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Premier League MatchDay 22 Preview

last updated Saturday 12th January 2013, 11:14 AM

Premiership Fixtures
Saturday 12th January 2012
KO Home   Away Ref TV
12:45 QPR v Tottenham L Probert Sky2
15:00 Aston Villa v Southampton C Foy  
15:00 Everton v Swansea P Dowd  
15:00 Fulham v Wigan M Clattenburg  
15:00 Norwich v Newcastle A Taylor  
15:00 Reading v West Brom K Friend  
15:00 Stoke v Chelsea A Marriner  
15:00 Sunderland v West Ham N Swarbrick  
Sunday 13th January 2012
13:30 Man Utd v Liverpool H Webb Sky1
16:00 Arsenal v Man city M Dean Sky1
MatchDay 22 kicks off with Harry Redknapp's Queens Park Rangers welcoming his former club Tottenham Hotspur. Villas-Boas may have a point to prove after Harry announced last week that only a dope could fail at Chelsea. While Harry may not be too happy with Tottenham since they sacked him. Not a grudge match then.

Elsewhere, there are key matches at the bottom of the table as second from bottom Reading tackle West Bromwich Albion, struggling Aston Villa and Southampton clash at Villa Park and relegation zone Wigan Athletic head to London to face a Fulham hoping to record their first two league wins end to end.

While in the race for the UEFA Champions League Chelsea make the tough trip to Stoke City where Mr Pulis' boys have only lost twice this season.Everton host Swansea City hoping their dodgy defence will be able to keep out Swansea star Michu.

Newcastle are away at Norwich and it is not getting a whole lot easier for Alan Pardew and Toon Town.

Premiership table - after 10th Jan 2013
Pos Team Pld W D L F A W D L F A GD Pts
1 Man Utd 21 9 0 1 28 13 8 1 2 26 15 26 52
2 Man City 21 8 2 1 25 9 5 4 1 16 10 22 45
3 Tottenham 21 6 3 2 17 11 6 0 4 22 16 12 39
4 Chelsea 20 5 3 2 22 8 6 2 2 17 11 20 38
5 Everton 21 5 4 1 17 12 4 5 2 18 14 9 36
6 Arsenal 20 5 2 2 25 13 4 5 2 15 9 18 34
7 West Brom 21 7 1 3 17 9 3 2 5 12 18 2 33
8 Liverpool 21 5 3 3 17 10 3 4 3 17 16 8 31
9 Swansea 21 3 6 2 19 17 4 2 4 12 9 5 29
10 Stoke 21 5 5 0 14 7 1 6 4 7 13 1 29
11 West Ham 20 5 3 3 19 13 2 2 5 5 11 0 26
12 Norwich 21 5 2 3 13 13 1 5 5 11 21 -10 25
13 Fulham 21 4 2 4 17 14 2 4 5 15 23 -5 24
14 Sunderland 21 3 3 4 11 12 2 4 5 10 17 -8 22
15 Newcastle 21 5 1 5 13 14 0 4 6 14 25 -12 20
16 Aston Villa 21 2 4 4 8 15 2 3 6 9 26 -24 19
17 Southampton 20 3 4 4 15 14 1 2 6 12 24 -11 18
18 Wigan 21 2 3 6 13 22 3 0 7 9 17 -17 18
19 Reading 21 2 5 3 15 19 0 2 9 8 21 -17 13
20 QPR 21 1 4 5 8 19 1 3 7 9 17 -19 13
MatchDay 22 continues with two huge games on a blockbuster Sunday as Manchester United play host to bitter rivals Liverpool aiming to extend their lead at the top of the table. All eyes will be on the top two Premier League goalscorers Robin van Persie and Luis Suarez at Old Trafford. United currently lead the league by seven points and they will be hoping to take a step closer to the title with victory against Liverpool.

Then after that Manchester City could find themselves 10 points behind Manchester United at the top of the table when they kick-off at Arsenal on Sunday afternoon and a win will therefore be vital. Arsenal want to be in the title race themselves but an inconsistent season leaves them 11 points behind City before their game and much will be expected of Theo Walcott in a game of such magnitude.

