Saturday 03rd March 2012
Barclays Premier League
Liverpool v Arsenal (kick off 12:45)
Expect Carling Cup Final man of the match Stewart Downing to keep his place in the Liverpool team. Steven Gerrard is struggling with an injury picked up while on midweek international duty and will face a late fitness test. Daniel Agger broke a rib during the week while representing Denmark – expect Jamie Carragher to start, while Lucas is a long-term absentee.
Definitely out for Arsenal are Per Mertesacker and Jack Wilshere while Tomas Rosicky and Aaron Ramsey are rated doubtful. Robin van Persie has strained his groin and is a major doubt, while Abou Diaby is a long-term casualty.
Blackburn Rovers v Aston Villa (kick off 15:00)
Blackburn must entertain Aston Villa without the services of Vince Grella (thigh) but David Dunn is expected to be declared fit.
Aston Villa are dogged with injuries. Darren Bent is out for the remainder of the season with an ankle injury, while Fabian Delph, Ciaran Clark and Richard Dunne are all out for the foreseeable future. Stiliyan Petrov, Chris Herd and Alan Hutton could all make their comebacks from recent injuries.
Manchester City v Bolton Wanderers (kick off 15:00)
Carlos Tevez is still working his way back to full fitness and will not be considered for Manchester City’s clash with Bolton but City have an embarrasment of riches up front with Sergio Aguero (16 goals), Edin Dzeko (13 goals) and Mario Balotelli (10 goals) to choose from as they bid to extend their unbeaten run at home.
Bolton will be hoping captain Kevin Davies can shrug off a niggly injury in time to face league leaders Manchester City but definite absentees will be Stuart Holden, Chung-yong Le, Ricardo Gardner and Tyrone Mears.
Queens Park Rangers v Everton (kick off 15:00)
QPR will be without suspended new signing Djibril Cisse while long-term absentees are Alejandro Faurlin and Keiron Dyer. DJ Campbell, Taye Taiwo and Heidar Helguson should be passed fit enough to start.
Everton should be able to welcome back Leon Osman and Jack Rodwell to the fray as they travel to London. The pair are on the comeback trail and impressed for the reserves during the week but they may have to settle for places on the bench as they build up fitness.
Stoke City v Norwich City (kick off 15:00)
Stoke have almost a full squad available and will be boosted by the return of influential centre back Robert Huth from suspension. Glenn Whelan took a knock while on international duty with the Republic of Ireland midweek and will face a late assessment.
Norwich travel to Stoke without Daniel Ayala and Declan Rudd. Jonny Howson and Marc Tierney are making their way to full fitness as the Canaries hope to continue their recent good form.
West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea (kick off 15:00)
There’s a dark cloud hanging above Jerome Thomas as the winger is suffering from a hamstring strain and is a major doubt for the clash with Chelsea. Chris Brunt is almost fit enough to feature after his recent broken foot and manager Roy Hodgson has a big decision to make as to whether or not to play him. Paul Scharner should be named among the substitutes.
Chelsea should have Didier Drogba fit for their encounter with West Brom after the striker limped off last weekend with a knee injury. Ashley Cole should also feature after he shrugged off a calf strain but Jose Bosingwa is a major doubt with a muscle injury.
Wigan Athletic v Swansea City (kick off 15:00)
Wigan have no injury worries as they seek to continue their fantastic home form, although Antolin Alcaraz and Maynor Figeuro had long trips representing their countries midweek and may be rested.
Top ‘keeper Michael Vorm has overcome a virus and will be fit enough for the trip to the JJB Stadium. Also struck by the same virus were Danny Graham and Leroy Lita but both have recovered too. Kemy Augustien is a long-term absentee with a bad ankle injury and joins Andrea Orlandi and Ferrie Bodde on the sidelines.
Sunday 04th March 2012
Barclays Premier League
Newcastle United v Sunderland (kick off 12:00)
Newcastle have four big doubts ahead of their Sunday lunchtime match up with Sunderland. Demba Ba, Papiss Demba Cisse, Yohan Cabaye and Cheick Tiote are all facing late fitness assessments, but all are expected to be passed healthy.
Sunderland have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 23 league meetings with Newcastle. However, things have improved at the Stadium of Light since Martin O’Neill took over. Stephane Sessegnon and Nicklas Bendtner are doubtful after picking up knocks during the week while on international duty, while Phil Bardsley has a calf strain.
Fulham v Wolverhampton Wanderers (kick off 14:05)
Fulham are likely to be without Brede Hangeland, Steve Sidwell and Zdenek Grygera. Boss MArtin Jol may partner Clint Dempsey up front with Pavel Pogrebnyak.
Wolves will allow Kevin Doyle, Dave Edwards and Wayne Hennessey maximum time to recover from their injuries and all three will undergo fitness assessments closer to kick off. However, Steven Fletcher returns after illness.
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United (kick off 16:10)
Scott Parker is suspended for Spurs as they entertain Manchester United on Sunday afternoon. William Gallas and Tom Huddlestone also definitely miss out through injury and Gareth Bale is expected to be declared fit after his hamstring twinge midweek. Kyle Walker has recovered from an ankle injury and Harry Redknapp also expects Rafael van der Vaart and Ledley King to make the starting XI.
Chris Smalling is a doubt after he sustained a head wound that required stitches while playing for England midweek. Wayne Rooney‘s throat has started behaving so he is available again but definite absentees are Michael Owen, Tom Cleverley and Antonio Valencia.