Football team news

Arsenal v Aston Villa England striker Wright completes a two-match ban and his Arsenal striking partner, Smith, is doubtful with the hamstring injury which saw him limp off in last week's home defeat by Leeds. That could mean another chance for Dickov who is back in training after ligament damage. Villa's new signing Taylor makes his debut in his preferred central midfield role, possibly at the expense of Richardson. Republic of Ireland skipper Townsend is in contention after a six-match ban while defender Ehiogu is available after missing last Monday's defeat at Southampton - which leaves a question mark over Paul McGrath.

Chelsea v Manchester United Player-manager Hoddle must decide whether to grace this match, having started his first game of the season against Liverpool the previous week. Striker Spencer returns after Scotland duty, leaving Rocastle unsure of his place,but Kjeldbjerg (hamstring) is expected to miss a third match. United's Welsh winger Giggs is set to play with a light plaster on his wrist after breaking a bone in last Saturday's surprise home defeat by Nottingham Forest. England centre back Pallister is likely to recover from a groin injury picked up in training, but keeper Schmeichel's back trouble will keep him out until mid-January.

Coventry v Nottingham Forest Gillespie could make his third appearance for Coventry since rejoining them in September after an absence of 11 years. The 34-year-old centre-back will play if Busst (pelvic injury) and Pressley (thigh muscle) are ruled out -and £2m striker Dublin could also be back after missing three games with an abdominal strain. Forest defender Cooper, missing for three matches with an ankle injury, could return. Norwegian Haland is favourite to be left out of the starting side while Lee is on stand-by for Roy whose groin injury has seen him substituted in the last two matches.

Crystal Palace v QPR Midfielder Ndah and defender Patterson could come into the reckoning. Patterson is back from suspension and Smith's team are further boosted by defender Shaw's recovery from a hip injury. Rangers hope Northern Ireland centre-back McDonald will recover from sciatica and retain his ever-present record this season, while Yates could come into defence in place of Bardsley who begins a two-match suspension.

Everton v Sheffield Wednesday Ferguson, back from Scotland duty, makes his "debut" as a fully fledged Evertonian after the £4m move that followed his loan spell, but fellow striker Rideout (calf) is doubtful. Everton still without Ablett (broken rib), will be aiming to establish a Premiership best of eight straight games without conceding a goal. Wednesday's £750,000 new signing Whittingham is the man hoping to undermine the post-war record-breaking attempt. The former Portsmouth and Aston Villa strikerwill be partnered by either Bright, Bart-Williams, Ingesson or Watson. Sinton (thigh) and Jones (foot) are doubtful.

Leeds v Newcastle Deane starts a two-match ban for Leeds. On the plus side, captain McAllister returns after international duty with Scotland as Strachan and White press for a recall. Wallace also hopes to play a part in the holiday programme after missing two matches with an ankle injury, but South African Masinga should continue in attack after his two-goal showing at Highbury. Newcastle's former England midfielder Bracewell (five groin operations this year) is set to start his first Premiership game of the season having been on the substitutes' bench for the last two games. Central defender Howey, who missed the Manchester City Coca-Cola Cup defeat because of illness, also returns and so could midfielder Lee (calf) who has missed five games.

Leicester City v Liverpool New Leicester boss McGhee is kept waiting by striker Joachim, pencilled in to start for the first time in eight games, but now doubtful after twisting an ankle in training. Roberts, recovered from sciatica, and Lowe, fit again after missing three games with an Achilles tendon injury, offer front-line options. Liverpool expect England winger McManaman to recover from an ankle injury that has kept him out of the last two games and full-back Jones could also return after missing three games.

Manchester City v Blackburn German pair Gaudino, on loan from Eintracht Frankfurt, and Rosler look set to keep Republic of Ireland international Quinn on the Manchester City sidelines after starring in the midweek Coca-Cola Cup replay win at Newcastle. Blackburn have defender Hendry back after his sojourn with Scotland, but the priority for manager Dalglish is victory after last week's goalless draw at Leicester. That was only the fourth time in 25 games that strikers Sutton and Shearer have both been shackled.

Norwich v Tottenham Milligan's two-match suspension means a midfield reshuffle for the Canaries with Goss set to make only his second start in eight games for this sell-out. Manager Deehan must also decide whether to persevere with Ullathorne at left-back or recall Bowen who lost his place because of Welsh commitments. Tottenham's squad could include £2.6m transfer-seeking Dumitrescu who has yet to start a match under new manager Francis. German striker Jurgen Klinsmann, back from international duty, isset to replace the Israeli Rosenthal.

Southampton v Wimbledon Dowie and former England Under-21 defender Dodd are added to the Southampton squad with manager Ball suffering an injury crisis. Monkou, Maddison, Ekelund, Charlton, Heaney and Kenna are all battling to play while Benali is suspended. Wimbledon manager Kinnear has named a 20-man squad including goalkeepers Segers, Sullivan and Murphy. Reeves is still suspended, but fellow defender Joseph, limited to four starts this season because of a foot injury, is included after coming through a midweek reserve outing against Bristol Rovers.

West Ham v Ipswich Hutchison and Allen are still recovering from injuries and Moncur is suspended, so West Ham are likely to retain the side who defeated Manchester City 3-0 last time out, when Cottee's hat-trick clinched the club's first win in five league games. Ipswich

could have player-coach Wark back in contention after missing the last nine matches, but Youds is suspended. Ipswich's caretaker-manager Goddard heads back to his former club in search of his first win.

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