x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Premier League previews: Injury forces Arsene Wenger to buy

Injury to Kieran Gibbs forced Arsene Wenger to seek out assistance for Arsenal ahead of the Stoke City clash; Paul Lambert would settle for playing poorly but winning; Sam Allardyce fears a relegation scrap.

An extended injury to defender Kieran Gibbs, right, forced Arsene Wenger and Arsenal to be buyers in the transfer period.
An extended injury to defender Kieran Gibbs, right, forced Arsene Wenger and Arsenal to be buyers in the transfer period.

Arsenal v Stoke City

Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger said Kieran Gibbs's injury setback made it imperative for the club to sign Spain full-back Nacho Monreal from Malaga in an £8.5 million (Dh49.4m) deal on Thursday.

Gibbs is expected to be out for at least a month with a thigh injury, and Wenger said: "We expected two to three weeks, now it will be four to six, so we were in a position where we had to make a quick decision. That explains our buy."


Everton v Aston Villa

Paul Lambert will settle for Aston Villa "playing poor and winning" in their current precarious position as he considers giving debuts at Everton on Saturday to his two transfer-window signings.

Both Yacouba Sylla and Simon Dawkins could feature at Goodison Park.

Lambert said: "You'd settle for that, playing poor and winning. I know you are in the entertainment business but sometimes that doesn't get you anywhere. If you win, everyone is happy."


West Ham United v Swansea City

Sam Allardyce has acknowledged he fears West Ham United could be dragged into a relegation scrap if they do not find their form quickly.

The Hammers manager said of Saturday's game with Swansea City: "We have taken only five points out of our last eight games and we know that is not good enough. But you can have these spells, it is not unique to us.

"Fulham won [against West Ham on Wednesday] and it was only their third win in 16 matches."


Reading v Sunderland

Brian McDermott, Reading's manager, failed in an attempt to sign the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson before the end of the transfer window.

The Icelander had begun his career with Reading, in 2008, and McDermott said ahead of Saturday's game with Sunderland: "We tried to bring him back.

"We made three offers and I thought at one stage we had a real chance of doing a deal, but unfortunately, we couldn't manage to do it."


Fulham v Manchester United

The toil that went into beating Southampton in midweek will remove any hint of complacency in the Manchester United side.

That is the view of manager Sir Alex Ferguson whose table-topping team travel to Fulham on Saturday.

“The effort Southampton put in on Wednesday is a reminder to us that you get three points for every game, not just for beating teams at the top,” he said.

“I don’t expect my players to be complacent, but that was a great reminder.”

Queens Park Rangers v Norwich City

Harry Redknapp is thrilled to have Christopher Samba in his squad for Saturday’s game with Norwich City after Queens Park Rangers bought the defender from Anzhi Makhachkala for £12.5 million (Dh72.5m).

Redknapp said: “It was a complete surprise to me. I’ve admired him for a long time.”

Wigan Athletic v Southampton
Paul Scharner is set to make his first appearance for Wigan since 2010 when they take on fellow strugglers Southampton on Saturday.

The Austrian spent four years at the club between 2006 to 2010 but has been signed by Roberto Martinez on loan until the end of the season from Hamburg.

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