View from the Boot Room | Week Nineteen

Monday, December 23 2019

 

Fantasy League is too easy sometimes, isn’t it?

I daresay you all had 100+ pts from the pre-Christmas weekend. And your team looked largely like this…

Player

Club

Total

Price

Selection %

Henderson

SHU

12pts

£4.8m

8.4%

 

D

E

F

 

Alonso

CHE

11pts

£6.0m

2.5%

Kabasele

WAT

11pts

£4.3m

0.2%

Stephens

SHU

10pts

£4.3m

0.2%

Luiz

ARS

9pts

£5.7m

4.9%

 

M

I

D

 

Willian

CHE

16pts

£7m

2.6%

Sarr

WAT

13pts

£6.2m

0.2%

Almiron

NEW

10pts

£5.8m

0.4%

Cantwell

NOR

10pts

£4.8m

20.6%

 

A

T

T

 

Ings

SOU

13pts

£6.5m

13.5%

Vardy

LEI

9pts

£10.1m

51.4%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exactly that would’ve chalked up 124pts.


But – all hilarious banter aside – by the look of the selection percentages, not many had more than a couple kitted up this weekend.

Ings is worth keeping though. That’s 7 in 7 for Danny. And Cantwell is worth sticking with for at sub-£5m.

We should also make honourable mentions to a few good performers who didn’t quite make the best X1. But could be a look in the coming weeks.

Mahrez MCI £8.3m 3.8%

Grealish AVL £6.3m 12.6%

Foster WAT £4.8m 1.9%

Digne EVE £5.7m 11.6%

The next week or so will no doubt throw up a dose of upsets and oddities. But there looks to be a couple of good things on offer from the Boxing Day fixture list…


Tap ins

There’s a handy chance of clean sheets for Tottenham, Chelsea and Sheffield United.

Spurs need a bounce – and Brighton don’t travel well. Just 1pt and two goals on the road to Top 10 teams so far. And Chelsea and Blades will go into odds-on home wins full of confidence.


Long shots

Three more teams with clean sheet claims are Everton, Palace and Man United.

Ancelotti knows how to set up a back four and Everton’s back four will know that. And if they don’t, they soon will. Plus, Palace have racked up a clean sweep of clean sheets v Bottom Third teams so far.

You’d assume that De Gea will remember to take his hands for the visit of Newcastle too.

And goals wise, I’ll be sticking with Vardy, Rashford and Tottenham’s front three Alli, Moura and Kane.


Worth a punt

With yer man Ings as my number three, of course. Just in case we’re wrong about Chelsea’s clean sheet.

And here’s one for you…

What about Leicester to beat Liverpool. To Nil. Klopp’s lot are bound to be a bit puffed out from their World Club escapades. The Foxes have only dropped 4pts at home this season. And will have the scent of blood in their nostrils.

Load up on the usual suspects. Leave those Liverpool defenders on the bench for another week. And keep Vardy skipper.


 


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McGinn Fractures Villa’s Survival Hopes

Sunday, December 22 2019

 

John McGinn’s ankle injury could be the most serious that we have seen in the Premier League this season, not because of the physical damage to the anatomy of his ankle but because of how important he is to Aston Villa’s survival campaign.


Unfortunately, IT IS BREAKING News

Scotland’s player of the year was reported to have suffered an ankle fracture when his studs got stuck in the turf which meant that he was unable to continue. As he hobbled off down the tunnel in pain, I’m sure every Villa fan felt sick to their stomach with worry while they were still hopeful that his removal from play might just be precautionary. Unfortunately, the sickly feeling was justified as Dean Smith later confirmed that McGinn had gone to the hospital for an x-ray and had indeed fractured his ankle.


McGinn: A Rare Commodity in the Modern Game

Villa fans have voiced their outrage on social media speculating that McGinn’s injury was a direct result of Smith’s decision to play him whilst still recovering from a thigh problem which has been hampering him since his involvement with Scotland. McGinn, himself stated via Twitter, that a lot of footballers play with niggles and that his ankle injury was not related, and that nobody was to blame. This tells you everything you need to know about McGinn: A man who takes responsibility for his own actions, a man who doesn’t blame others for his misfortune, a man of men who you would want on your team sheet every week.


