This weekend’s Premier League preview

by Kevin Coleman

Tottenham go into gameweek four of the Premier League joint top, and host Birmingham at home. Chelsea play Burnley at the Bridge, while the pick of the bunch is at Old Trafford as the champions host Arsenal.

Champions League: United Through To Final

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Chelsea vs Burnley, 15:00

Chelsea currently sit second in the league, only behind Spurs on goal difference. Burnley have two wins under there belt thus far, including the giant killing of Man Utd at Turf Moor. However Chelsea welcome back Yuri Zhirkov to the squad after injury and he should make his league debut. Burnley’s Richard Eckersley is suspended, while Steven Caldwell in injured. Didier Drogba and Nicholas Anelka will both start up top for Chelsea as they look to continue their winning form.

Prediction: Can’t look past a home win, despite Burnley’s giant killing history.

Fantasy League pick: Didier Drogba

Blackburn vs West Ham, 15:00

Blackburn’s new signing Pascal Chimbonda will feature straight away on Saturday afternoon. David Dunn should return to the bench, while Benni McCarthy will also feature. Stephen Reid and Michael Selgado are still out with injuries. West Ham’s new signing Alessandro Diamanti hasn’t joined in time to feature. Savio is out with a virus, but Cole and Jiminez have all returned from knocks suffered during the week.

Prediction: West Ham win.

Fantasy League pick: Luis Jiminez

Bolton vs Liverpool, 15:00

The visitors have already lost twice this season, while Bolton have yet to earn a point. New Liverpool signing Sotirios Kyrgiakos came through a reserve game during the week and may feature, while Benitez is still without Fabio Aurelio, Daniel Agger and Alberto Aquilani. Jlloyd Samuel could make his Premier League debut for Bolton, while Andy O’Brien could return from injury.

Prediction: Bolton to suffer a Liverpool backlash after the loss against Villa.

Fantasy League pick: Glen Johnson

Football - Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur Barclays Premier League

Stoke City vs Sunderland, 15:00

Stoke’s new signing Robert Huth will go straight into the starting line-up for their clash against Sunderland, while Tuncay Sanli should also feature. Tony Pulis is sweating over the fitness of defender Ryan Shawcross, but James Beattie should return. Sunderland defender Danny Collins is not expected to feature as Stoke are close to signing him, while Craig Gordon could come back into the team with Martin Fulop struggling with a heel problem. Top scorers Darren Bent and Kenwyne Jones are both fit.

Prediction: Sunderland to get an away win, with one of Bent or Jones on the scoresheet.

Fantasy League pick: Darren Bent

Tottenham vs Birmingham, 15:00

Gregory Vignal will return for the visitors against Tottenham on Saturday. Kevin Fahey has also recovered from injury, but Cameron Jerome is still sidelined. Tottenham have no injury worries, and go into this game on top of the table. Jermain Defoe and Robbie Keane should start up front again, Luka Modric and Wilson Palacios will start in midfield.

Prediction: Tottenham to notch another three points.

Fantasy League pick: Jermain Defoe.

Wolves vs Hull City, 15:00

Wolves have been bolstered with the return of Greg Halford and Stephen Ward to the side, while Sylvan Ebanks-Blake is still sidelined along with Kevin Foley. Paul McShane is unlikely to make his full debut for Hull if it move from Sunderland is made in time, as Jimmy Bullard, Dean Marney and Ian Ashbee are all injured. Karem Ghilas and Jozy Altidore should start for the first time up front.

Prediction: Wolves have been impressive at the Molineux, home win.

Fantasy League pick: Nenad Milijas

Man Utd vs Arsenal, 17:15

The big injury story for the tie of the week is Cesc Fabregas, who won’t travel with Arsenal due to a hamstring injury. Rio Ferdinand and Edwin van der Sar are still sidelined for United, so Evan and Foster should keep their place. Anderson and Michael Carrick may be in contention for recalls. Theo Walcott (back) and Samir Nasri (broken leg) are the other big misses for Arsenal.

Prediction: Arsenal’s great form to prevail with a big win.

Fantasy League pick: Robin van Persie

Sunday, 30th August 2009

MANCHESTER CITY V GLASGOW CELTIC

Portsmouth vs Man City, 13:30

Portsmouth ‘keeper David James should recover in time to start on Sunday. New signings Michael Brown and Tommy Smith should both be included, but Pompey are without Sylvain Distin whom they sold to Everton. Manchester City have a 100% fit squad, Carlos Tevez will be looking to score his first league goal after netting in midweek, while Emmanuel Adebayor will also be keen to continue his recent form.

Prediction: Man City to win again.

Fantasy League pick: Gareth Barry

Everton vs Wigan, 15:00

After Wigan’s midweek loss to Blackpool in the Carling Cup, Martinez is expected to make wholesale changes to the side that will travel to Everton on Sunday. Mohamed Diame and Paul Scharner should both survive, while Hugo Rodallega and Jordi Gomez all return. Everton’s new signing Sylvain Distin should start in defense, while Diniyar Bilyaletdinov should also be included along with Yakubu.

Prediction: Everton to get their first win of the campaign.

Fantasy League pick: Syvain Distin

Aston Villa vs Fulham, 16:00

Villa defender Curtis Davies is a major doubt for this game on Sunday, so new signing Richard Dunne will feature in defense. Stephen Warnock will also be in contention to make his debut after joining from Blackburn. Fulham’s Clint Dempsey will overcome an ankle injury in time to start, while manager Roy Hodgson will give late fitness tests to Danny Murphy (calf), Paul Konchesky (knee) and Bobby Zamora (Achilles). Andrew Johnson (shoulder), Simon Davies (foot) and Toni Kallio (Achilles) are out. Jonathan Greening could make his debut but fellow new signing Kagisho Dikgacoi, who completed a move from South African club Golden Arrows on Thursday, is still lacking match fitness.

Prediction: Only draw of the weekend.

Fantasy League pick: Richard Dunne

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