x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

English Premier League: a team-by-team guide

Robbie Keane agrees two-month loan deal with Aston Villa, while Christopher Samba admits he wants to leave Blackburn Rovers.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto, left, celebrates his spectacular goal against Everton on Wednesday.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto, left, celebrates his spectacular goal against Everton on Wednesday.

Arsenal

Rumour mill Beik Afobe, the Gunners' young striker, has claimed a number of clubs in England, as well as Glasgow Rangers, are interested in him, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has denied rumours he wants a loan move this month.

Team news Thierry Henry is available for Arsenal's trip to Swansea City on Sunday and could start in attack alongside Robin van Persie.

Statistics Henry has scored against all the 34 clubs that he has previously faced in the Premier League and will be looking to maintain that record at the Liberty Stadium.

Aston Villa

Team news Alex McLeish, the Villa manager, has reinforced his attacking options by signing Robbie Keane on a two-month loan deal from Los Angeles Galaxy. The Irish international will be in contention to make his debut tomorrow against Everton, who also have an LA Galaxy player in their ranks in the form of Landon Donovan.

Club news Enda Stevens, the former Shamrock Rovers full-back, finally made his first appearance in Villa colours on Wednesday when he captained the reserve team against Arsenal. The match ended 1-1, but Stevens is believed to have impressed.

Blackburn Rovers

What they say "I feel that it's time for me to change [because] the club is not improving at all. We'll see if the interest is confirmed or not, but it would be good for me to return home." - Christopher Samba is ready to leave Ewood Park and appears keen on a move to Paris Saint-Germain.

Club news Tugay, the former Blackburn midfielder, is interested in becoming Steve Kean's new assistant manager after Paul Clement left the club to team up with Carlo Ancelotti at PSG.

Rumour Mill Kean, the Rovers manager, is trying to sign Fulham's Andrew Johnson.

Bolton Wanderers

Team news Owen Coyle is waiting to learn whether Jussi Jaaskelainen will be fit to face Manchester United tomorrow as the goalkeeper continues his recovery from a thigh injury. Gary Cahill could also make the trip to Old Trafford as his transfer to Chelsea remains up in the air.

Statistics Bolton have managed just one point in the previous six meetings with United and when the two teams met at the Reebok five months ago, Wayne Rooney scored a hat-trick as the Manchester club ran out 5-0 winners.

Rumour mill Coyle has played down talk Bolton are set to sign Tim Ream, the US defender.

Chelsea

Club news Gael Kakuta, the French midfielder, has been sent to Dijon on loan until the end of the season after an unproductive spell at Bolton. Meanwhile, Chelsea have received a bid for defender Alex from an unnamed Premier League club, believed to be QPR.

Rumour mill French press claimed Chelsea are in talk with Eden Hazard, but Andre Villa-Boas yesterday, while admitting he admired the Belgian winger, denied any bid has been made.

Form Having managed just six goals in their previous five league games, Chelsea will be hoping their 4-0 demolition of Portsmouth in the FA Cup last week will get the ball rolling.

Everton

Rumour mill The Toffees are moving closer by the day to securing a deal for the Manchester United midfielder Darron Gibson with a fee of between £1m and £2.5m (Dh5.6m-Dh14m) being mentioned. The Egyptian striker Mohamed Nagy, of Al Ahly, has also been linked with a loan move.

What they said "I'm going to play at centre-half against Aston Villa on Saturday," - David Moyes is running out of options in defence after watching Sylvain Distin hobble off with a hamstring injury on Wednesday.

Statistics Three times this season Everton have failed to get a single shot on target in a match.

Fulham

Club news Fulham have submitted a planning application to increase Craven Cottage's capacity from 25,700 to 30,000 as well as undertaking wider facility improvements at the venue.

Rumour mill Mark Hughes, the new QPR manager, is considering returning to his former club to try to sign Bobby Zamora. The Englishman has scored six times this season, despite not being Martin Jol's first-choice striker.

Form Fulham have not lost since their 5-0 humbling at the hands of Manchester United, on December 21, despite facing, among others, Arsenal and Chelsea.

Liverpool

What they say "You have absolutely no foundation whatsoever. I don't need to justify what is in the paper. I have stood up - and always will stand up - for the players," - Kenny Dalglish, the Liverpool manager, tells journalists the future of Andy Carroll is at Anfield and nowhere else.

Club news Steven Gerrard signed a contract extension yesterday and agreed to take up an ambassadorial role at the club once his playing career comes to an end.

Statistics Only two of the 25 teams to have won away in the first leg of a League Cup semi-final have failed to reach the final.

Manchester City

Rumour mill Adriano Galliani, the AC Milan chief executive, travelled to England yesterday in a last-ditch effort to conclude a deal to take Carlos Tevez to the San Siro. Galliani was joined by the lawyer Lorenzo Cantamessa and the Fifa agent Giuseppe Riso to meet Tevez's agent Kia Joorabchian in London.

Club news The striker Alex Tchuimeni-Nimely has joined Coventry City on loan until the end of the season.

Form As well as only one win in their past five matches, following the 1-0 defeat to Liverpool on Wednesday, City have now lost two successive home games for the first time since 2008.

Manchester United

Team news Rio Ferdinand has sparked a fitness scare ahead of United's Premier League encounter with Bolton tomorrow by hinting he has been struck down by a stomach virus. The defender said on Twitter: "When your stomach is making more moves than a gymnast you know its gonna be a long night it was a long night I must say! " Ferdinand offered no more on the matter.

