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Week 38 Injuries & Suspensions: Rotation Galore Edition

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It's hard to believe, but we're already at the end of another season in the Barclays Premier League. With pretty much everything tied up, there's likely to be quite a bit of rotation this week to put some players in the shop window, save some for other competitions like the World Cup or FA Cup final, and to give others a last chance to play in front of their fans before retiring or moving on to another club.

Fit enough? All eyes will be on this man as he attempts to claim another title for his team.
Fit enough? All eyes will be on this man as he attempts to claim another title for his team.
Clive Brunskill

This is always one of the most difficult weeks to field a strong team with so many question marks over players' motivations when their team has earned safety for another season or has been doomed to relegation.

Obviously, with the title still up for grabs (albeit strongly in favor of the current league leaders), Manchester City and Liverpool still have plenty of motivation and as such should probably be the two teams from which you build the majority of your team. On the contrary, it's most likely best to avoid players from the likes of Arsenal and Hull City ahead of their FA Cup Final clash unless there are players who are confirmed as certain starters.

One final note when deciding on players if you're looking for a bit of a different approach is that there are quite a few players still looking for one more chance to impress their national team managers to earn their place in their respective World Cup squads, and they may also have that extra bit of motivation to play well on the final day.

With that said, let's run down the league and see where investment may be worthwhile and who else should be avoided. 

Arsenal

As mentioned above, the Gunners' involvement in the FA Cup final most likely diminishes the fantasy value of the entire team this weekend, with heavy rotation likely. We could see the likes of Tomas Rosicky, Carl Jenkinson or Thomas Vermaelen come into contention, but I'd recommend looking elsewhere. 

Aston Villa

Leandro Bacuna seems to have dropped out of favor recently, while Marc Albrighton is a doubt for the match at White Hart Lane. Gabby Agbonlahor may return to the starting lineup, however, and Matt Lowton could retain his place at right back. 

Cardiff City

After an illness worked its way through the camp last week, The Bluebirds could welcome back Gary Medel, Fabio da Silva, Kevin Theophile-Catherine and Mats Daehli for their final match against Chelsea. Juan Cala is suspended and will not feature.

Chelsea

Petr Cech and Ramires are definitely out for the Blues through injury and suspension, respectively. Samuel Eto'o, John Terry and Frank Lampard are also major doubts, which could mean appearances for David Luiz, Ashley Cole and Demba Ba. Mark Schwarzer will continue in goal, while Eden Hazard could return to the starting lineup after his tiff with Jose Mourinho.

Crystal Palace

Tony Pulis was able to inspire his side to a wonderful (for them) comeback against Liverpool, and you'd bet on them finishing the season in the fine form that brought them from the bottom of the table at Christmas to an 11th place finish. Look for a strong team from Palace, with Cameron Jerome the only regular starter in doubt.

Everton

Facing a Hull side with their focus on the FA Cup Final, Everton's chances of a final victory in this stellar season seem pretty solid. Players like Ross Barkley and Gareth Barry will be pushing for a late inclusion in Roy Hodgson's plans for the England squad. Kevin Mirallas remains out, but cameo appearances could be on the cards for Stephen Pienaar, Lacina Traore and Darron Gibson after recovering from long-term injuries.

Fulham

Having already succumbed to relegation, Fulham have an opportunity to say goodbye to the Premier League in front of their fans as they face off against Crystal Palace. No new injury concerns should mean Felix Magath runs out a similar team to the ones we've seen in recent weeks, but there's no guarantee he won't tinker with nothing on the line, so options from the Cottagers are best avoided.

Hull City

Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic are both ineligible to participate in the FA Cup Final against Arsenal, but we should expect an otherwise diminished starting eleven to take on Everton at the KC Stadium. Sone Aluko, Allan McGregor and Paul McShane are all doubts to feature in this one alongside James Chester and Robbie Brady.

Liverpool

Jordan Henderson returns from a 3-match suspension for his red card against Man City and should replace Joe Allen in the midfield diamond. Philippe Coutinho is also fit again and could send Lucas Leiva to the bench as well for the final match against Newcastle. Mamadou Sakho may be dropped as well after the capitulation against Palace, with Daniel Agger the man to step in. 

Manchester City

Sergio Aguero has proclaimed himself to be fit and seems likely to feature, although in what capacity and for how long is a question that will likely prevent most managers from keeping him in their teams. City have an otherwise fully fit squad to choose from, so the only other doubts are regular rotation risks like Aleksandar Kolarov, Gael Clichy, Jesus Navas, Fernandinho and Javi Garcia.

