Cole still an absentee for Chelsea


Soccer:The Barclays Premier League statistics for this weekend’s matches.


Arsenal (7) v Fulham (8)

Arsenal will be without midfielder Jack Wilshere who is suspended. Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is close to a comeback from his ankle problem and could be included in the squad, while midfielders Aaron Ramsey (groin) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hip) face fitness tests. Winger Gervinho (ankle), defender Kieran Gibbs (thigh), midfielder Abou Diaby (thigh) and Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky (hamstring) all continue their rehabilitation and miss out.

Fulham midfielder Mahamadou Diarra has been rated no better than “50-50” by manager Martin Jol to recover from his latest knee injury. Midfielder Simon Davies is still recovering from a hip operation.

Last season:Fulham 2 Arsenal 1, Arsenal 1 Fulham 1

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

Top scorers:Theo Walcott (Arsenal) 8; Damien Duff, Steve Sidwell, Mladen Petric & Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham) 3

Match odds:H 1-2 A 4-1 D 3-1

Referee:Andre Marriner (W Midlands).

Aston Villa (17) v Man Utd (1)

Aston Villa midfielder Karim El Ahmadi will return after a one-match suspension but defender Eric Lichaj will be banned after picking up his fifth yellow card of the campaign during the win at Sunderland. Fellow left-back Joe Bennett is struggling to overcome a knee injury so Enda Stevens is in contention to start. Striker Darren Bent is again absent with his ankle injury.

Central defender Jonny Evans is a doubt for Manchester United due to a niggling groin problem, which may mean Chris Smalling plays his second game in four days. Nani (hamstring) joins Shinji Kagawa, Phil Jones and Nemanja Vidic (all knee) on the sidelines.

Last season:Man Utd 4 Aston Villa 0, Aston Villa 0 Man Utd 1

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

Top scorers:Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) 7; Robin van Persie (Man Utd) 11

Match odds:H 4-1 A 1-2 D 3-1

Referee:Kevin Friend (Leicestershire).

Everton (4) v Sunderland (16)

Everton will be without Tony Hibbert, Darron Gibson and Victor Anichebe due to injuries. Defender Hibbert is sidelined by a calf problem, while midfielder Gibson — who last featured for the first team on September 1 — is still not yet ready to make his return from a thigh injury. Forward Anichebe is also on the casualty list due to a hamstring complaint.

Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill will assess knocks to a couple of players. O’Neill said a couple of his players were doubts but would not reveal who they were. If all are fit, one change may be Danny Rose returning at left-back, but otherwise the starting XI is likely to be much the same as the team that started against Aston Villa.

Last season:Everton 4 Sunderland 0, Sunderland 1 Everton 1

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

Top scorers:Marouane Fellaini (Everton) 5; Steven Fletcher (Sunderland) 5

Match odds:H 1-2 A 6-1 D 3-1

Referee:Lee Mason (Lancashire).

Reading (18) v Norwich (14)

Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici is in line for a recall in place of Alex McCarthy who has been ruled out for a number of weeks after suffering a shoulder injury in last weekend’s draw at QPR. Midfielders Jem Karacan (knee) and Danny Guthrie (thigh) miss out, although the latter could return next week. Forward Noel Hunt is available after shaking off a calf problem.

Norwich defender Russell Martin’s back injury will continue to be assessed ahead of kick-off. Centre-half Michael Turner (dead leg) and full-back Javier Garrido (knee) both went off during last weekend’s home win over Stoke but should be available. Striker Harry Kane (foot) remains out.

Last season:No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches:Reading D D L D D; Norwich L L W D W

Top scorers:Pavel Pogrebnyak (Reading) 5; Grant Holt (Norwich) 3

Match odds:H 1-1 A 11-5 D 9-4

Referee:Chris Foy (Merseyside).

Southampton (20) v Swansea (11)

Southampton goalkeeper Artur Boruc is back in contention after the club investigated claims he threw a bottle at home fans and swore at them in the club’s home game against Tottenham. Midfielder Jack Cork is also available again after a knee injury, but right-back Frazer Richardson (groin) is not quite ready for a first-team return.

Swansea defender Chico Flores is set to miss out as he struggles to overcome a dead leg. Manager Michael Laudrup rates him as “very doubtful”. Club captain Garry Monk is set to continue in the centre of defence while Michel Vorm (groin), Kyle Bartley (thigh) and Neil Taylor (broken ankle) are all out.

Last season:No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers:Rickie Lambert (Southampton) 4; Miguel Michu (Swansea) 7

Match odds:H 6-5 A 7-4 D 23-10

Referee:Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).

