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Premier League MatchDay 28 Preview

last updated Saturday 02nd March 2013, 11:26 AM

Premiership MatchDay 28 Fixtures
Saturday 02nd March 2013
KO Home   Away Ref TV
15:00 Chelsea v West Brom K Friend  
15:00 Everton v Reading A Taylor  
15:00 Man Utd v Norwich N Swarbrick  
15:00 Southampton v QPR H Webb  
15:00 Stoke v West Ham J Moss  
15:00 Sunderland v Fulham M Halsey  
15:00 Swansea v Newcastle -  
17:30 Wigan v Liverpool M Atkinson ESPN
Sunday 03rd March 2013
16:00 Tottenham v Arsenal M Clattenburg Sky1
Sunday 04th March 2013
20:00 Aston Villa v Man City M Dean Sky1
Premier League MatchDay 28 kicks off on Saturday at Chelsea who welcome West Bromwich Albion and following his midweek outburst Rafa Benitez can expect another frosty reception. Back-to-back victories in the Premier League for Steve Clarke's West Brom, suggest they will be full of confidence.

Everton and Reading will be hoping to return to winning ways when they meet at Goodison Park. The Toffees will feel that they remain in the hunt for a top-four finish while Reading attention locked on events at the opposite end of the table.

Manchester United will have one eye on Tuesday's clash with Real Madrid when they welcome Norwich City to Old Trafford on Saturday. United go into the game with a 12 points' breathing space in the Premier League, but their Champions League last-16 clash with the Spanish champions is on a knife-edge at 1-1. Chris Hughton's Norwich side were the last team to inflict defeat on United in the league - a 1-0 reverse at Carrow Road on November 17.

QPR travel to Southampton on Saturday knowing that they must avoid defeat if they are to keep alive realistic hopes of avoiding the drop. Southampton's problems are in defence as they have thrown away 27 points from winning positions, and did so again last week in their 4-2 defeat to Newcastle.

Stoke City will look to exploit their strength at home and West Ham United weakness on the road at Britannia Stadium on Saturday. Stoke have lost only once on their own patch so far this season and can be confident of preserving that record against a West Ham team that have won only twice away from Upton Park in 2012-13.

Premiership table - after 26th Feb 2013
Pos Team Pld W D L F A W D L F A GD Pts
1 Man Utd 27 12 0 1 34 15 10 2 2 30 16 33 68
2 Man City 27 10 3 1 31 11 6 5 2 19 13 26 56
3 Tottenham 27 7 4 2 20 13 8 2 4 27 19 15 51
4 Chelsea 27 7 4 2 30 12 7 3 4 25 18 25 49
5 Arsenal 27 8 3 3 35 19 5 5 3 17 11 22 47
6 Everton 27 6 6 1 22 16 4 6 4 19 18 7 42
7 West Brom 27 8 2 4 21 13 4 2 7 17 23 2 40
8 Liverpool 27 7 3 4 27 12 3 6 4 22 22 15 39
9 Swansea 27 5 6 2 26 19 4 4 6 12 15 4 37
10 Stoke 27 6 6 1 18 14 1 6 7 8 18 -6 33
11 Fulham 27 6 3 5 22 17 2 5 6 15 25 -5 32
12 Norwich 27 6 5 3 16 15 1 6 6 11 26 -14 32
13 Newcastle 27 7 1 6 21 20 1 5 7 17 28 -10 30
14 West Ham 27 6 4 4 23 17 2 2 9 8 24 -10 30
15 Sunderland 27 4 4 5 14 13 3 4 7 15 23 -7 29
16 Southampton 27 4 5 4 18 15 2 4 8 20 34 -11 27
17 Wigan 27 2 4 7 17 27 4 2 8 16 24 -18 24
18 Aston Villa 27 3 4 6 11 19 2 5 7 15 33 -26 24
19 Reading 27 4 6 4 22 27 1 2 10 11 24 -18 23
20 QPR 27 1 7 6 8 21 1 4 8 11 22 -24 17
Sunderland tackle Fulham at the Stadium of Light on Saturday in danger of being dragged into the relegation battle developing just below them. A trio of defeats for Martin O'Neill's Black Cats leaves them just five points above the bottom three. Fulham, who head to the North East on the back of their 1-0 home success against Stoke, remain poor travellers in the Premier League having won just twice away from Craven Cottage this season.

