Monday’s DFS News and Nuggets
1. Chelsea and Arsenal get tough Champions League assignments
The English trio of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City have all learned their fate in the Champions League and the prognosis isn’t good. In a mega weekend of draws for UEFA’s bigwigs, Arsenal were handed the tough task of facing Barcelona over two legs, whereas Chelsea were given a very tricky tie against Paris Saint-Germain. Given the relative form of PSG and Chelsea, the London club’s task looks arguably the hardest of the three when you consider Man City got off very lightly by drawing Dynamo Kyiv.
Seeded clubs, Chelsea and Man City, play their first leg games away from home on the 16/17 or 23/24 February and the return leg at home 8/9 or 15/16 March, with Arsenal doing the opposite.
2. Lovren injury gives Klopp problems
Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren will have a scan Monday evening on a knee injury he sustained in the 2-2 draw at home to West Brom on Sunday. Manager Jurgen Klopp was incensed at the challenge by Craig Gardner, which saw Lovren stretchered off with an oxygen mask after the West Brom midfielder literally tore a hole in his leg. Tony Pulis, obviously, thought it was absolutely fine. Just like when you accidentally-on-purpose step on another rugby player’s head, eh Tone?!
Klopp will be struggling for centre halves if the injury is a serious one. If Mamadou Sakho isn’t fit enough to return next weekend, the German manager is expected to draft Emre Can in as a makeshift centre half alongside Martin Skrtel for the trip to Watford. That was the same tried and trusted formula employed by jobless Brendan Rodgers earlier this season. Good luck, Jurgen.
3. Everton down to two centre backs
On the other side of Merseyside, Toffees gaffer Roberto Martinez has injury problems after Tyias Browning was ruled out for the season and John Stones left sprawling twice by challenges during Saturday’s draw at Norwich. Even though Leighton Baines returned on Saturday, Martinez is to the bare bones at the back with only two fit centre backs in Ramiro Funes Mori and Stones, as long as the latter isn’t injured. There will be serious problems if Baines suffers a recurrence of his injury and the likelihood then is that Mori moves out to a wider berth and someone else fills in at centre back, or something similar.
Baines is a lock for daily fantasy football players right now given that his price is still low when you think of the point potential and compare him to fellow full back Seamus Coleman, whose price has been on the rise all season.
4. Players inspire Newcastle win. Not McClaren
Newcastle United boss Schteeve McClaren saved his job over the past two weeks by beating Liverpool and Spurs, and apparently it was all down to his players going a bit kray kray at each other. The way McClaren tells it, the players were so angry at the half time score that a new breed of determination emerged and eventually resulted in the 2-1 reverse that ended Tottenham’s unbeaten run. Wasn’t all about those inspired substitutions then Schteevy? Even so, from what McClaren says, it doesn’t sound like he really had any serious effect on any of this and it’s still looking a tough task for the Tynesiders to stay afloat.