A Picture Paints a 1000 words

Over the next few days, the medical staff at Villa will carry out a number of investigations to assess the extent of the injury. McGinn is certainly going to have an MRI of his foot and ankle to assess the integrity of the ligaments and joint surfaces and also very likely will have a CT Scan to garner more information on the type of fracture he has suffered. It is common practice in professional football to consult with an external specialist ankle surgeon to assess whether if he is a surgical candidate or not. Surgery is performed if the surgeon considers that the fracture will not heal well as was the case of Willy Boly the Wolverhampton Wanderers defender.

Common Ankle breaks and fractures

The three bones specific to the ankle joint that can be affected are:

  • The tibia or shinbone
  • The fibula, which is the thinner of the two lower leg bones.
  • The talus, which is a small, wedge-shaped bone that is located deep in the ankle and supports both the tibia and the fibula.


Prognosis: How will he be sidelined for?

Data on ankle injuries from Ben Dinnery at Premier Injury shows us that injuries to the ankle are very prevalent, costly but surprisingly don’t cause a lot of days of time loss; however, I suspect that McGinn will be out for a lot longer than 25 days!! It is very difficult to forecast how long McGinn will be out for at this early stage. It could range anywhere between 4 to 6 weeks for a simple, uncomplicated fibula fracture with no associated ligament or joint damage. At the other end of the spectrum, it could take anywhere upwards of 6 months for a more severe injury where there is damage to the joint surface, ligaments and fibula/tibia which requires surgery. Let’s hope for McGinn, and Villa, that it’s the former, and not the latter.


The Rehab Journey

Recovering from a foot and ankle injury is not quite as smooth or as plain sailing as it is from other injuries as it comprises of 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. Following damage to the ankle is not uncommon to suffer from longstanding limited movement of the ankle joint, stiffness, reduced strength of the muscles of the lower leg, and an inability to tolerate the physical demands of the Premier League through the foot and ankle. One of the most critical aspects of the rehab journey early on is to try and maintain some sort of weight-bearing through the ankle if possible. This can be assisted by wearing a walking boot and/or mobilising with crutches so that at least some of the weight of the body is still going through the ankle joint to encourage optimal healing, limit the effects of stiffness and loss of range of movement and maintain muscle strength as much as possible. I’ve detailed the task-based criteria rehab journey that he is likely to go through in a piece I wrote recently about Paul Pogba’s ankle injury. You can check it out here

Over the coming few weeks, I will write in more detail, to give you a further insight into McGinn and what it is like to recover from an ankle injury as a professional footballer.


I hope you enjoyed the read, please feel free to get in touch via twitter if you have any pressing questions.

Merry Christmas

Johnny Wilson


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View from the Boot Room | Week Eighteen

Friday, December 20 2019

 

No Salah. No Mane. No van Dijk…

There’s been some big money moves this weekend. We’ve already seen Vardy’s selection increase to 51.3%, De Bruyne is up to 41.6%. And Kelly is stacking 31.1%.

Whaddaya mean ‘who?’

Martin Kelly. Palace defender. Could be a sly pick for a sheet this week too. But we’ll get to that in good time.

Eyes down…


Tap ins…

Everton home win. Yes, that’s Everton. Home. Win.

With Big Dunc bringing order I’m tempted to reach into the bin to retrieve a few Toffees. Pickford, Keane, Coleman and even Baines – for old times’ sake – could be wallowing in clean sheets v Arsenal. And even v Burnley next time out.

You’ve got to fancy Wolves to extend their unbeaten run (to seven) at Norwich. Just the one shut out on the road though, so keep it Doherty, Jota and Jimenez. In that order. And if you believe the hype about Traore… you’re on your own. Speedboat. No driver.

Vardy loves a goal… I was going to add: against the Big Six. But I could just leave it there. 11 in 10 and the wings all that Red Bull gives him (plus type 2 diabetes, probably) will likely make it another difficult afternoon for City’s backline.


