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Week 15 Injuries, Suspensions & Pre-Deadline Chat

Rotation and injuries continue to play a major role in the team selections of Premier League and Fantasy managers alike in Week 15. Have the managers provided us with enough information to make the correct decisions for our teams this week, or will we be left frustrated by unexpected omissions? Let's find out!

He's quietly been on a very good run of form. Can it continue against Hull?
He's quietly been on a very good run of form. Can it continue against Hull?
Michael Steele

I'll dive right into the team news you need to know, as well as some players I think are worth considering this week:

Manchester United v. Newcastle United

We'll thankfully get the team news before kickoff for this match, because it would be a total shot in the dark trying to choose who will start for David Moyes' side otherwise. Wayne Rooney is suspended, Robin van Persie a major doubt to play with a groin injury, Shinji Kagawa may be ill, Phil Jones could come back into contention for a starting role in midfield or's a complete mess. For Newcastle, Alan Pardew could follow through on his midweek press conference and rest some players (starting them against Swansea didn't do the team any favors), so it's also beneficial for managers gambling on the Geordies to take down the Red Devils.

Fantasy Player To Watch: Adnan Januzaj

Crystal Palace v. Cardiff City

Both sides have relatively clean bills of health heading into this one, and we may see unchanged lineups from both sides as a result. Jason Puncheon did come off against West Ham with a slight knock, so his starting role for Tony Pulis' side may be up for grabs, with either Jimmy Kebe or Johnny Williams coming into contention. Malky Mackay may restore Andrew Taylor and/or Kim Bo Kyung to the starting eleven for the Welsh outfit at the expense of Declan John and Aron Gunnarsson, respectively.

Fantasy Player To Watch: Steven Caulker

Liverpool v. West Ham

Long-term absentees Daniel Sturridge and Jose Enrique are the only notable injuries for the Reds heading into their match with Liverpool B (seriously...Cole, Downing AND Carroll? Thanks for taking them off our wage bill, Sam), though Brendan Rodgers may opt to bring Lucas back into the starting lineup after he was rested for the 5-1 win over Norwich midweek. His inclusion could see Jordan Henderson pushed to the right flank role occupied by Raheem Sterling last time out, or Joe Allen could return to the bench and allow the youngster to continue after an impressive display against the Canaries. In defense, Glen Johnson seems the only nailed-on starter. West Ham will be without the suspended Ravel Morrison for this match, with Matt Jarvis most likely to replace him. Carlton Cole may have to settle for a place on the bench again after being withdrawn at half time against Crystal Palace.

Fantasy Player To Watch: Glen Johnson

Southampton v. Manchester City

Mauricio Pocchetino faces a bit of an injury crisis heading into the weekend, with Artur Boruc, Nathaniel Clyne, Morgan Schneiderlin and Victor Wanyama all ruled out against Manchester City. David Silva and Matija Nastasic remain out for the Citizens, though Manuel Pellegrini admitted David Silva could be ready to return as early as next weekend. Vincent Kompany returned midweek and may be in line for another start, but rotation could become a factor as he may not be fit enough to play twice in the span of a couple days. Pablo Zabaleta could also be given a rest, with Micah Richards waiting in the wings.

Fantasy Player To Watch: Yaya Toure

Stoke City v. Chelsea

Robert Huth remains out for the Potters, with Eric Pieters also a doubt through injury, though Jonathan Walters is fit again and likely to replace Oussama Assaidi on the right flank. Jose Mourinho may opt to rotate his squad yet again, especially in midfield where Oscar remains a doubt and Frank Lampard never got a full rest during the week as a result. Up top, Fernando Torres will face competition from Demba Ba and fit-again Samuel Eto'o.

Fantasy Player To Watch: Juan Mata

West Brom v. Norwich

Jonas Olsson is suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the season against Manchester City. Diego Lugano or Craig Dawson could replace him at center back for the visit of Chris Hughton's side. Victor Anichebe could displace Shane Long from the starting lineup after scoring his first goal for Albion midweek. The Canaries remain without playmakers Robert Snodgrass and Anthony Pilkington, so Wes Hoolahan and Nathan Redmond should deputize once again. Johan Elmander started on his own at Anfield, but will likely drop into the hole behind Gary Hooper for this one.