Saturday 12th January 2013

12:45 - QPR (20) v Tottenham (3) - Sky 2

Tottenham occupy third place following an excellent recent run, but will be wary of running out of steam like they did at this stage last term. Missing out on Champions League qualification was followed at the end of the season by the departure of Redknapp, and he will be in the opposition dugout when Spurs make the journey across London to Loftus Road on Saturday.

QPR boosted their survival hopes with a shock win at Chelsea last time out in the league and another victory would put them within striking distance of safety.

Defender Ryan Nelsen will play for QPR - he has agreed to manage MLS side Toronto FC but a date has yet to be set for his departure, with boss Harry Redknapp hoping he stays until the end of the season. Junior Hoilett (hamstring) and Samba Diakite (African Nations Cup) are unavailable, while forwards Andrew Johnson (knee) and Bobby Zamora (hip) are injured.

Boss Andre Villas-Boas has no new injury concerns - defenders William Gallas (calf) and Younes Kaboul (knee) are the only players unavailable. Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor plays his last game for Spurs before heading to the African Nations Cup.

Last season: QPR 1 Tottenham 0, Tottenham 3 QPR 1

Last five league matches: QPR W L L L W; Tottenham W D W W W

Top scorers (all competitions): DJ Campbell (QPR) 10; Jermain Defoe (Tottenham) 14

Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)

15:00 - Aston Villa (16) v Southampton (17)

While Swansea enjoyed a great midweek in the Capital One Cup, Aston Villa's loss to Bradford City only increased the pressure on their manager Paul Lambert.

Villa are hovering a couple of places above the relegation zone and are just one higher than Southampton, their opponents this weekend.

Saints were thumped 5-1 by Chelsea in the FA Cup last time out but have become increasingly hard to beat in the league and will be looking to build on a sequence of three straight draws.

Villa skipper Ron Vlaar has returned to training after a calf injury and could play some part. Midfielders Ashley Westwood (ankle) and Brett Holman (virus) are in contention but striker Darren Bent (knee), defenders Chris Herd (foot) and Richard Dunne (groin), winger Marc Albrighton (metatarsal) and goalkeeper Shay Given (hamstring) are out.

Saints are without knee victims Jose Fonte and Adam Lallana, while Emmanuel Mayuka is unavailable after linking up with Zambia for the African Nations Cup. Gaston Ramirez and Nathaniel Clyne return from a dead leg and knee problem respectively.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) 12; Rickie Lambert (Southampton) 8

Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)

15:00 - Everton (5) v Swansea (9)

Everton are just a couple of points behind Chelsea in fifth place, having lost just once in nine games, and will be aiming to continue their push for Europe with a home win this weekend.

Swansea are the visitors at Goodison Park, fresh from their impressive League Cup win, and are also on a four-match unbeaten run in the league.

Everton manager David Moyes is optimistic Leighton Baines will be available - the left-back has been nursing an ankle problem and Moyes says he is monitoring the England international's condition but expects him to be fit for tomorrow's match. It remains to be seen whether or not forward Kevin Mirallas, sidelined recently by a hamstring injury, is ready to make his return to action.

Swansea boss Michael Laudrup has no new injury concerns but the Dane may decide to make changes given the short turnaround from the midweek Capital One Cup win at Chelsea. Michel Vorm will return in goal while Kemy Agustien, Nathan Dyer and Danny Graham could all be handed starts with Swansea facing a third game in six days.

Last season: Swansea 0 Everton 2, Everton 1 Swansea 0

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Marouane Fellaini (Everton) 9; Michu (Swansea) 16

Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

15:00 - Fulham (13) v Wigan (18)

With Villa and Southampton going head to head, Wigan know they can climb out of the bottom three by beating Fulham at Craven Cottage.

The Latics have only won once in eight games and Fulham will be hoping to pile on further misery, having halted their own worrying slide down the table with a 2-1 triumph at West Brom on New Year's Day.

Mahamadou Diarra and Kerim Frei are unavailable for Fulham, whose boss Martin Jol welcomes back Mladen Petric, Damien Duff, Mark Schwarzer and John Arne Riise after the FA Cup third round draw with Blackpool. Diarra (knee) and Frei (pelvis) are out, though, while right-back Stephen Kelly is set to join Reading.