Stoke (15) v QPR (19)

Stoke will be without midfielder Rory Delap and striker Michael Owen. Delap is due to undergo a hernia operation next week, while Owen is out with a hamstring injury but should be fit for next weekend’s game at West Ham. They join Marc Wilson on the sidelines, the defender likely to be unavailable until February after recently fracturing his left fibula.

Stephane Mbia remains under suspension for QPR. Captain Park Ji-sung missed last weekend’s draw against Reading with a knee injury and is also a major doubt for tomorrow’s game. Fabio (hamstring) and Andrew Johnson (knee) remain sidelined, but manager Mark Hughes hopes to have the former fit for QPR’s following game against Southampton.

Last season:QPR 1 Stoke 0, Stoke 2 QPR 3

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

Top scorers:Peter Crouch (Stoke) 5; Bobby Zamora (QPR) 4

Match odds:H 5-6 A 11-4 D 9-4

Referee:Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire).

Wigan (13) v West Brom (5)

Midfielder James McArthur has a dead leg and is a doubt for Wigan. Home boss Roberto Martinez will again be without wingers Ryo Miyaichi (groin) and Albert Crusat (knee).

West Brom goalkeeper Boaz Myhill is on standby to play his first senior game for the club in 21 months. He will step in if Ben Foster fails to recover from a recurring groin problem. Midfielder James Morrison could be available after missing the 2-0 home win against Southampton on Monday with a hamstring injury.

Last season:Wigan 1 West Brom 1, West Brom 1 Wigan 2

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

Top scorers:Arouna Kone, Franco Di Santo & Mauro Boselli (Wigan) 3; Shane Long (West Brom) 5

Match odds:H 13-10 A 17-10 D 11-5

Referee:Neil Swarbrick (Lancashire).


Chelsea (2) v Liverpool (12)

Ashley Cole will again be missing for Chelsea, with a hamstring injury the cause of his absence. Captain John Terry will be pushing for a start in central defence after he was surprisingly left on the bench against Shakhtar Donetsk in midweek, while Frank Lampard is still out with a calf problem.

England full-back Glen Johnson is set to return for Liverpool against his former club after a hamstring injury. Goalkeeper Jose Reina is also making good progress in his recovery from a similar problem and may have a chance of being involved. Manager Brendan Rodgers is set to restore key players after resting most of his first-choice line-up for Thursday’s Europa League clash against Anzhi Makhachkala.

Last season:Liverpool 4 Chelsea 1, Chelsea 1 Liverpool 2

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

Top scorers:Fernando Torres & Juan Mata (Chelsea) 7; Luis Suarez (Liverpool) 10

Match odds:H 17-20 A 5-2 D 12-5

Referee:Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).

Manchester City (3) v Tottenham (6)

Manchester City trio Joleon Lescott, Maicon and David Silva are hoping to return to action against Tottenham. Defenders Lescott (back) and Maicon (foot) and playmaker Silva (hamstring) are all back in training after spells on the sidelines. Right-back Micah Richards (knee) and midfielders James Milner and Jack Rodwell (both hamstring) remain on the injury list.

Tottenham midfielder Sandro has a chance of recovering from a calf injury in time to play. Manager Andre Villas-Boas must decide whether to stick with Hugo Lloris or recall Brad Friedel in goal, and striker Emmanuel Adebayor could make his first league start of the season at his former club. Mousa Dembele (hip), Scott Parker (Achilles), Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Younes Kaboul (both knee) are unavailable.

Last season:Man City 3 Tottenham 2, Tottenham 1 Man City 5

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

Top scorers:Edin Dzeko (Man City) 6; Jermain Defoe (Tottenham) 5

Match odds:H 6-10 A 18-5 D 13-5

Referee:Michael Oliver (Northumberland).

Newcastle (10) v West Ham (9)

Newcastle will be without two suspended senior men in midfielder Cheick Tiote and defender Fabricio Coloccini. Manager Alan Pardew, who made eight changes for the Europa League clash with Club Brugge in Belgium, is likely to restore most of his big names including Jonas Gutierrez, Hatem Ben Arfa and Demba Ba, but Danny Simpson (shoulder) remains a doubt and James Perch (thigh) is out for up to six weeks.

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce could face a defensive crisis. James Collins and James Tomkins will have fitness tests on Saturday to determine whether they are available to play, otherwise Allardyce will be left with only one fit central defender in Winston Reid. Fullback Guy Demel has returned to training following a hernia problem but Matthew Taylor (calf), Ricardo Vaz Te (shoulder) and Jack

Collison (knee) remain sidelined.

Last season:No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers:Demba Ba (Newcastle) 7; Kevin Nolan (West Ham) 4

Match odds:H 17-20 A 5-2 D 12-5

Referee:Mike Dean (Wirral).

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