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Premiership MatchDay 19 preview

last updated Saturday 28th December 2013, 1:49 PM

MatchDay 19 Saturday, December 28, 2013
Time Home   Away TV Referee
12:45 West Ham v West Brom Sky1 M Dean
15:00 Aston Villa v Swansea   R East
15:00 Hull v Fulham   R Madley
15:00 Man City v C.Palace   A Marriner
15:00 Norwich v Man Utd   P Dowd
17:30 Cardiff v Sunderland Sky1 C Foy
MatchDay 19 Sunday, December 29, 2013
13:30 Everton v Southampton   M Clattenburg
13:30 Newcastle v Arsenal Sky1 L Probert
16:00 Chelsea v Liverpool Sky1 H Webb
16:00 Tottenham v Stoke   K Friend
The final round of Premier League matches for 2013 features a blockbuster Super Sunday as Newcastle United host leaders Arsenal and Chelsea face Liverpool.

There are also two live games on Sky Sports on Saturday, as West Ham United lock horns with West Bromwich Albion to kick off the weekend's action and at teatime Cardiff City meet Sunderland in another clash between two sides desperate for a boost ahead of the New Year.

Fulham travel to Hull City and will be determined to get back to back wins on Saturday, with a 2-1 Boxing Day victory over Norwich City offering their survival bid a welcome shot in the arm. The Cottagers remain inside the bottom three at present, but only goal difference is keeping them in the drop zone and a positive result in their latest outing may be enough to get their head back above water. Rather surprisingly, given their past history, Fulham's record on the road this season betters that on home soil, so they should make the long journey north in optimistic mood. Hull City will be looking to get back to winning ways when they welcome lowly Fulham to the KC Stadium. Also on Saturday, Manchester City tackle Crystal Palace, Manchester United travel to Norwich City and Aston Villa entertain Swansea City.

Everton will be out to return to winning ways against Southampton on Sunday, before Tottenham Hotspur welcome Stoke City to White Hart Lane

Saturday 28th December 2013

12:45 West Ham (19) v West Brom (15) ~ Sky Sports 1

West Ham were the team to replace Palace in the bottom three as their miserable run continued against Arsenal, increasing the pressure on manager Sam Allardyce ahead of their early Saturday game at home to West Brom. While the Hammers are without a win in five matches, the Baggies have not tasted victory in their last eight outings.

They claimed a creditable 1-1 draw at Tottenham on Boxing Day, although results elsewhere left them just a point clear of the drop zone, and despite the good work being done by caretaker boss Keith Downing the club will be keen to appoint a permanent successor to Steve Clarke as soon as possible.

James Collins will have the calf complaint which forced him off on Boxing Day assessed on Friday and looks unlikely to feature. Ravel Morrison (groin) is a doubt while Andy Carroll, Ricardo Vaz Te, Stewart Downing and Winston Reid remain sidelined.

West Brom will give a fitness test to striker Shane Long, who is doubtful because of a calf injury, while fellow striker Victor Anichebe (groin) is also a doubt for the match at Upton Park. Caretaker manager Keith Downing will make changes to his line-up as the lunchtime kick-off comes less than 48 hours after the Baggies drew 1-1 at Tottenham.

Last season: West Ham 3 West Brom 1, West Brom 0 West Ham 0

Last five league matches: West Ham L L D L L; West Brom L L L D D

Top scorers (all competitions): Ravel Morrison (West Ham) 5; Saido Berahino (West Brom) 6

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

Verdict: West Ham 1 West Brom 1

15:00 Aston Villa (13) v Swansea (11)

Aston Villa's clash with Swansea on Saturday pits together two teams in poor form, with Paul Lambert's side on a four-match losing streak after being stunned by Crystal Palace and Swansea also without a win in four.

Both sides are currently in the bottom half and will be hoping to push on into the top half during the second part of the season rather than spend their time looking anxiously behind.