Midfielder Roger Espinoza is set for his Wigan debut and fellow new boy Angelo Henriquez is pushing for a start. However, defenders Antolin Alcaraz (groin) and Adrian Lopez (hamstring) and midfielders Ben Watson (broken leg), Albert Crusat (knee) and Ryo Miyaichi (ankle) are all out.

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

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham) 7; Jordi Gomez & Arouna Kone (Wigan) 6

Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)

15:00 - Norwich (12) v Newcastle (15) (11)

Chris Hughton welcomes former club Newcastle United to Carrow Road as Norwich City strive to end a run of four consecutive losses.

The Canaries are still in a healthier position than the Magpies, with Alan Pardew fully aware that his men are involved in a relegation scrap after nine defeats in 11 games.

The Canaries are still in a healthier position than the Magpies, with Mathieu Debuchy could make his debut for a Newcastle side currently just two points clear of the drop zone.

The Canaries are still in a healthier position than the Magpies, with Norwich could have captain Grant Holt back from a hamstring problem but fellow striker Steve Morison (thigh) remains sidelined, so Simeon Jackson is pressing for a start. Midfielder Jonny Howson is expected to shake off a virus but defender Steven Whittaker (hip) and winger Andrew Surman (hip) continue their rehabilitation, while goalkeeper John Ruddy (thigh) remains a long-term absentee after surgery on his thigh injury.

Fabricio Coloccini is set to return for the Magpies despite rumours linking him with a move back to Argentina. Full-back Mathieu Debuchy makes his debut and Papiss Cisse returns after missing the FA Cup loss at Brighton. Yohan Cabaye is set to return to the bench after a groin strain, but Steven Taylor and Hatem Ben Arfa again miss out and Shola Ameobi is suspended.

Last season: Newcastle 1 Norwich 0, Norwich 4 Newcastle 2

Last five league matches: Norwich W L L L L; Newcastle L W L L L

Top scorers (all competitions): Robert Snodgrass (Norwich) 5; Papiss Cisse (Newcastle) 6

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)

15:00 - Reading (19) v West Brom (7)

West Brom next travel to Reading, who are level on points with QPR at the bottom of the table and have a mountain to climb to stay in the top flight.

Brian McDermott's side have won twice all season and will find it difficult to overcome a Baggies side still flying high in seventh despite two straight defeats.

New signings Daniel Carrico and Hope Akpan are set to make their Royals debuts but Jason Roberts continues to be troubled by his hip problem, while Hal Robson-Kanu is a doubt with a knee injury. Mikele Leigertwood could also miss out with an unspecified knock while Alex McCarthy is making encouraging progress following shoulder surgery and should return before the end of the season.

West Brom winger Jerome Thomas is in contention to replace long-term knee injury victim Zoltan Gera. Thomas proved his fitness after an injury-hit start to the season during a loan spell at Leeds and appeared as a substitute during the FA Cup tie at QPR last weekend. Defenders Jonas Olsson (groin), Steven Reid (ankle) and Goran Popov (hamstring) plus midfielder Claudio Yacob (hamstring) remain doubtful while Youssouf Mulumbu is on African Nations Cup duty with DR Congo.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Adam Le Fondre & Pavel Pogrebnyak (Reading) 7; Shane Long (West Brom) 8

Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)

15:00 - Stoke (10) v Chelsea (4)

That loss to QPR has not been the only disappointment suffered by Chelsea in 2013, with Rafa Benitez blasted by fans following a 2-0 home defeat against Swansea in the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final.

The Blues have struggled for consistency for some time now and next face a difficult away clash at the Britannia Stadium.

Tenth-placed Stoke may have only won once in their past six games, but they are still unbeaten at home in the league this season.

Defender Marc Wilson and midfielder Rory Delap, who have been sidelined by a broken leg and hernia problem respectively, remain Stoke's only definite absentees. Boss Tony Pulis is expected to shuffle his pack after making changes for the FA Cup draw at Crystal Palace, where the likes of goalkeeper Asmir Begovic and striker Kenwyne Jones were rested.

Captain John Terry, out since November due to knee ligament damage, will be on the bench after coming through 45 minutes of an Under-21 game against Fulham yesterday. Goalkeeper Petr Cech will have a test on his groin injury, while Nigeria duo John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses are unavailable as they are at the African Nations Cup.

