Villa against Norwich, with Barry Bannan also in contention having returned to training after his was suspended by the club for drink-driving. The rest of the team should be as expected with Given, Hutton, Dunne, Collins & Warnock at the back and the dirt cheap Chris Herd (2.05) likely to keep his place in central midfield.
Bolton will be without long term injuries Alonso, Boyata, Davis, Holden, Lee, Mears and Ricketts, while Ricardo Gardner is suspended.
Blackburn are missing Dann, Grella, Nelsen, Salgado due to injury this weekend
Queens Park Ranger have problems, with Adel Taarabt and Shaun Derry doubts, while Agyemang, Buzsaky, Campbell, Connolly, Dyer, Hall, Hulse and Rowlands are all definitely out.
Wigan captain Gary Caldwell is suspended this weekend after picking up five yellow cards.
My own team currently looks like this:
De Gea, Brown, Savic, Vermaelen, Ramires, Guedioura, Silva, Van Der Vaart, Gervinho, Suarez, Aguero
Obviously it's lacking Van Persie but after missing the barndoor last week there was no way I was going to pay 28-30 units for him, so I've stuck with Van Der Vaart and Suarez as my main investments. If you ignore the (admittedly major) no-RvP issue and everyone plays then I think the rest of my team has a really nice balance but if Vermaelen, Silva and Guedioura all missed out then I'd be in big massive serious trouble, so I have some major decisions to make before now and the deadline.
I'll leave it there - we'll be back with a Pre-Deadline Countdown Live Chat so please join us for that tomorrow.
How's your team looking?