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Premier League MatchDay 14 Preview

last updated Wednesday 28th November 2012, 3:35 PM

Wednesday in the Premier League's midweek Match Day 14 sees Manchester City going all out to reclaim top spot in the table when they travel to Wigan after fierce local rivals Manchester United leapfrogged them into pole position at the weekend.

Premiership Fixtures
Tuesday 27th November 2012
KO Home   Away Ref TV
19:45 Sunderland 0-0 QPR A Marriner  
20:00 Aston Villa 1-0 Reading L Probert Sky2
Wednesday 28th November 2012
19:45 Chelsea v Fulham A Taylor  
19:45 Everton v Arsenal M Oliver  
19:45 Southampton v Norwich M Clattenburg  
19:45 Stoke v Newcastle H Webb  
19:45 Swansea v West Brom L Mason  
19:45 Tottenham v Liverpool P Dowd  
20:00 Man Utd v West Ham M Jones  
20:00 Wigan v Man City M Halsey Sky2
Manchester United will have to be careful to keep their neighbours at bay when they play host to West Ham, having had to come from behind to see off lowly QPR on Saturday.

Everton have gone off the boil in recent weeks with just one win in their last seven games and will be looking to turn that around with a home result against Arsenal, who sit a point behind in sixth place ahead of the trip to Merseyside.

Rafael Benitez is seeking his first triumph as Chelsea manager after his debut game in charge ended in a goalless draw against Manchester City, and will be looking for three points to revive the Blues' fortunes when they entertain mid-table Fulham.

Tottenham ended a run of three straight defeats with victory over West Ham at the weekend and will hope to secure another White Hart Lane success when they host Liverpool, unbeaten in eight Premier League games but seeking their first road win since the end of September.

Premiership table - after 27th Nov 2012
Pos Team Pld W D L F A W D L F A GD Pts
1 Man Utd 13 5 0 1 18 9 5 0 2 14 9 14 30
2 Man City 13 6 1 0 18 5 2 4 0 7 5 15 29
3 West Brom 13 6 0 1 14 5 2 2 2 9 10 8 26
4 Chelsea 13 4 2 1 14 7 3 2 1 10 6 11 25
5 Everton 13 3 3 0 11 7 2 3 2 12 10 6 21
6 Arsenal 13 3 2 1 16 8 2 3 2 7 5 10 20
7 Tottenham 13 3 2 2 11 9 3 0 3 12 13 1 20
8 West Ham 13 3 3 1 11 6 2 1 3 5 9 1 19
9 Swansea 13 2 4 1 10 9 2 1 3 8 7 2 17
10 Fulham 13 3 1 2 13 7 1 3 3 12 16 2 16
11 Liverpool 13 2 3 2 8 7 1 4 1 9 9 1 16
12 Stoke 13 3 3 0 5 1 0 4 3 6 10 0 16
13 Norwich 13 3 2 1 6 6 0 4 3 4 13 -9 15
14 Newcastle 13 3 1 3 7 9 0 4 2 6 10 -6 14
15 Wigan 13 2 2 3 11 13 2 0 4 4 10 -8 14
16 Sunderland 13 1 3 2 5 7 1 4 2 7 9 -4 13
17 Aston Villa 14 2 3 2 8 8 1 1 5 3 14 -11 13
18 Southampton 13 2 2 3 12 11 1 0 5 8 19 -10 11
19 Reading 13 1 4 1 9 10 0 2 5 7 13 -7 9
20 QPR 14 0 3 3 4 12 0 2 6 6 14 -16 5
Newcastle's slump continued as they suffered a third straight defeat at Southampton on Saturday and Alan Pardew's men will be desperate to turn things around when they visit Stoke.

In-form West Brom travel to Swansea on the back of four consecutive wins which have lifted them into third place and could further increase the heat on the Manchester clubs with victory in South Wales.

Resurgent Southampton will aim to climb back out of the bottom three by extending back-to-back successes with a win when they host Norwich.

Tuesday was a bottom of the table affair that saw Aston Villa battle for a late win against hard working Reading which allowed Villa to get out of the relegation zone for at least a day.

A drab game at rainy Sunderland saw QPR and not so ambitious Harry Redknapp hold out for a valuable away point.

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.

