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Premier League MatchDay 13 Preview

last updated Saturday 24th November 2012, 10:47 AM

Premiership table - after 20th Nov 2012
Pos Team Pld W D L F A W D L F A GD Pts
1 Man City 12 6 1 0 18 5 2 3 0 7 5 15 28
2 Man Utd 12 4 0 1 15 8 5 0 2 14 9 12 27
3 Chelsea 12 4 1 1 14 7 3 2 1 10 6 11 24
4 West Brom 12 6 0 1 14 5 1 2 2 5 8 6 23
5 Everton 12 3 2 0 10 6 2 3 2 12 10 6 20
6 Arsenal 12 3 2 1 16 8 2 2 2 7 5 10 19
7 West Ham 12 3 3 1 11 6 2 1 2 4 6 3 19
8 Tottenham 12 2 2 2 8 8 3 0 3 12 13 -1 17
9 Fulham 12 3 1 2 13 7 1 3 2 12 15 3 16
10 Swansea 12 2 3 1 10 9 2 1 3 8 7 2 16
11 Liverpool 12 2 3 2 8 7 1 3 1 9 9 1 15
12 Newcastle 12 3 1 3 7 9 0 4 1 6 8 -4 14
13 Norwich 12 3 2 1 6 6 0 3 3 3 12 -9 14
14 Stoke 11 2 3 0 4 1 0 4 3 6 10 -1 13
15 Sunderland 11 1 2 1 3 3 1 4 2 7 9 -2 12
16 Wigan 12 1 2 3 8 11 2 0 4 4 10 -9 11
17 Reading 11 1 4 1 9 10 0 2 3 5 9 -5 9
18 Aston Villa 12 1 2 2 7 8 1 1 5 3 14 -12 9
19 Southampton 12 1 2 3 10 11 1 0 5 8 19 -12 8
20 QPR 12 0 3 3 4 12 0 1 5 5 11 -14 4
Match Day 13 in the Premier League will be lucky for some teams but who.

Stoke and Fulham meet on Saturday and the Potters need a three-goal win to leapfrog their opponents at the Britannia Stadium. However, defeating a Fulham side who are ninth in the table with 16 points from 12 matches will not be easy. Martin Jol's side are just four points off the final European spot, but are in need of a victory.

Man City visit Chelsea with both teams in the position to concentrate on the League after dismal efforts in the Champions League. Of course the arrival of Rafael Benitez at The Bridge will add a bit of excitement.

Second placed Man Utd appear to have a straight forward home game against relegation zone QPR although a change in managers at Rangers might shake things up.

Aston Villa are also desperate to escape the relegation zone but face a stiff test as Arsenal are the visitors at Villa Park. Arsenal go into the game boosted by wins in the north London derby against Tottenham and the midweek victory over Montpellier, which confirmed their place in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League.

West Ham make the short trip to face a Tottenham side still smarting from derby-day disappointment against the Gunners.

Albion can go third if they win in the North East but if they slip up then Everton will expect to take their place in the top four with a win at home to Norwich later on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday 24 November 2012

12:45 - Sunderland (15) v West Brom (4) - Sky

West Bromwich Albion will aim to continue their impressive start to the season when they meet Sunderland in the Premier League at the Stadium of Light on Saturday lunchtime. Steve Clark has taken to management in style and, although it is still early in his career after taking over in the summer, he has steered the Baggies to fourth in the table.

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill saw his team win just a second league game of the season in last Sunday's victory at Fulham but he knows he needs to improve matters at home. Sunderland are only three points clear of the relegation zone and have won just one of their last eight top-flight games at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill will welcome Craig Gardner back from suspension against West Brom.

Gardner is available again after serving a one-match ban for reaching five bookings.

O'Neill admitted "one or two" players are battling against knocks, but declined to name them, but midfielder Lee Cattermole (knee) and full-back Phil Bardsley (hamstring) returned to action in the 3-1 win at Fulham on Sunday, while goalkeeper Keiren Westwood (thigh) was able to take a seat on the bench.

Central defender Gareth McAuley and on-loan Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku will return for the Baggies.

McAuley has recovered from a hamstring injury suffered on international duty with Northern Ireland while Lukaku was ineligible to face his parent club in Albion's 2-1 win last weekend.

But midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu is ruled out with a tight hamstring and goalkeeper Ben Foster is absent for a third successive game with a groin problem.

Last season: West Brom 4 Sunderland 0, Sunderland 2 West Brom 2

Last five league matches: Sunderland D D L L W; West Brom L L W W W

Top scorers (all competitions): Steven Fletcher (Sunderland) 6; Shane Long (West Brom) 6

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

15:00 - Everton (5) v Norwich (13)

Everton will look to bounce back from defeat last weekend when they host Norwich but could face a tough job against a Canaries side who have already slayed several Premier League giants this season. David Moyes' men suffered just their second loss of the season at Reading last Saturday to end a six-game unbeaten streak, although they won just once in that period.

