Football: Match-by-match guide to the Premiership

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Arsenal v Wimbledon

Last season: 1-1

TONY ADAMS is out with flu, leaving Arsenal with a major crisis in defence. Manager Arsene Wenger is likely to field a new centre-back partnership of Gilles Grimandi and Oleg Luzhny unless he decides to recall Martin Keown a week earlier than scheduled after injury. Patrick Vieira is suspended, Ray Parlour is still out, and the return of Dennis Bergkamp and David Seaman is being delayed until the game with Leeds on December 28.

Egil Olsen is struggling to find fully fit defenders. Hermann Hreidarsson will return, but Ben Thatcher and Dean Blackwell are doubtful. John Hartson hopes to recover from a knee problem.

ARSENAL(from): Manninger, Dixon, Grimandi, Luzhny, Winterburn, Ljungberg, Petit, Hughes, Silvinho, Overmars, Kanu, Henry, Suker, Keown, Weston, Vernazza, Malz, Barrett, Lukic.

WIMBLEDON (from): Sullivan, Cunnningham, Kimble, Hreidarsson, Cort, Earle, Roberts, M Hughes, Hartson, Gayle, Euell, Ardley, Leaburn, Andersen, Badir,Andresen, Francis, Waehler, Davis.

Suspensions: Vieira.

Leading scorers: Arsenal: Overmars (10). Wimbledon: Cort (11).

Referee: G Barber.

Aston Villa v Sheff Wednesday

Last season: 2-1

ITALIAN STRIKER Benito Carbone returns to Aston Villa's squad for the meeting with his former club. Carbone, who joined Villa from Wednesday in October, was cup-tied for Villa's Worthington Cup penalty shoot-out defeat at West Ham, may have to settle for a place on the bench as Villa manager John Gregory could opt to retain the strike force of Dion Dublin and Julian Joachim.

Sheffield Wednesday manager Danny Wilson has doubts surrounding three players: left-back Andy Hinchcliffe, left-winger Petter Rudi and midfielder Lee Briscoe are all undergoing treatment. Kevin Pressman is likely to return in goal for Pavel Srnicek.

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY(from): Pressman, Atherton, Hinchcliffe, Jonk, Emerson, Walker, Sonner, Sibon, Booth, Cresswell, Rudi, Alexandersson, Nolan, Newsome, Briscoe, Haslam, De Bilde, McKeever, Quinn, Srnicek.

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

Suspensions: None.

Leading scorers: Aston Villa: Dublin (13). Sheffield Wednesday: De Bilde (5).

Referee: S. Bennett.

Bradford City v Newcastle United

Last season: No fixture

BRADFORD BOSS Paul Jewell could be without two key midfielders. Neil Redfearn is suspended, while Dean Windass is struggling with an ankle problem and faces a late fitness test. With goalkeeper Gary Walsh still out through long-term injury, in-form Matt Clarke continues as number one.

Frenchman Laurent Charvet and Italian Alessandro Pistone are major doubts for Newcastle. Charvet has a knee problem while Pistone is struggling with a hamstring strain, and with Nikos Dabizas suspended and Steve Howey, Franck Dumas, Alain Doma and Marcelino all injured, teenage defender Gary Caldwell is called into the squad.

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

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

Suspensions: Bradford: Redfearn. Newcastle: Dabizas.

Leading scorers: Bradford: Mills (5). Newcastle: Shearer (14).

Referee:N Barry.

Leicester City v Derby County

Last season: 1-2

DARREN EADIE, Leicester's pounds 3m record signing from Norwich, is expected to make his debut. He was ineligible for the FA Cup and Worthington Cup matches with Hereford and Leeds respectively, but will be available to play in the replay against the non-League side next week.

Derby's Branko Strupar could have to settle for a place on the bench when his side visit Filbert Street this afternoon. The Belgian international striker completed his pounds 3m move from Genk yesterday but he may be left on the bench at Filbert Street. Dean Sturridge and Vassilis Borbokis have been left out of Jim Smith's squad after failing to impress in recent weeks, while Kevin Harper has gone to Walsall on a month's loan.

LEICESTER CITY(from): squad to be confirmed.

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

Suspensions: None.

Leading scorers: Leicester: Cottee, Izzet (8). Sunderland: Phillips (13).

Referee: D. Elleray.

Liverpool v

Coventry City

Last season: 2-0

LIVERPOOL EXPECT to have the Czech Patrik Berger and England Under- 21 midfielder David Thompson back in their squad. Berger has missed two games with a knee problem, while Thompson should shake off a knee strain, having served a one-match ban. Liverpool will again be without Robbie Fowler, who has had treatment on his ankle problem.

Coventry manager Gordon Strachan will give a late fitness test to Paul Williams, who picked up a knee problem in last Saturday's FA Cup victory at Norwich. Strachan's defensive injury crisis endures. Richard Shaw, Mo Konjic, Marc Edworthy, David Burrows and Marcus Hall all likely to miss out again.

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

COVENTRY (from): Hedman, Telfer, Williams, Breen, Froggatt, Hadji, McAllister, Palmer, Chippo, Keane, Whelan, Roussel, Eustace, Normann, Quinn, Strachan, Ogrizovic.