Swansea City return to Premier League action as they host a resurgent Newcastle side looking to break into the top ten for the first time since November. Swansea finished 11th last season, and Laudrup has targeted a top-half finish, so he will want to guard against any complacency after their trophy win. However, with January signings invoking an upturn in form, Newcastle once again look a dangerous prospect on the road.

Wigan welcome Liverpool to the DW Stadium aiming to build on their impressive win at Reading last time out. Liverpool will come into the game fresh, with their last match coming in the Europa League on February 21st. Despite crashing out of Europe, Rodgers is demanding Liverpool end the season strongly.

Premier League MatchDay 28 continues on Sunday with old rivalries being rekindled on Sunday when Tottenham welcome North London neighbours Arsenal to White Hart Lane and the fact that both clubs are pushing hard for a top-four finish this season has added extra spice to the occasion. Spurs' impressive progress under Andre Villas-Boas has taken them to third spot in the Premier League table while that is a standing Arsenal have been used to occupying down the years, but they are sweating on their continued involvement in the UEFA Champions League.

Premier League MatchDay 28 finishes on Monday in a top meets bottom clash when Man City visit Villa Park. Aston Villa are resting down in the drop zone at the moment and have to fight for every ball if the hope to rectify their situation. Man City are twelve points behind United and also need every point they can get if they hope to catch United. They also need the points to avoid Tottenham or Chelsea overtaking them.

Saturday 23rd February 2013

15:00 - Chelsea (4) v West Brom (7)  

It will be interesting to see whether Chelsea fans go any easier on interim boss Rafa Benitez when they return to Stamford Bridge for a home date with West Bromwich Albion. The Spaniard let rip at a disgruntled fan base following a midweek FA Cup victory over Middlesbrough and has already conceded that he will not be staying on past the end of the season. He may not be sticking around for 2013/14, but Benitez will want to leave Chelsea with the club looking forward to another Champions League campaign.

One win in four has them sweating on a seat at European football's top table, and West Brom have offered enough in securing successive victories to suggest that it could be another testing afternoon for the locals in West London.

Chelsea midfielder Yossi Benayoun is out of the clash with West Brom with an ankle injury. Gary Cahill (virus) and Cesar Azpilicueta (leg) are available again after missing the midweek FA Cup win at Middlesbrough. Oriol Romeu (knee) remains a long-term absentee.

West Brom could be without their two frontline strikers. On-loan Romelu Lukaku is ineligible to face his parent club and forward partner Shane Long is a doubt with the ankle injury he suffered against Sunderland. Left-back Goran Popov will complete a three-game ban for his red card against Tottenham. Head coach Steve Clarke has included 16-year-old midfielder Isaiah Brown, who is still at school, in his squad.

Last season: West Brom 1 Chelsea 0, Chelsea 2 West Brom 1.

Last five league matches: Chelsea WDLWL; West Brom DLLWW.

Top scorers (all competitions): Juan Mata (Chelsea) 17; Romelu Lukaku (West Brom) 12 .

Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire).

15:00 - Everton (6) v Reading (19)  

Everton have yet to throw in the towel when it comes to forcing their way into the top four, but they need to get their challenge back on track at home to struggling Reading if they are to concern the other contenders.

David Moyes' men have suffered back-to-back defeats in the league to slip seven points off the pace. Reading will head to Merseyside hoping for another stumble from the hosts, with the Royals having also come unstuck in their last two top-flight outings to slip deeper into the relegation mire.

Brian McDermott's side are only one point adrift of safety, but have slumped to second from bottom in the standings.

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard is a slight doubt as the American sustained a knock in the midweek FA Cup fifth-round replay victory over Oldham and will be assessed late on. Forward Victor Anichebe is another who may not be fit enough to return, having not played since mid-February, but midfielder Marouane Fellaini will be back after sitting out the cup match with a minor injury.

