Man City v Crystal Palace, 12:45
Judging by the noises coming from the City press conference on Friday there is a good chance we’ll see the reigning champions start this game without a recognised striker on the pitch due mainly to injuries, as well as a slight lack of faith in their youth players. A home game with Palace might be viewed by many as a good time to go with a second string team, but the London side are an obdurate and determined bunch and City can’t assume they’ll roll over their guests or they risk throwing away a couple of points at least in the race to catch Chelsea.
Manchester City have Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic all out, as well as Vincent Kompany, who has a recurring hamstring problem. Crystal Palace forward Marouane Chamakh is out and Joe Ledley is still nursing a hip injury but Adrian Mariappa is available.
Aston Villa v Man Utd, 15:00
Today, Villa host the form team in the Premier League, and with United not having lost at Villa Park since the opening day of the 95/96 season the omens are not good for the Midlanders at all. Villa have only lost one of their last six matches in the league, albeit that game being the most recent one, a derby against West Brom, but they’ll need something special from a Benteke or a Weimann if this is to be a win and not a very long afternoon for the home supporters.
Aston Villa will be shorn of eight players including Alan Hutton, Kieran Richardson and Tom Cleverley and while Fabian Delph will make his first start for a while Joe Cole, Ashley Westwood, Nathan Baker, Philippe Senderos and Libor Kozak all also remain out. Manchester United pair Angel Di Maria and Marcos Rojo could return but Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw and Daley Blind are injured.
Hull v Swansea, 15:00
After a bright start Swansea have slipped down the table in recent times, and three losses from their last five games have put the last Welsh side standing in the Premier League down to ninth after they’d been in the top four earlier in the campaign. There has been no such fluctuation for Hull, a team who’ve been in the bottom half virtually all year, and following a run of nine games without a win the Tigers find themselves second from bottom and in some serious strife going into this match.
Hull are light in the middle of the park as Tom Huddlestone begins a four-game suspension and Mohamed Diame is out with a knee injury, and there are issues in other position with Michael Dawson out and Hatem Ben Arfa is not expected to play for Hull again. Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski is available, Federico Fernandez is fit to return, and Tom Carroll is back after being ineligible against parent club Tottenham last week.
QPR v West Brom, 15:00
Between them, Queens Park Rangers and West Bromwich Albion have amassed eight points less than league leaders Chelsea to this point in the season, and while the Baggies can probably point to their wage bill and transfer spend as a good reason why QPR have certainly spent enough to be higher than 18th in the table. A win for the home team will probably lift them out of the relegation zone for a few days at least, and with tougher tests to come they can’t afford not to the take maximum points here in honesty.
Queens Park Rangers top scorer Charlie Austin returns to the squad after serving a one-match ban, but Mauricio Isla has returned to Chile for personal reasons. West Brom defender Jonas Olsson and striker Georgios Samaras are the only confirmed absentees for the Baggies.
Southampton v Everton, 15:00
These two teams are definitely the ‘hipster choices’ for the Premier League over the last couple of years, and it’s odd to see Everton so far below Southampton in the league after the stability and success David Moyes brought to the club. The massive spend over the summer is not turning into huge success yet, but there is still time for Roberto Martinez and Romelu Lukaku to prove they are worth all the hype, and an away win over Southampton would be a great start down that road.
Southampton’s have some issues with Morgan Schneiderlin, Victor Wanyama and Florin Gardos all suspended and Dusan Tadic and Jake Hesketh joining a long injury list, while Steven Davis and Graziano Pelle are both doubts today. Everton pair Kevin Mirallas and Leon Osman miss out with but Darron Gibson and James McCarthy might play.
Spurs v Burnley, 15:00
Ten places and nine points separate these two teams in the Barclays Premier League table, with Tottenham in their traditional seventh while Burnley are currently a hair above the relegation zone, and with many games coming in the next couple of weeks this is a match the home team can’t afford to drop points in. Spurs have only lost one of their last five league games and will fell happy about their chances, but the away team have lost the same number and won three in that period, so don’t expect Tottenham to roll over their guests.
Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor could be fit and Kyle Naughton’s return to the squad means Spurs have no other injury worries. For Burnley Michael Duff remains sidelined with a calf injury and Sam Vokes is close to a return, but is unlikely to be involved this weekend.
West Ham v Leicester, 15:00
Fourth in the table take on the bottom team in the Premier League, although the gap between West Ham and Chelsea at the very top is still huge and Leicester are closer to the top four than you might expect from a points point of view. Unfortunately for the popular Nigel Pearson, his side haven’t taken a win in ten games in the league and there is no real reason to think that will change today, and if that run of form goes on we may well see the Foxes boss sacked before 2014 is officially over, especially with Tony Pulis currently not in work.
West Ham midfielder Mark Noble will miss the game with an Achilles and the Hammers otherwise reported no fresh injury concerns. David Nugent could return for Leicester and Ritchie de Laet should also be available, but Kasper Schmeichel and Matthew Upson remain sidelined.