x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

English Premier League: A look team by team

Andrey Arshavin, Arsenal's midfielder, says the fans should expect mor out of him because he expects more out of himself; Aston Villa decides to locate its players within an hours drive of the training centre; and elswhere around the Premier League.

Fulham striker Bobby Zamora, right, and his teammate, Andy Johnson, have been targeted by Queens Park Rangers as possible acquisitions.
Fulham striker Bobby Zamora, right, and his teammate, Andy Johnson, have been targeted by Queens Park Rangers as possible acquisitions.


What they say "They should expect more from me, of course. They should expect some more tricks, goals and unbelievable passes. To be honest, I am still expecting more from me as well," - Andrey Arshavin, the midfielder, is unhappy with his form as much as Arsenal fans.

Team news Wojciech Szczesny, the goalkeeper, could be in contention for Sunday's home match against Sunderland, but is recovering from a back injury.

Statistic League matches between Arsenal and Sunderland have been low scoring, with only eight goals in the last seven fixtures.


Club news Alex McLeish, the manager, has defended the new policy to locate players within one hour of the club's training ground for health reasons. "If you are going to travel over an hour to two hours in the morning in heavy traffic, that's stressful," he said.

Team news Barry Bannan was not affected by a cut on his heel in Scotland's Euro 2012 defeat to Spain in midweek and should be fit to play at Manchester City on Saturday.

Form Villa are undefeated in the league so far this season with two wins and five draws.


Club news David Goodwillie, Blackburn's Scotland international striker, appeared in a Glasgow court on Wednesday to deny charges of assault, a day after scoring a consolation goal in his country's 3-1 Euro 2012 defeat to Spain.

What they say "I think he is in the shape of his life. Don't expect him to run 30km in a game, but get the ball in to him around the box and he will score goals," - Mick Rathbone, who nursed Yakubu's Achilles injury while he was the physio at Everton, tells the Lancashire Telegraph that the striker looks back to his best.


What they say "Ali definitely deserves his shot, but I think he's going to have his work cut out if the Latics are going to pull off another great escape, or stop us getting a win on Saturday," - John McGinlay, the former Bolton player, writes in Bolton News that Ali Al Habsi, the Omani goalkeeper and former Wanderers custodian, will have his work cut out when the two teams meet Saturday.

Form Bolton have lost their last six matches after opening their Premier League campaign with a 4-0 win at QPR.

Team news Bolton goalkeeper Juusi Jaaskelainen is expected to play after recovering from a leg injury.


Club news The Chelsea Pitch Owners, a group which owns the freehold on which the Stamford Bridge stadium sits, will show their disapproval by printing and displaying 10,000 leaflets with a resounding "No" written on them during Saturday's home match against Everton, after the club's proposal to buy the freehold. The club insists that if they have control, they can use it to make a swift move if a site for a new 60,000-seater stadium became available.

Form Chelsea have won nine and drawn once in their last 10 games at Stamford Bridge, but have not kept a clean sheet at home in five league matches.


What they say "I think every week's a battle, particularly if you're playing against the big centre backs, and particularly with the formation we play [where] you have to take the fight to the central defenders," - Tim Cahill, the Australia international, tells the Liverpool Echo that he will be in a fight against John Terry, the Chelsea captain, on Saturday.

Statistic Everton have drawn their last five league matches against Chelsea and have not won at Stamford Bridge in their last 16 attempts.

Club news Everton will wear their popular third strip, officially called "glacier marl", for the first time this season.


Team news Aaron Hughes, the Fulham defender, may make his first appearance in over a month in tomorrow's trip to Stoke after recovering from a knee injury. Simon Davies, the midfielder, is a long-term absence with the same injury.

Rumour Fulham want to sign the Ajax and Morocco striker, Mounir El Hamdaoui, according to the Daily Mail. Martin Jol, the Fulham manager, signed the 27 year old when he was the Tottenham manager and in his previous job at Ajax.

Form Fulham recorded their first league win of the season in their last match in emphatic fashion, beating London rivals Queens Park Rangers 6-0.


What they say "If you're in Kuala Lumpur there isn't anyone subscribing to Astro, or ESPN, to watch Bolton, or if they are it's a very small number. Whereas the large majority are subscribing because they want to watch Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal," - Ian Ayre, the club's managing director, caused a stir by suggesting Premier League clubs secure their own television deals rather than sharing revenue among all 20 clubs.

Team news Daniel Agger, the centre-back (rib), and Glen Johnson, the right-back (hamstring), are both doubts for tomorrow's match against Manchester United.


Club news Carlos Tevez will face disciplinary proceedings, City confirmed on Wednesday, following the club's investigation into his alleged refusal to play against Bayern Munich in their Champions League tie last month. "The Club has now reached a stage in its investigation where it has concluded that there is a case for Carlos Tevez to answer of alleged breaches of contract," the club said in a statement.

Team news City may have a striker shortage for their home match against Aston Villa on Saturday. Sergio Aguero is doubtful with a groin strain, but it is expected Mario Balotelli, who has a back injury, will play.


Team news Javier Hernandez has signed a new five-year contract with Manchester United, according to his agent, Eduardo Hernandez. The agent, also played down recent speculation linking Spanish giants Real Madrid with a move for his client, saying: “It was never likely that Javier would leave.”

