Today in the Premier League

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Arsenal

Arsne Wenger believes his young guns can go one better than last season and win the Carling Cup after they beat Blackburn 3-2 in the quarter-finals. "I always believe strongly in these players and I'm not surprised by this result," said Wenger. "It was a test and they stood up to it."

Aston Villa

Curtis Davies could return to the substitute's bench against Manchester City this weekend, despite breaking his nose in a freak training ground incident last week. "He had an accident in training," manager Martin O'Neill said. "We're trying to get it fixed, but he's feeling much, much better."

Birmingham City

The Blues manager Alex McLeish has conceded defeat in his bid to keep on-loan defender Johan Djourou at the club. The Swiss defender will return to Arsenal next month. "Arsne Wenger has told me he is taking him back," McLeish said. "He will be a loss, for sure."

Blackburn Rovers

Manager Mark Hughes believes Sunday's match with Chelsea will test his team to the limit. Rovers have been on a poor run of form recently after impressive early-season results. "There are players in the team who are struggling," he said. "That's a concern and I'll have to freshen things up."

Bolton Wanderers

Heidar Helguson could be ready to return to the first team early in the New Year after resuming training earlier than expected following his recovery from an ankle injury. "We still have to wrap Heidar in cotton wool to make sure that, now he's back, he stays with us," manager Gary Megson said of the Iceland international.

Chelsea

Salomon Kalou has revealed Arsenal's Emmanuel Ebou apologised to John Terry for his poor tackle during Sunday's match. "I was saying to Ebou he did it on purpose but he denied that," the Ivory Coast international said of his countryman. "He said he tried to block the ball. He said sorry to John. To apologise was a nice thing to do."

Derby County

The Rams manager Paul Jewell has expressed his surprise at rumours linking striker Kenny Miller with a return to former club Rangers. "I have had no contact and I'm not looking to sell Kenny," Jewell said. "I have not had any calls about our players, apart from Steve Howard."

Everton

Toffees' manager David Moyes has left a number of first-team players at home for tonight's final Uefa Cup group match with AZ Alkmaar. Andy Johnson could come in to partner Victor Anichebe up front.



Probable team (4-4-2): Wessels; Hibbert, Jagielka, Lescott, Valente; Pienaar, Carsley, Gravesen, McFadden; Johnson, Anichebe.

Fulham

Jimmy Bullard admits he is "hyper" after making his return to action with the reserves. The midfielder, 29, suffered a career-threatening knee injury in September 2006. "I am hyper, especially around the boys," Bullard said. "I'm not thinking about my knee. If I want a shot, I'll just unleash one."

Liverpool

Fernando Torres said he was pleased to be compared with former Reds strikers Ian Rush and Kenny Dalglish. "To be linked with players like that gives me pride and great satisfaction," he said. "They were some of the greatest players in the history of the club. I am proud of the association."

Manchester City

The Asian player of the year and Saudi Arabia captain Yasser Al Qahtani has been given a trial at the Eastlands club. "I'm glad to train with such a good club in England," the 25-year old striker said. "And I will try my best to prove that Saudi players are good players."

Manchester United

The striker Wayne Rooney has cited the club's defence as a large reason for their impressive form this season. "I think Rio [Ferdinand] is probably the best defender in the world at the moment," the England international said. "The whole defence, and the whole team, are defending well."

Middlesbrough

Defender Luke Young said it was inevitable that the striker Tuncay would settle into the English game. "He is different class, has a brilliant attitude and plays with a real spark," Young said of the Turkish international. "It was only a matter of time before he got to grips with the game."

Newcastle United

Magpies manager Sam Allardyce admits he will be busy in next month's transfer window as the club lose a number of players to the African Nations Cup. "We need two or three players and we are on the ball over this," he said. "We do need quality players and I hope we can find them."

Portsmouth

No Pamarot has given manager Harry Redknapp an injury boost with the news that his hamstring injury is not as serious as was first thought. "The physio thinks it will take one week to heal rather than two," the Frenchman said. "Hopefully I will be available for Boxing Day."

Reading

Steve Coppell said he may be forced to recall Sam Sodje and Alan Bennett from loan spells as he prepares to lose players to the African Nations Cup next month. "It's an option," Coppell said. "We have to be prepared, and the best way is to have people playing regular football."

Sunderland

Manager Roy Keane believes the imminent return of midfielder Kieran Richardson and defender Russell Anderson from injuries will help improve the Black Cat's fortunes. "It's good to see them nearing a comeback," Keane said. "It will be like having two new signings."

Tottenham Hotspur

The club have appealed to the FA to overturn Didier Zokora's red card from Tuesday's Carling Cup defeat of Manchester City. The midfielder faces a three-match ban if the card is upheld, which could leave manager Juande Ramos desperately short of options.

West Ham United

Freddie Ljungberg said he hopes his migraine problems are behind him after featuring in three of the club's last four games. "I normally get it once a year, unfortunately," the Sweden international said. "Hopefully I am done and dusted with it. It is always annoying, but I have played two games and I feel now that I am fit."

Wigan Athletic

The striker Emile Heskey said he is hopeful of a return to the first-team over Christmas after scans revealed his ankle injury was not as serious as was first thought. "The scan showed I hadn't broken anything it's better than I thought," the 29-year-old England international said. "I hope in a week or so it will be okay."

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