Aston Villa will still be without striker Christian Benteke (knee) and defender Ron Vlaar (calf) but midfielder Ashley Westwood will be available again after missing the 1-0 defeat by Crystal Palace through suspension.

Swansea boss Michael Laudrup will make changes from the Boxing Day loss at Chelsea which striker Michu, midfielder Nathan Dyer (both ankle) and goalkeeper Michel Vorm (knee) missed along with defender Garry Monk (knee). Midfielder Leon Britton returned from a broken toe at Stamford Bridge and could continue.

Last season: Swansea 2 Aston Villa 2, Aston Villa 2 Swansea 0

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) 5; Wilfried Bony (Swansea) 9

Referee: Roger East (Wiltshire)

Verdict: Aston 0 Villa Swansea 0

15:00 Hull (12) v Fulham (18) 

Rene Meulensteen has been happy with Fulham's progress since taking the helm and victory at Norwich on Boxing Day further boosted their survival hopes. They remain third from bottom but could climb a few places with another away win, this time at Hull.

The Tigers looked set to build on a run of three straight draws with another positive result against Manchester United but the dramatic loss has left them just four points from the relegation zone.

Hull expect to be without goalkeeper Allan McGregor and midfielder David Meyler after both players came off at half-time with knee problems in the 3-2 Boxing Day loss to Manchester United. Alex Bruce is also struggling with a calf complaint sustained in the same match, while Stephen Quinn (hamstring) and Sone Aluko (Achilles) remain sidelined.

Fulham will also be without their first-choice goalkeeper as Maarten Stekelenburg struggles with an ankle injury and David Stockdale, who deputised in the 2-1 win at Norwich, will continue. Dimitar Berbatov (groin) also missed the trip to Carrow Road but could feature at Hull whilst Brede Hangeland (back), Philippe Senderos (abductor) and Matthew Briggs (hernia) are out.

Last season: No Corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Robbie Brady & Matt Fryatt (Hull) 4; Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham) 4

Referee: Robert Madley (West Yorkshire)

Verdict: Hull 2 Fulham 0

15:00 Manchester City (2) v Crystal Palace (17) 

Manchester City have a chance to go top, at least temporarily, if they can extend their perfect record at the Etihad Stadium. The victory over Liverpool was their ninth in a row at home but undoubtedly the hardest so far, and they will not want to lose any momentum when they play Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Pulis' men gave their supporters the ideal Christmas present by climbing out of the relegation zone with a win over Aston Villa as Dwight Gayle scored a stunning late goal, and if they can upset the odds against City it would provide a massive lift.

Matija Nastasic could be back in contention for City after returning to the bench for the Boxing Day clash with Liverpool after eight games out with a calf injury while fellow centre-back Martin Demichelis was absent after pulling up in training. Strikers Sergio Aguero (calf) and Stevan Jovetic (hamstring) miss out as does and right-back Micah Richards (hamstring).

Palace top scorer Marouane Chamakh returns from suspension although Yannick Bolasie replaced the Moroccan for the 1-0 victory over Aston Villa and impressed so could keep his place in the team. Match-winner Dwight Gayle is likely to have to settle for a place on the bench again, while none of Pulis' injured players are expected to be fit.

Last season: No Corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Man City W D W W W; Crystal Palace W W L L W

Top scorers (all competitions): Sergio Aguero (Man City) 19; Marouane Chamakh (Crystal Palace) 4

Referee: Andre Marriner

Verdict: Manchester City 3 Crystal Palace 0

15:00 Norwich (14) v Manchester United (7) 

Manchester United may not be among the title favourites after an inconsistent start to the season but they showed they had lost none of their battling qualities as they fought back from 2-0 down to beat Hull City 3-2 at the KC Stadium and register a third straight league win. They remain seventh but are just eight points off top spot ahead of their trip to Carrow Road on Saturday.