Long Shots…

On the other hand – and team – De Bruyne looks as imperious as ever. And at £1.5m cheaper than Sterling, has prompted a big shift in ownership. His 41.6% to Raheem’s current 24.6%.

Man United should register a rare sheet too. Anyone else think that Maguire is due a goal too?

Tottenham could well take advantage of a wobbly Chelsea – who’ve lost four of their last five. In form Alli, Son and Kane promise the goals. Moura the value.

Rashford has 9 in 10 in all comps. He’s never done that before.


Worth a punt…

Sheffield United’s midfield motor Fleck has scored 4 in his last seven PL matches. But before you break the bank to find a place for the £4.9m man, consider that it took almost 1000 matches to score his previous four…… And also that he is SUSPENDED for this one!!

And furthermore…

Both Brighton v Sheffield United and Newcastle v Palace have the look of draws to me. Low scoring ones. Maybe even 0-0s. So there could be a sneaky sheet or two to be had. Blades’ Lundstram, Baldock and Stevens; Dunk (Brighton), Willems (Newcastle) and Palace’s Guaita are top picks.

And finally, a little round of gloved applause for Aaron Ramsdale. Bournemouth’s No one has managed to clamber his way to the top of the goalkeeper listings despite losing 5 of the last six matches. Shipping 11 goals in the process.

Home to Burnley. Seen stranger things happen.


 


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What we learned | Week Seventeen

Thursday, December 19 2019

 

Back in the olden days of Brylcreemed hair, baggy shorts and muddy pitches – we used to say the league table didn’t mean a thing until Christmas.

That’s all changed nowadays, of course. Managers are under the cosh if they’re not in a Europa League qualifying position by 4pm on the opening day. But with the festive season sneaking up behind us with its ball-peen hammer raised, it’s a good time to consider what we have learned so far.

And this, brothers and sisters, is the team of the season up to and including week seventeen:

Player

Team

Points

Cost (m)

% picked

Ramsdale

BOU

70

£4.6

4.6%

 

 

 

 

 

Lundstram

SHU

89

£5.2

48.4%

Pereira

LEI

85

£6.5

17.4%

Evans

LEI

77

£5.2

5.5%

Baldock

SHU

77

£4.9

7.4%

 

 

 

 

 

De Bruyne

MCI

116

£10.3

40.3%

Mane

LIV

115

£12.3

40.4%

Salah

LIV

104

£12.2

21.9%

Sterling

MCI

91

£11.8

24.2%

 

 

 

 

 

Vardy

LEI

133

£10.1

51.4%

Rashford

MUN

103

£9.0

26.8%

 

A few eyebrow raisers to consider. The first being the total bill for the above – a mere £91.1m. If you’re wondering where your selection went so wrong, read on…


Goalkeeper

I know what you’re thinking…

Who?

Aaron Ramsdale. That’s who. Currently keeping goal for the worst team in the PL. Suffering a defensive injury crisis. Told you it was not a season for clean sheets.

And with Guaita (Palace), Ryan (Brighton) and Henderson (Sheff United) making up three of the next four, if you’re still paying more than £5.0m for your keeper, you need to have a long, hard look at yourself.


Defenders

Leicester and Sheffield United have probably been the stories of the season so far. But – Lundstram aside – plenty of you are banking on the second half of the season telling a different story. Liverpool’s trio Alexander-Arnold, Robertson and van Dijk have all scored in the 70s. And been selected by 29.9%, 20.9% and 40% of you respectively.

Still some bargains about though. Blades have got a tough looking January, which could bring LEI boys Soyuncu (£5.1m) and Chilwell (£5.8m) into play. And at £4.7m Dunk (BHA) is worth dipping your bread in.


Midfielders

No arguments with this four. Unless your surname is Son, Maddison and Silva perhaps. And even then it’s based on counting pennies rather than points.

Mount (CHE) and Tielemans (LEI) offer a bit of value at £6.5m and £6.6m. Alli (£8.7m) could have a grandstand finish at Spurs.

