Today in the Premier League

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Manuel Almunia has signed a new "long-term" contract with the club. The goalkeeper, 30, has played 36 matches for the Gunners this season after winning the No 1 jersey. "I am very happy," he said. "I hope to finish my career here." Fellow countryman Fran Meridia has also penned a new deal.

Aston Villa

The manager Martin O'Neill said midfielder Wayne Routledge is close to making his debut for the club as the season reaches its end. The midfielder has yet to feature after joining from Tottenham in January. "He can deliver," O'Neill said. "He's getting back to being the player we know he can be."

Birmingham City

Forward Mauro Zarate's agent has suggested the Argentine could remain on loan at St Andrew's for a further season. "The parent club Al-Sadd want more than they paid for Mauro," Christian Utero said. "But another loan deal might be possible. I hope we can reach agreement soon."

Blackburn Rovers

Mark Hughes has delared that midfielder David Bentley will not be leaving Ewood Park this summer, even if the England international requests a move. "The only people who make the decision are myself and the chairman," the Rovers manager said. "He's not leaving, end of the story."

Bolton Wanderers

The midfielder Mikel Alonso appears unlikely to join the Trotters on a permanent deal after an unsuccessful loan spell this season. "He will return to Real Sociedad," the player's agent Inaki Ibanez said. "We will see what happens. I hope he will carry on playing in the Premier League." The Spaniard has not featured since November.


The club are to use the money they receive from Sky TV for the televised match with Everton later this month to fund supporters' ticket and travel expenses to Goodison Park for the game. The match was switched from Saturday 19 April to the previous Thursday and the club continue to voice their opposition to the decision.

Derby County

Dean Leacock maintains he will take positives from the club's poor season in the top flight. "This season has been a learning curve for me," he said. "I've played against top players and I've had good games and bad games. I've learnt a lot and will try and take what I've learnt this season into next."


Tim Howard has admitted the Toffees can not afford anymore mistakes in the final five weeks of the season if they are to overhaul Liverpool in the Champions League positions. "There is no room for any more slip-ups," he said. "We have got big games coming up and are in touching distance."


Manager Roy Hodgson believes his side remain able to avoid relegation. The Cottagers host Sunderland at Craven Cottage tomorrow. "We still have a good chance," he said. "We maintain that we can play well enough to get ourselves out of trouble. Saturday will be a great opportunity to show that."


The club may appeal against the Football Association's decision to award Javier Mascherano a further two-game ban over his red card against Manchester United last month. "We must decide whether to appeal on the basis of inconsistency of sentencing," a spokesperson said.

Manchester City

The club are to display the European Cup-Winners' Cup, the Uefa Cup and the Champions League trophies in an exhibition at the club museum. The display, together with a replica of the European Super Cup, is being held to mark the club's hosting of next month's Uefa Cup final.

Manchester United

Fears that Nemanja Vidic would miss the remainder of the club's season were assuaged yesterday when scans revealed minor damage. The defender may now be fit to return for the trip to Blackburn on 19 April. Meanwhile, Gary Neville (ankle) could return at Middlesbrough tomorrow.


The striker Mido will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing a hernia operation this week. The 25-year-old has made 10 starts this season after suffering ankle and pelvis injuries, and is currently serving a three match suspension for his red card at Arsenal last month.

Newcastle United

The manager Kevin Keegan has warned his squad not to rest on their laurels after recording successive victories. "The way things worked out last weekend gave us breathing space," he said. "But what I don't want is the players to think that's it. I want to kick on and finish the season on a high."


Midfielder Niko Kranjcar has attributed his impressive debut season at the club to the management skills of Harry Redknapp. "Harry never lets you get down," the Croatian said. "He encourages you to do your best and always gives you massive support. His man-management is great."


André Bikey admits he was worried over the club's future when they lost eight successive games earlier this year. "I wasn't happy because I didn't want to play in the Championship," he said. "That would not be good for my career. "I was worried. I thought losing eight was too much."


The chairman Niall Quinn feels the club preserving their Premier League status would represent a bigger achievement than winning promotion. "Staying up this season is massive," Quinn said. "It's not just about the finance, it is also about the prestige and that fans can believe."

Tottenham Hotspur

Ledley King will sit out the rest of the season to aid his recovery from a long-standing knee injury. "My knee feels good – there is no inflammation," King said. "But we have to look at the big picture. This is an ideal point to recover further, get advice and make sure I come back fitter."

West Ham United

George McCartney may struggle to maintain his ever-present record this season after suffering a hamstring injury. The Northern Ireland international limped off at Sunderland last week and is struggling to face Fulham tomorrow. "I've been carrying the injury for four weeks," he said. "Things came to a head on Saturday."

Wigan Athletic

The manager Steve Bruce feels the Latics will be able to overcome the suspensions of midfielders Michael Brown and Jason Koumas and defeat Birmingham tomorrow. "The rest of the squad is healthy and fit," Bruce said. "You need that when you're going into a big game. We've been able to do the preparation as normal so we're raring to go."