Club news Patrice Evra has been given the captaincy until the end of the season, in the absence of the injured Nemanja Vidic, meaning the defender is likely to lead his side against Liverpool in the FA Cup fourth-round clash at the end of the month.

Newcastle United

Rumour mill Demba Ba has called an agent a liar for claiming to be arranging a deal to see the striker move to Manchester United. Ba posted on his Twitter account: "Really, I don't know how desperate this "armand doorn" can be to talk like he's my agent!! He's nothing for me. Stop lying and show respect."

Team news The Newcastle midfielder Sammy Ameobi could be sidelined for several months by an injury suffered on reserve team duty. A club spokesman said: "Sammy Ameobi will be sidelined for a period of time, likely to be a number of months, as a result of an injury sustained in the reserves' win over Wigan."

Norwich City

Club news George Francomb, the 20-year-old right-back, has left Norwich to join Hibernian, in the Scottish Premier League, on loan for the rest of the season. The Norwich Academy product arrives at Easter Road for his second loan spell away from Carrow Road having spent three months at League Two team Barnet last season, making 15 appearances in all competitions for the Bees.

Rumour mill The Daily Mirror claim Norwich City and Swansea are set to battle it out for the signature of the Brighton midfielder Liam Bridcutt. The 22 year old is expected to cost around £1m.

Queens Park Rangers

What they say "Invariably you are scraping around for things in January but this time there is actually quality that we will be able to get. I would be disappointed if we didn't," - Mark Hughes, the new QPR manager.

Rumour mill The west London club are being linked with a move for Blackburn Rovers' Chris Samba, and the defender has been quoted by L'Equipe as saying: "I sense that it is time for a change". Samba has also been linked with Tottenham and Paris Saint-Germain. Andrew Johnson has also been tipped to move to Loftus Road.

Team news Hughes confirmed that Joey Barton will remain as the captain of the club.

Stoke City

Club news Tony Pulis has said that he would happily take over as the manager of Wales for the friendly against Costa Rica - the memorial match for Gary Speed. The Welshman told TheStoke Sentinel: "Anything that would help in any shape or form in respect of Gary Speed, I would gladly do."

Team news Glenn Whelan has agreed a new three-and-a-half-year contract, the club confirmed. The midfielder, who turned 28 yesterday, has had a significant 12 months as he was part of the side which reached the FA Cup final, losing to Manchester City, and also helped the Republic of Ireland qualify for Euro 2012.

Sunderland

Club news Martin O'Neill, the manager, is determined to keep Craig Gardner at the club. The 25-year-old midfielder has taken time to settle into life at the Stadium of Light following his summer switch from Birmingham. "I want Craig to stay at this football club." O'Neill told the Sunderland Echo. "I don't think he is unhappy, but I do think he has felt a little homesick. But the crowd have given him a great reception in the last two games, and that was great for him."

Statistic Since O'Neill took over from Steve Bruce, Sunderland have earned more points in their last six Premier League games (13) than they did in the previous 14 (11).

Swansea City

Club news Brendan Rodgers, the Swansea manager, is hoping to have Josh McEachran, the young Chelsea midfielder, in his squad for Sunday's game at home to Arsenal. McEachran's proposed loan move has been held up.

What they say "It will be brilliant for our supporters to see a player with Josh's poise and quality. He is going to be a star for sure, he just needs an opportunity," - Rodgers is excited about the prospect of having McEachran in his team.

Statistic Swansea have conceded just four goals at home in the league this season, matched only by the league leaders Manchester City.

Tottenham Hotspur

What they say "It's not impossible for us to win the league. We have a chance. The players believe we have a good chance. I wasn't there but someone said William Gallas came in the other day and said to everyone: 'Listen, we have a chance here'. It's not beyond the realms of possibility," - Harry Redknapp says Spurs are coming to terms with the fact they are title contenders, after drawing level with Manchester United in second after a 2-0 win over Everton.

Rumour mill Tottenham are said to be interested in Christopher Samba, the Blackburn defender, according to The Daily Mail. Samba yesterday said he wanted to leave Ewood Park.

West Bromwich Albion

Club news Chris Wood has moved to Championship side Bristol City on loan for the rest of the season. Wood, 20, who played for New Zealand at the 2010 World Cup, has been at West Brom since 2009. He netted 11 goals in 29 games on loan at Birmingham earlier this season.

Team news Scott Allan, who signed for West Brom from the Scottish side Dundee United on Tuesday, may have to be patient to make his debut. "He needs a bit of time to bed in and get acclimatised to the place and the players," Keith Downing, Albion's assistant manager, said of the midfielder.

Wigan Athletic

Rumour mill According to The Daily Star, Wigan are chasing the former Glasgow Rangers forward Kris Boyd. The Scottish striker, 28, is available after terminating his contract at the Turkish side Eskisehirspor.

What they say "Nothing's changed in my eyes. It's just that other players have taken their opportunities. It could be that Hendry takes his chance and plays a big role for us," - Roberto Martinez tells the Honduran midfielder Hendry Thomas to make the most of his opportunity in the absence of Mohamed Diame, who is at the African Cup of Nations.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

What they say "We've not got a hire and fire mentality. We have problems, of course we have problems, everybody has problems, but our philosophy is to work through the problems. This club is about stability ... I don't think you get longevity and long-term growth by chopping and changing all the time," - Steve Morgan, the Wolves chairman, will not dismiss Mick McCarthy, the manager, despite the club struggling in 16th place.

Team news Wolves will be without Roger Johnson, Ronald Zubar, Jamie O'Hara and Jody Craddock for tomorrow's trip to Tottenham.