Wednesday 28 November 2012

19:45 - Chelsea (4) v Fulham (10)

The Blues have picked up just three points from their previous four games - with defeat to West Brom sandwiched between a collection of draws. Indeed, it is a full five games since the side's last league win - against Spurs at White Hart Lane.

Successive defeats to Stoke and Sunderland have stunted Fulham's progress somewhat, having previously picked up six points from their four prior games.

Set to play and play and play some more until he rediscovers his goalscoring groove, Fernando Torres's chances of notching in this derby were increased exponentially when Brede Hangeland got himself banned.

Philippe Senderos, far from convincing in the defeat to Stoke, looks a less daunting opponent to face.

A local derby for his second game in charge of the club, surely the already deeply unpopular Rafa Benitez cannot afford to lose such a game if he is to win round the Stamford Bridge faithful as he claims he will.

Gary Cahill has recovered from illness and is in contention for Chelsea's west London derby with Fulham on Wednesday night. Defender Cahill was only able to start on the bench in Rafael Benitez's first game in charge against Manchester City on Sunday, but he could return for the Spaniard's second Barclays Premier League at the helm.

Daniel Sturridge is close to returning from a hamstring injury, while John Terry (knee) and Frank Lampard (calf) are also progressing.

Fulham captain Brede Hangeland is one of a number of key players missing for Wednesday's west London derby clash at Chelsea. The Norway international serves the second of a three-match ban at Stamford Bridge and is joined on the sidelines by Alex Kacaniklic, Bryan Ruiz and Kieran Richardson (all hamstring).

Simon Davies (hip) remains out but manager Martin Jol can call upon Kerim Frei after a loan spell at Cardiff.

19:45 - Everton (5) v Arsenal (6)

Just one defeat in their last six for Everton still only translates to seven points acquired, with a win against Sunderland and then a defeat to Reading the only break from a series of draws.

Arsenal have picked up a point more over the same period - with two of each type of result possible - and have not been beaten in their last three.

Marouane Fellaini returns for Everton at the ideal time, with the physical Belgian looking well equipped to cause problems for an Arsenal midfield - led by Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla - that trades in technique but is susceptible to intimidation.

Returning to the ground where he established his reputation, some Toffees fans may be surprised by the deeper role Mikel Arteta occupies for his new side. Amid familiar surroundings, however, maybe the Spanish maestro will find inspiration to dominate proceedings from midfield.

The big news of the week for Arsenal fans - Bacary Sagna and Theo Walcott DO NOT appear in the club's 2013 calendar. Does this mean their sale is inevitable?

Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini returns from suspension to face Arsenal at Goodison Park on Wednesday.

Manager David Moyes is still waiting on Darron Gibson, out since early September because of a thigh problem, as he approaches full fitness. Seamus Coleman, Victor Anichebe, Phil Neville and Kevin Mirallas were all unavailable for Saturday's draw with Norwich and Moyes expects to pick a similar team for the visit of the Gunners.

Arsenal will have forward Theo Walcott back from a shoulder problem for Wednesday's Barclays Premier League trip to Everton. Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky (Achilles) is back in full training after his long injury lay-off, but will not feature at Goodison.

Defender Andre Santos (stomach muscle) remains out, while midfielder Abou Diaby (thigh) continues his rehabilitation.

19:45 - Southampton (18) v Norwich (13)

Down in the dumps not so long ago, back-to-back wins against QPR and Newcastle have boosted Southampton, who have claimed eight points from the last six.

Norwich, meanwhile, have been on an impressive run in recent weeks - alternating draws and wins to pick up 12 points from the same period, the fourth best record in the division.

Jason Puncheon has been in scintillating form in the past few weeks, proving a key element of the two wins that have changed the face of the Saints' season.

Can Javier Garrido keep him in check?

Adam Lallana - who scored the last time these two sides met, in League One back in 2009 - has grown in influence for his side this season; after being involved with a recent England squad can his form earn him a proper call-up in the near future?

This match is notable because it sees the return to officiating of Mark Clattenburg, who hopefully will not be unduly affected by all the upheaval caused to him in recent times.

Rickie Lambert has overcome a knock and should feature in Southampton's clash with Norwich on Wednesday. Saints' top scorer picked up the leg injury in Sunday's 2-0 defeat of Newcastle but trained on Tuesday and should be involved against the Canaries.

