x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE: Team by team update

Arsenal seems to be heading in the right direction again, Norwich City knows no one expects them to compete at Old Trafford and Tottenham readies itself for a derby.

There is no need for Luis Suarez to point out what everyone knows - the atmosphere when Everton comes calling at Liverpool will be electric.
There is no need for Luis Suarez to point out what everyone knows - the atmosphere when Everton comes calling at Liverpool will be electric.

ARSENAL

What they say: "There is plenty not to be happy about. I never look back, and I am not an anniversary fan," - Arsene Wenger, the manager, is not in a celebratory mood ahead of his 15th anniversary with the club.

Form: Arsenal seem to have put their season on track with three wins in all competitions this week, but only Swansea City have a worse away record than the Gunners in the Premier League this season, and Arsenal travel to Tottenham for a North London derby on Sunday.

Statistic: Arsenal and Spurs have had three players sent off already this season.

ASTON VILLA

What they say: "Alan Shearer once said to me 'what striker wouldn't want to be on penalties?' As a striker you score goals in open play but scoring from the spot is vital, too. It adds another five goals per season," - Darren Bent tells the Birmingham Mail that he will be Aston Villa's penalty taker again after returning from injury, even though Barry Bannan converted against QPR.

Team news: Alex McLeish, the Villa manager, also has Emile Heskey, James Collins, Ciaran Clark and Jermain Jenas available for Saturday's home match against Wigan Athletic.

BLACKBURN ROVERS

Club news: John Jensen, the former Denmark and Arsenal midfielder, is leaving his position as assistant manager.

What they say: "Hoilett is so far down the line in terms of his current contract that the club have little option but to agree to a clause if that is what the player wants," - ex-Rovers player Colin Hendry tells the Lancashire Evening Telegraph the club need to tie down winger Junior Hoilett on the player's terms.

Statistic: Blackburn, who entertain free-scoring Manchester City on Saturday, have kept just one clean sheet in their last eight games at home.

BOLTON WANDERERS

Team news: Bolton have confirmed that Stuart Holden, the United States midfielder, will miss another six months through a ruptured knee ligament injury he sustained in March. Holden made his first appearance for the club in last week's Carling Cup victory against Aston Villa. But, a "routine procedural follow-up" revealed torn cartilage damage. "It is a big, big blow for Stuart," said Owen Coyle, the manager. "He has worked so hard after he sustained the injury."

Form: Bolton, who host Chelsea on Sunday, are on a miserable run of 10 defeats in 11 Premier League games and have lost five in a row.

CHELSEA

What they say: "I don't want to just pick my money up and sit on my backside or on the bench. I like to play regularly. It helps me keep my momentum and stay fit," - Frank Lampard, the Chelsea midfielder, wants to be a starter for the club after a run of games on the bench.

Statistic: Chelsea, who travel to Bolton on Saturday, have won on their last eight Premier League visits to the Reebok Stadium.

Rumour: The Metro claims that Chelsea will beat London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur to sign Gary Cahill, the Bolton and England centre-back, when the transfer window opens in January.

EVERTON

What they say: "I want to stay here, I'm happy at Everton, and if I can do so then fine. If I feel I have to change clubs then I will do it," - Sylvain Distin, the Everton defender, has a contract clause which allows him to sign with non-Premier League clubs from January 1.

Team news: Tim Cahill, the Australian midfielder who has been playing at centre-forward, could be fit for the Liverpool match Saturday after recovering from a badly bruised shin against Manchester City last week.

Statistic: There has been 19 red cards in Merseyside derbies, the most in any Premier League fixture, and 10 of those have came in the last 13 matches.

FULHAM

What they say: "I think we will turn a corner somewhere. A draw is not a defeat. If we had four or five defeats it would have been a disaster,"- Martin Jol, the Fulham manager, wants to turn draws into wins. The club remains the only Premier League team without a win this season.

Team news: Bobby Zamora and Moussa Dembele did not travel to Denmark for their Europa League tie Thursday due to illness and the forwards are doubtful for Sunday's London derby against Queens Park Rangers.

Statistic: It will be the first time Fulham and QPR have ever met in the Premier League.

LIVERPOOL

What they say: "I have played in games for Feyenoord against Ajax - the biggest match in Holland - and the atmosphere there is a lot more aggressive," - Dirk Kuyt, the Dutch forward, who has scored in the last thee matches against Saturday's opponents, Everton, comparing the intensity of derby matches on Merseyside and back home to the Liverpool Echo.

Team news: Glenn Johnson has been ruled out the Everton game with a hamstring injury, joining Daniel Agger (rib injury) on the sidelines.

Rumour: According to talkSPORT, Liverpool have a rival in Juventus in signing the Lyon central defender, Aly Cissokho.

MANCHESTER CITY

Club news: Manchester City have launched a full review surrounding Carlos Tevez's refusal to play against Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday. The Argentine has been suspended and will not be considered for selection for their away game at Blackburn on Saturday.

Form: City are unbeaten in seven matches at Blackburn, winning four and drawing three.

Statistic: Roberto Mancini, the manager, can be credited with sending on substitutes at the right time in the Premier League this season. They have four goals coming the bench, more than any other side.

MANCHESTER UNITED

What they say: "The manager shows time and time again he will give local players a chance and it is then up to the individual to take it. I hope I can. I don't know whether it is harder for local boys up front to make it. I can only look at myself and take my opportunities when they come," - Danny Welbeck, the Manchester-born forward, who hopes two goals in the Champions League have earned him a start against Norwich City on Saturday.