Norwich defeated United at home last season and will be desperate for a repeat performance after a disappointing 2-1 loss to Fulham.

Norwich will be without suspended centre-half Michael Turner for Saturday's clash while midfielder Jonathan Howson (back) remains doubtful. Wingers Anthony Pilkington (hamstring) and Elliott Bennett (knee) are still sidelined, along with midfielder Alexander Tettey (ankle).

The champions may need to move Chris Smalling to right-back after Rafael suffered a first-half groin injury against Hull and replacement Antonio Valencia picked up a late red card. Phil Jones is out for a fortnight with a knee problem but Nemanja Vidic could come in and there will be late tests on Michael Carrick (Achilles) and Robin van Persie (thigh).

Last season: Man Utd 4 Norwich 0, Norwich 1 Man Utd 0

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Gary Hooper (Norwich) 7; Wayne Rooney (Man Utd) 11

Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

Verdict: Norwich 0 Manchester United 2

17:30 Cardiff (16) v Sunderland (20) ~ SkySports 1

Malky Mackay's reign as Cardiff manager has been brought to an end following weeks of unrest after a 3-0 loss at home to Southampton kept the Bluebirds precariously perched just above the bottom three. Cardiff have managed just one win in their last eight and will have identified Saturday's clash with Sunderland as the perfect chance to bounce back.

The Black Cats remain at the foot of the table but narrowed the gap to safety to three points with a surprise 1-0 win at Everton and Gus Poyet hopes that will be the springboard for an improved second half to the season.

Managerless Cardiff could welcome back Gary Medel, who missed the defeat to Southampton due to flu, while Andreas Cornelius and Declan John could start after coming off the bench on Boxing Day. Craig Bellamy will miss out again due to his ongoing knee injury.

Sunderland will again be without Wes Brown (suspended) while it remains to be seen whether or not his fellow defender John O'Shea (shoulder) is able to feature. Definitely still ruled out through injury are goalkeeper Keiren Westwood (shoulder) and yet another defender, Carlos Cuellar (hip).

Last season: No Corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Cardiff D L W L L; Sunderland L L D D W

Top scorers (all competitions): Fraizer Campbell & Jordon Mutch (Cardiff) 3; Emanuele Giaccherini & Phil Bardsley (Sunderland) 3

Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)

Verdict: Cardiff 0 Sunderland 1

Sunday 29th December 2013

13:30 Everton (5) v Southampton (9)

Everton will be desperate to bounce back from a surprise home defeat on Boxing Day when they welcome Southampton to Goodison Park on Sunday (kick-off 1.30pm).

Roberto Martinez's men have been extremely consistent so far this season but they suffered a second defeat of the campaign in their first fixture after Christmas as they went down 1-0 to bottom club Sunderland.

Southampton are sure to provide another tough test for Everton, having returned to form with an emphatic 3-0 victory at Cardiff City on Boxing Day.

Tim Howard and Gareth Barry will both miss out through suspension after the goalkeeper was shown a straight red card in the 1-0 home loss to Sunderland while the on-loan Manchester City midfielder picked up his fifth booking of the season. Kevin Mirallas was substituted at half-time during the contest having felt unwell and could be replaced by the returning Leighton Baines.

Southampton will check on Dejan Lovren after the defender missed the Boxing Day win at Cardiff through illness but could return while Nathaniel Clyne and Dani Osvaldo are also in contention. Artur Boruc (hand), Victor Wanyama (shin) and Guly do Prado (knee) remain sidelined.

Last season: Southampton 0 Everton 0, Everton 3 Southampton 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Romelu Lukaku (Everton) 8; Jay Rodriguez (Southampton) 9

Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)

13:30 Newcastle (6) v Arsenal (1) ~ SkySports 1

The Boxing Day action did not disappoint as the title race took on yet more twists and turns, with Arsenal regaining their place at the summit after coming from behind to beat West Ham United 3-1 and end a run of four games without a win in all competitions. Aaron Ramsey did suffer an injury but Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski, who have had long spells out this term, scored and Arsene Wenger remains confident that he has the squad to challenge for honours.

