Premiership team news
A look ahead to the weekend's matches in the English Premiership
Chelsea v Aston Villa
Victory at Anfield last weekend stretched Aston Villa’s unbeaten run to five league games while Christian Benteke has claimed four goals and three assists in his last five appearances. Liverpool target Daniel Sturridge is available again but the Blues have not picked up three points at Stamford Bridge since the beginning of October.
Odds Chelsea 3-10 Aston Villa 17-2 Draw 4-1
West Ham v Everton
Not for the first time David Moyes will have his work cut out having lost Marouane Fellaini, to suspension and after revealing there is quite a lot of injury news within his squad. Nine draws have hampered their push for a top-four spot and West Ham have St Stephen’s Day off thanks to the tube strike and will want to sign off for the year at Upton Park with a bang.
Odds West Ham 15-8 Everton 7-5 Draw 9-4
Manchester C v Reading
Manchester City are likely to be without their captain, Vincent Kompany, who has a groin problem, and Mario Balotelli , because of a virus, but even without them and the definite absentee Samir Nasri, defeating the Premier League’s bottom-placed club should be straightforward enough for the champions.
Odds Man City 1-8 Reading 14-1 Draw 15-2
Wigan v Arsenal
Arsène Wenger has no new injury concerns and a win in today’s early kick-off would move Arsenal temporarily into third. Roberto Martinez, who Wenger believes has the potential to be a top-four Premier League manager in the future, has a selection dilemma after defender Adrián López joined Wigan’s already lengthy injury list.
Odds Wigan 7-2 Arsenal 8-11 Draw 27-10
WBA v Norwich
While early season high-flyers West Bromwich Albion are in the midst of a slump, Norwich have turned their flagging season around with a 10-match unbeaten run. The hosts registered their first point in four games against West Ham last weekend and will be glad to hear Norwich could be without top-scorer Grant Holt today.
Odds West Brom 10-11 Norwich 14-5 Draw 5-2
Liverpool v Fulham
Martin Jol’s team have won only once in nine league games and their midfield has been hit by injuries to Bryan Ruiz and Mahamadou Diarra plus a one-match suspension for Steve Sidwell. Liverpool were lethargic in their loss to Aston Villa and the manager is contemplating a rest for Raheem Sterling and Joe Allen, among others.
Odds Liverpool 8-15 Fulham 5-1 Draw 3-1
Newcastle v QPR
Two former West Ham managers meet on Tyneside in edgy mood. While Alan Pardew’s Newcastle have lost five of their last six fixtures and won only one of the past 11, Harry Redknapp’s QPR boast one Premier League win all season. Much may depend on Demba Ba, who QPR are keen on signing in January.
Odds Newcastle Evens QPR 13-5 Draw 12-5
Southampton v Sunderland
Both of these sides are out of the bottom three for now, but they can hardly afford to relax. Only goal difference is keeping Southampton above Wigan while Sunderland are only a point and a place above them. Saints will be without their captain, Adam Lallana, after his knee injury and the visitors are showing signs of life in patches.
Odds Sou’on Evens Sunderland 13-5 Draw 12-5
Tottenham v Stoke
Momentum is building at Tottenham. Their form is good, with four wins in five; they are beginning to play the way André Villas-Boas wants, and injured players are returning. Gareth Bale returns from hamstring trouble but he will not face his old adversary Charlie Adam, who has been granted compassionate leave.
Odds Tottenham 3-5 Stoke 9-2 Draw 11-4
Manchester U v Swansea
Manchester United will look to maintain their healthy lead at the top of the table, a task aided by the return of captain Nemanja Vidic to the starting lineup for the first time since September. Swansea could themselves welcome back Michel Vorm, who has been out injured since October.
Odds Swansea 21-5 Man Utd 3-5 Draw 3-1