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Josh Dowling discusses GW09, the international break and injuries.

International Breaking Point

The International break should never have happened. Too many players now have COVID-19, getting injured and are playing too many games.

FIFA need to think of player welfare before trying to make some money. Fans will always have football. FIFA need to take into account that players never really had an off-season and are playing nearly every 3-4 days.

Jurgen Klopp made a valid point after the draw with Man City, clubs are getting too many injuries and not enough turnaround time between games due to all these condensed fixtures. With the Champions League on at the moment, Liverpool are playing 3 games a week, but so are 6 other teams in the Premier League. That’s a third of all the teams.

From the point of Project Restart till after the 2022/23 season the players won’t really get a break, due to the Euros, Olympics and Copa America in the summer of 2021and then we don’t know what’s going to happen after that with the 2021/22 season, then the players will have not much of an off season and have to start the 2022/23 season early due to a World Cup in November/December in Qatar.


Many popular players are picking up injuries and that’s due to the workload, plenty of footballers just want to play constant football but that can have a detrimental effect on them.

For a start, Liverpool has an extended list of injuries

  • Van Dijk is out for the season
  • Thiago is slowly back into training after an injury
  • TAA picked up an injury v Man City (maybe this was a blessing in disguise as he’s had poor start to the season and you can now transfer him out)
  • Robertson came up sore after the game that sent Scotland through to the Euros
  • Joe Gomez willl also be out for an extended period of time due to a knee injury he picked up at training for England
  • Salah is tested positive for COVID-19 in Egypt
  • Fabinho
  • Henderson

Oher teams who have important players who could and will miss GW09:

  • Ben Chilwell (CHE) – possible to play
  • Christian Pulisic (CHE)
  • Kai Havertz (CHE) – possible to play
  • Eric Pieters (BUR)
  • Tyrick Mitchell (CRY)
  • Eberechi Eze (CRY)
  • Kalvin Phillips (LEE)
  • Rodrigo Moreno (LEE) – possible to play
  • Timothe Castagne (LEI) – possible to play
  • Kasper Schmeichel (LEI) – possible to play
  • Sergio Aguero (MCI) – possible to play
  • Raheem Sterling (MCI) – possible to play
  • Luke Shaw (MU)
  • Marcus Rashford (MU) – possible to play
  • Callum Wilson (NEW) – possible to play
  • Rhian Brewster (SHE) – possible to play
  • Danny Ings (SOU)
  • James Ward-Prowse (SOU) – possible to play
  • Matt Doherty (TOT) – Covid-19 – negative test wait
  • Matheus Pereira (WBA) – possible to play

I’ll be waiting on Salah’s test on Thursday night to determine what I do with him.

So far lots of people have transferred out TAA and Salah and that could hurt them. TAAhas been playing well in the Champions League but just not getting it done in the Premier League, but he will bounce back. Will I hold both? Possibly!

Is it time to use the Wildcard? I think it is! I will most probably use it this week, I think I need to start fresh and that’s what I’m going to do. I’ll post something in regards to my wildcard tomorrow.

Fixtures and thoughts for GW9

Check out the pre-game stats.

Timo Werner

Newcastle vs Chelsea – Werner (C) potential, has been amazing since the October international break and scored again this international break, he’s in some sort of form, Chelsea has played some easier teams but still he has to do his job. Clean sheet incoming, I reckon, Mendy will be the keeper and Zouma’s stock is rising, up 0.4 this season from 5.0.

Still can’t believe I picked this guy last season and didn’t even take him into consideration this season for Chelsea’s easy run. Ziyech has been influential too, might be coming under the radar but he’s doing bits at the moment.

Aston Villa vs Brighton – Villa have been giant killers beating Liverpool and Arsenal, but find it difficult against ex-Championship teams. Matt Ryan can sit in your goals this week and will grab you 3 points minimum.

Tottenham vs Man City – Game of the Week! Spurs in some hot form, City in some form dip and not as creative as before. Should be a tasty affair with Mourinho and Pep on the sidelines, the rivalry goes back to the El Classico days. Kane will bag a goal, Son might be quiet this game but always pops up when Spurs needs him.

Kane and Son have been amazing this season in all competitions. This game will be amazing, and they haven’t let us down over the last couple of seasons, in Champions League and in the Premier League, always drama in this one. Don’t count on clean sheets. Now I’ve said that we will get a bore draw.

Man United vs West Brom – Rashford could sit out, if he doesn’t and he plays, give him the armband. Give the armband to Bruno as well. Any of those two!! Steer clear of Cavani and Martial as one will get the nod unlessOle wants to save his job, he should play Rashford on the right,  Martial on the left and Cavani up front with Bruno in behind the striker. If that happens on Saturday night we might be looking at a cricket score for Man UTD, but don’t forget they sometimes can’t get the job done against smaller teams, just think back to Istanbul about 10 days ago.

Fulham vs Everton – DCL, Rodriguez are your captain options, Everton should be back to winning ways, Fulham have been dismal this season and Mitrovic showed that against Scotland, he’s out of form just like most of his Fulham team. It’s getting tough for Fulham to stay up.

Sheffield vs West Ham – if you asked me at the start of the season who would win this game I would say to you Sheffield United based on the way they played last season but this season Sheffield have been abysmal, this can be a draw but West Ham are somehow getting points against tough teams. They’ve picked up 4 points against Man City and Leicester, where I had them down for 0.

Leeds vs Arsenal – Will Arsenal come back to winning ways or will Bielsa mastermind another win? I feel like Arsenal will do the job they’ve beaten Man United but lost to Villa, so their form line suggests differently but their quality of players compared to Leeds is far superior. Aubameyang only potential captain as a differential.

Liverpool vs Leicester – just behind the Tottenham and City game being the game of the round. Many will think it’s gonna be a feast for Jamie Vardy, but I’m hopeful that Liverpool will get the three points even with a depleted squad, the team depth is amazing and Klopp knows what he’s doing. If Liverpool lose let’s just blame the new training ground and go back to Melwood. The smart option would be captaining Vardy if you have him, and I reckon he is a number one transfer target but there is some risk. This should be a great game.

Burnley vs Crystal Palace – Palace should easily win this but Burnley can prove the doubters wrong and this game will be interesting. Get Burnley defender in FPL as there is a potential of 0-0 draw here. Zaha and Eze only two players I would be looking at from Palace.

Wolverhampton vs Southampton – the battle of the Hamptons, who will come out on top? This game is going to be great too especially since both teams are in some good form, could we expect a few goals definitely. Che Adams’ stocks are rising and with Ings out for at least 2 game weeks he will be your go to option. Is it time to sell Jimenez? No, he is always consistent. He will be back on the scoresheet.


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About Josh Dowling 27 Articles
Josh Dowling js from Australia and has been playing FPL for 9 years. He follows Liverpool fervently and is passionate about the Beautiful Game. He is currently coaching and getting his FFA C license. He blogs regularly as well, so do check it out!

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