However, the game could come too soon for Danny Fox after missing Sunday with a knee complaint, while Frazer Richardson and Richard Chaplow are also expect to remain sidelined.

Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy (thigh) is doubtful for the Barclays Premier League trip to Southampton. Defender Russell Martin is available again following his back problem. Centre-half Michael Turner, however, is facing a couple of weeks out with a shoulder injury.

19:45 - Stoke (12) v Newcastle (14)

Two wins and a draw in the last three games has improved the outlook for Stoke, having picked up just a point from the three games prior to that.

Newcastle, meanwhile, have experienced almost opposite fortunes - with two wins and a draw being followed by a (currently unbroken) run of three successive defeats. The return of Fabrizio Coloccini cannot come soon enough for the Magpies, with the club losing all three games he missed after that ridiculous red card against Liverpool.

Can the Argentine boss Peter Crouch around on his return, or will the opposite prove the case?

Charlie Adam has got his name on the scoresheet with pleasing regularity for Tony Pulis over the past few games - perhaps we are seeing a slow but steady return to his Blackpool levels of influence for the Scot.

One win in eight since Alan Pardew signed his new contract extension at Newcastle - is that proof that eight-year deals are a bad idea?

Stoke duo Michael Owen and Andy Wilkinson are likely to miss Wednesday's Barclays Premier League clash with Newcastle. Owen returned to training on Monday after a month out with a hamstring injury but Stoke are keen not to push the former England man too hard, while Wilkinson missed Saturday's victory over Fulham with a back problem.

Both players could well return for Saturday's trip to West Brom, but Marc Wilson (broken leg) and Rory Delap (hernia) are longer-term absentees.

Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye has undergone groin surgery in Paris on Tuesday. The Magpies have confirmed the 26-year-old France international has had an operation to repair the damage which has sidelined him since the 1-0 Barclays Premier League defeat by West Ham on November 11.

Cabaye, who has made 13 appearances for the club in all competitions this season, will be out of action for several weeks. The former Lille player has been a huge hit on Tyneside since his £4.8million arrival last summer, but was one of 11 senior players unavailable to manager Alan Pardew for Monday's 2-0 defeat at Southampton.

19:45 - Swansea (9) v West Brom (3)

The Swans have lost just once in the last six, with two wins over the same period putting them in the upper echelons of the league's current form table.

That still does not compare to West Brom, however, who have emerged as surprise contenders to the biggest boys with a run of four successive wins (although they did lose the two prior to that).

A tale of two managers in this one - Steve Clarke is beginning to gain rave reviews for the work he is doing at The Hawthorns, but can Michael Laudrup bring him back down to earth on home turf, in a game where a win would comfortably keep them in the top ten.

Jonas Olsson has proven the rock at the base of West Brom's defence, and will be keen to prove he can keep delivering consistent performances.

Is Premier League managerial experience overrated? Both Clarke and Laudrup have taken the reins at clubs this season without prior experience at the level (although Clarke had a wealth as a No. 2) and have gone on to achieve better results than most expected.

Striker Danny Graham will miss Swansea's Barclays Premier League clash with West Brom through illness. Graham sat out Sunday's draw with Liverpool having become ill following the win at Newcastle and will not be fit to face the Baggies.

Luke Moore is back after suffering from the same illness, while Jonathan de Guzman is a doubt with a hamstring complaint.

West Brom central defender Jonas Olsson is an injury doubt for Wednesday evening's Barclays Premier League encounter at Swansea. The Sweden international suffered a calf injury during Saturday's 4-2 win at Sunderland, which lifted Albion into third place in the table.

The Baggies will assess midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu after missing the trip to the Stadium Of Light with a hamstring injury. Goalkeeper Ben Foster (groin) is again ruled out.

19:45 - Tottenham (7) v Liverpool (11)

It's the away side that turn up for this one in form - they haven't lost in eight matches, although five of those games have been draws.

Spurs, meanwhile, have been erratic at best - losing four and winning two of their last six.

The original Gareth Bale against the 'new' Gareth Bale - Jose Enrique - could prove an interesting little duel. Enrique claims he still prefers playing left-back but has looked good pushed further forward, but Bale remains arguably the greatest player in the position in the division.

Wanted by the Reds in the summer, Clint Dempsey ended up at White Hart Lane instead. Settled into a role just behind the main striker, can he thrive in a game he will obviously want to do well in?

