This weekend’s Premier League Preview

by Kevin Coleman

The weekly preview returns this week with a mouth watering clash between arch rivals Arsenal and Manchester Utd, Chelsea who travel to Turf Moor and the KC Stadium, and Liverpool who will try to continue their recent improvement in form against Bolton.

Samir Nasri of Arsenal tussles with Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium on November 8, 2008 in London, England.

Arsenal returned to the summit of the Premier League for a brief period last week, and will be aiming to hold onto the top spot for a little longer if they beat Man Utd this weekend in the clash of the Premier League titans. Both teams are home of the two most on form players in the Premier League at the moment, if not the world, in Cesc Fabregas and Wayne Rooney. The two dalismans will be raring to go as the race for Premier League glory heats up as we enter February, and with the final sprint in close sight. Sol Campbell is one player who isn’t new to this affair, after making a shock return to his old club he’ll be given the almighty job of neutralising the England striker.

Meanwhile in the United defense, Rio Ferdinand will drop out due to suspension, which could see Nemanja Vidic partnered with either Wes Brown or Johnny Evans at the back. Abou Diaby is a certain casualty for the London hosts, while heroic defender Thomas Vermaelen is in serious doubt of making the game on Sunday due to a leg problem. Arsenal are bolstered however with the return of Alex Song and Emmanuel Eboue who were on international duty in the African Nations Cup.

http://www4.pictures.gi.zimbio.com/Bolton+Wanderers+v+Liverpool+Premier+League+rGvkMxWhuEtl.jpgLeague leaders Chelsea must make two away trips in the space of a few days this gameweek. First they face Burnley at Turf Moor who have yet to kickstart life under new manager Brian Law. Then, the Blues go to Hull City who they beat on the opening day of the season. Hull currently lie in the dropzone after picking up just three points in their last six games. Burnley are doing no better, sitting in 18th place with the worst form guide in the league, two points from a possible eighteen. Burnley could hand debuts to new signings Nicky Weaver and Leon Cort, while Andre Bikey returns after duty in Africa with Cameroon. New signing Amr Zaki will take up a place on the bench. Chelsea are welcome back players from Africa, but attacking pair Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou won’t be available for selection until Tuesday at the KC Stadium. Chelsea are without long term casualties Michael Essien and Jose Boswinga, while crafty midfielder Deco is a doubt.

Liverpool will be aiming to gain three points this week against Owen Coyle’s Bolton who picked up a rare win last week against Burnley. Liverpool’s draw with Wolves on Tuesday left a lot to be desired, but after fresh calls to end Rafa’s term as boss the Anfield side will be keen to refresh their manager’s status in charge. Liverpool are still without Fabio Aurelio and Philip Degen at the back, but are bolstered with the return of Daniel Agger. Martin Skrtel may have to pave way for the Danish defender, due to the recent form of the big Greek Sotirious Kyrgiakos. Steven Gerrard completed the game at Wolves unscathed and will start behind Dirk Kuyt, while new boy Maxi Rodriguez should keep his spot on the wing. Alberto Aquilani could be welcomed back to the starting eleven if Liverpool decide to rest one of Lucas or Javier Mascherano. Meanwhile Bolton look set to name an unchanged side from the one who won last week. On-loan wide man Vladimir Weiss will start from the bench, while other new signing Stuart Holden is out with a thigh strain.

Fixtures:

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

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