The resurgent Canaries have pulled off some impressive upsets in recent weeks, securing home wins over Arsenal and Manchester United, as well as Tottenham in the Capital One Cup.

Only last month Chris Hughton's men were languishing in the relegation zone but their recent form has lifted them to 13th in the standings ahead of their trip to Merseyside.

Injury-hit Everton could welcome back midfielders Kevin Mirallas and Darron Gibson against Norwich.

Mirallas missed last weekend's defeat by Reading with a hamstring problem while Gibson has been out since the start of September with a hamstring injury but played for Everton's Under-21 side earlier this week.

Captain Phil Neville is unlikely to play again this year following knee surgery while key midfielder Marouane Fellaini is suspended.

Striker Victor Anichebe (hamstring) and full-back Tony Hibbert (calf) are doubtful.

Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy looks set to make the trip to his former club after making good progress with the knee injury suffered against Manchester United last weekend.

Full-back Russell Martin (back) is back in training and could also feature.

Defender Michael Turner (shoulder) is described as "touch and go" by manager Chris Hughton.

Last season: Norwich 2 Everton 2, Everton 1 Norwich 1

Last five league matches: Everton D D D W L; Norwich W D W D W

Top scorers (all competitions): Marouane Fellaini (Everton) 6; Grant Holt (Norwich) 3

Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)

15:00 - Man Utd (2) v QPR (20)

Queens Park Rangers take on Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday just more than 24 hours after sacking Mark Hughes.

QPR owner Tony Fernandes decided to part company with Hughes on Friday morning after failing to win a Premier League game in 12 matches this season.

United suffered a surprise defeat at Norwich City last weekend and they surrendered top spot in the table to defending champions and derby rivals Manchester City in the process.

Ferguson will therefore be demanding a return to form and QPR face tough task in ending a 13-game winless run against United.

Wayne Rooney will return to the Manchester United starting XI against QPR.

Rooney has recovered from tonsillitis, which prevented him making the midweek trip to Galatasaray, and will be involved along with Chris Smalling, who has shrugged off a shoulder problem.

Jonny Evans (groin) has returned to training but will not play while Nani (hamstring) is also sidelined.

QPR captain Park Ji-sung remains a doubt for the trip to his former club.

Park has been suffering from a knee problem and, despite returning to training, is likely to miss out.

Stephane Mbia is back after serving a three-match ban but strikers Bobby Zamora (hip) and Andrew Johnson (knee) are out and on-loan defender Fabio cannot feature against his parent club.

Last season: Man Utd 2 QPR 0, QPR 0 Man Utd 2

Last five league matches: Man Utd W W W W L; QPR D L D L L

Top scorers (all competitions): Robin van Persie (Man Utd) 11; Bobby Zamora (QPR) 4

Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)

15:00 - Stoke (14) v Fulham (9)

Stoke City will be looking to continue their impressive home form when they host Fulham on Saturday.

The Potters have not lost any of their last 12 matches at home in the Premier League, with their last defeat at the Britannia Stadium coming way back in February.

However, defeating a Fulham side who are ninth in the table with 16 points from 12 matches will not be easy.

Martin Jol's side are just four points off the final European spot, but are in need of a victory.

Stoke could be without defender Andy Wilkinson (back) who had to come off in the first half of Monday's 1-1 draw at West Ham.

a back problem.

If he is ruled out, his replacement at Upton Park, Ryan Shotton, is likely to deputise once again at full-back.

Midfielder Dean Whitehead is available after suspension but striker Michael Owen is not expected to make his return from a hamstring complaint, while midfielder Rory Delap (hernia) and defender Marc Wilson (broken leg) remain sidelined.

Fulham will again be without a number of key players.

Alex Kacaniklic and Bryan Ruiz are both out for the next two weeks with hamstring injuries, while Mickael Tavares and Kieran Richardson miss out with similar complaints.

Manager Martin Jol can call upon Mahamadou Diarra (knee) and Chris Baird (suspension) again, although captain Brede Hangeland (suspension), Simon Davies (hip) and Kerim Frei (loan return) are also unavailable.

David Stockdale, Marcello Trotta and Alex Smith have left the club on loan.

Last season: Fulham 2 Stoke 1, Stoke 2 Fulham 0

Last five league matches: Stoke L D L W D; Fulham W D D D L

Top scorers (all competitions): Peter Crouch (Stoke) 5; Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham) 5

Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)

15:00 - Wigan (16) v Reading (17)

Wigan are seeking a return to form when they host a Reading team fresh from their first win of the season last weekend.

