Premiership team news
A preview of the weekend's matches in the English Premiership
Liverpool v Aston Villa
With Luis Suárez available after suspension, and Liverpool seeking a third successive home league win, this represents an inviting opportunity for Brendan Rodgers’ team to continue their gradual ascent. Aston Villa have won once in 16 away league games and their total of 12 goals is the lowest of any team in the top four divisions.
Odds Liverpool 4-11 Aston Villa 8-1 Draw 7-2
WBA v West Ham
Three successive defeats have put the brakes on West Brom’s season. West Ham have lost three of their last four game but these have been tough opponents, not helped by a growing injury list, to which George McCartney’s name was added this week. “It unfortunately leaves us very light on numbers,” said manager Sam Allardyce.
Odds W Brom evens West Ham 14-5 Draw 12-5
Tottenham v Swansea
Upwardly mobile in the Premier League, Swansea are winning plaudits for their possession football; they can compete with anybody and it is a far cry from the beginning of the last decade, when their very existence was threatened. After wins at Newcastle and Arsenal, the Swans travel to Spurs without fear.
Odds Tottenham 8-13 Swansea 9-2 Draw 14-5
Norwich v Wigan
Despite enjoying a superb run of form that has propelled the side to within four points of the Champions League places, Chris Hughton’s Norwich have serious injury concerns going into this game at Carrow Road. But Roberto Martínez’s side have defensive frailties of their own to cope with.
Odds Norwich 6-5 Wigan 23-10 Draw 23-10
QPR v Fulham
QPR set a Premier League record by failing to overcome Wigan and become the only team not to secure a win after 16 games. They remain two points adrift at the foot of the table ahead of this West London derby, while Martin Jol’s visitors look for back-to-back league victories for the first time since September.
Odds QPR 6-4 Fulham 9-5 Draw 23-10
Newcastle v Man City
City will be anxious to re-assert their title credentials and Newcastle desperate to start climbing towards mid-table security. Newcastle fans trust Demba Ba and Papiss Cissé will finally decide to start proving they can form an attacking partnership after all, but the home team is bound to miss the hamstrung Hatem Ben Arfa’s creativity.
Odds Newcastle 4-1 Man City 4-6 Draw 14-5
Man Utd v Sunderland
Manchester United are flying, with a six-point lead and bolstered by the return of Alex Ferguson’s “warrior” leader and central defender, Nemanja Vidic, for the visit of Martin O’Neill’s team. Sunderland now stand 15th following a much needed win over Reading in mid-week. If United get an early goal, they may fancy a rout.
Odds Man Utd 1-5 Sunderland 12-1 Draw 11-2
Everton v Stoke
Despite Everton’s strong start to the season, if Tony Pulis can lead his team to a three-goal victory then Stoke could finish the weekend in fourth position, leapfrogging David Moyes’s side in the process. It’s a remarkable turn of fortunes for a side who seemed to be struggling in the early stages of the season.
Odds Stoke City 2-1 Everton 11-8 Draw 9-4
Arsenal v Reading
Arsenal’s last visit to Reading, in the League Cup, saw them flirt with humiliation before an outlandish 7-5 win. They know they need a morale-boost after Tuesday’s humbling at Bradford but Reading, too, are desperate to ignite their season, as they struggle near the foot of the table.
Odds Reading 4-1 Arsenal 4-6 Draw 14-5