And Pogba is due back soon – if his ankle stands up to the rigorous workout in the conga line at his brother’s wedding. You might think £8.4m is an expensive risk for a moody Frenchman looking for a transfer, so you might want to swap him for Martial. A moody Fren… you’re way ahead of me.


Forwards

Aubameyang (ARS) is only squeezed out on price and looks worth £10.8m of anyone’s money. Or if you go £0.1m more and think Kane is able to turn things around at Tottenham.

Abraham and Jimenez haven’t quite done enough (for me) to justify their midrange fees, so it’s all about thrifty third choices.


And that looks as random as the Top Five goalkeepers.

Check in next Friday for more of that good stuff.


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View from the Boot Room | Week Seventeen

Friday, December 13 2019

 

Oof! What a fixture list. Three standout Home Wins, another three more-than-likelys; a nailed on Away Win and a wild card 0-0.

But before you throw your money over the counter at the bookies, there are some FPL points to secure.

Eyes down…


Tap ins…

Nailed on clean sheets for…

Liverpool. Watford hate scoring goals. Hate it, I tells ya. Just one in their last three. And Liverpool have chalked up their first back to back clean sheets since September (all comps).

Usual suspects. Van Dijk, Robertson, Alexander-Arnold, Allison. In that order.

Chelsea. Bournemouth are having a shocker. Five defeats on the spin and back to back blanks means Chelsea’s defenders can take it to the Bridge. One, two, three, hit meh!

Unusual suspects. Kepa, Azpilicueta and you could do worse than getting on the £4.7m James bandwagon.

Leicester City. They’re eight on the spin and fairly flying. Poor Norwich could pay the price for a dress rehearsal for the showdown with Man City. Söyüncü and Chilwell for the prudent, Pereira if you’re feeling flush.

And keep that armband on Vardy.


Long Shots…

United’s Manchester and Sheffield could give you a sheet too. But I’d rather stick with the sharp end of OGS’s lot – Rashford looks like the player we all hoped he would and James looks better than we thought. For Blades, Lundstram is still proving money well spent – as 47% will testify.

They’ll be goals at Arsenal – there usually is. And they usually come from Aubameyang and Lacazette. But I’ll be stocking up on City players. Sterling is due one. De Bruyne too. And Jesus three. To add to the holy trinity, he hit in the week.

And I wouldn’t dissuade you from giving Southampton’s Ings a spin. He’s hit five in five – yes, five in five. And the Saints should march all over West Ham - just one win in five, 4pts in nine.


Worth a punt...

Feeling frisky? How about Liverpool starting Origi? He only got a couple of minutes in midweek, and there’s a lot of football to be played over the next month. Could be a backdoor bargain.

And here’s another swerve ball for you. Two in fact. What price the 0-0 between Burnley and Newcastle. Barnes and Wood are doubts while Saint-Maximin is ruled out. Burnley are desperate for a result; Toon would probably take one. Tarkowski and Dúbravka are the picks.


 


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What we learned | Week Sixteen

Wednesday, December 11 2019

 

Right, we’ll deal with all the Christmas drinks you owe me first…

Salah, obvious. Allison, Robertson and Alexander-Arnold, likewise. But you’re welcome. Vardy, easy. Alli, peasy. Aurier and Alderweireld, lemon squeezy. But Guaita – ooof, now we’re talking*. Super Blades Stevens and Baldock** and 24pt trio Rashford, James and Martial. Ooh yeah, that’s the spot.

*You don’t even know who he plays for, do you? Eyes roll. He’s Palace’s 10pt weekend scoring keeper.

** Yes, two weeks ago. Are you listening at the back?


So, what else did we learn in GW 16...?

Is it Fergie time at Everton?

After a slam-Dunc 3-pointer in his opener, the Big Man might hang around. But will the fear factor?

Richarlison is 3 for 3 (and 4 in 5) if you trust him. I don’t.


Lamps flickering a little?

Whisper it, but that’s three defeats from 4 for Chelsea. City you’d take, but West Ham (at home) and Everton…? A fistful of nice festive fixtures suggests there might be some Defensive points up for grabs so no wholesales over the next 8, but there are better options going forward.