Reading will be without suspended striker Pavel Pogrebnyak after the Russia forward was sent off during last weekend's 3-0 home defeat against Wigan and will be missing for three games. Veteran striker Jason Roberts (hip) is still absent and admitted during the week he has no idea when he will be fit enough to return. Goalkeeper Alex McCarthy (shoulder) also misses out.

Last season: No corresponding fixture.

Last five league matches: Everton DWDLL; Reading WDWLL.

Top scorers (all competitions): Marouane Fellaini (Everton) 11; Nick Blackman (Reading) 14.

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire).

15:00 - Man Utd (1) v Norwich (12) 

Manchester United have opened up a 12-point lead at the summit, and will edge further into the distance if they can overcome Norwich City at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils have offered no indication that they are about to take their eye off the ball and will be looking to establish domestic momentum heading into their eagerly-anticipated UEFA Champions League clash with Real Madrid on Tuesday.

Norwich, though, are one of only three sides to have got the better of United this season and will be setting their stall out to make life as difficult as possible for Sir Alex Ferguson's title chasers - with it possible that the Canaries could yet be dragged into a relegation dogfight.

Robin van Persie will be in the Manchester United squad despite hurting his hip when he crashed into a TV camera at QPR. He has recovered and will come into contention to face Norwich. Ryan Giggs is set to make his 1,000th career appearance but Paul Scholes (knee) and Phil Jones (ankle) are sidelined, although the latter man could be fit for Tuesday's Champions League clash with Real Madrid.

Norwich will again be without midfielder Alex Tettey because of a knee injury. On-loan Sporting Kansas City forward Kei Kamara is pressing for a starting spot after coming off the bench to score in the win over Everton. Winger Andrew Surman (knee) remains out, while England goalkeeper John Ruddy continues his rehabilitation from thigh surgery and is set for a return at the end of March.

Last season: Norwich 1 Man Utd 2, Man Utd 2 Norwich 0.

Last five league matches: Man Utd DWWWW; Norwich LDDDW.

Top scorers (all competitions): Robin van Persie (Man Utd) 23; Luciano Becchio (Norwich) 18.

Referee: Neil Swarbrick (Lancashire).

15:00 - Southampton (16) v QPR (20)  

Queens Park Rangers continue to prop up the division, with Harry Redknapp's arrival as manager yet to make the desired impact. QPR still have just two wins to their name this season and have a seven-point gap to bridge if they are to take their stay among English football's elite into a third campaign.

They will be heading out on the road this weekend and will need no reminding how crucial it is for them to take something from a trip to Southampton.

Redknapp will come in for plenty of stick from the home support - given his strong ties to local rivals Portsmouth - and he will hope that frees his players to raise their game and drag a fellow struggler back into the basement battle.

Several Southampton players will be looking for a recall to the starting line-up. Gaston Ramirez and Jason Puncheon both came off the bench in last weekend's 4-2 loss at Newcastle. Jose Fonte was also named among the substitutes at St James' Park - his first involvement since sustaining a knee injury in the FA Cup tie against Chelsea on January 5. Recent signing Vegard Forren is still waiting for his debut.

QPR striker Bobby Zamora will miss out after picking up an ankle injury in last weekend's 2-0 defeat to Manchester United, meaning Loic Remy could start for the first time since January 29. QPR manager Harry Redknapp does not have many other injury concerns to contend with, although defender Tal Ben Haim is struggling with a hip flexor problem.

Last season: No corresponding fixture.

Last five league matches: Southampton DLDWL; QPR DDDLL.

Top scorers (all competitions): Rickie Lambert (Southampton) 12; Bobby Zamora (QPR) 5.

Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).

15:00 - Stoke (10) v West Ham (14)  

West Ham United have earned plenty of plaudits this season, but they suddenly find themselves glancing anxiously over their shoulder.

A run of four defeats in five has arrived at just the wrong time for Sam Allardyce and his troops, with there now just six points separating them from the top-flight trapdoor.

The Hammers know only too well that no side is 'too good to go down' and will be looking to start pulling in the right direction when they travel to Stoke City - another side that have found wins hard to come by of late.

