West Ham (12 noon)
Last season: 4-0
ARSENAL ARE close to having a fully fit squad as they prepare to welcome the former Gunners Ian Wright and John Hartson back to Highbury for today's visit by the Hammers. Manager Arsene Wenger's injury problems have eased over recent weeks, and now Nigel Winterburn (hamstring) and Ray Parlour (ankle) could be ready to rejoin the squad after missing last Sunday's 3-1 win against Leeds. Captain Tony Adams is the only remaining long-term injury but even he is expected to be back in training soon and may make a return to the team early in the new year.
West Ham manager Harry Redknapp is likely to stick with Wright and Hartson - even though they have managed only one goal between them in the last seven games - today. Redknapp does not want to risk Paul Kitson, who has had a broken toe, though he could be push into the fray on Monday against Coventry if he has an injection. John Moncur returns after a one-match ban but Neil Ruddock is still suspended.
ARSENAL (from): Seaman, Manninger, Lukic, Dixon, Winterburn, Vivas, Keown, Bould, Mendez, Upson, Grimandi, Ljungberg, Petit, Vieira, Overmars, Boa Morte, Parlour, Bergkamp, Anelka, Wreh.
WEST HAM (from): Hislop, Breacker, Dicks, Potts, Keller, Sinclair, Hartson, Lomas, Wright, Ferdinand, Moncur, Lazaridis, Lampard, Pearce, Forrest, Omoyini, Coyne, Berkovic, Margas.
Suspensions: West Ham: Ruddock.
Referee: P Jones.
Last season: 4-0
COVENTRY MANAGER Gordon Strachan will field the side that drew with Derby last week as he looks to drag his struggling Sky Blues a few points clearer of the four sides below them. Noel Whelan and Darren Huckerby will be the strike partnership this afternoon, leaving new signing John Aloisi from Portsmouth on the bench. Strachan has revealed Darren Jackson's lack of confidence has kept the striker on the bench thus far at Highfield Road. "I know that our supporters must have been perplexed to see him on the substitutes' bench but I had no alternative," Strachan said. "It is a slow business building up self-esteem, but he tells me he is getting better every day. He enjoys it down here and he says we have a great bunch of players."
George Graham is likely to name an unchanged Spurs team for the trip to the Midlands. The injured trio of John Scales, Ramon Vega and Steffen Iversen are all making progress but are not yet able to return. Tottenham have won three of their last four league visits to Highfield Road although the other game, last season's visit, ended in a 4-0 defeat for the London side.
COVENTRY (from): Hedman, Nilsson, Shaw, Williams, Edworthy, Telfer, McAllister, Boateng, Froggatt, Huckerby, Whelan, Soltvedt, Aloisi, Jackson, Boland, Breen, Daish, Shilton, Ogrizovic.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (from): Walker, Carr, Calderwood, Nielsen, Fox, Anderton, Ferdinand, Armstrong, Edinburgh, Ginola, Wilson, Dominguez, Allen, Sinton, Campbell, Clemence, Young, Baardsen.
Referee: K Burge.
Last season: 1-2
WALTER SMITH has nearly a full Everton squad to pick from today. Back from suspension come Richard Dunne and Michael Ball, while Craig Short, Dave Watson, John Collins, John Oster, Ibrahima Bakayoko and Nicky Barmby are all clear of injury or illness. It means Smith will not have to patch up his squad with youth team players like Adam Farley, who sat on the bench for last week's 2-1 defeat by West Ham. It could also mean that Mickael Madar will once again be consigned to the bench.
Derby's Croatian captain Igor Stimac could be back in contention for his club's Christmas matches. The Croatian has not played since the end of October and returned home to Split last week for treatment on an ankle injury. Manager Jim Smith will have to make a change for today's game because both left-backs Tony Dorigo and Stefan Schnoor are injured. Robert Kozluk could play, having recovered from an ankle knock, and may operate at right wing-back, with the versatile Rory Delap moving to the left. Midfielder Lars Bohinen is suspended, Stefano Eranio has recovered from flu but now has a calf injury.
EVERTON (from): Myhre, Cleland, Bilic, Materazzi, Unsworth, Dacourt, Hutchison, Grant, Cadamarteri, Ward, Barmby, Collins, Branch, Madar, Short, Simonsen, Watson, Oster, Bakayoko, Dunne, Ball.
DERBY COUNTY (from): Poom, Prior, Carbonari, Laursen, Elliott, Kozluk, Powell, Carsley, Eranio, Delap, Sturridge, Wanchope, Harper, Hoult, Stimac, Christie, Hunt, Bridge-Wilkinson.
Suspensions: Derby: Bohinen.
Referee: M Riley.
Man Utd v
Last season: No fixture
JAAP STAM and Dwight Yorke are both doubtful, despite good progress in training this week. It was thought they would be back to face the Premiership's bottom club, but manager Alex Ferguson said on Christmas Eve they are still struggling. Both missed Saturday's home defeat by Middlesbrough and Stam is suffering from an ankle injury, while Yorke has a groin problem. Ferguson said: "Jaap Stam and Dwight Yorke are very doubtful for Saturday and we're just going to have to assess that one." United are anxious to have both back and in particular Stam, because his central defensive partner Gary Neville is suspended.
Nottingham Forest have sent Jesper Mattsson home to Sweden for five weeks due to a badly bruised spleen, suffered in last Saturday's 2-2 draw with Blackburn. Alan Rogers is expected to be fit after being kept out of that game by a back injury. Nigel Quashie returns to the squad after a bout of flu but Dave Bassett's side will be without banned Pierre van Hooijdonk. Forest are looking look for their first win in 16 League games - a defeat or draw would equal the club and Premier League record.
MANCHESTER UNITED (from): Schmeichel, Van der Gouw, Irwin, P Neville, Brown, Johnsen, Stam, Berg, Keane, Butt, Scholes, Beckham, Giggs, Blomqvist, Yorke, Cole, Sheringham, Solskjaer.
NOTTINGHAM FOREST (from): Beasant, Hjelde, Bonalair, Chettle, Mattsson, Armstrong, Rogers, Stone, Johnson, Quashie, Gemmill, Bart-Williams, Freedman, Shipperley, Harewood, Darcheville, Gray, Crossley.
Suspensions: United: G Neville. Forest: Van Hooijdonk.
Referee: J Winter.Reuse content