No, I don’t like to be by the seaside

If you haven’t bailed out on Bournemouth yet, do so. No points in 5 and no goals in two make grim reading. No business here.


Klopp. Happy Time

But business as usual at Liverpool. Fairly flying and seeing City chocking won’t do them any harm at all. Robertson, van Dijk and Firmino for £22.9m. Mane, Salah and Alexander-Arnold for £31.8m. Or some variation in between.


Mour to come from Spurs

Don’t be fooled by 12 goals in 4 Mourinho matches, Jose will want to sort that Defence out. You can keep your Kane’s, stick by your Son’s and ‘ave your Alli’s – but Aurier and Alderweireld will earn their Spurs between now and May.


Crashing and Burnley

Three bad’uns on the spin with 11 shipped. It’s not unusual for Burnley to slump like this – it’s not the first time this season they’ve lost 3 in a row. But when Barnes and Wood aren’t their top FPL scorers, it’s time to put them on hold.


Watford looking down

And almost certainly out. Keeper Ben is still Fostering a little support (2% of you) at £4.8m, and you could do worse. But not much.


No crown jewels at the Palace

Despite a tidy season, Palace are of no more interest than Watford. The keeper Guaita is also their top man - and represents value at £5.0m.


Cracks showing at City?

Forget about clean sheets until Laporte returns and/ or he has a new centre back partner. Aguero has looked an expensive indulgence so far – and is now crocked. So it’s all about the value of Sterling, Silva and…erm… De Bruyne. Although the great David looked old on Sunday, didn’t he?


Do we trust United to be ‘back’ after two good performances? Hmm. Not sure. But Rashford is five from 5 and worth £8.9m of anyone’s fake money. James too is a solid 4th choice in midfield at £6.1m. Can see them tightening up at the back too.


This Villa’s foundations look shaky

Villa have taken just 1pt from 8 matches v Top Ten teams this season. Decent v Bottom Half but over-reliant on gentleman’s Grealish. He’ll get better, but Villa will get worse, I fear.


Foxes still in the hunt. Rodger that

Those sly old Foxes have won their last eight matches, y’know. And 10 of the previous 11. And the other was away at Liverpool – to a pesky last-minute penalty. Vardy is a gimme – and half of you have already taken the bait. Not sure what’s wrong with the rest of you. Maddison flatters to deceive for me, so save your £7.7m on him and spend £6.6m of it on Tielemans. And consider £5.1m Soyuncu and £5.8m Chilwell ahead of 6.5m Pereira at the back.


Brucies lot are so much better than last season***

Top half Toon offer safe-ish Defensive bets – they’re not getting rolled over, and most of their goals come from the backline. Dúbravka and Willems at £5.0m and £4.7m are value.

***This reference to the late Bruce Forsyth is for Generation X-ers and older. The rest of you, ask a parent.


Let’s be ‘aving you, Norwich.

Pukki is two from 3 and probably still decent 3rd striker value at £6.6m. But it’s not going to get any better for him or Norwich. Cantwell is the best £4.7m you can spend in Midfield.


Sheffield steel not so stainless in recent weeks

We’ve probably seen the best of the Blades, in truth. They haven’t got goals in them, and their early-season clean sheets have dried up – just 1 in the last 6. And we can expect their high-energy style to prompt a winter slump come February. Until then keep a Defender or two on side, but make sure one of them is Lundstram (2nd only to Vardy in popularity).


Bargain basement Brighton worth a look

Defensive dark horses who won’t let you down, particularly at home. Keeper Ryan is the £4.8m pick of the Brighton bunch. And slam Dunk is a decent £4.7m spent - 12.5% can’t be wrong, right?


Wolves hitting their stride

Form places Wolves above Man City, United and Tottenham. And only Leicester have conceded fewer. Jimenez perhaps lacks the killer instinct to convince you to part with £7.6m. But full-back Doherty (at £6.0m) will deliver a nice spread of goals, assists and sheets.