The Gunners face a tough challenge on Sunday, though, with Newcastle flying high in sixth place after thrashing nine-man Stoke City 5-1 to make it seven wins in nine matches and stay within three points of the top four. The Magpies will be hoping to play party poopers at St James' Park, with their sights set on a top-five standing.

Cheick Tiote will return from suspension after missing the 5-1 Boxing Day victory over Stoke and is likely to go straight back into the starting line-up. Manager Alan Pardew, who replaced Tiote with Hatem Ben Arfa against the Potters, has no fresh injury concerns with midfielder Jonas Gutierrez recovering from a calf problem.

Aaron Ramsey will miss the trip to St James' Park due to a thigh complaint but Jack Wilshere returns from suspension. Tomas Rosicky was rested for the Boxing Day clash with West Ham but could return to the squad.

Last season: Newcastle 0 Arsenal 1, Arsenal 7 Newcastle 3

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Loic Remy (Newcastle) 10; Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) 13

Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)

16:00 Chelsea (3) v Liverpool (4) ~ SkySports 1

Liverpool had occupied top spot at Christmas but dropped to fourth after a 2-1 defeat by Manchester City. The Reds played their part in a terrific game but manager Brendan Rodgers was furious with the standard of officiating and will be hoping his men react in the right way when they visit Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Jose Mourinho had a lot of famous battles with Liverpool during his first stint in charge of Chelsea and will be relishing the chance to pit his wits against Rodgers, after grinding out a 1-0 win over Swansea to stay in third place, two points off top spot.

Ramires picked up his fifth yellow card of the season against Swansea and serves a one-match ban, with Frank Lampard likely to return to the Blues starting line-up. Jose Mourinho is likely to rotate his options once more, with Cesar Azpilicueta and Gary Cahill in line to return in defence at the expense of Ashley Cole and David Luiz, while Fernando Torres could start up front.

Liverpool will be without forward Victor Moses due to the terms of his loan from the Londoners. That leaves the Reds short on numbers with captain Steven Gerrard and defender Jon Flanagan (both hamstring) not ready to return while striker Daniel Sturridge (ankle) and defender Jose Enrique (knee) are also still on the sidelines.

Last season: Liverpool 2 Chelsea 2, Chelsea 1 Liverpool 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Eden Hazard (Chelsea) 9; Luis Suarez (Liverpool) 19

Referee: Howard Webb

16:00 Tottenham (8) v Stoke (10)

Tottenham are level on points with United after being held to a 1-1 draw by West Brom at White Hart Lane. It was Tim Sherwood's first game in charge since signing an 18-month contract and he boldly selected an attacking side, so it promises to be another exciting encounter against Stoke on Sunday.

The Potters have been in good form recently to climb into the top half, but had little chance against Newcastle after having two men sent off and went down 5-1.

Midfielder Paulinho returns from suspension, but right-back Kyle Walker misses out after picking up his fifth booking of the season against West Brom. Striker Jermain Defoe (hamstring), winger Aaron Lennon (stomach) and midfielder Mousa Dembele (ankle) are doubts while midfielder Sandro (calf), centre-back Younes Kaboul (thigh), winger Andros Townsend (hamstring) and defender Jan Vertonghen (ankle) remain sidelined.

Stoke boss Mark Hughes will be without a trio of key players after midfielder Glenn Whelan and defender Marc Wilson were both sent off in the 5-1 Boxing Day defeat at Newcastle and will miss out through suspension. In addition, goalkeeper Asmir Begovic (broken finger) could be sidelined for up to six weeks while defender Robert Huth continues his recovery from knee surgery.

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

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Jermain Defoe & Roberto Soldado (Spurs) 9; Peter Crouch (Stoke) 5

Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)

Source Sky/ Sporting Life
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