Fantasy Player To Watch: Boaz Myhill

Sunderland v. Tottenham

Gus Poyet has no real injury concerns other than goalkeeper Kieran Westwood, who may have lost the number one spot to Vito Mannone anyway. However, the Uruguayan did rotate his side midweek, bringing in Jozy Altidore for Stephen Fletcher and Jack Colback for Sebastian Larsson. It's difficult to tell whether he will keep either in the starting lineup for the visit of Spurs, though Altidore may retain his place after finally getting off the mark with his first goal of the season against Chelsea. Andre Villas-Boas has a slightly more worrisome injury list, with Jan Vertonghen confirmed out with an ankle injury and Mousa Dembele a doubt with a hip complaint. Kyle Naughton is most likely to stand in at left back, with a host of options available in central midfield should Dembele fail to be fit in time. Midfield rotation again looks likely, with Andros Townsend and Lewis Holtby pushing for starts after coming off the bench to help turn the game around against Fulham. Roberto Soldado should return up front at the expense of Jermain Defoe, as well.

Fantasy Player To Watch: Roberto Soldado

Fulham v. Aston Villa

Captain Brede Hangeland remains doubtful for the weekend with a leg injury, though Fulham otherwise have a fully fit squad to choose from. New manager Rene Meulensteen may continue with Philippe Senderos, though Fernando Amorebieta could be recalled to partner Aaron Hughes. Paul Lambert has decisions to make up front after Libor Kozak scored against Southampton midweek. Christian Benteke has been in questionable form since his return from injury, and may have to settle for a place on the bench again. There are also question marks over Ron Vlaar's availability for the weekend as he recovers from an injury picked up midweek.

Fantasy Player To Watch: Leandro Bacuna

Arsenal v. Everton

Bacary Sagna is set to miss out again with the injury that kept him on the sidelines for the midweek match against Hull, so Carl Jenkinson will continue at right back in the Frenchman's absence. Arsenal are otherwise injury-free barring long-term absentees. Olivier Giroud will be expected to return to the starting lineup after being rested, though the possibility of rotation throughout the midfield exists with Champions League activity and Premier League matches against Chelsea and Manchester City looming. Roberto Martinez has confirmed Leighton Baines will be out for another 3-4 weeks at least, meaning new fantasy powerhouse Bryan Oviedo will continue in his left back berth. Ross Barkley and Leon Osman will vie for the attacking midfield role, while Kevin Mirallas and Gerard Deulofeu will do the same on the right wing.

Fantasy Player To Watch: Romelu Lukaku

Swansea v. Hull City

Swansea has lost each of their main strikers to injury over the past month or so, with Michu, Wilfried Bony and now Alvaro Vazquez sidelined. The former two are at least close to returning, but it appears as if neither will be ready to go for the weekend. When Vazquez went off injured, Jonjo Shelvey was pushed into the striker role, which he may retain from the start against Hull. Angel Rangel is also out for the Swans, with Dwight Tiendalli likeliest to fill in for the right back. Steve Bruce will be happy to have Curtis Davies back in his starting lineup after being suspended for the loss to Arsenal, but may not have to make further changes as, aside from Sone Aluko, his squad is in good shape.

Fantasy Player To Watch: Jonjo Shelvey


Keep in mind this is a Blog Cup week, so if you are still in it, you will want to focus on picking guaranteed starters rather than taking risks on players who could be rested during this busy time of year. I haven't finalized my own team just yet and may wait until the lineups for the early kickoff are posted, bur for now I'm on:

Lloris, Ward, Caulker, B. Davies, Coutinho, Yaya Toure, Shelvey, Lampard, Aguero, Suarez (c), Hazard

Bench: Oviedo, Palacios, Kelly, Gazzaniga

I've got Mignolet, Kagawa and Chicharito lined up to replace Lloris, Palacios and Aguero (pushing Lampard to the bench), but with the news that Kagawa might not make it I'll have to have a bit of a rethink before saving.

Have you finalized your team yet? If not, which decisions are you still pondering?