Stoke centre-back Robert Huth begins a three-match ban after accepting a violent conduct charge relating to an incident in last weekend's 1-0 defeat at Fulham, where he caught Philippe Senderos in the face with his forearm. Marc Wilson or Geoff Cameron will cover in the middle of defence alongside skipper Ryan Shawcross. Midfielder Steven Nzonzi will be wearing a protective face mask if he features having broken his nose in the match at Craven Cottage, while winger Matthew Etherington (back) and striker Michael Owen (thigh) will undergo late fitness tests.

West Ham captain Kevin Nolan is out with a broken toe. Fellow midfielder Mark Noble is doubtful with an arm problem. Guy Demel is fit despite going off in the latter stages of the loss to Tottenham, while George McCartney (knee) is continuing his comeback and is unlikely to feature.

Last season: No corresponding fixture.

Last five league matches: Stoke LDLWL; West Ham LLWLL.

Top scorers (all competitions): Jonathan Walters (Stoke) 8; Kevin Nolan (West Ham) 6.

Referee: Jon Moss (W Yorkshire).

15:00 - Sunderland (15) v Fulham (11)  

Sunderland have failed to take anything from their last three fixtures, with the Black Cats having suffered from inconsistency all season. Martin O'Neill needs to find a spark from somewhere, as the North East outfit cannot afford to rely on the failings of others to see them safe.

A home date with Fulham may have arrived at just the right time, as the Cottagers are notoriously poor travellers. Martin Jol's men have picked up just two wins on the road in 2012/13, and it is their form at Craven Cottage which has them sat in mid-table.

Sunderland skipper Lee Cattermole is facing several weeks on the sidelines as he attempts to recover from a knee injury. Cattermole has undergone an injection but surgery has not bee ruled out. Full-back Danny Rose is expected to return to training next week after aggravating a hamstring strain which has been treated at parent club Tottenham.

Fulham's Simon Davies has overcome a knee injury and could play his first game in almost a year. Fellow midfielders Kerim Frei and Kieran Richardson have recovered from their respective pelvis and calf injuries but Mahamadou Diarra (knee) is out. Young midfielder Buomesca Tue Na Banga and Ajax loanee Eyong Enoh are also available after knee injuries.

Last season: Fulham 2 Sunderland 1, Sunderland 0 Fulham 0.

Last five league matches: Sunderland WDLLL; Fulham LWLDW.

Top scorers (all competitions): Steven Fletcher (Sunderland) 10; Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham) 9.

Referee: Mark Halsey (Lancashire).

15:00 - Swansea (9) v Newcastle (13)  

Swansea City's first outing since lifting the Capital One Cup sees them play host to Newcastle United. There is likely to be a party atmosphere inside the Liberty Stadium, but Michael Laudrup will be determined to ensure that the Swans suffer no Wembley hangover.

A lofty finish in the Premier League is still there to be shot at, with the top six well within reach. Newcastle found themselves chasing such targets last term, but have found the going a little tougher this time around.

They do, however, appear to have finally got going and will be chasing a fourth win in five when they make the long journey to South Wales.

Michael Laudrup is set to return Ki Sung-yueng to his regular midfield role. The Korean played at centre-half in the Capital One Cup final win over Bradford, but Kyle Bartley or Garry Monk will partner Ashley Williams against the Magpies. Michel Vorm is likely to return in goal if he can shake off the flu while Neil Taylor is getting closer to a return from a broken ankle.

Newcastle could be without captain Fabricio Coloccini as he hurt his back during the 4-2 win over Southampton and is struggling to be fit. January signing Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa could take over at the back. Goalkeeper Rob Elliot will continue to deputise for Tim Krul, who is expected to be sidelined for up to five weeks by an ankle injury. Hatem Ben Arfa may travel despite being short of match fitness after recovering from a hamstring tear.

Last season: Swansea 0 Newcastle 2, Newcastle 0 Swansea 0.

Last five league matches: Swansea WDLWL; Newcastle LWWLW.

Top scorers (all competitions): Miguel Michu (Swansea) 19; Yoan Gouffran (Newcastle) 13.

Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire).

17:30 - Wigan (17) v Liverpool (8) - ESPN

The final game on Saturday, live on ESPN, sees Wigan Athletic take in a North West derby with Liverpool. It was around this time last season that the Latics came into their own, piecing together a remarkable run of results to steer clear of trouble.

