Football Gossip from the Premier League

Premier League – Team news: Torres returns

Team news ahead of the weekend’s Premier League fixtures, with Liverpool striker Fernando Torres set to return for the match at West Ham.

2008-2009 Liverpool Alvaro Arbeloa Fernando Torres - 0

All games kick-off on Saturday at 15:00 UK time unless otherwise specified.


Blackburn v Portsmouth

Blackburn’s long injury list includes three strikers – Roque Santa Cruz, Benni McCarthy and Jason Roberts – so big defender Chris Samba is expected to lead the line.

Brett Emerton, David Dunn and Steven Reid are also out but Keith Andrews is expected to return to the starting line-up after scoring in the 3-1 defeat at Manchester City.

Portsmouth are without Noe Pamarot, suspended after his dismissal in the 3-0 defeat to Arsenal, so veteran stopper Linvoy Primus should fill in at right-back with Glen Johnson a serious doubt.

Armand Traore, Niko Kranjcar, Paba Bouba Diop and Theofanis Gekas are all out, while Younes Kaboul is a major doubt.


Bolton v Sunderland

Bolton are missing injured quartet Joey O’Brien, Ricardo Vaz Te, Ricardo Gardner and Danny Shittu, while Mark Davies is not yet match fit despite returning to training.

Israeli midfielder Tamir Cohen is therefore likely to start again, with Johan Elmander a lone striker.

Sunderland are without full-back George McCartney and long-term injury victims Craig Gordon and Nyron Nosworthy.

Teemu Tainio could return to the starting line-up after a knee injury, while Callum Davenport is expected to start alongside Anton Ferdinand with James Collins playing left-back.


Everton v Tottenham

FA Cup finalists Everton’s form and league position (sixth) belie their injury list, which includes key players Mikel Arteta, Phil Jagielka and Yakubu, plus striker Victor Anichebe and left-back Nuno Valente.

Lars Jacobsen is expected to continue at right-back with teenager Dan Gosling on the right side of midfield and Jo leading the line with ample support from Marouane Fellaini and Tim Cahill.

Spurs are only without Michael Dawson and Darren Bent for the clash at Goodison.

Dawson’s absence means that first-choice centre-back pairing Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate will continue despite their suspect fitness, while Jermain Defoe’s return to fitness could see him partner Robbie Keane up front.

Jamie O’Hara will not play again this season after he was sent in for knee surgery.


Fulham v Aston Villa

The rails seem to be coming off Fulham’s season as a striker crisis means Diomansy Kamara could start alone up front.

Bobby Zamora, Andy Johnson and Erik Nevland are all out injured, as is influential midfielder Simon Davies – there could be a start for veteran midfielder Olivier Dacourt.

Villa finally won against Hull last week, their first win in 10 league matches, and boss Martin O’Neill is unlikely to ring the changes, although the tired Gabriel Agbonlahor could be replaced by fit-again Emile Heskey.

Wilfired Bouma is still out with an ankle injury while Martin Laursen is expected to retire soon due to ongoing fitness problems.


Hull City v Stoke City

Fourth-bottom Hull will be without midfielders Ian Ashbee and Jimmy Bullard, who are both out for the season.

This means Geovanni could still start, despite being subbed off at half-time following a row with Daniel Cousin during the 1-0 loss at Villa.

Anthony Gardner is still out, so Kamil Zayatte will continue at centre-half.

Stoke are almost safe but not quite there yet – one more point will effectively guarantee survival. They are without midfield duo Salif Diao and Amdy Faye, skipper Danny Higginbotham, and strikers Vincent Pericard and Mamady Sidibe.

James Beattie (thigh) and Liam Lawrence (hip) face late fitness tests but Beattie will be fast-tracked into the side after scoring six goals in 10 games since joining at the end of the transfer window.


West Brom v Wigan Athletic

West Brom are all-but relegated and have fitness doubts over defender Paul Robinson (ankle) and midfielder James Morrison (heel).

The Baggies could go down if they lose to the Latics and other results go against them.

Wigan manager Steve Bruce is hopeful defenders Mario Melchiot (groin) and Paul Scharner (knee) will be fit after both were subbed off injured during the 0-0 draw with Bolton.

Emmerson Boyce and Erik Edman, their replacements in that game, stand by should either not be fit.


West Ham v Liverpool (17:30)

West Ham striker Carlton Cole is approaching a return from his groin injury but the Liverpool game may come too soon.

Savio (illness) is back in the squad and Jack Collison is pushing for a starting place after coming back from his knee injury.

Scott Parker (groin) is out, along with James Collins (calf) and Kieron Dyer (hamstring). Dean Ashton (ankle), Valon Behrami (knee) and Danny Gabbidon (back/stomach) are out of the season.

Liverpool welcome back striker Fernando Torres after he missed the 3-0 win over Newcastle with a hamstring strain.

Xabi Alonso is out with a foot injury following Joey Barton’s bad tackle in that game, but fellow midfielder Javier Mascherano is back after shaking off a knock.


Manchester United v Manchester City (Sunday, 13:30)

Manchester United right-back Wes Brown will not play again this season (foot) but Gary Neville is in the squad after recovering from a similar injury. Owen Hargreaves (knee) is out for the season.

Carlos Tevez, Dimitar Berbatov and Paul Scholes are pushing for recalls with United nearly at full strength.

City will be without Craig Bellamy, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Benjani, Pablo Zabaleta, Dietmar Hamann and Michael Johnson.


Arsenal v Chelsea (Sunday, 16:00)

Eduardo, Gael Clichy, Tomas Rosicky and William Gallas are out for the season, while key forward duo Andrei Arshavin (flu) and Robin van Persie (nose) are doubtful.

Deco and Ricardo Carvalho (both hamstring), and Joe Cole and Paulo Ferreira (both knee) will not play again this season, while Didier Drogba is a doubt with the knee injury that forced him off during the controversial 1-1 draw with Barcelona.


Newcastle v Middlesbrough (Monday, 20:00)

A defeat for either of these North East rivals, currently three points adrift of safety, would almost certainly result in relegation.

Newcastle’s Spanish trio Nacho (Achilles), Jose Enrique (hamstring) and Xisco (toe) are not expected to play again this season, while defender Steven Taylor (thigh) and midfielder Alan Smith (ankle) are doubts.

Boss Alan Shearer is also sweating over the fitness of midfielder Alan Smith, who suffered bleeding inside his thigh during the loss to Liverpool.

Boro are missing three defenders through injury: Emanuel Pogatetz (knee), Chris Riggott (ankle) and Andrew Taylor (hip) are all out.

~ by awbroady on May 9, 2009.

2 Responses to “Football Gossip from the Premier League”

  1. Thanx for the info!

  2. That’s a great shot right above Hull City v Stoke City. Would like to a bit bigger but fantastic photo none the less.

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