x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Premier League: The latest team news

News of how each English Premier League side is faring ahead of their weekend matches.

Arsenal

Form Arsenal's trip to Manchester City on Sunday may be mouth-watering, but bear in mind that the Gunners have not scored in four of their last five meetings with City, in all competitions. And City have not scored in four of their last five league matches against Arsenal.

What they say "Let me play a season and you can get the full picture of my personality and my ability as a footballer," - Per Mertesacker - a deadline-day arrival from Werder Bremen - asks the Arsenal fans to give him time.

Statistic A draw on Sunday would be Arsenal's 200th in the Premier League.

Aston Villa

What they say "Look at the weekend [against Bolton], we were really down to the bare bones. We're looking now to just maintain the squad and it's up to lads like Nathan to make sure they're part of the squad and the team," - Peter Grant, the assistant manager, dampens talk of young striker Nathan Delfouneso joining his old manager Martin O'Neill at Sunderland.

Statistic Darren Bent has scored three times in his last four games against Sunday's opponents Liverpool.

Team news Fabian Delph may be in contention to return this week after a knee injury.

Blackburn Rovers

What they say "There is no financial crisis, and there is absolutely no danger to the players and staff wages," - a statement on the club's website this week in response to a Mail on Sunday report that the club is heading for a financial crisis.

Form Since beating tomorrow's opponents West Bromwich Albion 2-0 at Ewood Park in January, Blackburn have won just three of 14 home league games.

Team news Rovers are severely depleted in defence, with Michel Salgado and Gael Givet joining Martin Olsson and Ryan Nelsen on the sidelines for the West Brom clash.

Bolton Wanderers

Form Bolton have lost 17 of their last 20 Premier League matches.

What they say "Owen is our man. We are working to a longer term here. He is committed to it and we are committed to the job in hand. Owen is a big part of that project," - Phil Gartside, the Bolton chairman, gives his support to Owen Coyle, the manager, even though the team are bottom of the league.

Statistic Ivan Klasnic is Bolton's in-form player. The Croatian forward has seven goals in 10 league starts this season. He also netted Bolton's last two goals away at Fulham, one in the league and one in the FA Cup.

Chelsea

Rumour mill Gonzalo Higuain, Real Madrid's Argentine international forward, is a Chelsea transfer target, according to The Daily Star.

Statistic Saturday's trip to Wigan Athletic should be straightforward for Chelsea, based on their recent record. The past three games against Wigan have been won by a combined score of 15-0.

What they say "Ashley has huge respect for the players and staff at Manchester City, many of whom he knows personally and calls friends," - Chelsea issued a statement to deny reports that the left-back Ashley Cole had taunted City players in the tunnel on Monday.

Everton

Team news Everton's injury list is clearing with just four players - the midfielders Leon Osman, Jack Rodwell and Royston Drenthe plus the striker Victor Anichebe - doubtful for tomorrow's visit of Norwich City.

Rumour mill Several sources this week have linked Everton with a move for Thierry Henry, the former Arsenal striker now in Major League Soccer with the New York Red Bulls.

Statistic Everton have won their last five encounters with Norwich, though the most recent was in 2005. More worryingly, the Merseysiders have lost three of their last four home games, failing to score in each defeat.

Fulham

Statistic Neil Etheridge, Fulham's English-Filipino goalkeeper, has 28 international caps for the Philippines but only played his first senior game for the club in Wednesday night's 2-2 Europa League draw against Odense.

What they say "It's really hard to take. We didn't play a good game, but we had by far the better chances and I can't believe we drew. To go out like that with the last kick of the ball is very, very frustrating and hard to take," - Brede Hangeland, Fulham's centre-back, on the draw with Odense. The Danish side came back from 2-0 down, scoring in the final minute, to knock Fulham out.

Liverpool

Rumour mill The Daily Mail reports that Andy Carroll, Liverpool's £35 million (Dh199.5m) striker will receive a £150,000 loyalty bonus in January, despite having made just 13 starts for the club since his move from Newcastle 11 months ago.

What they say "When you come to a club like this you have to take responsibility and you can't hide," - Charlie Adam is ready to step up in the midfield absence of Lucas Leiva and Steven Gerrard.

Statistic Liverpool have drawn just one of their last 20 league matches away from home. The have also avoided defeat in 12 of 13 trips to Aston Villa, who are their opponents on Sunday.

Manchester City

Form City have taken 49 from a possible 51 points in their last 16 home games and they have won the last 12 in a row.

What they say "Arsenal are a great team. But we can beat great teams. On Sunday, we are looking to do what they have done. They have picked themselves up after a difficult month. The way they have done that is absolutely incredible. I consider them as a top team. But we are a difficult team to beat at home," - Vincent Kompany, the City centre-back, is unfazed by Arsenal's visit to Manchester on Sunday.

Team news Full-backs Micah Richards and Aleksandar Kolarov are City's only injury absentees.

Manchester United

Form The champions travel to Queens Park Rangers on Sunday, a team they have beaten in eight of their last 11 meetings, drawing the other three. United are also unbeaten in eight Premier League away games.

Club news Federico Macheda’s agent, Giovanni Bia, has revealed that the young Italian striker is likely to move away from Old Trafford in January – either on loan or permanently – in a bid for more playing time.