 

 


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A Grade Two Christmas Hamstring

Tuesday, December 10 2019

 

Firstly, this is not a literary piece; it is not peer-reviewed, nor has it been written for those working in football. This article has been written as an opinion piece, and my audience is specifically for the fans, those who play fantasy football, and those who are passionate about the game of football. This piece will no doubt upset and offend many managers and sports medicine practitioners in football. To these people, I make no apologies. To these, I say move on and read no more of what I write, for they are not capable of change and change is the true outcome of all learning.


Flushing Game: Let the dog see the Pheasant

Hamstring injuries in the Premier League are now widely accepted as being part and parcel of the festive period. They are as common as mulled wine, Christmas carols and elves on shelves. Ask John Stones or Patrick van Aanholt if you don’t believe me. And just like another tradition in this country, many more hamstring injuries are sure to be flushed in front of the guns just as an English Springer Spaniel will flush pheasant after pheasant up and down the country this December only for it to be shot from the heavens.


Wounded in battle

Findings from Injury analyst Ben Dinnery are in contrast to that of researchers such as the likes of Ekstrand and his mates: HAMSTRING INJURIES ARE NOT ON THE RISE!!!!! However, it’s not even the middle of December and players such as Allan Saint-Maxim, Nathan Ake, Tyrone Mings and Callum Wilson have already fallen foul of the 16 bore Rizinni shotgun. They have been wounded in action, watched by millions clutching the back of their thighs in agony. Not a fatal shooting, but none-the-less, it was the dreaded hamstring.

Season No. of Hamstring Related Injuries Total Days Lost
2014/15 129 3752
2015/16 169 5255
2016/17 128 4416
2017/18 121 3950
2018/19 121 3643
*2019/20 55 1431
  723 22447

* Up to, and including game week sixteen.

** 'Significant' hamstring injuries. Only those resulting in a player missing at least one game (minimum ten days out). 

*** Only reported injuries during a Premier League season. From game week one, fully inclusive to the final weekend.


The Santa Claus Effect

The incessant onslaught of hamstring injuries over the past five seasons, their tendency to recur upon return-to-play (RTP) have lead to frustration, anger and puzzlement between players, sports medicine staff and managers. Players and managers complain, in part, or incomplete rehabilitation, too many games in too short a period of time, inadequate squad sizes, too much media pressure and being tired; surely they don’t mean overworked and underpaid?!?!

Top Ten teams: Reported Hamstring Injuries from the previous three-years


 


Sports Medicine Twitter Mafia

Then if we take the perspective of the sports medicine guys, all you have to do is jump on Twitter you will find plenty of these people posting about new research regarding the importance of shared decision making when it comes to RTP, how effective Nordics (a type of hamstring strengthening exercise) are at preventing hamstring injuries and rehab videos showing the players supposedly working hard in the gym and sprinting on the field in their quest to get back to fitness. Yet, these injuries continue to occur and reoccur over and over again.


So what’s going on?

You don’t have to have a degree in sports science or have played in the professional game to acknowledge the continual increasing physical demands that the Premier League places on players year on year. It’s not rocket science. It seems that there is no end in sight to the ability of players to run faster and faster for longer and longer.

So rather than managers complaining of the “injury crisis” that they’re club is facing, and how unfair life is, and rather than the sports medicine social media mafia spouting on about research findings on RTP (which is less than adequate by the way), maybe there should be more of an emphasis on the things which might actually make a difference:

  1. Stop managing the club and start coaching the players. The manager to be responsible for team tactics and technical aspects of training only. Unless he is appropriately qualified, he SHOULD NOT assume responsibility for conditioning players.
  2. Let the sport scientists plan the training schedule, volume, intensities and contents. However, and this is important: sport scientists and physios need to do more than what is stated in research papers. The game is faster than the research, and the players are not faster as a result of the training they are currently doing within the club. The game is faster because clubs are RECRUITING faster players. Therefore sport scientists and conditioning coaches need to acknowledge this fact and adjust their training methods accordingly. Go old school: GO BIG OR GO HOME.
  3. Put more of an emphasis on training at the intensity you want to play at rather than keeping players out on the training ground time on end.
  4. Identify players at high risk of injury and limit their playing exposure when possible.
  5. Stop extolling the merits of very poor research in relation to RTP; it’s not fit for purpose yet.

