Injury news in beginning to pile up a bit in the early days of the international break and EPL fantasy managers should consider a moratorium on any moves until after the fixtures have been exhausted. First up is the injury to Italy U-21 and Liverpool forward Fabio Borini:
Liverpool FC striker Fabio Borini is facing an extended spell on the sidelines after breaking a bone in his right foot. A scan confirmed the fracture after Borini was hurt during training ahead of Italy Under-21s’ Euro 2013 play-off clash with Sweden tomorrow night. It’s not yet clear how long Borini will be out for but he will return to Merseyside for treatment.
Borini had not played in the league for LFC since he earned 45′ in the 1-2 loss to Manchester United at Anfield on September 23. The forward has recorded 333′ and EPL fantasy managers have sold him in droves with negative net transfers for six gameweeks on the bounce. His current selection is 0.9%. This is important news because it is one fewer player for manager Brendan Rodgers to use and should ensure that youngster Raheem Sterling – 8.6% selected in Fantasy Premier League, £4.8m — continues in the first-choice starting XI. The teenager has five full 90′ and more than 65′ in six straight. Sterling looks a great value and has created 11 chances, third on the team behind Steven Gerrard (21) and Luis Suarez (18).
This injury could also mean increased minutes for Nuri Sahin. The £6.7m-rated midfielder could be a good EPL fantasy purchase coming out of the break. The Reds face Reading(h), Everton(a) and Newcastle(h). Sahin played 65′ and 78′ in the last two Barclays Premier League fixtures, scoring a goal and adding two assists in the Red’s 2-5 victory over Norwich. He has been on-form and a healthy return from the break should see him given the chance to solidify his place in Rodgers’ first-choice starting XI.
Worth noting that Oussama Assaidi has also targeted a first-team place:
Assaidi followed up a promising debut away to Young Boys in the Europa League last month with a fine performance in the Reds’ League Cup triumph at West Brom. That earned him a Premier League bow as a second-half substitute against Norwich City and he started at Anfield for the first time in last week’s defeat to Udinese. Assaidi was also introduced late on in last Sunday’s stalemate with Stoke City and he believes he’s rapidly coming to terms with the demands of English football.
The £6.3m-rated midfielder is not owned in FPL with 0.0% selection. EPL fantasy managers should not purchase him until he has solidified a permanent place in Rodgers’ plans.
Marouane Fellaini could be fit for the Merseyside derby in gameweek nine as the Belgian international has played down the injury suffered earlier this week:
The influential midfielder was forced out of Belgium’s two upcoming qualifying games with a knee problem and is now focussing all his efforts on returning to action for his club as soon as possible. Fellaini told evertonfc.com: “As you have probably seen and heard I am currently suffering from a knee injury. Fortunately it is not too serious but I will have to miss the two games with Belgium. I am hoping to be back playing for Everton as soon as possible.”
Fellaini is the third of four Toffees with double-digit chances created — Leighton Baines (30), Steve Pienaar (20) and Nikica Jelavic (10) are the other three — and has seen a dramatic rise in FPL ownership. EPL fantasy managers have bought in numbers including 210005 net transfers in in gameweek three and a further 210514 in gameweek six. He is currently selected in 30.5% FPL sides and has seen his price rise from £6.5m to £7.3m. This is partially our fault as we’ve touted him heavily. However, in recent weeks we’ve noted the trend that Pienaar is increasing his role in the final third and has seen his chances created increase substantially. The Fellaini is another mark on the wrong side of the ledger and we would prefer to own the £6.8m-rated Pienaar (15.1% selected) than his club-mate.
The light injury sustained by Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny appears to have been overcome:
After receiving a knock on his right knee at the end of the training session in Clairefontaine on Wednesday afternoon, Laurent Koscielny passed a very reassuring medical exam in the evening. The defender will take part in training on Thursday at 6.30pm at the Stade de France.
Koscielny may not be first-choice at the Emirates as Per Mertesacker reclaimed a place in the starting XI alongside Thomas Vermaelen for the Gunners last BPL fixture against West Ham. Koscielny had played back-to-back 90′ in Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Man City and 1-2 home loss to Chelsea before playing 6′ as a late substitute in the 1-3 win at Upton Park on October 6. His substitution was tactical as manager Arsene Wenger withdrew attacking winger Lukas Podolski. We like Arsenals defenders for their first two back as they face Norwich(a) and QPR(h). However, the injury to Kieran Gibbs, the return of Bacary Sagna, the question of Mertesacker or Koscielny and the prohibative price of Vermaelen (£7.1m) leave us unwilling to invest until the final moments of the break.
EPL fantasy managers looking for help at the back shoudl know we did also recently Breakdown the Magpies defense. For additional EPL fantasy news, notes and analysis the smart folk follow @FantasyGaffer. You know who you are.