Once upon a time on the same first FA coaching course, then fellow members of Jose Mourinho's backroom staff at Chelsea, and now both Premier League managers.

But are either (or neither, or both) Andre Villas-Boas and Brendan Rodgers the right men to lead the long-term charge for Tottenham got back on track with an impressive 3-1 win over West Ham on Sunday and will be looking to build on that in a fixture which has been kind to them in recent years.

Since Liverpool won here in May 2008, Spurs have taken all four Premier League meetings at White Hart Lane plus a League Cup tie which saw them 3-0 up at half-time, and with the Reds having looked average at Swansea on Sunday they will need to up their game.

Indeed, if we could rely on Tottenham producing the same level of performance they achieved on Sunday they'd be favourite, but that was only their third win in seven at home.

Tottenham midfielder Sandro has been passed fit for Wednesday's Barclays Premier League game against Liverpool despite being carried off on a stretcher with a stomach injury against West Ham. Mousa Dembele may start his first game in over a month after overcoming a hip problem, but Emmanuel Adebayor is suspended.

Liverpool defender Andre Wisdom has recovered from the knee injury which kept him out at the weekend and returns to the squad to face Tottenham at White Hart Lane. If the teenager regains his place, winger Stewart Downing - who played at left-back at Swansea on Sunday - would be the player most likely to make way.

Midfielder Lucas Leiva, who played an hour for the reserves on Friday, will not be included but could come into contention at the weekend.

20:00 - Man Utd (1) v West Ham (8)

That defeat to Norwich at Carrow Road remains the only blip for United, who have claimed every other point available to them over the last six games - not bad considering they have faced Chelsea and Arsenal in that period.

West Ham have had the sort of mixed bag befitting of a newly-promoted side, claiming eight points from the same period after a most recent defeat against Spurs.

With Paul Scholes suspended, Tom Cleverley will likely be tasked with orchestrating matters from the middle of the pitch for United. The former Wigan loanee appears set to commit his long-term future to United in the near future, but Kevin Nolan might believe he can show the youngster still has a thing or two to learn in this one.

Robin van Persie will hope to get a couple against a defence that hardly looks to be the most resilient, as he aims to enhance the Premier League top goalscorer ambitions he no doubt has.

Has the time come to start Javier Hernandez? The Mexican scored again after coming off the bench at the weekend, but the inability of United's starting lineup to get the job done against inferior opposition must be beginning to rile Sir Alex Ferguson.

It's been all or nothing for Manchester United so far this season, the only side yet to have drawn any of their 13 games, so if you don't fancy them to win you should be looking at West Ham to win. However, far more likely is that United once again find the reserves to win a fixture they've taken 14 times in 16 Premier League renewals.

That being said, United are sweating on the fitness of both Nani and Antonio Valencia and I do think they're a far better side when one of those is in play to offer width, although the energy Anderson provides in the centre in part allays that fear.

West Ham have shown bits and pieces of form away from home but both wins were in part thanks to playing the right team at the right time, which certainly isn't the case here, and I can't see beyond the obvious here.

Paul Scholes will miss Manchester United's Barclays Premier League encounter with West Ham.
The veteran midfielder is suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the season at the weekend and his place goes to Anderson, who impressed as a second-half substitute against QPR. Antonio Valencia (hip) has an outside chance of being fit for the leaders.

Midfielder Mark Noble is suspended for West Ham's game at Manchester United after accumulating five yellow cards. Left-back George McCartney is a doubt after suffering an ankle injury against Tottenham and midfielder Yossi Benayoun is still not available as he looks to overcome a thigh problem.

Midfielder Jack Collison (knee) and forward Ricardo Vaz Te (shoulder) are also ruled out.

20:00 - Wigan (15) v Man City (2) - Sky2

Three wins and three defeats from their last six is a typically unpredictable run of results for Wigan, who most recently defeated Reading 3-2 thanks to an unlikely hat-trick from Jordi Gomez.

Manchester City are yet to lose this season, winning four of their last six - but their most recent result was a draw against Chelsea. Sergio Aguero will doubtless look at Ivan Ramis - a defender he should know from the time they both spent in Spain - and believe he can get the better of him in this one. The opposite might not be quite true, however.

