Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Premier League Preview - Match Day 20

So we're straight into another round of matches and hopefully no more postponements.

Birmingham City have only conceded nine goals at home this season, a better aggregate than second placed Arsenal. Although they sit 17th that's down to too many draws and with the table so tight a win could lift them four places. United may find them hard to break down but it is rare the Red Devils don't score.

Nani should return to the starting line-up after missing their Boxing Day win against Sunderland. With Paul Scholes still out Ryan Giggs should start again.

KEY MAN: Dimitar Berbatov - Another good performance would do his confidence wonders.

After their loss to Arsenal, Chelsea need to halt their dismal run at home to Bolton which I imagine won't be an easy task. Bolton can mix it with the best of them and they only sit two spots behind the Champions.

Bolton had a good win on Boxing Day but they will find Chelsea at Stamford Bridge a harder challenge. If they can play a tight formation they may be able to stifle Didier Drogba and co. Tamir Cohen is still away on compassionate leave and Sean Davis and JLloyd Samuel are still injured.

KEY MAN: Kevin Davies - Will hope John Terry was as poor as he was at the Emirates.

Both teams need to win this and you would have to plump for the home win, particularly with Stevie G back on the pitch. A match like this should be an opportunity to get a good win under their belts and Joe Cole amongst others need to put a shift in. Roy Hodgson's men should be looking to keep a clean sheet against the misfiring men from the Black Country.

Wolves are sinking, fast. I have a feeling the away team will be looking to their New Years Day trip to Upton Park as their next chance of collecting points. I hate to say it but I am already writing Wolves off. Bar a miracle of Carlos Tevez proportions I don't think they have enough to survive in the top league.

KEY MAN: Fernando Torres - Come on mate, we know you're better than this!

This is probably the perfect time for City to play Villa. Villa aren't good at home, likely they'll be even worse at the City of Manchester stadium. They should have the welcome return of Petrov to the starting line-up.

City sit second in the table and a win would help them consolidate a place in the top four. Carlos Tevez appears to have put his problems behind him. It would be good to see Adam Johnson play with such a congested period of games, he looks good whenever he does play so deserves a start.

KEY MAN: Yaya Toure - Lets see what £220,000 a week gets you.

Eight points and four places seperate these teams and this should be a good match between two teams who are meeting their early season targets. Tottenham will be without Jermain Defoe as he starts his three match suspension for the straight red against Aston Villa, Peter Crouch may start in his place.

Andy Carroll is said to be a target for 'Arry and Alan Pardew will hope he shows what the Londoners are missing. Having signed a new contract, Stephen Taylor will hope to keep his place in central defense.

KEY MAN: Andy Carroll - Looking forward to seeing him bully Spurs defense.

Tony Pulis' biggest decision will be whether to replace Amir Begovic with Thomas Sorenson in goal now the Dane has regained his fitness. Fulham sit in the bottom three and Stoke have won three of their last six.

Mark Hughes probably can't wait until the transfer widow opens as he is in desperate need of reinforcements. Hopefully Andy Johson can find his goal scorers touch against a Stoke team that are often hard to break down.

KEY MAN: Matthew Etherington - Should he have another good show in midfield I would go for a Stoke win.


Blackpool's first match since before Christmas should find Ian Holloway's team well rested and looking to take their chances at the Stadium of Light. Captain Charlie Adam will finally serve his suspension and Blackpool will miss his creative flair.

Danny Welbeck will return to the starting line-up after being ineligible for the loss at Manchester United. Lee Cattermole will start and Titus Bramble may be in the squad as he returns from injury.

Danny Welbeck - Will be raring to go after sitting out the last match.

Chris Brunt will miss this home match after picking up his 5th yellow card of the season. Jerome Thomas would normally replace him but he has been suffering from an illness. Albion sit one spot above their opponents in 12th.

The vocal Chris Samba should return to the team after a knock on his ankle, although he has been removed as team captain. In his third game as manager, Steve Kean could do with a win and it will be a chance for him to look at his players before he makes his wish-list for next month.

KEY MAN: Paul Scharner - A match like this requires an experienced player.


A must-win game for both teams after both sides won their last league match. Avram Grant needs to run fitness tests on a number of players including Valon Behrami and Mark Noble. Victor Obinna may returning to the starting-11.

Having recovered from a thigh strain Phil Jagielka should be fit while Steven Pienaar and Mikel arteta should start. Tim Cahill has gone to the Asia Cup and they will no doubt miss his attacking prowess.

KEY MAN: Mikel Arteta - Needs to control the midfield on his return from suspension.

Arsenal will be full of confidence after their win against Chelsea but it would not pay to get complacent against a hard to read Wigan side. Cesc Fabrgas is suspended so Tomas Rosicky or Andrey Arshavin would be expected to start in his place.

Honduras pair, Hendry Thomas and Maynor Figueroa will return from suspension to bolster Roberto Martinez' men. Wigan sit just above the relegation zone and will be looking to move up the table.

Theo Walcott - Finally looks to be finding his form. Thankfully.

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