Suspensions: None.

Leading scorers: Liverpool: Camara (6). Coventry: Keane (9).

Referee: A. D'Urso.

Middlesbrough v Tottenham

Last season: 0-0

MIDDLESBROUGH WILL again be without Paul Gascoigne and Gary Pallister. Gascoigne is out with a knee injury while Pallister has been unable to shake off a long-standing back problem. Colin Cooper has failed to recover from knee ligament damage.

Tim Sherwood and Mauricio Taricco return from suspension for Tottenham. Both players missed last Sunday's FA Cup third-round draw with Newcastle and are likely to go straight back into the team at the expense of Allan Neilsen and Justin Edinburgh. The main injury doubt remains Oyvind Leonhardsen, which means Ruel Fox may keep his place on the right side of midfield.

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

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (from): Walker, Young, Campbell, Perry, Taricco, Sherwood, Leonhardsen, Fox, Dominguez, Ginola, Freund, Iversen, Armstrong, Clemence, Nielsen, Vega, Edinburgh, Baardsen.

Suspensions: None.

Leading scorers: Boro: Ricard, Deane (6). Spurs: Iversen (8).

Referee: S Dunn.

Sunderland v Southampton

Last season: No fixture

SUNDERLAND'S NIALL QUINN will have a late fitness test. A broken nose will not keep Quinn out of action, but an ankle injury is more serious than first thought. The new signing, Kevin Kilbane, may have to settle for a place on the substitutes' bench, with Michael Reddy is on stand- by to replace Quinn.

Southampton's Claus Lundekvam hopes to play despite breaking the little toe on his right foot in the FA Cup win over Ipswich on Monday. Hassan Kachloul has a back injury which kept him out against Ipswich but he is expected to return. Patrick Colleter (calf) is out, so Francis Benali and Wayne Bridge will contest the left-back position.

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

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

Suspensions: None.

Leading scorers: Sunderland: Phillips (16). Southampton: Pahars (7).

Referee: M Reed.

Watford v Everton

Last season: No fixture

WATFORD WILL be without the midfielder Nick Wright, who is still recovering from a hernia injury. The Hornets are still without the long- term casualties Peter Kennedy, Alex Bonnot, Chris Smart and Tommy Mooney. Gifton Noel-Williams and Nordin Wooter are also out injured while Xavier Gravelaine serves the second game of a three-match ban.

Everton's Francis Jeffers could miss the match after being sent home from training with flu this week. Don Hutchison could be pushed up front alongside Kevin Campbell, with Abel Xavier played in midfield. Richard Gough (thigh) is still doubtful. Dave Watson may be recalled in defence.

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

EVERTON (from): Gerrard, Cleland, Dunne, Watson, Weir, Unsworth, Ball, Barmby, Hutchison, Collins, Pembridge, Grant, Xavier, Campbell, Moore, Simonsen, Moore, Jeffers, Jevons.

Suspension: Watford: Gravelaine.

Leading scorers: Watford: Ngonge (4). Everton: Campbell (8).

Referee: A Wilkie.

West Ham v Manchester Utd

Last season: 0-0

WEST HAM are hoping Joe Cole will recover from a serious ankle knock, but he was unable to train at all yesterday. Marc-Vivien Foe may deputise. The defenders Igor Stimac, Ian and Stuart Pearce, Steve Potts, Shaun Byrne and Gary Charles are injured. John Moncur is still out with a back problem.

Manchester United's Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is in line for his third successive start. If he does, Dwight Yorke, who has not scored since October, will stay on the bench. Mark Bosnich (hamstring) is still under treatment, so Raimond van der Gouw will play in goal. Mickael Silvestre might return in defence after being ineligible in the Champions' League.

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

MANCHESTER UNITED (from): Van der Gouw, G Neville, Stam, Silvestre, P Neville, Irwin, Beckham, Keane, Scholes, Giggs, Solskjaer, Cole, Yorke, Butt, Wallwork, Cruyff, Higginbotham, Taibi.

Suspensions: None.

Leading scorers: West Ham: Di Canio (6). Man Utd: Cole (12).

Referee: U Rennie.


Chelsea v

Leeds United

Last season: 1-0

CHELSEA'S GRAEME LE SAUX is still out with an ankle injury and his comeback has been hindered by a cold. Mario Melchiot has had a more severe setback. The Dutch defender has broken the toe again which has prevented him making an appearance since his summer move from Ajax.

Leeds will be without David Batty and Alan Smith. Batty has a recurrent calf injury which is now likely to keep him out for two weeks. Smith is out until after Christmas with tendinitis and ankle problems. Lee Bowyer continues to play on despite needing surgery for a hernia problem. David Hopkin is out until the new year after a groin operation.

CHELSEA (from): De Goey, Ferrer, Leboeuf, Desailly, Lambourde, Hogh, Babayaro, Petrescu, Morris, Wise, Deschamps, Poyet, Di Matteo, Zola, Flo, Sutton, Goldbaek, Harley, Dalla Bona, Terry, Cudicini.

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

Suspensions: None.

Leading scorers: Chelsea: Poyet (5). Leeds: Bridges (10).

Referee: J Winter.