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English Soccer Capsules

English Soccer Capsules

A brief look at this weekend's Premier League matches (home teams listed first; league positions in parentheses):
Saturday
Arsenal (1) vs. Aston Villa (6)
Arsenal is unbeaten in 18 league matches against Aston Villa. Arsenal striker Eduardo da Silva is out for around nine months with a broken left leg and dislocated ankle after a tackle by Martin Taylor in the 2-2 draw with Birmingham on Saturday. Robin van Persie will not be rushed back from a thigh injury to replace Eduardo, so Nicklas Bendtner will likely start. Midfielder Abou Diaby has recovered from a calf problem. Emmanuel Eboue serves the second match of a three-game suspension for his challenge on Patrice Evra in the 4-0 FA Cup defeat to Manchester United. Kolo Toure (knee), Alexandre Song (knee), Tomas Rosicky (hamstring) and Johan Djourou (groin) are out.
Aston Villa defender Olof Mellberg has returned to training following an ankle injury which kept him out of the 2-1 win over Reading on Sunday and will likely start. Midfielder Patrik Berger has recovered from a hamstring problem and will be in the squad.
Birmingham (17) vs. Tottenham (11)
Birmingham has not won in eight matches, while League Cup champion Tottenham is unbeaten in six. Birmingham defender Martin Taylor begins a three-match ban for his tackle on Eduardo. Fellow center back Liam Ridgewell is likely to play despite a minor ankle injury. Forward Cameron Jerome is a doubt with a hip problem. Midfielder Olivier Kapo (hamstring) is out.
Tottenham defender Jonathan Woodgate is a doubt after spraining his ankle in the 2-1 win over Chelsea in Sunday's League Cup final where Woodgate scored the winning goal. Fellow center back Ledley King may be rested as he continues his comeback from injury. Defenders Michael Dawson (hamstring), Gilberto (calf), Benoit Assou-Ekotto (knee) and Gareth Bale (foot) are out.
Derby (20) vs. Sunderland (15)
Derby has not won in 21 league games _ beating the previous Premier League record set by Sunderland in 2002-03. Derby midfielder Giles Barnes is out after injuring his knee in training this week. Center back Dean Leacock is a doubt with a hip problem. Fellow defenders Claude Davis (knee) and Tyrone Mears (calf and shin) are long-term absentees.
Sunderland center back Danny Higginbotham could start after recovering from a fractured toe. Fellow defender Danny Collins is suspended after getting five yellow cards this season. Midfielder Liam Miller may play despite being transfer-listed this week because of persistent lateness. Winger Kieran Richardson is nearing a return from a hamstring problem but is unlikely to start. Carlos Edwards (broken leg) and Ross Wallace (knee) are out.
Fulham (19) vs. Manchester United (2)
Fulham has one win in 15 matches, while Manchester United has one loss in 11. Fulham is missing midfielder Simon Elliott, who has an Achilles injury.
United winger Ryan Giggs is likely to miss the game after straining his calf. Nemanja Vidic (calf) and Patrice Evra (stomach virus) are now available, but fellow defenders Gary Neville and Mikel Silvestre are still out.
Middlesbrough (12) vs. Reading (18)
Reading has lost its last eight league matches and scored two goals in the last seven. Reading defender Michael Duberry (knee) and midfielder Brynjar Gunnarsson (groin) are back in training following injuries but will not play. Defenders Ivar Ingimarsson and Andre Bikey are set for recalls to the team. Mali midfielder Jimmy Kebe may make his first start. Winger Glenn Little (heel) is out.
Middlesbrough's Jeremie Aliadiere begins a four-match suspension for slapping Javier Mascherano in the 3-2 defeat to Liverpool on Saturday. Defender Robert Huth is a doubt with the ankle injury which kept him out of the 1-0 FA Cup win over Sheffield United on Wednesday. Another center back, David Wheater, returns from suspension.
Newcastle (13) vs. Blackburn (9)
Newcastle is yet to win under new manager Kevin Keegan. Newcastle striker Obafemi Martins is back after missing two months of the season because of an ankle injury and international duty. Midfielder Emre Belozoglu (calf) and forward Mark Viduka (hamstring) are also back from injury. Goalkeeper Shay Given is out with a groin injury.
Blackburn midfielder David Dunn is a doubt after injuring his calf in training. Captain Ryan Nelsen is still out with a hamstring problem but defender Andre Ooijer is set to return after missing the 4-1 win over Bolton on Sunday with a similar injury.
West Ham (10) vs. Chelsea (3)
West Ham midfielder Scott Parker is nearing a return from a knee injury, but will not play against his former club. Fellow midfielders Lee Bowyer and Matthew Etherington are both out with groin injuries. Striker Bobby Zamora (knee) is a doubt.
Chelsea has a full squad to choose from. Manager Avram Grant is likely to change his starting line-up after the disappointing performance in the League Cup final. Grant has been testing different formations in training this week, and may opt to play Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka as strikers in a 4-1-3-2 formation after Anelka struggled on the wing against Tottenham.
Manchester City (8) vs. Wigan (14)
Manchester City defender Micah Richards is out for six weeks after having an operation on his knee. Winger Martin Petrov starts a three-match ban for kicking Leon Osman in the 2-0 defeat to Everton on Monday. Fellow midfielder Michael Johnson is available after recovering from an abdominal strain.
Wigan defender Ryan Taylor is out because of a rib injury.
Sunday
Bolton (16) vs. Liverpool (5)
Bolton has won two of its last nine league games, while Liverpool has won three in its last nine. Bolton midfielder Gavin McCann is a doubt with a back injury.
Liverpool center back Jamie Carragher is available again following suspension and is set to play three days after being arrested and cautioned for assault. Fellow defenders Martin Skrtel (ankle) and Daniel Agger (metatarsal) are nearing returns from injuries. Ukraine forward Andriy Voronin is out for at least another week with an ankle injury.
Everton (4) vs. Portsmouth (7)
Portsmouth has won its last three league and cup games, but Everton has four straight wins in all competitions. Portsmouth may rest Nwankwo Kanu and Milan Baros because fellow forward Jermain Defoe is cup-tied for next week's FA Cup quarterfinal against Manchester United. Striker David Nugent (groin) and midfielder Pedro Mendes (foot) are both out.
Everton midfielder Mikel Arteta will delay having surgery on groin and stomach injuries until the end of the season and is available to play after missing the 2-0 win over Manchester City on Monday. Defender Anthony Gardner (knee) is out.


Updated : 2021-01-21 20:58 GMT+08:00