English Premier League

Gerrard boost; United & Arsenal worries

Tuesday 31st December 2013 17:09

Gerrard: Set to return for Liverpool

Gerrard: Set to return for Liverpool

Steven Gerrard could be back for Liverpool, but Manchester United are sweating over Wayne Rooney, and Arsenal have major injury concerns.

Arsenal v Cardiff:

Arsene Wenger has major injury concerns, with Olivier Giroud and Kieran Gibbs definitely ruled out.

Three more Gunners players require fitness tests before kick-off, but Nacho Monreal and Thomas Vermaelen are understood to have shaken off illnesses.

Cardiff caretake boss David Kerslake will be without Craig Bellamy and Andrew Taylor for the trip to north London.

Key stat: Arsenal have the best shooting accuracy (54.5%) and Cardiff the worst (35.7%) in the Premier League this season.

Pre-match reading:

Full Arsenal v Cardiff preview

Wenger's injury headache

Kerslake in the dark

Crystal Palace v Norwich

Crystal Palace trio Cameron Jerome, Stuart O'Keefe and Kagisho Dikgacoi will face late fitness tests.

Gary Hooper should be fit for Norwich and Michael Turner is available, but Jonny Howson remains doubtful.

Key stat: Only four teams in Premier League history have recorded fewer goals in their opening 19 games than Crystal Palace have this season (12).

Pre-match reading:

Full Crystal Palace v Norwich preview

Hughton: Christmas doesn't define season

Pulis used to 'underdogs' tag

Veteran Phillips leaves Palace

Fulham v West Ham

Fulham boss Rene Meulensteen is expected to ring the changes, with Elsad Zverotic, Giorgos Karagounis and Hugo Rodallega all at risk of being dropped.

Scott Parker could return in midfield, while Dimitar Berbatov is still out with an injury.

Meanwhile West Ham will be without any recognised central defenders but midfielder Ravel Morrison could return.

Key stat: West Ham have conceded nine goals in their last three Premier League games.

Pre-match reading:

Full Fulham v West Ham preview

Meulensteen plots arrivals

McCartney: Morale still high

Liverpool v Hull

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard could make his return to action but Joe Allen and Mamadou Sakho are missing.

Hull boss Steve Bruce has no new injury worries to contend with ahead of the trip to Anfield.

Key stat: Hull have hit fewer shots than any other side in the Premier League this season (147), while Liverpool's total of 124 shots on target is almost double that of Hull (65).

Pre-match reading:

Full Liverpool v Hull preview

Mixed injury news for Reds

Huddlestone plays down hopes

Manchester United v Tottenham

Manchester United are hopeful Wayne Rooney will be fit, but Robin van Persie is more of a doubt.

Paulinho has joined the likes of Sandro, Andros Townsend, Jan Vertonghen and Younes Kaboul on the Spurs sidelines but the return of a defender comes as a boost for Tim Sherwood.

Key stat: Wayne Rooney has scored nine Premier League goals against Tottenham, including seven in his last six starts versus them.

Pre-match reading:

Full Manchester United v Tottenham preview

Evra: Title talk too early

Eriksen wants to attack United

Southampton v Chelsea

Dani Osvaldo will be given a late fitness test, but Southampton are boosted by the return of Morgan Schneiderlin.

Chelsea are without Frank Lampard, Branislav Ivanovic and David Luiz for the trip to St Mary's.

Key stat: Chelsea have lost as many away games as they have won this season (W3 D3 L3).

Pre-match reading:

Full Southampton v Chelsea preview

Pochettino fumes at referees

Terry: Chelsea lost identity

Stoke v Everton

Stoke are bolstered by the return of Marc Wilson and Glenn Whelan while Marko Arnautovic could also make a comeback.

Potters stopper Asmir Begovic remains out with a broken finger but Everton welcome back their first-choice keeper.

Phil Jagielka, however, remains among Roberto Martinez's absentees.

Key stat: Everton (9) are the only Premier League team to have conceded fewer than 10 goals away from home this season.

Pre-match reading:

Full Stoke v Everton preview

Hughes wants Everton revenge

Martinez offers Barkley guarantee

Sunderland v Aston Villa

Sunderland boss Gus Poyet will take late decisions over John O'Shea, Fabio Borini and Adam Johnson, while Villa will monitor the fitness of Christian Benteke and Ron Vlaar.

Key stat: 27% of Sunderland's goals have been scored in the opening 15 minutes, the highest proportion in the Premier League this season.

Pre-match reading:

Full Sunderland v Aston Villa preview

Lambert: Villa in good shape

Poyet demands survival push

Swansea v Manchester City

Michu, Lloyd Dyer and Michel Vorm all remain sidelined after missing Swansea's last three outings.

Manuel Pellegrini is without the suspended David Silva and Sergio Aguero, who is recovering from a calf problem. The Manchester City boss is also missing three other first-team regulars due to hamstring injuries.

Kick-off is 12:45pm at the Liberty Stadium. Watch the match live on Sky Sports 1HD.

Key stat: Manchester City need two goals in this game to match the best goal total recorded by a Premier League team after 20 games (56 by Man City in 2011-12)

Pre-match reading:

Full Swansea v Manchester City preview

Hart boost for City

Cutting edge missing for Laudrup

West Brom v Newcastle

West Brom must decide whether to stick with striker Nicolas Anelka, who is being investigated by the Football Association following his controversial 'quenelle' goal celebration.

Shane Long is expected to be fit for Albion, while Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has no injury problems.

Key stat: West Brom are on a run of nine Premier League games without a victory (D5 L4) - the longest such run in the competition currently.

Pre-match reading:

Full West Brom v Newcastle preview

Anelka to drop quenelle

Pardew happy going into 2014



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