Last season: Chelsea 1 Stoke 0, Stoke 0 Chelsea 0

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Jonathan Walters (Stoke) 6; Demba Ba (Chelsea) 15

Referee: Andre Marriner (W Midlands)

15:00 - Sunderland (14) v West Ham (11)

Saturday's final clash pits together two teams in the lower half of the table as Sunderland welcome West Ham United to the Stadium of Light.

The Black Cats have a four-point cushion over the bottom three and can climb to within a point of the Hammers with a home win.

For Sam Allardyce's side, all eyes will again be on Joe Cole as he prepares to make his first Premier League appearance since re-signing earlier in the month.

Sunderland will be without defenders Danny Rose and Carlos Cuellar, who suffered hamstring injuries during the FA Cup draw at Bolton and will be missing for several weeks. Central defender John O'Shea (also hamstring) and striker Stephane Sessegnon (ankle) both missed the game at the Reebok Stadium and have returned to light training - but O'Shea in particular remains a doubt. New signing Alfred N'Diaye will be included if his international clearance comes through in time.

Marouane Chamakh goes straight into the Hammers squad - the striker has been signed on loan from Arsenal and could make his debut tomorrow. Modibo Maiga is missing as he links up with Mali ahead of the African Nations Cup while fellow forward Andy Carroll (knee) is also absent. Defender Joey O'Brien remains a doubt with a hamstring problem but George McCartney (knee) is definitely out.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Steven Fletcher (Sunderland) 8; Kevin Nolan (West Ham) 5

Referee: Neil Swarbrick (Lancashire)

Sunday 13th January 2013

13:30 - Man Utd (1) v Liverpool (8) - Sky 1

Manchester United currently have a seven-point advantage at the top of the table and will be looking to strengthen their position on a crucial day in the title race.

Liverpool are the visitors to Old Trafford and the rivalry between the sides remains as strong as ever, although both managers will be hoping to keep controversy out of the headlines after bad blood in previous meetings.

The hosts will certainly start as favourites, having won eight of their past nine Premier League games, but Liverpool have shown some good form themselves in recent weeks and it will be fascinating to see who comes out on top in the battle between two of the most prolific strikers in the league, Luis Suarez and Robin van Persie

Nani and Anderson both return to the United squad - the pair have been sidelined for 14 and eight games respectively with hamstring injuries but are available to bolster Sir Alex Ferguson's options. Wayne Rooney (knee) is missing though and Phil Jones is also likely to be saved for Wednesday's FA Cup replay with West Ham.

Striker Daniel Sturridge, who scored on his first appearance for Liverpool in the FA Cup win at Mansfield, could keep his place. The likes of the rested Steven Gerrard, Jose Reina and Glen Johnson will all return, while forward Fabio Borini is back in the squad having been sidelined since mid-October with a broken foot.

Last season: Man Utd 2 Liverpool 1, Liverpool 1 Man Utd 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Robin van Persie (Man Utd) 20; Luis Suarez (Liverpool) 19

Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)

16:00 - Arsenal (6) v Man City (2) - Sky 1

Sunday's second match, which follows on Sky Sports 1HD, sees Manchester City visit Arsenal.

Roberto Mancini's men will be desperate to stay in touch with their local rivals at the league summit by claiming victory at Emirates Stadium, but the Gunners will also view the fixture as a possible springboard for success in the second half of the season.

Arsenal are currently sixth in the standings and four points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea.

Arsenal will assess striker Olivier Giroud's knee injury ahead of the game but midfielder Abou Diaby could be in the squad after playing for the club's under-21 team following three months out with a thigh problem. Defender Andre Santos (stomach muscle) also played in midweek but is not expected to yet feature for the first team, while forward Gervinho is away at the African Nations Cup with Ivory Coast.

City striker Sergio Aguero (hamstring) remains sidelined while midfielder Yaya Toure is at the African Nations Cup along with brother Kolo and back-up striker Abdul Razak. Forward Samir Nasri completes a ban, right-back Maicon (knee) is still out and Micah Richards and Jack Rodwell are long-term casualties - but left-back Aleksandar Kolarov (knee) is in contention.

Last season: Arsenal 1 Man City 0, Man City 1 Arsenal 0

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Theo Walcott (Arsenal) 14; Sergio Aguero & Edin Dzeko (Man City) 10

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

Source Soccernet/SkySports/Sporting Life
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