Manchester United

It's still mathematically possible for Ryan Giggs' side to reach the Europa League with a win and Tottenham loss this weekend, though it may not be a goal United are looking to achieve. Expect more rotation and more chances given to the fringe members of the team, with farewells perhaps coming from Nemanja Vidic and Giggs himself. Wayne Rooney seems set to miss out again through injury, as does Phil Jones.

Newcastle

Alan Pardew seems unlikely to make too many changes, if any at all, following his side's victory against Cardiff last weekend, with Davide Santon and Papiss Cisse the most notable absentees through injury. Loic Remy will be eager to build off of a promising performance in Week 37 to bolster his hopes of making it to the World Cup. 

Norwich City

While they haven't officially been relegated, it would take something miraculous from Norwich and Stoke to overturn the 17-goal difference between the Canaries and their nearest rival in the table, West Brom. Arsenal may not be at full strength, but relying on Norwich to score goals is like asking K.M. to post a comment without any attempt at humor. If you're still considering picking Norwich players, you should know that Anthony Pilkington, Joseph Yobo and Jonas Gutierrez will all miss out.

Southampton

The Saints have had an excellent season under Mauricio Pochettino, and they'll want to send their fans off with a win over United. Adam Lallana, Ricky Lambert and Luke Shaw will be playing to impress Roy Hodgson and may be cheeky picks for investment ahead of England's World Cup squad announcement on Monday.

Stoke City

If they REALLY wanted Norwich to stay in the league next season, Stoke players would be worth looking at for their match against West Brom. Given that there is seemingly no such desire from the Potters, it's likely best to stay away. Oussama Assaidi is a doubt through injury, meaning Peter Crouch could return, but his World Cup chances are far too low to be worth consideration at this point.

Sunderland

After somehow managing to pull off the great escape and secure survival for another season, you wouldn't fault the Black Cats for finally easing off the gas and letting go of the stress of the relegation battle. Gus Poyet has hinted at rotating a number of his players following their contributions over the past few weeks, with Sebastian Larsson, Santiago Vergini and Lee Cattermole perhaps likeliest to be dropped for Emmanuele Giaccherini, Phil Bardsley and Liam Bridcutt. Jozy Altidore could also replace Connor Wickham as the lone striker.

Swansea City

Michu, Angel Rangel and Chico Flores are all likely to be absent for Swansea's trip to the Stadium of Light. Wilfried Bony's form may be the only thing going for the Swans in this one, though Michel Vorm could work his way into the Dutch team with a big performance.

Tottenham Hotspur

A win or draw will confirm Spurs' participation in the Europa League next season, so there is still a small incentive for Tim Sherwood's men to go out and get a result against Aston Villa. Younes Kaboul's suspension means Vlad Chiriches will deputize at center back, while injuries remain an issue for Kyle Walker, Nacer Chadli, Jan Vertonghen and Andros Townsend

West Bromwich Albion

All they need to do is avoid a double-digit loss to Stoke to secure survival, but West Brom might as well go after at least a point in their final game. They're still dealing with an injury crisis of sorts in defense, with Billy Jones and Steven Reid still missing, though Liam Ridgewell could return. That move would allow Chris Brunt to return to midfield and would subsequently see James Morrison drop to the bench. Beyond that, the Baggies should be relatively unchanged.

West Ham United

With nothing to play for but pride, it seems unlikely that West Ham will give their all to prevent City from claiming their second title in three years, but stranger things have happened. The Hammers have a pretty much fully fit squad to choose from, with only fringe players like Marco Borriello and Modibo Maiga missing through injury. This match could be bus vs. bus if City play for a draw, so it's most likely best to avoid investment in West Ham's attacking players (unless you are insane, like me).

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I dropped out a long time ago, but as a reminder, Week 38 is the final week of the Blog Cup. Mo should have the results from the previous round available soon so you can see if you still have a chance of winning it all. 

Since I am not in, I feel I can continue to take a few risks with my selections. Here's where I currently stand with my team:

Howard, Luiz, Skrtel, Kompany, Sterling, Silva, Toure, Henderson, Sturridge, Aguero, Suarez (c)

As you can see, at the moment I still have Sergio Aguero in my starting lineup, though an admittedly crazy move could see me drop the Argentine in favor of Andy Carroll...a move which would either mean switching Vincent Kompany for Glen Johnson or upgrading Andy Wilkinson on my bench to Vlad Chiriches. The other choice I face is whether to go with Ross Barkley or keep David Silva in my team. Otherwise, I'm almost certain my team will remain the same.

How is your team shaping up? Are you going to go with Aguero? And, for the heck of it, let's end this with one last poll: