Football: Boxing Day guide to the Premiership

Coventry City v Arsenal

Last season: 0-1

THE SWEDISH international full-back Tomas Gustafsson could make his debut in English football for Coventry. The 26-year-old former AIK Stockholm player will get his chance if the Sky Blues' casualty list of seven defenders does not improve. Defenders Tony Adams and Martin Keown, plus keeper David Seaman hope to be available for Arsenal and the striker Dennis Bergkamp has an outside chance of appearing during the busy Christmas programme. Midfielder Patrick Vieira serves the final game of his seven- match ban and will be available to face Leeds next week.

COVENTRY CITY (from): Hedman; Telfer, Breen, Williams, Burrows, Hadji, McAllister, Palmer, Chippo, Keane, Whelan, Roussel, Gustafsson, Eustace, Quinn, Strachan, Ogrizovic.

ARSENAL (from): Seaman; Dixon, Luzhny, Adams, Grimandi, Winterburn, Suker, Overmars, Bergkamp, Ljungberg, Petit, Silvinho, Henry, Kanu, Keown, Hughes, Vernazza, Manninger.

Suspension: Arsenal: Vieira.

Leading scorers: Coventry: Keane (9). Arsenal: Overmars (10).

Referee: R Harris.

Derby County v Aston Villa Last season: 2-1

BRANKO STRUPAR looks set to make his full debut for Jim Smith's struggling Derby, having played the final minutes in the draw at Leicester last Saturday. Flu-stricken Georgi Kinkladze is unlikely to play and Rory Delap is suspended. John Gregory wants to extend his touchline ban at games, due to end on 10 January, because he believes he is benefiting from watching his team from the stands. He will be forced to make one change as Dion Dublin is out for three months after neck surgery. Julian Joachim is likely to replace him up front with Benito Carbone.

DERBY COUNTY (from): Poom, Elliott, Prior, Schnoor, Carbonari, Laursen, Dorigo, Burley, Johnson, Powell, Burton, Strupar, Robinson, Christie, Murray, Nimni, Bohinen, Beck, Sturridge, Hoult.

ASTON VILLA (from): James, Ehiogu, Southgate, Barry,Watson, Delaney, Taylor, Boateng, Merson, Thompson, Wright, Carbone, Joachim, Vassell, Calderwood, Samuel, Cutler.

Suspension: Derby: Delap.

Leading scorers: Derby: Delap (6). Aston Villa: Dublin (13).

Referee: A.Wilkie.

Everton v Sunderland

Last season: No fixture

EVERTON should have the veteran defender Richard Gough back after missing three games with a thigh injury as Peter Reid returns to Goodison Park with his Sunderland high-flyers. Richard Dunne is expected to play at full-back with Alex Cleland on the substitutes' bench. Otherwise Everton should be unchanged from their midweek struggle with Exeter. Gavin McCann, like Reid, is making a Goodison return and his manager has tipped him for an international future. Reid paid Everton pounds 500,000 for the 21-year- old last season. Sunderland have not lost away in the League since visiting Leeds in August.

EVERTON (from): Gerrard; Dunne, Cleland, Gough, Weir, Unsworth, Ball, Barmby, Collins, Hutchison, Pembridge, Jeffers, Campbell, Watson, Simonsen, Moore, Cadamarteri, Xavier, Gemmil.

SUNDERLAND (from): Sorenson, Makin, P Butler, Bould, Gray, Summerbee, Roy, McCann, Rae, Schwarz, Quinn, Phillips, Reddy, Kilbane, Thirlwell, Williams, Craddock, Oster, Marriott.

Suspensions: None.

Leading Scorers: Everton: Campbell (8). Sunderland: Phillips 18).

Referee: S Lodge.

Leeds United v Leicester City Last season: 0-1

LEEDS CHAIRMAN Peter Ridsdale offered David O'Leary a touching tribute this week, telling the Yorkshire Evening Post that the Irishman will become a legend to stand alongside Bill Shankly, Don Revie and Sir Alex Ferguson. O'Leary, meanwhile, will again be without David Batty, while Michael Bridges, Alan Smith and Jonathan Woodgate are all doubtful. Leicester have several injury worries. Emile Heskey, Frank Sinclair and Neil Lennon all appear to be on the mend but Andrew Impey, who limped off with a hamstring injury during Leicester's win over Hereford in the FA Cup, is almost certain to be sidelined.

