Premier League statistical preview, including Arsenal vs Liverpool; Chelsea vs Stoke and Sunderland vs Newcastle, who offer the largest online database for detailed football statistics, preview the top matches the Premier League this weekend

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The Independent Football

Arsenal vs Liverpool

The curtain raiser to the Premier League's return this weekend is no doubt the headline act as Arsenal and Liverpool do battle over a Champions League qualification berth. The Gunners enter Saturday's early kick-off in fine form, particularly at home, having now won each of their last 8 league matches at the Emirates.

Brendan Rodgers' side, meanwhile, will be aiming to bounce back from defeat against fierce rivals United ahead of the international break, and another loss would seriously dent their European aspirations. The Reds, however, are on the longest unbeaten streak away from home in the Premier League, with 6, winning five of those matches, so something has to give in North London.

Olivier Giroud will hope to prove to be the difference once more and had the highest rating of any player in March (8.42), having netted in 5 successive league matches. The Frenchman would have thought he had won the reverse fixture between these two sides with a second half strike at Anfield before Martin Skrtel's injury time leveller ensured a share of the spoils.


Chelsea vs Stoke

Jose Mourinho's side will be hoping to strengthen their position at the top of the Premier League, potentially moving 9-points clear of current closest rivals City, with a victory over Mark Hughes' Stoke on Saturday. The Blues remain unbeaten at Stamford Bridge but, including a Champions League exit to PSG, have failed to win any of their last three outings at home, which is something their demanding manager will be desperate to rectify.

The Potters have suffered rare back-to-back defeats coming into the game, doing so for only the second time all season, and have a very poor record away at Chelsea. Hughes' men have failed to score in each of their last 6 visits to the West London club and will be without a key attacking threat in Victor Moses - ineligible to face his parent club - who ranks as Stoke's top rated player this season according to by a distance (7.50).

Chelsea defender John Terry has signed a new one year contract

Diego Costa should be in line to start for the hosts having withdrawn from international duty with Spain and he will hope to continue a fantastic record at Stamford Bridge, having only failed to score in 2 of his 11 league appearances at home this season. With Chelsea boasting a defensive record of just 6 goals conceded in 14 home matches in the top-flight thus far, the signs all point towards another familiar scoreline in this particular fixture.

Sunderland vs Newcastle

In what will be Dick Advocaat's first home game in charge of Sunderland he has an impressive recent record to maintain in the Tyne-Wear derby. The Black Cats have won each of their last 4 meetings with Newcastle and really need to make that 5 in a row to stave off the threat of relegation having slipped perilously close to the bottom three.

The West Ham manager Sam Allardyce

The travelling Toon Army would love nothing more than to dump their local rivals into the relegation zone and will feel that they are long overdue some North-Eastern bragging rights. John Carver's side have lost three matches in a row, however, and are really struggling for goals in the absence of top scorer Papiss Cisse (with 11), who is in the middle of a lengthy ban.

With red cards handed out in two of the last three league meetings between the sides at the Stadium of Light, you wouldn't bet against a player from either side joining the Senegalese in the FA's bad books. Meanwhile, one man who is back from a suspension of sorts is Adam Johnson, and it will be interesting to see if Advocaat recalls the winger to the starting XI having netted in three of the last four Tyne-Wear derbies.

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