Roberto Martinez is dealing with an injury crisis at the DW Stadium with broken-leg victim Ben Watson and captain Gary Caldwell joining five other senior players on the treatment table.

Reading boss Brian McDermott was relieved to pick up a long overdue first win of the campaign against Everton last time out.

Newspapers reports had linked owner Anton Zingarevich with a move for Dick Advocaat as a replacement manager for McDermott.

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez could be without seven first-team players against Reading.

Ben Watson (broken leg), Gary Caldwell (hamstring), Ryo Miyaichi (ankle) and Franco Di Santo (leg) all suffered injuries in last weekend's 3-0 defeat by Liverpool, although strikers Miyaichi and Di Santo could still feature.

Midfielder James McArthur (dead leg), winger Albert Crusat (knee) and defender Antolin Alcaraz (groin) are not yet ready to return.

Reading manager Brian McDermott could welcome Jimmy Kebe back into his squad.

Kebe missed last weekend's win over Everton with a groin problem but has returned to training and is in contention for the match at the DW Stadium.

McDermott has also seen goalkeeper Alex McCarthy return to training, along with midfielders Danny Guthrie and Jem Karacan, although Saturday's game will be too early for any of them to return.

Last season: No Corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Wigan L W W L L; Reading L D D D W

Top scorers (all competitions): Arouna Kone (Wigan) 4; Pavel Pogrebnyak (Reading) 5

Referee: Howard Webb

17:30 - Aston Villa (18) v Arsenal (6) - ESPN

Aston Villa will be aiming to move out of the bottom three when they welcome Arsenal to Villa Park.

Paul Lambert will be hoping his side can get back to winning ways quickly if they are to avoid getting involved in a relegation scrap.

Arsenal go into the game boosted by wins in the north London derby against Tottenham and the midweek victory over Montpellier, which confirmed their place in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League.

The Gunners had lost just one of their previous 12 Premier League away games before losing their last two on the road against Norwich and Manchester United and they will be keen to close the gap on the top four.

Aston Villa striker Darren Bent is back in contention after a three-game absence due to an ankle injury.

The England international has returned to training this week after missing the games with Sunderland and the two Manchester clubs.

Left-back Eric Lichaj is also available after a leg muscle strain but Joe Bennett, Chris Herd, Charles N'Zogbia (all knee) and Richard Dunne (groin) are still out.

Arsenal will again be without forward Theo Walcott (shoulder).

Defender Andre Santos (stomach muscle) is also out, but forward Gervinho and defender Kieran Gibbs are again in contention having been in the squad for the midweek Champions League win over Montpellier.

Midfielder Abou Diaby (thigh) and Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky (hamstring) continue their rehabilitation.

Last season: Arsenal 3 Aston Villa 0, Aston Villa 1 Arsenal 2

Last five league matches: Aston Villa L D W L L; Arsenal L W L D W

Top scorers (all competitions): Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) 7; Theo Walcott (Arsenal) 9

Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)

Sunday 25 November 2012

13:30 - Swansea (10) v Liverpool (11) - Sky

Brendan Rodgers returns to Swansea City as an opposing manager for the first time when he takes Liverpool to Liberty Stadium on Sunday lunchtime.

The former Swans boss swapped Wales for Merseyside in the summer after accepting the offer to succeed Kenny Dalglish at Anfield.

But Liverpool will kick-off in Wales on a seven-game unbeaten run in the league in the wake of last Saturday's victory over Wigan Athletic.

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup has Ki Sung-yueng and Kyle Bartley back in his squad to face Liverpool.

Ki missed the win at Newcastle with a hamstring problem, while defender Bartley returns after a lengthy absence with a thigh problem.

Goalkeeper Michel Vorm is a couple of weeks away from full fitness after a groin injury while Danny Graham, Ben Davies and Luke Moore are struggling with illness but should be available.

Defender Andre Wisdom is expected to be fit after sustaining a knee injury in the Europa League draw with Young Boys on Thursday.

Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez will be restored to the starting line-up.

Midfielder Lucas Leiva returned to competitive action today after three months out with a thigh injury by playing 45 minutes for the under-21s, but is probably a week away from rejoining first-team squad.

Last season: Swansea 1 Liverpool 0, Liverpool 0 Swansea 0

Last five league matches: Swansea W L D D W; Liverpool W D D D W

Top scorers (all competitions): Miguel Michu (Swansea) 8; Luis Suarez (Liverpool) 13

Referee: Jon Moss

15:00 - Southampton (19) v Newcastle (12)

Southampton will be keen to build on their victory over Queens Park Rangers by defeating Newcastle United at home in the Premier League on Sunday.

The Saints returned to winning ways after seven competitive matches last weekend with a 3-1 triumph at Loftus Road in the Premier League.