LEEDS UNITED (from): Martyn, Kelly, Harte, Haaland, Radebe, Woodgate, Bridges, Kewell, Bowyer, Huckerby, McPhail, Mills, Bakke, Jones, Hiden, Duberry, Maybury, Jackson, Robinson.

LEICESTER CITY (from): Arphexad, Flowers, Taggart, Elliott, Gilchrist, Savage, Zagorakis, Campbell, Izzet, Oakes, Gunnlaugsson, Fenton, Cottee, Walsh, Thomas, Eadie, Heskey, Sinclair.

Suspensions: None.

Leading scorers: Leeds: Bridges (12), Leicester: Cottee, Izzet (8).

Referee: M Halsey.

Manchester United v Bradford City

Last season: No fixture

DAVID BECKHAM, who picked up a hamstring injury against West Ham last week, is United's only doubt as they prepare to play two of last season's promoted sides over Christmas. The treble-winners play Sunderland on Tuesday before heading to Brazil for the World Club Championship. Mark Bosnich, out of action since early December, is training again. Dean Windass, who only returned to action after an ankle injury last week against Newcastle, is Paul Jewell's only worry. He hurt it again against the Magpies and will undergo a late fitness test. Neil Redfearn is available after a one- match ban.

MANCHESTER UNITED (from): Van der Gouw, Bosnich, G Neville, Stam, Silvestre, P Neville, Irwin, Beckham, Keane, Scholes, Giggs, Yorke, Sheringham, Butt, Cole, Solskjaer, Fortune.

BRADFORD CITY (from): Clarke, Myers, McCall, Wetherall, Lawrence, Blake, Mills, Whalley, Beagrie, O'Brien, Windass, Sharpe, Halle, Saunders, Redfearn, Westwood, Davison, Rankin.

Suspensions: Bradford: Rankin.

Leading scorers: Man Utd: Cole (14). Bradford: Mills (5).

Referee: P Jones.

Newcastle United v Liverpool

Last season: 1-4

BOBBY ROBSON has has admitted it is time for the English game to consider taking a winter break. Robson is concerned for his spiralling injury list that Portuguese defender Helder has now joined after picking up a groin injury in the Magpies' mauling of Spurs. Newcastle put their nine-game unbeaten home record under Robson on the line against Gerard Houllier's rejuvenated side who are without suspended Stephane Henchoz. Jamie Redknapp, Erik Meijer and Vladimir Smicer are all out while David Thompson is struggling with a knee injury. Houllier must decide whether to pick Robbie Fowler, whose scheduled reserve game was postponed last week.

NEWCASTLE UNITED (from):Harper, Given, Barton, Charvet, Hughes, Caldwell, Speed, Solano, Dyer, Glass, McClen, Fumaca, Shearer, Ferguson, Gallacher, Ketsbaia.

LIVERPOOL (from): Westerveld, Song, Hyypia, Carragher, Matteo, Staunton, Heggem, Berger, Hamann, Gerrard, Murphy, Owen, Camara, Fowler, Thompson, Friedel.

Suspensions: Liverpool: Henchoz.

Leading scorers: Newcastle: Shearer (14). Liverpool: Camara (7).

Referee: D Elleray.

Sheff Wed v Middlesbrough

Last season: 3-1

DANNY WILSON has drafted youngsters Derek Geary, Kevin Nicholson, Tony Crane and Mark McKeever into his squad because of injury problems and Emerson Thome's departure to Chelsea. Andy Hinchcliffe, Petter Rudi and Lee Briscoe are all extremely doubtful. Middlesbrough will be without Gary Pallister, Colin Cooper, Dean Gordon, Paul Gascoigne and Christian Ziege. Captain Paul Ince is also out, recovering from a hernia operation. Argentinian teenager Carlos Marinelli could have his first taste of Premiership action. Keith O'Neill faces a late fitness test, while Alan Moore has been recalled to the first-team squad.

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY (from):Srnicek, Atherton, Jonk, Walker, Sonner, Sibon, Booth, Cresswell, Alexandersson, Nolan, Newsome, Haslam, De Bilde, McKeever, Geary, Nicholson, Crane, Pressman.

