Football: Premier League preview

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Blackburn v Everton

Sutton 11 Leading scorer Cadamarteri 5

Last season: 1-1

Colin Hendry will break his ever-present Blackburn record for the season after failing to recover from the knee ligament injury he sustained at Barnsley last Saturday. The Scottish defender will definitely miss today's game. Swedish striker Martin Dahlin will also be absent with back trouble. Tor Pedersen and Stefan Henchoz are almost certain to start the game as the central defensive partnership. Hendry is the only change Roy Hodgson has been forced to make from squad which drew 1-1 at Oakwell last week.

Everton will welcome back Croatian defender Slaven Bilic after his recovery from the virus which kept him out of last Sunday's 2-0 defeat by Southampton. Neville Southall will have to play with an injured right foot, sustained last week, as Paul Gerrard is still injured, and the only other goalkeeper Everton could use is youth team player John O'Toole. Everton have yet to win away from home so far this season in the Premiership and are only clear of the relegation zone on goal difference going into this game.

Coventry v Newcastle

Dublin 6 Leading scorer Asprilla 6

Last season: 2-1

Coventry's Darren Huckerby (thigh muscle strain) is expected to be fit, but Paul Telfer (ankle) and Roland Nilsson (hairline arm fracture) are not certain to start. Telfer has not been training at all in the past week and is most doubtful, while Nilsson has an outside chance of playing with a lightweight cast. John Salako (hamstring) will not play. Coventry go into the game unbeaten at home this season.

Newcastle captain Rob Lee, midfielder David Batty and defender Darren Peacock all return to the Magpies' squad for today. Lee and Batty missed Wednesday's Champions' League defeat by PSV Eindhoven through suspension, while Peacock was omitted because he was only one yellow card away from a ban. Steve Howey (Achilles injury) and Ian Rush (torn cartilage) will not play. Alan Shearer (ankle) is still injured, while Faustino Asprilla, who is recovering from surgery on a stomach injury, should be back in contention for a place in a fortnight.

C Palace v Aston Villa

Lombardo 3 Leading scorer Yorke, Taylor 4

Last season: No fixture

Paul Warhurst is still having treatment on a hamstring complaint and will not play so Crystal Palace are expected to name an unchanged line-up from Monday night when their match at West Ham was abandoned at 2-2 due to floodlight failure. Neil Emblen is expected to stay on the bench having only recently recovered from a hamstring injury. Palace have one of the best away records in the Premiership but have yet to officially record a win at home - although they won `away' at Wimbledon on the ground they share with the Dons.

Aston Villa manager Brian Little is likely to give his winning Uefa Cup team from midweek the chance to play together again today. Little is likely to stick with central defender Steve Staunton, midfielder Ian Taylor and striker Savo Milosevic who were recalled for the 2-1 win over Athletic Bilbao after being left on the bench in the 2-0 defeat by Chelsea last week. Out-of-form Stan Collymore is available after suspension but may not play. There are doubts over Fernando Nelson and Mark Bosnich who need fitness tests on knee injuries.

Leeds v Derby

Wallace 8 Leading scorer Wanchope 9

Last season: 0-0

Norwegian international defender Gunnar Halle is George Graham's only doubt for Leeds. Halle continues to struggle with a groin strain which could mean a home debut for Alan Maybury. Maybury, a 19-year-old Republic of Ireland Under-21 international, will slot in at right- back if Halle fails a late fitness test. Leeds are otherwise likely to remain unchanged from the side that won 1-0 at Tottenham last week.

Derby will be without striker Paulo Wanchope, on World Cup duty with Costa Rica and Deon Burton, away with Jamaica, so Dutch striker Ron Willems has been brought into the squad. Dean Sturridge, recovering from a thigh injury, has a good chance of playing. Croatian midfielder Aljosa Asanovic is expected to take over from Wanchope on the left and Christian Dailly will return in the centre, having recovered from an abscess on his tonsils. Gary Rowett will move to wing-back. Igor Stimac is still out with a back problem while Stefano Eranio (hamstring) and Robbie van der Laan (ankle) are also missing.

Liverpool v Tottenham

Fowler 8 Leading scorer Ginola 4

Last season: 2-1

Liverpool are set to name an unchanged line-up for the fourth successive game. Manager Roy Evans reverted to a 4-4-2 formation after the Uefa Cup 3-0 away loss to Strasbourg a fortnight ago and the side has responded with a three-match unbeaten run. Liverpool's only injury problems are the long-term worries for Jamie Carragher (ankle), Phil Babb (ribs) and Mark Wright (back), who are all still out. A win today could Roy Evans' side into the top six in the Premiership.

Darren Anderton should start his first game of the season for Tottenham. The England international has made only three substitute appearances this season but played 60 minutes in the reserves on Wednesday and is likely to be in the starting line-up. Ian Walker will decide whether he wants to play after the death of his mother on Monday. Ramon Vega is doubtful with a hamstring injury but Allan Neilsen has recovered from flu. If Tottenham fail to take any points from Anfield this afternoon, they could finish the day in the relegation zone for the first time this season.

Sheff Wed v Bolton

Carbone 7 Leading scorer Blake 6

Last season: No fixture

Managerless Sheffield Wednesday go into today's game against fellow strugglers Bolton with two long-term injury cases poised to return. Midfielder Graham Hyde has overcome his Achilles problem while striker Andy Booth (knee) is likely to be fully recovered. Wednesday captain Peter Atherton (knee) might also return after seven weeks out. Goalkeeper Matt Clarke, recovered from a hernia, will be on the bench, but Benito Carbone and Dejan Stefanovic both have foot injuries and Lee Briscoe has a groin strain.

Bolton's Gerry Taggart and Scott Sellars are both still suspended, while Andy Todd, son of manager Colin Todd, is available after serving a three- match ban. Mike Whitlow, Mark Fish and captain Gudni Bergsson will take up three of the back four places, with either Todd Jnr or the versatile Jimmy Phillips assuming the right-back spot. Recent recruit Franz Carr will hope for a starting place on the wing after impressing when he came on as substitute in the 1-1 draw against Liverpool last weekend.

Southampton v Barnsley

Davies 7 Leading scorer Redfearn 6

Last season: No fixture

Southampton defender Jason Dodd has a stomach virus which prevented him from training at the start of the week but is confident of being passed fit to play. If Dodd recovers then Saints manager Dave Jones is likely to name the same line-up which beat Everton 2-0 last week as his side bid for their third successive Premiership victory and sixth win in seven games in all competitions. The only long-term injury in the Saints squad is Norwegian striker Egil Ostenstad (ankle), who will not be fit until least mid December.

Barnsley manager Danny Wilson may be without captain Neil Redfearn, striker Georgi Hristov and defender Neil Thompson, who are all doubtful through injury. Wilson is still without striker Ashley Ward, who is out for at least two more weeks with meningitis. South African Eric Tinkler is in contention after recovering from a hamstring injury. Barnsley lost at home to Southampton in the Coca-Cola Cup last month, and have conceded 20 goals in their last four Premiership away games.

Tomorrow

Arsenal v Man Utd

Bergkamp 11 Leading scorer Cole 11

Last season: 1-2

Arsene Wenger is still without Dennis Bergkamp and Emmanuel Petit due to suspension. As Dutch winger Marc Overmars is still doubtful with an ankle injury, Wenger may replace Petit with either Luis Boa Morte, who has not yet completed a full Premiership match, or give England under- 21 midfielder Stephen Hughes his first start of the season. David Platt is doubtful after a groin strain in training. Martin Keown returns to the squad after breaking a shoulder-blade in Le Tournoi in the summer, but is likely to be on the bench.

Manchester United's Denis Irwin will be out for six weeks with suspected knee ligament damage after the Paul Bosvelt tackle that felled him during the 3-1 Champions' League win over Feyenoord in midweek. David May (ruptured thigh muscle) might be in Manchester United's squad after resuming training during the week. But he joined the side in the Netherlands for the 3-1 European Champions' League win on Wednesday and did not play, so United will wait until tomorrow to see if he is fully fit.

Chelsea v West Ham

Vialli 7 Leading scorer Hartson 12

Last season: 3-1

Chelsea manager Ruud Gullit must decide before tomorrow whether to persist with the partnership of Gianluca Vialli and Gianfranco Zola which spearheaded the 7-1 thrashing of Tromso in the European Cup Winners' Cup on Thursday. Vialli and Zola face competition from Tore Andre Flo and Mark Hughes, who both scored in last Saturday's 2-0 win at Aston Villa. Gullit has named a 21-man squad, missing only long-term injury victims Gustavo Poyet and Graeme Le Saux.

West Ham may give a full debut to new signing Samassi Abou, the former France Under-21 international striker who made an immediate impact when he came on at half-time in Monday's game against Crystal Palace and helped the Hammers come back from two goals down. The match was abandoned at 2-2. Harry Redknapp has an otherwise unchanged squad to select from, with Andy Impey fit again after missing training with a sore toe. West Ham have secured just one win away from home in the Premiership this season.

Comments