Team news: United will be missing as many as nine regulars against the Canaries, including first-choice players Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Nemanja Vidic.

NEWCASTLE UNITED

Form: Newcastle's unbeaten run stretching back into last season is nine games. They have not gone unbeaten for 10 top-flight matches since August 2007.

Statistic: Newcastle have only used 14 players so far this season. That is the lowest in the league along with Wolves, Saturday's opponents at Molineux, and Liverpool.

What they say: "Colo and I love life at Newcastle and want to spend our best years here. He is a very important player for us. He is doing really well as captain," - Jonas Gutierrez tells The Chronicle he thinks fellow Argentine, Fabricio Colocinni, will follow him in signing a new contract.

NORWICH CITY

Statistic: Norwich have a good chance of taking something at Manchester United on Saturday if they can keep it goalless at 60 minutes. United have scored 13 goals against Norwich in the Premier League, but none after the hour mark.

What they say: "In my view, Manchester United are probably the best team in Britain at the minute and, along with Barcelona, one of the best in Europe. No one is going to expect us to win anything there," - Paul Lambert, the manager, on his side's chances.

Team news: James Vaughan, the striker, hurt his knee in Monday's 2-1 win over Sunderland and is out against United.

QUEENS PARK RANGERS

Statistic: QPR have failed to score in their last four games against Fulham, who they face away on Sunday.

What they say: "I didn't think about it [going to Fulham]. When I got the chance to come to QPR - I took it and that's what I wanted to do. The rest is all so much history and nothing more to worry about," - Shaun Wright-Phillips, the QPR winger, who has no regrets about not joining Fulham in the summer.

Rumour mill: Amit Bhatia, QPR's co-owner, says the club will offer David Beckham a contract in November when he leaves LA Galaxy, but cautions supporters: "I'm not certain Beckham would want to join a newly promoted club."

STOKE CITY

Statistic: Stoke travel to Swansea City on Sunday. The home side have yet to concede at home in three games while Stoke have fired just 15 shots on target in six games.

What they say: "If we are representing England, you'd expect the English FA to do their damnedest to give you the best opportunity to do well, not only domestically, but in Europe. There should be a chance for clubs in Europe to sit down with the Premier League and television companies and arrange fixtures in a way that helps," - Tony Pulis, Stoke's manager, on the fact all of his side's Europa League games are followed by an away trip in the league.

SUNDERLAND

Club news: Sunderland suspended Titus Bramble on Thursday after the defender was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault and drug possession. Bramble, 30, was detained by police on Wednesday. "The player will not attend team training or be available for selection for matches during this period," a spokesman told the club's website. Bramble was also arrested in September last year on suspicion of rape but he was subsequently released without charge.

Form: Sunderland host West Bromwich Albion on Saturday on a terrible home run. They have lost eight of their last 10 league games at the Stadium of Light.

SWANSEA CITY

What they say: "Stoke are a great benchmark for any promoted team. You look at the development they have made, and they are a great model for other clubs who come into the Premier League," - Brendan Rodgers, the Swansea manager, wants to beat Stoke on Sunday and then emulate their rise to establishing themselves as Premier League regulars.

Form: Swansea are on a run of 11 games unbeaten at home in the league, stretching back to last season in the Championship.

Statistic: The last six encounters between Swansea and Stoke, in all competitions, have been won by a one-goal margin.

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

Club news: Spurs have been offered £17 million (Dh96.9m) of public funds by Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, to redevelop White Hart Lane instead of pursuing a legal bid to be given tenancy at London's Olympic stadium from 2012 onwards, rather than West Ham United.

Team news: Emmanuel Adebayor, who scored eight goals in nine games for Arsenal against Spurs, will lead the Tottenham line in Sunday's North London derby. Tom Huddlestone, however, is out as the midfielder requires an ankle operation.

Statistic: Tottenham have kept one clean sheet in 31 games against Arsenal.

WEST BROM

What they say: "Scharner is a very different player to Youssouf Mulumbu, who is different to Graham Dorrans, who is different to Chris Brunt, who is different to Jerome Thomas, who is different to Zoltan Gera, who is different to James Morrison, who is different to George Thorne. So there you are - there's eight of them, yet only four can play," - Roy Hodgson, the West Brom manager, on his decision to drop Paul Scharner last week.

Statistic: The trip to Sunderland is on the first day of October, a month in which West Brom have never won away in the Premier League.

WIGAN ATHLETIC

Club news: Roberto Martinez has ruled out signing out-of-contract forward El-Hadji Diouf. The Senegal striker has been training with Wigan after he was released from Blackburn Rovers at the start of this month. "I think it has been blown out of proportion," Martinez, the manager, said. "There is nothing else apart from they [Diouf and out-of-contract keeper Richard Kingson] are training with us."

Form: Wigan, who travel to Aston Villa on Saturday, have lost their last three Premier League matches. They have not lost four in a row since October 2008.

WOLVES

What they say: "Any other time, I wouldn't talk about anybody else's player. But I think it is a football problem if it is allowed to fester and, to happen again, it would be dreadful. It is bad for the game globally, not just Manchester City. We do have a responsibility as a football club, as a manager, as players, to people who watch it and pay fortunes," - Mick McCarthy, the manager, puts across his opinion on the Carlos Tevez affair.

Statistic: Three of Wolves's last four meetings against Newcastle, tomorrow's opponents, have finished 1-1 with the other a 4-1 defeat.