After what seems like an eternity, we are back in action this week with a couple of GW27 stragglers today and tomorrow before a (close to) full program on the weekend. Before we get into the rankings though, let's run around the league and check in with those who tend to know best: the local papers (incidentally, if anyone has a recommendation for a team blog who always get big news, injuries etc right, please pass on the link and I'll add it to the league links review).
The Treatment Room
He's close to returning from injury but Houllier has already stated that Petrov will have to accept platooning with new arrivals Bradley and Makoun. None of this trio are fantasy worthy right now, especially given the risk of losing minutes every other week.
With Sam Ricketts joining Steinsson on the sidelines, Marcos Alonso (4.0m) has a chance to earn some playing minutes for Bolton. Having arrived in the summer from Real Madrid, Alonso has struggled to settle in this term but now has the chance to impress Owen Coyle. The Wanderers' defense hasn't been a great unit this year but anytime you can get a 4m starter it's worth a thought and he could be worth a spot start when Bolton welcome the low scoring Villa to the Reebok.
One man who is hoping to leave the treatment room behind him is Daniel Agger, and so far he looks like one of the main beneficiaries of the Kenny Dalglish era. He looks to be a fairly reliable fantasy pick and at 6.3m provides decent value in an improved defensive side. Unfortunately Liverpool's defensive fixtures look pretty tough but Agger at least deserves shortlisting right now.
Matt Etherington's injury problems have apparently been traced to his jaw line which is misaligned and causing all kinds of other issues. With the problem sorted he will hopefully return to full time action and continue his productive fantasy season. Hold off bringing him back in just yet though.
The Front Office
Kyle Walker will not be moving to Villa Park on a full time basis and Harry Redknapp sees him as a future England and Spurs' right back. At just 4.0m Walker is an intriguing prospect for the remainder of this season and given his lack of total minutes this year he could be undervalued next season and worth keeping in mind.
Mauro Formica arrived at Ewood Park to little fanfare but he's already off the mark for the reserves and he's already turning some heads on the training ground. Steve Kean has labelled Formica as a young Gabriel Batistuta (who of course starred at Newell's Old Boys too) while Spurs favorite Ossie Ardiles has also tipped his compatriot to have success in the Premier League. At 5.5m he looks like he will struggle to make a fantasy impact this year but he could be one worth scouting now to get a jump on next season.
Peter Crouch could be heading to Newcastle to replace Andy Carroll according to sources in the Chronicle.
United's goalkeeper search appears to be starting up again with Huge Lloris once again linked with a move to Old Trafford.
The Manager's Office
Ian Holloway has been in good form again and thinks he has spotted a few tweaks to help keep his team in the league. With 4 of the next 6 on the road and the 2 home games against Chelsea and Arsenal, Holloway better hope those changes stick quickly so the Seasiders can continue their revival after earning 4 valuable points this gameweek.
Harry Redknapp has once again confirmed his admiration for Charlie Adam (though that was before Adam helped Blackpool beat his Spurs side tonight). Adam remains a must own fantasy player while Spurs will be thankful they don't have a game scheduled immediately after the second leg fixture with Milan after struggling again with the 'continental hangover'.
Steve Bruce thinks that Asamoah Gyan might be better off without Darren Bent, and his 2 goals, 2 assist and 4 bonus points in the four games since the mercenary left for Villa Park might be proving him right. His 32 points in the last 5 put him in the same company as Van Persie, Tevez, Rooney and Berbatov yet he costs between 2.6m and 3.6m less. Sunderland's fixtures put a slight downer of his potential but nevertheless I like Gyan quite a bit over the remainder of the season.
The Water Cooler
A timely story from the Liverpool Echo tells how it is 20 years to the day that Dalglish resigned from Anfield. It's been a turbulent time since with plenty of highs and probably more lows so Reds fans will have to hope this term brings more stability to the club.
It looks like a Player of the Season trophy might be finding its way onto Phil Bardsley's mantle and with just 10 games to go he might yet be able to add an aPPMS crown too.
Gabriel Heinze has admitted that he regrets the way things ended at Old Trafford and is looking forward to facing his former team this week.
Yaya Toure thinks that City could be better than Barcelona in "a couple of years" while Ancelotti has written off his team's chance of winning the league this year.