What they say “Darren Fletcher has been that engine room, his energy levels are incredible, so to hear he’ll be out for a while is very sad,” – Paul Ince, part of United’s title-winning team in 1992/93 and 1993/94.

Newcastle United

Form After an 11-game unbeaten start to the season, Newcastle have taken just one point from their last four games. Respite comes in the visit of Swansea City on Saturday. The Welsh side have the Premier League’s worst away record with just two points from seven games.

Club news Modibo Maiga, Sochaux’s Malian forward, is set to join Newcastle in January after undergoing a medical at St James’ Park. Maiga, 24, was a summer transfer target for Alan Pardew.

What the say “The more you score, the more you get confident – football’s like that for a striker,” – Demba Ba puts his finger on it.

Norwich City

Statistic Norwich have scored more times from headers (10) than any other side this season.

Form Norwich have won just one of their last 37 away games in the Premier League. They travel to Everton on Saturday.

What they say “January will be like any other January. Mayhem. It’s not easy. It’s a window I don’t like because you can just go in and panic buy or bring in lads you don’t really want, but for the sake of doing it or other teams inflate the prices. It’s a hard one to juggle ... but I have a rough idea of the lads we want to bring in,” – Paul Lambert, the manager, on the pitfalls of shopping in the January transfer window.

Queens Park Rangers

Statistic QPR’s Icelandic forward Heidar Helguson has scored in six of his last seven league games.

Rumour mill Napoli, the Italian side, are planning to bolster their squad as their bid for Champions League success by bidding for QPR’s midfield duo of Adel Taarabt and Alejandro Faurlin, according to The Daily Mail.

What they say ”We’ve played one or two big teams of late, but this is the big one. To welcome Manchester United down to our home stadium, after 15 years away from the top flight, is going to be something to savour,” – Shaun Derry, the QPR midfielder, on Sunday’s game.

Stoke City

What they say ”I was about to take a corner and I was getting pelted with everything – lighters, Euro coins – I was thinking of picking one up and putting it in my sock. I didn’t want to take it because every second I could see things flying past me,” – Jermaine Pennant after the winger was targeted by Besiktas fans in Stoke’s Europa League defeat in Turkey on Wednesday night.

Statistic Stoke visit Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday and if the home side score, Tony Pulis’s side may well struggle. Stoke have not won away when the other team has scored since September 2010, a span of 15 games.

Sunderland

Form Sunderland visit Tottenham on Sunday. They are on a run of one win in seven away league games, while Spurs have won eight and drawn one of their last 10 home games.

Statistic Despite Sunderland’s poor form, Martin O’Neill, the new manager, has an excellent record against Spurs. He has won seven and lost only three of 16 games against the Londoners with his various clubs.

What they say “We should have won both the Wigan and Wolves games so we should be higher up the table, we know that,” – Keiren Westwood, the goalkeeper, believes Sunderland have been unlucky with results this season.

Swansea City

Statistic Michael Vorm has kept seven clean sheets this season, the most of any Premier League goalkeeper.

What the say “It is so different. In your head and especially physically. After the matches in the Premier League you’re broken. For example, after the Liverpool game I was a real mess. You can get thumped and battered, and I’m not that big so I’ve had to be smart,” – Vorm talks about the challenge of Premier League football after revealing he is using rugby tackle pads in training to help him toughen up.

Form Danny Graham has scored five times in eight league games.

Tottenham Hotspur

What they say “I’m not one to knock on the manager’s door [to complain]. I have always said I am happy to be part of the squad at Tottenham because I think it is an unbelievable place. I would not really be interested if another club came in January,” – Niko Kranjcar, the Croatian midfielder, who has played just three league games due to injury this season, is happy to be a squad player.

Statistic Tottenham, who sit fourth in the table, level on points with Chelsea, have made their best-ever start to a Premier League season. They have five more points after 14 games than they had in 1999/2000 and 2009/10.

West Brom

Form West Bromwich Albion have a poor record against on Saturday’s visitors Blackburn. Roy Hodgson’s side have won only once in 11 league games against struggling Rovers.

Statistic Only Blackburn have dropped more points (12) than West Brom (11) from winning positions this season.

Rumour mill The Courier reports that West Brom have agreed a £400,000 fee for Scott Allan, the Dundee United midfielder. The 20-year-old Scot was reportedly a target of Manchester United, and the Glasgow clubs Celtic and Rangers.

Wigan Athletic

Statistic Wigan have not kept a clean sheet in 12 Premier League games.

What they say ”These are games players want to play in because it’s the chance to test yourself against the best of the best. It’s an exciting time. No one outside the club will be expecting us to pick up any points, so, in that respect, they are easier games than the ones in which we are expected to get something,” – Roberto Martinez, the manager, puts a positive spin on Wigan’s fixture list which included Chelsea tomorrow followed by Liverpool and Manchester United.

Wolves

Form Wolves host Stoke on Saturday. Mick McCarthy’s side have won two home games in a row but have never managed to make it three in succession in the Premier League.

Statistic Despite sitting in 17th place, Wolves have the most points (14) after 15 games than in any of their three previous seasons.

What the say “The gaffer was saying it was about getting back to what I was doing when I got called up by England. That’s what I’ve been trying to do,” – Matt Jarvis is aiming for an England recall after his one cap against Ghana last season.