Ali Al-Habsi might be the busiest player in this contest, but the Omani is capable of pulling a scintillating performance out of the bag - can he deny the champions a goal at the DW Stadium?

Wouldn't it just be a typically Wigan thing for the Latics to consign the defending Premier League champions to their first defeat of the season (and then follow it up with a bad defeat against an out-of-sorts Newcastle at the weekend)?

Injury-hit Wigan will give fitness tests to forward Shaun Maloney (groin) and defender Gary Caldwell (hamstring) ahead of their Barclays Premier League clash with Manchester City.

Defender Ivan Ramis (hamstring) is unlikely to feature after being forced off against Reading last weekend, but midfielder James McArthur and striker Franco di Santo are back in contention after coming off the bench in that game.

Midfielders Albert Crusat (knee) and Ben Watson (broken leg), winger Ryo Miyaichi (ankle) and defender Antolin Alcaraz (groin) remain on the sidelines.

Manchester City defender Gael Clichy remains on the injury list as the Barclays Premier League champions travel to Wigan. The Frenchman has missed the last two matches with an ankle problem and is also unlikely to feature this weekend, but captain Vincent Kompany (knee) felt no ill effects after his 90-minute performance against Chelsea on Sunday.

Midfielder Jack Rodwell (hamstring) is making progress but not ready to feature, while right-back Micah Richards (knee) remains out.

Tuesday 27 November 2012

19:45 - Sunderland (0) 0 QPR (0) 0

Substitute Rob Green ensured Harry Redknapp's rein as QPR boss started with a positive result after making a stunning save to deny Steven Fletcher in a goalless draw at Sunderland.

Green replaced the injured Julio Cesar, who had earlier made a vital block to deny Fletcher, at the break and stood firm as the visitors turned in a spirited display at the Stadium of Light.

Home keeper Simon Mignolet also had to be at his best to keep out Sunderland old boy Djibril Cisse as well as Jamie Mackie and he was relieved to see midfielder Stephane Mbia blast a long-range effort inches wide.

Ultimately, Redknapp's men left the north-east still without a league win this season but with a fifth point of the campaign which extended the Black Cats' difficult run to just two wins in 21 outings.

Given the circumstances, it was never likely to be a classic, and on a night when Wearside was lashed by wind and rain once again, there was little genuine quality on show for much of a tight contest.

Sunderland: Mignolet, Bardsley, Kilgallon, Cuellar, Rose, Cattermole (Colback 6), Larsson, Gardner (Saha 78), Johnson (McClean 70), Sessegnon, Fletcher.
Subs not used: Westwood, Bramble, Vaughan, Campbell.

Booked: Cuellar.

QPR: Julio Cesar (Green 46), Traore, Hill, Nelsen, Bosingwa, Diakite (Park Ji-sung 65), Taarabt (Wright-Phillips 77), Granero, M'bia, Cisse, Mackie.
Subs not used: Ferdinand, Fabio, Derry, Hoilett.

Booked: Diakite, Hill, Mackie.

Referee: Andre Marriner.

Attendance: 36,513

20:00 - Aston Villa (0) 1 Reading (0) 0 - Sky2

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert again excluded record signing Darren Bent but saw his replacement Christian Benteke score a late winner in the bottom-of-the-table clash with Reading at Villa Park.

The Belgium international ended a four-game run without a goal when he headed home an Ashley Westwood corner with 10 minutes remaining.

Villa's third win of the season moved them out of the Premier League bottom three in front of their lowest home league gate - 28,692 - for six years.

The game was not a classic but Villa deserved the three points after enjoying the bulk of possession and looking the more threatening.

Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Baker, Clark, Stevens (Lichaj 24), Holman (Ireland 67), Westwood, Bannan, Weimann (Albrighton 68), Agbonlahor, Benteke.
Subs not used: Given, Ireland, El Ahmadi, Albrighton, Delph, Bowery, Lichaj.

Booked: Clark.

Goal: Benteke 80.

Reading: Federici, Cummings, Morrison, Mariappa, Shorey, Robson-Kanu (McCleary 83), Leigertwood, Tabb, McAnuff, Roberts (Hunt 79), Le Fondre.
Subs not used: Taylor, Pearce, Pogrebnyak, McCleary, Harte, Gunnarsson.

Att: 28,692.

Ref: Lee Probert (Wiltshire).

Source .Soccernet/SkySports
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