Cesc Fabregas has identified Liverpool forward Fernando Torres as the main danger to the Gunners' Champions League hopes. "The style of football suits him like a glove" the midfielder said. "He is strong, quick, powerful, can finish and knows how to create space for himself."
Director Charles Krulak has told supporters that owner Randy Lerner will provide manager Martin O'Neill with funds to enhance the Villa Park squad. "There are people questioning whether Randy is really willing to spend money to improve the team," Krulak said. "I can assure you that he is."
The Blues are to hold talks with on-loan Mauro Zarate about his long-term future after Spurs, Liverpool and Manchester City expressed interest in the midfielder. "He has got a great future ahead of him," manager Alex McLeish said. "Hopefully we can talk to Zarate about staying."
Manager Mark Hughes said the defender Ryan Nelsen came through his return from a hamstring injury with no ill effects. "He looked strong, assured and looked like the Ryan Nelsen of old," Hughes said. "Speaking to him after the game he was really positive and felt that the injury was fine."
The Trotters defender Gretar Steinsson said the players are aware of the importance of this weekend's trip to Aston Villa, with Wanderers languishing four points adrift of safety in 18th place. "We have to get three points in the next game, it's vital," the Iceland international said. "We just have to get together and start working."
Michael Essien believes Chelsea have a tough task on their hands in tomorrow's Champions League quarter-final first leg in Fenerbahce. "Their home ground is special," he said. "And the atmosphere can be fantastic. Their fans are very noisy so we will just have to close our ears, focus on our own game and do all we can to keep a clean sheet."
Midfielder Robbie Savage maintains the Rams have plenty to play for despite last weekend's relegation. "The next six games are a chance for the players to show they want to be here," Savage said. "Next year we need a good start to get some momentum, so we need a couple of wins to carry us."
The Toffees could be without striker Victor Anichebe for up to a month. The Nigerian forward picked up a mystery illness on international duty with Nigeria last week and requires further tests to determine the extent. "He is still ill and having tests in hospital," manager David Moyes confirmed.
Diomansy Kamara believes the club can preserve their top-flight status, despite lying six points off safety. "It might look like a lot but if we win and Birmingham lose, it goes down to three points," he said. "We need belief and confidence. We need to win on Saturday, and then we can look at Birmingham."
Sami Hyypia has warned his Reds team-mates that fourth position is not yet secured, despite Sunday's 1-0 victory over Everton giving them a five-point cushion over their neighbours. "We need to make sure we get enough points to be in that fourth spot until 11 May," the Finn said.
Sun Jihai admits he was surprised to see Rob Styles award a penalty for his challenge on Birmingham's Gary McSheffrey during the 3-1 defeat on Saturday. "When I heard the whistle, I thought he was diving," Sun said. "Sometimes when you are sad, you cry, but it was more than that."
The England international Gary Neville was included in the reserve team squad for the match at Newcastle last night as he continues his recovery from an ankle injury. The right-back has been out of the first team since March last year, but has featured in a handful of reserve games.
Mido could require a hernia operation as he struggles to regain fitness. The Egyptian has only recently returned from a long-term pelvic injury. "He would be the first to say he has had a horrendous time," manager Gareth Southgate said. "Hopefully he won't need an operation."
The midfielder Nicky Butt feels that part of the improvement in the Magpies' form is down to Joey Barton finally finding his feet at St James' Park. "He's had a lot of critics this year," Butt said of the 25-year-old. "But he's come good in the last few games and is showing everyone the ability he has."
Richard Duffy is looking to leave the club in search of regular first-team football. "I can't afford another season like this one," the defender, currently on loan at Coventry, said. "I want to be out as quickly as possible." Duffy has made just two appearances in four years at the club.
The Royals are to honour Graeme Murty with a testimonial as the defender nears a decade at the club this summer. "Graeme has been a model professional throughout his 10 years and nearly 350 appearances," chairman John Madejski said. "He is fully deserving of this testimonial."
Manager Roy Keane said the form of midfielder Andy Reid has helped the Black Cats quell fears of relegation. "I knew Andy was a good player," Keane said. "I had to carry him in a few games for Ireland, but I knew he had a chance! He gives us something different, particularly in the attacking third."
Reports in Spain say the club have held talks with Villarreal over a possible summer move for goalkeeper Diego Lopez. "It is true that clubs like Milan and Tottenham have asked about the chances of getting him." Villarreal president Fernando Roig said. "But we have no desire to sell."
West Ham United
The manager Alan Curbishley believes the Hammers' lengthy injury list has stopped the club from reaching their full potential this season. "I did see a list in one of the papers and it's frightening," he said after Fredrik Ljungberg suffered a hamstring injury against Sunderland on Saturday. "We've got another team [unavailable]."
Striker Marcus Bent believes this weekend's visit of Birmingham City will be a pivotal match regarding the relegation run-in. "It's a massive game for us," the Latics forward said. "They are trying to stay up as well – our manager Steve Bruce's old team, so I'm sure it will be a miniature derby for all of us to go and get three points."Reuse content