This weekend’s Premier League Preview

As the lead at the top narrows, Everton will look to do Manchester Utd a favour as they travel to Stamford Bridge, and Utd host Aston Villa at Old Trafford. Arsenal could drop out of the top four by the end of the weekend if they fail in their trip to Merseyside against a bolstered Liverpool line-up.

Andrey Arshavin of Arsenal scores his team's fourth goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on April 21, 2009 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Andrey Arshavin

The tie of the weekend is undoubtedly Arsenal‘s trip to the north west to face under-fire Liverpool. Liverpool take many positives from their Fiorentina defeat during the week with the comeback of Fernando Torres to spearhead the Red attack and the debut of Italian saviour Alberto Aquilani. Glenm Johnson is set for a recall to the line-up after being rested against La Viola, as does Pepe Reina and Jamie Carragher. Alberto Aquilai may be rewarded for his patience with a starting berth beside Javier Mascherano after a solid debut. Back-to-full-fitness looking Steven Gerrard will captain the side behind the main man, Fernando Torres. Arsenal’s young guns lost out during the week in their final Champions League tie, so a waft of changes are expected for the trip. Cesc Fabregas will return to the middle of the park, as will Andrey Arshavin who will be keen to emulate his already iconic four-goal haul at Anfield last season. Arsenal are still without Robin van Persie with his long term ankle injury, and Tomas Rosicky has been ruled out after limping off last week. Theo Walcott played against Olimpiacos, and might start on the right on Sunday. Aaron Ramsey’s recent impressive displays will grant him a spot in the squad.

In another appealing tie, on-form Aston Villa travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester Utd who have come within two points of league leaders Chelsea. After midweeks demolition of Wolfsburg shielded by a make-shift defense, their injury problems have somewhat eased. Nemanja Vidic returns to bolster a weakened back-line, but will be paired with Michael Carrick for the first time in the position, moving Darren Fletcher back in to the midfield. Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov have both overcome slight knocks, and Ryan Giggs will be at his freshest after a weeks rest. Aston Villa have also been bolstered with the return of defender James Collins who has missed the last month with injury. However, Carlos Cueller’s recent run of form may secure another game alongside Richard Dunne in the defense. The ever impressive James Milner will take up his new role in the centre of the park where his magnificent versatility has seemed to find him his best position, while Stewart Downing and Ashley Young will take up the wide areas.

This week’s games:

Stoke v Wigan
Birmingham v West Ham
Bolton v Man City
Burnley v Fulham
Chelsea v Everton
Hull City v Blackburn
Sunderland v Portsmouth
Tottenham v Wolves
Man Utd v Aston Villa
Liverpool v Arsenal

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Kevin Coleman

Founder and co-editor of Back Page Football.

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