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Premier League Injuries & Suspensions Week 15

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The injuries are hitting hard to Utd, City and Arsenal in the EPL. Can the likes of Leicester, Liverpool, and Spurs take advantage?

He is back but does he start on Sunday?
He is back but does he start on Sunday?
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Out: Fantasy-relevant players who have been confirmed out for the week, either through injury or suspension

Doubt: Players facing the dreaded fitness test, rotation concerns and those who are out of form/favour

In: The likeliest replacements for the Outs & Doubts or those returning from injury

Win: Fantasy player to watch / my hunch pick of the week

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Arsenal

Out: Francis Coquelin, Alexis Sanchez, Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla

Doubt: Laurent Koscielny, Theo Walcott,

In: Joel Campbell, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain,

Win: Nacho Monreal

From a fantasy managers view this is a frustrating one.  Arsenal home to the Black Cats is always a game where your thoughts should be on the home team's options.  Unfortunately this season that happens to be when the away side suddenly has found defensive organisation and the home team are in the middle of an injury crises.  Arsenal also have the distraction of a Champions League decider midweek.

Whilst not ideal then we can find a pick or two that could interest.  Regardless of the away sides form and changes to the home team's starting 11, you can see Arsenal controlling or dominating possession and territory.  It seems likely then that Arsenal will need to put plenty of crosses into the box to break down the away defence.  With Ox/Campbell and Theo all doubts to play that leaves us with Ozil and his set piece or the full backs.  Monreal put in 12 crosses last tie out and I'd take a guess that many of those were post Sanchez.  He could then provide a few sc, an assist and a clean sheet for a big haul if you have the funds.

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Aston Villa

Out: Jordan Amavi, Jack Grealish, Tiago Ilori

Doubt: Gabriel Agbonlahor, Idrissa Gana Gueye, Micah Richards

In: Carlos Sanchez,

Win: Scott Sinclair

I found it hard to pick a player this week.  Having said that Saints midweek beating from Liverpool may well have left some mental damage.   After such a defeat you look for clubs to bounce back but it may be that the on paper easy home game becomes a testing fixture, especially if there is no early Saints lead.  Sinclair holds pen duty so he gets the nod.

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AFC Bournemouth

Out: Max Gradel, Tyrone Mings, Callum Wilson, Tommy Elphick

Doubt: Christian Atsu, Artur Boruc, Marc Pugh, Tokelo Rantie, Lee Tomlin

In: Andrew Surman

Win: Matt Ritchie

From a fantasy view Ritchie has been a player much more influential when playing at home and a trip to the EPl champions on a clean sheet streak could put you off.   Having said that the Cherries have racked up the goals and goal attempts in the last couple weeks so on the ball may have the most confidence in a while.  Ritchie is due a goal.

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Chelsea

Out: Radamel Falcao, John Terry

Doubt: Ramires, Kenedy,

In: Thibaut Courtois,

Win: Eden Hazard

There are signs that the champions are finally clicking into something like form.  With the Cherries conceding goals quite happily, there should be something here for the blues in attack.

This has also coincided with glimpses of the Hazard from last season.   His still doesn't have the returns/end product in recent weeks to feel he is a must but it feels like a lot of fingers may be chewed by not having him this week.

If you think different or lack funds you could try Pedro.  Nobody has had more efforts on goal in home games this season for his club.  Finally, if you prefer to stick the common sense approach of form, then surely Willian is the pick.

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Crystal Palace

Out: Bakary Sako, Wilfred Zaha

Doubt: N/A

In: Dwight Gayle,

Win: Yohan Cabaye

Bolasie was last week's player of the round and with good-big fantasy returns in his last three in the Fantrax game you could hold onto him.

Those of you holding onto Cabaye at 5-8m it's a no brainer to keep him at least until he gets his next yellow.

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Everton

Out: Bryan Oviedo, Phil Jagielka, Luke Garbutt

Doubt: Leighton Baines

In: N/A

Win: Lukaku

Evertons attack has been pretty spectacular in recent games.  6-2 and 4-0 wins were followed by a 3 all draw.  Scoring has been no issue for the Toffees.

Lukaku has now scored in 4 straight league games and despite the Eagles have been better away from home it's hard not to like him once more.  I know we discuss every week but that Troll trap is due and with many of us holding on to him with our discount it could be this week.   I'm just not dropping him right now.

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Leicester City

Out: N/A

Doubt: N/A

In: N/A

Win: Rihad Marez

Tipping the most expensive player in Fantrax over super Jamie Vardy seems a gamble.  Marhez has shown himself to be a consistent fantasy scorer in general but also a great bully of weak sides.  Swansea are struggling and being an attacking side will likely look to address the slump in form by trying to take the game to the Foxes.  This approach suit's Mahrez and co down to the ground, allowing them to use their pace and tricks on the break.  I like a Mahrez goal this week.

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Liverpool

Out: Mamadou Sakho, Joe Gomez, Danny Ings, Emre Can

Doubt: Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge, Jordan Henderson,

In: Lucas,

Win: Alberto Moreno

Wow pool are looking real good away from home under Jurgen Klopp.  Big wins at Chelsea, City and Saints while struggling at home to Swnasea and Palace suggests the time to back them is away from home right now.  When you away day is at Steve McClaren's Magpies you can be even more tempted.   The problem is just who will start?

Daniel Sturridge is the 1st name on everyone's mind.  On the back of a brace in the cup QF he is priced super low in Fantrax.  Will he start a second game in short time this quick into his comeback?  Will he even survive the days between without further injury problems?  We saw midweek that QF of the cup or not Klopp looks for freshness in his players so I assume he is rested for this one, what do you think?