Reported Hamstring Injuries in December 2019

First Name Surname Team Position Further Details Start Date
Tyrone Mings Aston Villa Defender Hamstring Injury Dec-19
Allan Saint-Maximin Newcastle United Midfielder Hamstring Strain Dec-19
Nathan Ake AFC Bournemouth Defender Hamstring Strain Dec-19
John Stones Manchester City Defender Hamstring Strain Dec-19
Callum Wilson AFC Bournemouth Attacker Hamstring Strain Dec-19
Yerry Mina Everton Defender Tight Hamstring Dec-19
Patrick van Aanholt Crystal Palace Defender Hamstring Strain Dec-19

 

In reality, the complexities surrounding hamstring injuries in the Premier League is influenced by a far broader spectrum than Christmas itself or those stated in this opinion piece or any peer-reviewed research for that matter. The nuances in and around the training ground, the treatment room, the gaffer’s office and the boardroom are not yet known to the scientists, the fans, the media. They are under the radar, and yet they play a significant role on an Advent Injury Calendar. This script is still unwritten, watch this space…….


Johnny Wilson


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View from the Boot Room | Week Sixteen

Friday, December 6 2019

 

We had a little glimpse of the future in the Premier League this week…

No, not Man United heading back to former glories. No, not Arsenal’s empire collapsing. And not a preview of Liverpool battering Everton in their FA Cup 3rd tie (although…).

We had the full program of fixtures delivered the same day by Amazon Prime.

My feedback: five stars. On-time and as described.

Alexa…? More of the same, please.


Tap ins…

Surely Tottenham can keep a sheet at home to Burnley. C’mon, Jose. Sort the handbrake out on that bus. I’ll be loading up with Aurier again – who can score at both ends here. Alderweireld and Vertonghen are decent low £5m value too.

And Alli is back to stinging like a bee (after spending much of the last year floating like a butterfly) if you can find room for him.

And Liverpool should extend Bournemouth’s losing run to five. Yes, five. The midweek-rested Salah and Firmino will likely be the difference, but the host’s blunt attack is our guide here. Keep in Allison, Robertson and Alexander-Arnold.

Oh, and, Vardy. Skipper.


Long Shots…

Palace will travel to Watford full of themselves. But I don’t trust Zaha. And at £6.7m Milivojevic is a big punt on Palace getting a penalty. Ayew is rubbish – despite 5% of you taking the £5.1m hit. The keeper Guaita is at least £0.1m more appealing this weekend.

Expect a bounce from Everton. There will, after all, be half a dozen looking to impress ahead of the January window. Especially at the thought of David Moyes being reinstalled. No Silva lining there.

But not enough to blow out Chelsea’s Lamps. Abraham (doubtful), Pulisic and Mount are the goal threat. Pulisic is due one.

Now that Pukki has found his (domestic) shooting boots, he makes a compelling case for you 3rd choice striker. I fancy goals when they host Sheffield United. At both ends. And he looks a better pick than Blades defenders this weekend.


Worth a punt...

How about a West Ham clean sheet? No? Okay, perhaps not. But Cresswell (at £4.7m) and maybe even Yarmolenko (at £5.7m) are worth a tickle because Arsenal are creaking. And only Watford, Villa, Everton and Norwich are worse on the road. And two of those are going down.

Finally, the big one…

I fancy Ruiz to stop AJ late between the 8th – 10th rounds.

You knowz I gotz jokez.

Okay, the Manc derby. United’s front three – Rashford, James and Martial if fit – are everything that City’s back four don’t like. And Pep hasn’t slept in clean sheets since Villa at home, ten matches ago. So ditch defenders on both sides. But if you can get De Bruyne in your side do so. Even at the expense of Sterling.

Yeah, I said it!


 


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What we learned | Week Fourteen

Monday, December 2 2019

Six things we learned this weekend…


Clean Sheets are so last season…

There’s me saying (in Friday’s View From The Boot Room GW 14) that there might be an upswing from the average four or so we’ve been seeing this season. And we top out at 2.