Rumour mill Milos Krasic, 26, the Juventus winger, has been a target of Manchester United for the last two seasons, according to the Serbian player’s agent.

Statistic If Liverpool win Saturday it will be the first time United have lost four consecutive away games to a team in the Premier League.


Statistic Newcastle have made 40 defensive clearances so far this season, 15 more than their nearest rivals, Manchester City.

What they say “We are not looking too much at the table now, as it is still early in the season. As long as we are not losing matches, that’s what counts.”– Fabricio Coloccini is modest about fourth-placed Newcastle.

Club news The huge letters that spelt out Newcastle United on the East Stand at St James’ Park are being sold on eBay with the proceeds going to the club’s foundation. The stainless steel letters are around 1.8 metres in height.


What they say “I’m just really enjoying it, to be honest. You get a chance to test yourself against the best and you just want to prove yourself” – Russell Martin, on being part of the Norwich defence.

Form Norwich’s record in the league this season is equal to that of their opponents this weekend, their fellow promoted side, Swansea, with won two, drawn two and lost three. Their last game was 2-0 defeat to Manchester United, but they were praised for the way the played.

Statistic Norwich have won nine and lost one of their last 10 matches in all competitions at Carrow Road against Swansea.


Rumour mill According to the Daily Mail, QPR are hoping to raid their neighbouring club and league rivals, Fulham, for two of their strikers Bobby Zamora and Andy Johnson.

What they say “For the sake of football, proper business sense has to be made. If you look at the Premier League, this is a good time to buy [a club]. There is a bit more sensibility coming in.” – Tony Fernandes told Sky Sports about why he invested in Queens Park Rangers.

Statistic The team from Loftus Road have the worst conversion record in the Premier League. They have scored with just six per cent of their efforts.


Team news Matthew Etherington has been given a sugar injection in a bid to recapture his form as he struggles with back problems. Etherington made 30 Premier League appearances last season, netting five goals for the Potters, but is yet to score this season.

Clubs news Tony Scholes, the chief executive at Stoke, said that Peter Coates and his family have invested more than £60 million in the club, with one-third of the amount on the triple swoop for Peter Crouch, Wilson Palacios and Cameron Jerome.

Statistic City have fired in fewer shots on target (17) than any other team in the league.


Statistic Only one of the 13 goals Sunderland have scored against Arsenal, Sunday’s opponents, in the Premier League era has been netted in the first half.

What they say “If you put every foul I’ve ever made up on the television, I think there’d be one tackle which was actually a bad one. That was against Scott Parker when I was playing for Wigan.” – Lee Cattermole tries to defend his reputation by acknowledging one foul.

Team news Sunderland will be without Nicklas Bendtner on their the Emirates on Sunday. The striker is on loan from the Gunners and league rules means he cannot face them.


Club news Brendan Rogers, the Swansea manager, has ruled himself out of the vacant Northern Ireland job. The 38-year-old manager said it was too early in his career, but hopes the opportunity will arise again in the future.

Statistic Swansea have conceded just 58 fouls to date, fewer than any other side.

Form Swansea are still looking for their first win on the road in the Premier League this season. The Welsh side have lost to Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal so far this term, so the trip to Carrow Road and Norwich represents their first more realistic chance to get three points away from home.


Team news Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham manager, has said that he will not risk the fitness of Emmanuel Adebayor ahead of Sunday’s match at Newcastle. The striker is still struggling with a hamstring injury he sustained in the win against Arsenal.

Rumour mill Luka Modric is looking to sign a new contract at Spurs, following a summer of transfer speculation. The Croat wants £100,000 a week and written assurances that if a big club came in for him again, he could at least talk to them.

Statistic Spurs have scored exactly one goal on each of their last six visits to St James’ Park in the Premier League.


Team news Zoltan Gera, who re-signed with the Baggies in the summer but has yet to play this season because of a foot injury, is nearing a return to first team action, but not in time for this weekend’s derby against Wolverhampton.

Keyword “He is ready for the Premier League and we believe in him,“ – Roy Hodgson, who is prepared to play summer recruit Billy Jones if Stephen Reid is not fit. Jones, 24, was a Bosman signing.

Form West Brom have won one of their last eight Premier League matches, drawing three and losing four.


Club news Roberto Martinez, the Wigan manager, has cautioned the Premier League against adopting a Spanish-style “go it alone” approach to TV deals. “Real Madrid and Barcelona are getting richer and the others are finding it harder, year by year, to compete,” he said.

Team news Chris Kirkland has been told he still has a future at Wigan, as he finalises a deal to join the Championship side Doncaster on loan, after falling behind Ali Al Habsi in the pecking order.

Form Four of the last five Premier League games between Wigan and Bolton have ended as draws.


What they say “We don’t want five losses on the bounce – we’ll be in dire straits if we lose again.” – Roger Johnson on the Wolves’ losing streak.

Rumour mill Wolves missed out on the signing of James McFadden, the Scotland international. The forward had been training with Wolves, and was expected to sign but snubbed them, and fellow Premier League club, Everton, and looks set to sign for Glasgow Celtic in the Scottish Premier League.

Statistic Wolves have been 0-2 down at half time in each of their last three Premier League matches.