Newcastle have also been disappointing in the Premier League this campaign, having picked up just 14 points from 12 matches.

Alan Pardew's side, who are currently 12th, have been hit with several injuries, playmaker Hatem Ben Arfa adding his name to the list of absentees on Thursday.

Frazer Richardson and Richard Chaplow remain Southampton's only absentees for the clash with Newcastle.

Right-back Richardson is out after suffering a recurrence of a thigh injury last week, while Chaplow is also out through injury.

Guly do Prado and Artur Boruc could be involved after being left out of the squad for the games with Swansea and QPR.

Midfielder Cheick Tiote returns to the Newcastle squad after missing out in Europe through suspension.

However, skipper Fabricio Coloccini, who played in Thursday's draw with Maritimo, completes his three-match domestic ban and will join winger Hatem Ben Arfa (hamstring) and midfielder Yohan Cabaye (groin) on the sidelines, while striker Shola Ameobi (also groin) and midfielder Gabriel Obertan (toe) remain doubts.

Winger Jonas Gutierrez (knee) and utility man James Perch (thigh) are available, while striker Papiss Cisse has a chance despite picking up a kick on the thigh last night, and fellow frontman Nile Ranger has been added to the squad.

Last season: No Corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Southampton L L L D W; Newcastle D W D L L

Top scorers (all competitions): Rickie Lambert (Southampton) 5; Demba Ba (Newcastle) 8

Referee: Martin Atkinson

16:00 - Tottenham (8) v West Ham (7)

West Ham United will be keen to maintain their impressive start to the Premier League season with a win against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.

Sam Allardyce's side are currently one place and two points ahead of Spurs in seventh, just a point behind the Europa League spot.

Spurs, are struggling to bag maximum points in matches, as Andre Villas-Boas' side have not won in their last three competitive games.

The north London club have also lost their last two league fixtures at White Hart Lane and went down 5-2 at Arsenal last weekend, before earning a goalless draw with Lazio in Rome in the Europa League on Thursday.

Mousa Dembele is a doubt for the visit of West Ham despite making his comeback following a month out with a hip injury against Lazio on Thursday.

Dembele still does not feel 100% despite his second-half appearance in the Stadio Olimpico and may start on the bench this weekend.

Emmanuel Adebayor starts a three-match suspension while long-term absentees Scott Parker (Achilles), Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Younes Kaboul (both knee) remain sidelined.

West Ham winger Matt Jarvis will return to the squad ahead of the trip to Tottenham.

Jarvis missed Monday's 1-1 draw with Stoke with a shin injury but is in contention to start at White Hart Lane.

Yossi Benayoun is still not available as he looks to overcome a thigh problem with Jack Collison (knee) and Ricardo Vaz Te (shoulder) also ruled out.

Last season: No Corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Tottenham L W L L L; West Ham W L D W D

Top scorers (all competitions): Jermain Defoe (Tottenham) 8; Kevin Nolan (West Ham) 5

Referee: Andre Marriner

16:00 - Chelsea (3) v Man City (2) - Sky

Rafael Benitez takes charge of his first game as Chelsea manager when the Blues host Premier League leaders Manchester City in Sunday's blockbuster clash.

The two heavyweights enter the Stamford Bridge showdown on the back of similarly rough weeks in Europe, with City having crashed out of the UEFA Champions League at the group stage for a second successive year, while Chelsea's qualification hopes are hanging by a thread.

Roberto Mancini's men were unable to prevent their slide out of Europe this week when they could only draw 1-1 with Real Madrid, and will be keen to get back on track in West London.

Having knocked local rivals Manchester United off the top spot, Mancini's side sit a point ahead of their neighbours, who could reclaim pole position with a win against QPR on Saturday.

Rafael Benitez must decide whether to recall Fernando Torres for his first game in charge of Chelsea.

One of Roberto Di Matteo's final acts as manager was dropping Torres for the first time this season before Tuesday's fateful Champions League defeat at Juventus.

Chelsea remain without John Terry (knee) and Frank Lampard (calf).

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany will be given a fitness test after suffering a knee injury late in the midweek clash with Real Madrid.

Striker Mario Balotelli, dropped for the defeat of Tottenham a fortnight ago, has been training after being forced out of the last two games by a back injury.

Left-back Gael Clichy (ankle) is back in contention while midfielder Jack Rodwell (hamstring) edges closer to a return, but right-back Micah Richards (knee) is still out.

Last season: Man City 2 Chelsea 1, Chelsea 2 Man City 1

Last five league matches: Chelsea W L D D L; Man City W W D W W

Top scorers (all competitions): Juan Mata & Fernando Torres (Chelsea) 7; Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko & Carlos Tevez (Man City) 7

Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)

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