They will be looking to repeat those heroics 12 months on, with only goal difference keeping their head above water at present.

Liverpool have failed to emerge victorious on their last four visits to the DW Stadium, but Brendan Rodgers will be looking to hammer home the need to buck that trend this time around and kick on towards the European places.

Wigan defender Antolin Alcaraz could be back in contention to start against Liverpool. The Paraguay international played for the last seven minutes of last week's win at Reading after a six-month lay-off with a groin injury. Fellow defender Emmerson Boyce also came through his comeback from hamstring trouble unscathed and winger Ryo Miyaichi (ankle) is close to returning after three months out.

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is carrying a knock and will be assessed ahead of the trip to Wigan. With no game last weekend the Reds have had plenty of time to get over any niggling problems and centre-back Martin Skrtel is fit again after a knee injury, although he is likely to be on the bench. Forward Fabio Borini (shoulder) and defender Martin Kelly (knee) are sidelined.

Last season: Liverpool 1 Wigan 2, Wigan 0 Liverpool 0.

Last five league matches: Wigan LDDLW; Liverpool WDDLW.

Top scorers (all competitions): Arouna Kone (Wigan) 10; Luis Suarez (Liverpool) 25.

Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire).

Sunday 3rd March February 2013

16:00 - Tottenham (3) v Arsenal (5)   - Sky 1

There is just one Premier League fixture on Sunday, live on Sky1, but it promises to be a tasty one. Meetings between Tottenham and Arsenal always have plenty riding on them, but their latest derby duel will take things to another level.

Spurs have edged their way into third place and are setting their sights on ending the season as top dogs in the capital. Arsenal, meanwhile, are four points behind their rivals and have work to do if they are to preserve their perfect Champions League qualification record under Arsene Wenger.

Whatever happens at White Hart Lane, entertainment is guaranteed - with there having been just one goalless draw in contests featuring North London's finest since 1998 and 53 goals plundered in their last 11 derby dates in all competitions.

Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe has recovered from an ankle injury. Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas must decide whether to start the striker or play Emmanuel Adebayor, who was sent off after 18 minutes of the reverse fixture in November. Younes Kaboul, Sandro and Tom Huddlestone are all absent with knee injuries while Clint Dempsey is also missing due to a calf problem.

Arsenal will be without defender Bacary Sagna because of a knee injury. Midfielder Abou Diaby is rated as 50/50 with a calf problem but defender Kieran Gibbs remains out with a thigh injury.

Last season: Arsenal 5 Tottenham 2, Tottenham 2 Arsenal 1.

Last five league matches: Tottenham D D W W W; Arsenal W D W W W.

Top scorers (all competitions): Gareth Bale (Tottenham) 19; Theo Walcott (Arsenal) 18.

Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear).

Monday 4th March February 2013

20:00 - Aston Villa (18) v Man City (2)  - Sky 1

Villa are in need of some better results to move up out of trouble. They played well last week against Arsenal but came away pointless.

Man City did well in their clash last week against Chelsea with another excellent performance from Yaya Toure. If City are to maintain any challenge for the title then they need Yaya and all the other big names firing on all cylinders

Aston Villa skipper Ron Vlaar is battling to overcome the calf injury which forced him out of last weekend's game at Arsenal. Vlaar was unable to train during the earlier part of the week but the Dutch international defender was able to take some part yesterday and he will be assessed over the weekend. Striker Darren Bent remains doubtful with a foot injury but keeper Shay Given has recovered from a groin problem in time to be part of the squad to face his former club.

Manchester City are again likely to be without defender and captain Vincent Kompany. The Belgium international has missed the last five games with a calf injury and looks more likely to return in the FA Cup quarter-finals against Barnsley next week. Midfielder Gareth Barry (ankle) is back in contention to face his old club but right-backs Maicon and Micah Richards (both knee) remain on the sidelines.

Last season: Aston Villa 0 Man City 1, Man City 4 Aston Villa 1.

Last five league matches: Aston Villa D L D W L; Man City W D D L W.

Top scorers (all competitions): Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) 18; Edin Dzeko & Sergio Aguero (Man City) 13.

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

Source SkySports/Sporting Life
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