Today in the Premier League

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Arsène Wenger said the club will be without the striker Robin van Persie and the defender John Djourou for the next fortnight. "Robin is out for a few weeks," Wenger said of the Netherlands striker. "And Djourou as well. He has an inflammation of his groin and will not play in the next two weeks."

Aston Villa

The Danish centre-back Martin Laursen has signed a new two-and-a-half-year contract at Villa Park, ending doubts over his future at the club. "I really like it here and have been saying all along that I'd like to stay," he said. The 30-year-old has been an ever-present in the Villans line-up this season.

Birmingham City

Alex McLeish is looking forward to working with James McFadden again, who is close to completing a £5m transfer from Everton. The striker excelled for Scotland under McLeish. "He's someone who fancies his chances," McLeish said. "He has bottle and the right mentality."

Blackburn Rovers

Club chairman John Williams said he was relieved to see Kevin Keegan appointed as Newcastle manager as it ended speculation linking Rovers manager Mark Hughes with the post. "We have a strong personal relationship," Williams said of the Welshman. "I never felt that he was likely to go."

Bolton Wanderers

Defender Andy O'Brien said he was looking forward to returning to former club Newcastle tomorrow. "It's a difficult place to play," the 28-year-old said. "I'm looking forward to going back. We are aware we've got to pick up points away from home. We've got to dust ourselves down after the Blackburn defeat (last weekend) and get some points."


The club have been fined £40,000 by the Football Association after admitting a charge of failing to control their players in the 2-0 victory at Derby in November. The captain John Terry led team-mates in confronting the referee Andre Marriner after Michael Essien had been dismissed for elbowing Kenny Miller near the end of the match.

Derby County

Tyrone Mears could be out for up to eight weeks after fracturing his shin. "Tyrone will be out for a while," manager Paul Jewell said. "At least two months according to the medical people." Jay McEveley (knee) and Claude Davis (suspension) will also miss tomorrow's match at Portsmouth.


The club have signed a second sponsorship deal with Thailand-based Chang Beer, worth £8m over three years. The previous deal, which expires this season, was worth around £4.5m to the club, but the new contract reflects the Toffees' recent successes both on and off the pitch.


The defender Philippe Christanval has returned to full training after a knee injury but admits the Arsenal game tomorrow may come too soon. "I would love to play because it's a great game to come back for," he said. "I think it might be too early because I need to play with the reserves first."


Shirt sponsors Carlsberg may produce special shirts for the club's FA Cup fourth round match with Havant and Waterlooville next weekend. Both clubs are sponsored by the brewing company. "There's all kinds of things we could do," the sponsorship controller Gareth Roberts said.

Manchester City

Joe Hart believes Wednesday's FA Cup win over West Ham can have an impact on the club's league meeting this weekend. "We've got to face them again - that's just the way it works out," he said. "Ideally you wouldn't want to so soon, but you just have to get on with it and do it again."

Manchester United

Striker Louis Saha said he wants to repay the manager Sir Alex Ferguson's faith in him after struggling with a knee injury this season. "I played two full games in a row over Christmas and that was the first time I'd done that for a while," the French forward said. "That gives me a lot of confidence."


Gareth Southgate said he wants Stewart Downing to remain at the Riverside. "We still haven't received a bid for Downing and I hope it doesn't happen before January 31," Southgate said of the midfielder, who this week said he was "flattered" to be linked with a move to Tottenham.

Newcastle United

Former Magpies defender Steve Howey believes his old manager Kevin Keegan is the right man to bring success to St James' Park. "Kevin has always had a massive affinity with the club," the former England international said. "The owner [Mike Ashley] has given the fans what they want."


New Pompey signing Lassana Diarra admits he does not see his long-term future at Fratton Park. "The people at Portsmouth know I will not spend my life at this club," the 22-year-old arrival from Arsenal said. "If I shine, if a really big club wants me, I know that everything will go well."


Steve Coppell has given a trial to the Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Kowalewski in the hope of improving the club's defensive record. The Royals manager is also in talks with French side Lens over the possible signing of Mali midfielder Jimmy Kebe, who is currently on loan at Boulogne.


The Black Cats manager Roy Keane may step up his chase for Chelsea midfielder Steve Sidwell after missing out on Portsmouth's Matt Taylor, who joined Bolton yesterday. Keane has been trailing the Pompey player along with Middlesbrough but could now turn his attentions to Sidwell.

Tottenham Hotspur

Wayne Routledge has urged the club to let him leave White Hart Lane on loan to gain first-team football. The midfielder has made just three starts in three years since joining from Crystal Palace in 2005. "I need the chance to go out." he said. "I need to get myself in someone else's first team."

West Ham United

Midfielder Julien Faubert said he was pleased with his return from an Achilles injury at Manchester City this week. "I hadn't played a game for six months, but I feel good in my health," he said. "When I came back I didn't know when I would be playing, but now I am very confident. I just have to work on my endurance fitness now."

Wigan Athletic

Former Tottenham defender Erik Edman has claimed the Latics have agreed a deal to sign him from French side Rennes for an undisclosed fee. "To play in the toughest league in the world again feels terrific," the 29-year-old Swede said. "It was a chance I could not refuse. It's a challenge to face the best players in the world."