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The Week Ahead - New Year's Edition - Never Manage Alone
Everything you need to set your Premier League fantasy line-up for the New Years match week.

... and now back to your regularly scheduled Headers & Footers post.

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A global start to the next round of fixtures as we look at Ba's availability, Bale's deployment, and football in outposts like the America and China.

Newcastle’s Ben Arfa pushes for place against Liverpool - Newcastle Utd - Peterlee Mail
"When Demba goes away, Hatem’s going to have to come to the fore," Pardew told SportMail... Ba, meanwhile, has been declared fit for Anfield by Pardew.

Phil Jones ready for Blackburn - Official Manchester United Website
Manchester United defender Phil Jones is in line to face his former club Blackburn Rovers for the first time on Saturday.

OFFSIDE REMARKS: Henry should not play for Arsenal

Tottenham Gareth Bale relishing the freedom of new central role - News - MirrorFootball.co.uk
Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp has now moved Bale inside to a more central midfield position behind striker Emmanuel Adebayor. And he responded with a brace in Tuesday’s 2-0 win at Norwich, which included an impressive solo goal to take his tally in the Premier League to eight.

Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 19 Preview | Never Captain Nicky Butt
A disappointing week for many fantasy managers as the leading candidates in the Boxing Day fixtures failed to produce. Manchester United win 5-0 but neither Wayne Rooney nor Nani registered a single goal or assist. That’s ridiculous. The chances of that happening again, in a game where they both play, has to be one in a million…

Chelsea, Abramovich, and the AVB Disaster - Soccer Rants - The Good the Bad and the Ugly of the Beautiful Game

Why China fails at football: Little red card | The Economist
The telling reasons why, at least in football, China is unlikely to rule the world in the near future