One for Palace, the other West Ham. Who’d have thunk that?

This season it’s all about assists for Defenders. And Jose agrees. He can’t have been happy inheriting the loosest of loose cannons Serge Aurier at Spurs. But has responded by sticking him on the right-wing, maximising his attacking threat. And limited the damage he can do defensively.

Take note. And another thing…


Jose is not quite at the wheel at Tottenham…

Six of the last seven goals Tottenham have shipped have come in the last 20 minutes of the match. The previous four have been when already 3-0 up and the Spurs bus should be safely parked. Very un-Jose like.

My Alderweireld tip was looking rosy on 70-odd minutes; made two, assisted 1, sheet looking handy. But he’s worth persisting with. Mourinho likes a centre-back who can quarterback attacking moves – and if Alli has turned the corner, both will be worth looking into for the rest of the campaign.


Emery out. Mustafi in. But no change at Arsenal…

No-one expected Arsenal’s defensive frailties to disappear overnight. Especially when they saw the team sheet on Sunday. The hapless Mustafi was barely through his first 20 minutes of Premier League action before bundling one into his own net at Norwich.

(If you’re one of the 0.3% FPL managers with him in your ranks, give yourself a Chinese burn).

Pukki will rightly take the credit with his first goal in 8 (as tipped up in Friday’s post, while we are dishing out plaudits). But rear Gunners remain a no no.

In fact, Aubameyang is the only one I’d mess with. Especially versus promoted teams – his retaken penalty was his 10th in 11. Bullying in the workplace.


Have Blade will travel well

Sheffield United extended their unbeaten away record to seven. True, six have been draws. But they are not going to suffer too badly at home so remain a solid pre-Christmas defensive pick. We can expect a wobble/ slump/ gassing at some point, but not yet.

Don’t get carried away with Mousset though. Still has a hint of the talented pub player about for me. Hasn’t finished a game all season and fits Wilder’s philosophy of getting 10-12 good games (and 6-8 goals) out of 3 or 4 average strikers.


Last-minute Leicester look like they smell success

Leicester were far from convincing against Everton but celebrated their last-minute winner like Champions. Surely, they’re not thinking… Not again.

Probably not. But when you have a gen-u-ine (pronounced ‘Jen. You. Wine’) goal scorer in your team, you can do damage. So, if you’re one of the 55% that haven’t yet, do what you have to do to get rat boy Vardy in yours.


Another good week for Li-VAR-pool

Another team that celebrated like Champions after scraping an uncomfortable win.

Their front three have only failed to secure them the points 3 times this season. But someone normally steps up. This time it was the increasingly immaculate Van Dijk. Proving he’s got a bit of everything in his locker.

He might yet add the Ballon D’Or to his CV this season. Messi will probably win it. But after consulting VAR, it will be awarded to Virgil.


 


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Ben Dinnery

Ben Dinnery

@BenDinnery

Ben is football’s leading injury specialist. The ‘go-to’ guru for big hitters like Sky Sports, ESPN and NBC Sports when they need data. Or the BBC, talkSPORT and the broadsheets when a quote is required. His unique insight has helped provide a better understanding of what is really happening in the treatment rooms.


Johnny Wilson

Johnny Wilson

@johnny_wilson5

Johnny is a respected physiotherapist and sports scientist, specialising in football injuries and rehab. Johnny has headed up the medical departments at Chesterfield, Scunthorpe and Notts County. Overseeing everything from player-specific training loads to pre-signing medicals. He has a proven record working with elite athletes in Private Practice and is regularly called upon throughout Europe to deliver presentations on the latest rehab innovations.


Matt Nesbitt

Matt Nesbitt On TipTV

@MattNesbitt16

Matt's short, unremarkable football career was ended by his own bad driving. His long, distinguished career as a football tipster was ended by his own good advice. Because bookmakers don’t like a winner. First, they closed his accounts. Then his members’ accounts. Then his tipping service. And now they employ him as a consultant. Funny old game.


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