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Champions and leaders Manchester United are without Rio Ferdinand for Saturday's match at Sunderland as the defender has failed to recover from a groin injury suffered playing for England.
West Ham midfielder Scott Parker has signed a new contract which commits him to the Upton Park club until the summer of 2013.
Maybe Alan Curbishley does have a future at Upton Park, at least if his luck holds. After all, you just need to consider the evidence for the West Ham manager here yesterday. With the hosts leading 2-1, Blackburn wrongly had a "goal" disallowed for offside and shortly after half-time, Jason Roberts saw his penalty saved. If there was any further evidence needed that Curbishley's luck has suddenly changed for the better, Craig Bellamy, who was out for most of last season through injury, then came on and scored.
Andrei Arshavin might have been one of the fleeting stars of Euro 2008, but the 27-year-old declared himself on strike yesterday and refused to play in a cup tie for Zenit St Petersburg in a simmering dispute which appears to have left Tottenham Hotspur's hopes of signing him in tatters.
They may be battling to top their own mini-league but, as the dust settled on this game, the focus inevitably shifted to the part West Ham and Newcastle might play in helping to decide the grown ups' prize. Such is the lot of the also-rans. West Ham visit Manchester United on Saturday, with Newcastle hosting Chelsea two days later.