MIDDLESBROUGH (from): Schwarzer, Beresford, Stockdale, Fleming, Festa, Vickers, Stamp, O'Neill, Mustoe, Maddison, Juninho, Marinelli, Ricard, Deane, Gavin, Armstrong, Moore, Campbell, Cummins, Baker.

Suspensions: None.

Leading scorers: Sheffield Wednesday: De Bilde (6). Boro: Deane, Ricard (8).

Referee: B Knight.

Southampton v Chelsea

Last season: 0-2

THE SOUTHAMPTON defenders Claus Lundekvam and Dean Richards are struggling for fitness. Lundekvam has a broken toe, while Richards has had flu and also has an Achilles tendon problem. Former Chelsea player Mark Hughes has a back injury and James Beattie is another fitness doubt after he was struck down by flu earlier this week. Keeper Paul Jones has been passed fit to play. Emerson Thome, Chelsea's new pounds 2.5m signing from Sheffield Wednesday, is included in their squad alongside Frank Leboeuf, who is available for his final game before suspension. Fellow defender Marcel Desailly is nursing a long-term shoulder injury and may start on the bench.

SOUTHAMPTON (from): Jones, Dodd, Richards, Lundekvam, Tessem, Benali, Kachloul, M Hughes, Ripley, Oakley, Soltvedt, Pahars, Beattie, Davies, Le Tissier, Boa Morte, Colleter, Moss.

CHELSEA (from): De Hoey; Petrescu, Di Matteo, Zola, Leboeuf, Babayaro, Desailly, Flo, Poyet, Sutton, Wise, Cudicini, Goldbaek, Hitchcock, Ferrer, Deschamps, Ambrosetti, Thome, Nicholls, Morris, Terry, Harley, Wolleaston.

Suspensions: None.

Leading scorers: Southampton: Pahars (7). Chelsea: Poyet (9).

Referee: P Alcock.

Tottenham Hotspur v Watford

Last season: No fixture

LUKE YOUNG is Tottenham's main injury doubt. The full-back came off with a hamstring injury during the humiliating 6-1 FA Cup replay defeat at Newcastle and faces a battle to be fit. If he fails to make it, Mauricio Taricco will switch to right-back, with Justin Edinburgh returning on the left. Watford will be without Nick Wright, who has a knee injury, and Xavier Gravelaine, who serves the final game of a three-match ban. The Hornets, who have gone three months and 13 games without a win, are hoping that the striker Nordin Wooter has recovered from an ankle injury.

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (from): Walker, Young, Edinburgh, Campbell, Perry, Dominguez, Ginola, Freund, Iversen, Armstrong, Clemence, Nielsen, King, Vega, Fox, Piercy, Gower, Baardsen.

WATFORD (from): Chamberlain; Cox, Williams, Page, Robinson, Palmer, Hyde, Ngonge, Johnson, Gibbs, Miller, Smith, Day, Easton, Iroha, Bakalli, Perpetuini, Foley, Wooter.

Suspension: Watford: Gravelaine.

Leading scorers: Tottenham: Iversen (11). Watford: Ngonge (5).

Referee: M Reed.

Wimbledon v

West Ham United

Last season: 2-0

BEN THATCHER and Dean Blackwell are the Wimbledon manager Egil Olsen's major injury concerns. Thatcher is suffering from an ankle injury while Blackwell's niggling thigh problem has not recovered. Olsen has further defensive headaches with Chris Willmott also sidelined. There are problems up front too as Marcus Gayle, Carl Cort and John Hartson should play despite all suffering knocks against Arsenal last week. Harry Redknapp, who faces new year problems with players on international duty, has found cheer in the news that Joe Cole's ankle injury has recovered. Defender Igor Stimac also returns to the squad following problems with his calf.

WIMBLEDON (from): Sullivan, Heald, Davis, Cunningham, Jupp, Hreidarsson, Andersen, Pedersen, Waehler, Hawkins, Castledine, Badir, Earle, Andersen, Francis, Hughes, Gayle, Cort, Hartson, Leaburn.

WEST HAM UNITED (from): Hislop, Forrest, Ruddock, Ferdinand, Margas, Lampard, Sinclair, Keller, Cole, Wanchope, Di Canio, Kitson, Foe, Minto, Newton, Forbes, Angus.

Suspensions: West Ham: Lomas

Leading scorers: Wimbledon: Cort (12). West Ham: Di Canio (10).

Referee: S Dunn.

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