Today in the Premier League

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Arsne Wenger yesterday escaped further sanction from Uefa after they decided a one match touchline ban would suffice. Wenger was forced to sit in the stand for the match with Steaua Bucharest last week following his confrontation with the fourth official during the 3-1 defeat in Sevilla last month.

Aston Villa

Thomas Sorensen has threatened to quit the club when his contract runs out next summer due to his recent lack of first-team appearances. "I am simply not interested anymore," the Dane said. "Even if Martin O'Neill personally offered me a new contract tomorrow I wouldn't sign it."

Blackburn Rovers

The Levski Sofia striker Valeri Domovchiyski has dismissed reports linking him with a move to the Ewood Park club. "I don't know anything about a possible transfer," the Bulgarian under-21 international said. "Nobody has told me of Blackburn's interest and I cannot make any comments."

Bolton Wanderers

The manager Gary Megson admits the club will have to sharpen up defensively if they are to improve their league position. "Not many teams will go to (Manchester) City and score twice, yet we came away having got beat 4-2," he said. "We have either got to bring players in or someone has to step up to the plate."

Birmingham City

Blues midfielder Damien Johnson believes the club would benefit from the introduction of some experienced players during next month's transfer window. "We need some older heads," he said. "Maybe the manager might look to bring one or two more experienced players in."


Midfielder Michael Ballack (ankle) could make his first appearance since April in tonight's Carling Cup quarter-final with Liverpool. The Portguese defender Ricardo Carvalho could also return in place of long-term absentee John Terry.

Probable Team (4-3-2-1): Cech; Ferriera, Carvalho, Alex, A Cole; Mikel, Lampard, Ballack; Wright-Phillips, J Cole; Shevchenko.

Derby County

The chairman Adam Pearson has refused to divulge details of any potential investors in the club. "I don't want to reveal any details of the investment partner," he said. "When it was first mentioned a few weeks ago, two or three other clubs tried to make contact with the same company."


The Toffees midfielder Leon Osman has been ruled out for up to six weeks after scans revealed the injury suffered against West Ham last week to be a broken toe. Osman will miss the club's Christmas fixture programme along with the FA Cup third round visit of Oldham.


Aaron Hughes said he was "honoured" to be handed the captaincy at Craven Cottage. "To be given the armband of any team is an honour," he said. "But to have come in and been here for only a few months and be entrusted with the role of captain and leading the guys out is a massive honour."


The midfielder Xavi Alonso (metatarsal) could return for tonight's Carling Cup quarter-final at Chelsea. Peter Crouch could also earn a rare start as manager Rafael Benitez rotates his squad.

Probable team (4-4-2): Reina; Hyypia, Carragher, Arbeloa, Riise; Alonso, Sissoko, Gerrard, Kewell; Voronin, Crouch.

Manchester City

Kelvin Etuhu said he hopes for an unextended run in the side following his first goal for the club against Bolton last week. "I'm very happy with my progress at the moment. I want to keep going forward," he said. "This is only the beginning. The next step for me is to cement my place."

Manchester United

Patrice Evra has warned his team-mates that they must follow last week's win at Liverpool with a similar three-point haul against Everton on Sunday. "We must focus on Everton," he said. "Yes, we have beaten Liverpool but if we lose against Everton, the victory will have been for nothing."


The Chief Executive Keith Lamb has dismissed reports linking the midfielder Stewart Downing with a January move to Everton. "Stewart is not for sale," Lamb said of the England midfielder, who has also interested Tottenham. "There has been no bid and nor would we encourage one."

Newcastle United

The Magpies manager Sam Allardyce admits Michael Owen only has a "50-50" chance of returning against Derby this weekend. "Hopefully Michael is going to get back into training this week," Allardyce said. "Derby might still be a bit soon, but we'll keep our fingers crossed."


The midfielder Sulley Muntari has refuted reports he is looking to leave the club. "I'm happy here and enjoying my football," the Ghanian said. "We have a lot of work to do still but we are planning to be in the top positions. If we keep playing and training well I seriously believe we can do it."


The midfielder Stephen Hunt has dismissed reports linking him with a move to Sunderland. Media reports linked the Black Cats with a 3m bid. "No comment," the 26-year-old Republic of Ireland international said. "I don't know anything about that."

Tottenham Hotspur

Juande Ramos said he has been pleased with the form shown by goalkeeper Paul Robinson since his arrival at White Hart Lane. "He experienced a tough moment with England," the manager said. "These things can be difficult, but I have been delighted with his response."


The defender Clive Clarke said he is nearing a return to action after suffering two heart attacks whilst on loan at Leicester in August. "It's been frustrating and I'm chomping at the bit to get back," the 27-year-old said. "But the doctors have been trying to get to the bottom of what happened."

West Ham United

Alan Curbishley has told supporters he won't be forced into buying players in next month's transfer window, despite the injury problems afflicting the club. "The answer isn't just to go out and buy more players," he said. "The right ones might not even be available and I'm not even looking down that road at the moment."

Wigan Athletic

Steve Bruce said he intends to make the loan signing of Villarreal midfielder Antonio Valencia a permanent move. "Valencia has done extremely well," the manager said. "I am going to make sure I do everything I can to make this a permanent signing." Valencia has made 35 appearances for the Latics after joining in August 2006.