Second name on the list would be Phillipe Coutinho.  Hamstrings are not something to be bold with, particularly with star players, particularly in winter.  If he starts I don't see a full game here, maybe with the form of others in the squad he may not even start.

Using then the idea you want 11 starters in your side who are the next best?   Roberto Firmino/Christian Benteke both seem likely to start.  One doesn't get you 90 min the other can troll you as easy as he can hit a brace.

Tough calls then, so I will go with the player I think starts and gets forward as much as almost any other team mate, Moreno.  He has been racking up points since Klopps appointment and an assist plus possible clean sheet look likely here.

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Manchester City

Out: Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, Eliaquim Mangala, Samir Nasri, Pablo Zabaleta

Doubt: Gael Clichy, Jesus Navas, Fernando (all rotation), Sergio Aguero

In: David Silva

Win: Raheem Sterling

Away to Stoke on a winters lunchtime isn't ideal.  Stoke has got over their poor early week form and before last week's surprise loss looked the handful they are known to be.  City have done well in the fixture but with Kun and Kompany injured against it has the look of a banana skin game.

Sterling got a rest midweek meaning he should start this one.  For that reason alone he is my city pick.

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Manchester United

Out: Ander Herrera, Phil Jones, Luke Shaw, Antonio Valencia, Marcos Rojo, Wayne Rooney

Doubt:,Their desire to shoot at goal.

In: Jesse Lingard

Win: Chris Smalling

Well a home tie with West Ham should mean certain Utd picks in your side/s.  When you add in the Hammers are in a growing winless streak and missing their star player even more so.  Then add Utd are a point of the league lead.  It says it all about the Red Devils that despite all of this they don't have a single must have player this week.

I figure there is a goal in it for United and when form is the way it is we will play safe with a set piece solution.  Mike Smalling has been excellent this season so we can combine his clean sheet chance with his dangers at corners to be our pick.

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Newcastle

Out: Tim Krul

Doubt: Cheikh Tiote

In: Vurnon Anita

Win: Moussa Sissoko

Even more than Villa it's hard to find a pick I like in this one.  Let's assume the manger gets the players on side this week, then it would be a performance all about energy, spirit and drive.  Sissoko is the pick based on that.

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Norwich City

Out: Gary Hooper, Alexander Tettey, Matt Jarvis

Doubt: Andre Wisdom, Nathan Redmond (both rotation)

In: Russell Martin, Wes Hoolahan

Win: Robbie Brady

I thought they played well against Arsenal last week and the pick is easy.  Brady is in fine form scoring consistently well in fantasy and overdue a goal.  Watford away is tough but my gut is wanting me to pick him somewhere in my teams this week.

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Southampton

Out: Jay Rodriguez

Doubt: N/A

In: Graziano Pelle

Win: Dusan Tadic

What looked a further Villa demolition looks a little more interesting after the Liverpool result.  Tadic has been consistent and holds set pieces and penalty duties.  If the Saints struggle early they may need something like a pen to win the game.

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Stoke City

Out: N/A

Doubt: Phillip Wollscheid, Peter Crouch

In: Geoff Cameron (maybe)

Win: Bojan

He has looked the most likely goalscorer in the Stoke side for a few weeks now.

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Sunderland

Out: Jack Rodwell, Jermain Defoe, Sebastian Larrson

Doubt: Jermain Defoe, Fabio Borini, DeAndre Yedlin,

In: Billy Jones, Adam Johnson

Win: Patrick van Aanholt

PVA is back to the fantasy player we know.  The clean sheet looks a big ask as does a second consecutive goal, more his ability to pick up the phantom points gives him the pick.

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Swansea City

Out:

Doubt: Leon Britton, Wayne Routledge (both rotation), Bafetimbi Gomis (form)

In: Jonjo Shelvey

Win: Siggy

My soft spot for Siggy means he is my selection.  Like his team his form is poor but Leicester keep few clean sheets.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Out: Nacer Chadli, Nabil Bentaleb, Ryan Mason

Doubt: Erik Lamela

In: Dele Alli

Win: Christian Eriksen

Now back in the groove after injury, there are signs of growing influence from the Spurs playmaker.

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Watford FC

Out: Valon Behrami,

Doubt: Jurado, Heurelho Gomes, Sebastian Prodl

In: Nathan Ake

Win: Juan Carlos Paredes

Pure gamble this one.  Paredas played on the right of the attacking trio last week playing 67 minutes.  He may not do so again but for 1877 in Fantrax as a defender you have love to temptation.

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West Bromwich Albion

Out: Ben Foster, Yacob

Doubt: N/A

In: Chris Brunt, Rickie Lambert

Win: Lambert

Once more a pick on value.  3170 in Fantrax WBA looked much better with him alongside Rondon and may have done enough to start.

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West Ham United

Out: Dimitri Payet, Enner Valencia, Sakho

Doubt: Oxford

In: Andy Carroll

Win: Manuel Lanzini

Lanzini is in fine form and the Hammer best bet this week.

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As it seems always my team/s will be a Saturday morning construction.

I like Chelsea, Liverpool, Saints and Arsenal for win this week so their players will hold spots in my side.  I hope to see a more lively Manchester United approach this week and I could still be tempted with a go with Martial, Mata or Depay.

The news on Courtois and Harts return has left me with a problem in goal in the Fantrax game.

Lots to think about.  How does the injury news effect your sides for the weekend ahead?

Stall