Arsenal vs Cardiff – Premier League preview and team news

Arsenal enter the New Year top of the Premier League, and will be aiming to stay there by seeing off the challenge of Cardiff City. It was not a typical Arsenal display on Sunday as they battled to a 1-0 victory away to Newcastle United, but they showed resilience and determination, things which are not always associated with the Gunners. They are beginning to look formidable again, and Arsene Wenger will be hoping for his side to maintain their consistency in 2014, having picked up more points than anybody else…

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Man Utd vs Tottenham – Premier League preview and team news

In-form Manchester United and attack-minded Tottenham meet in an intriguing game for New Year’s Day’s late kick-off. Man Utd have now won six games in a row in all competitions, continuing their ominous rise up the Premier League table, but they rode their luck considerably over their previous two games away to Hull City and Norwich City. They did, however, show great character and spirit in both games, and they got the breaks they needed, such as the ricochet which led to Danny Welbeck’s winner at Carrow Road. Tim Sherwood…

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West Brom vs Newcastle – Premier League preview and team news

West Bromwich Albion will be looking for only their fourth Premier League win of the season when they host Newcastle United on Wednesday. The Baggies are hoping that 2014 brings more success than the previous calendar year, during which they picked up a meagre total of 34 points in 37 outings, which is relegation form. Caretaker boss Keith Downing will be hoping on the three draws he has achieved so far here, and will be encouraged by Nicolas Anelka’s double at the weekend at West Ham United, although it was…

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Sunderland vs Aston Villa – Premier League preview and team news

Hoping to extend their unbeaten Premier League run to five games, Sunderland take on a side very much out-of-form, in the shape of Aston Villa. Gustavo Poyet will be looking for his team to take the momentum from their late comeback at Cardiff City on Saturday into this game, with the Black Cats desperately in need of some success at home, where they have won just twice in the league all season. Sunderland showed great character in South Wales in a game which looked beyond them, and the result demonstrated…

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Southampton vs Chelsea – Premier League preview and team news

After a hard-fought win over Liverpool on Sunday, Chelsea take on a Southampton side looking for its first home win since November. Having seen his side coast to a 3-0 win at Cardiff City on Boxing Day, there was more disappointment for Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino on Sunday as a largely frustrating December ended with defeat at Everton. They competed well at Goodison Park, but their efficient pressing game deserted them for Romelu Lukaku’s winning goal, leaving them ninth, six points behind nearest rivals Newcastle United. Chelsea picked a good…

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Swansea vs Man City – Premier League preview and team news

Manchester City will be looking to extend their winning run to five games as they begin 2014 with a trip to the Liberty Stadium, a venue at which they have never scored a goal. Swansea come into this game in disappointing form, which has seen them slip into the bottom half. They did, however, produce their best performance for some time at Aston Villa on Saturday but failed to make the most of their possession, and only had Roland Lamah’s first goal in English football to show for the efforts…

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Stoke vs Everton – Premier League preview and team news

After an excellent 2013, Everton begin the New Year with a testing trip to beleaguered Stoke City on Wednesday. Since their defeat of Aston Villa on December 21, Stoke’s festive period has turned sour after two heavy away losses. Anger and frustration followed the game at Newcastle United on Boxing Day, but on Sunday Mark Hughes had no complaints as his side were outplayed by Tottenham. These two results have seen them drop into the bottom half, so defeat here could leave them just a couple of points clear of…

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Everton can challenge for title, Lukaku insists

Romelu Lukaku believes that Everton will make the top four this season, and that the Toffees can even challenge for the Premier League title, writes Sky Sports. Everton are currently lying in fourth place, five points behind leaders Arsenal, after a fine season so far under new manager Roberto Martinez, who has seen his side lose just twice in the Premier League all season, against Manchester City and Sunderland. And Chelsea loanee Lukaku, who is Everton’s top scorer this season, believes that anything is possible. He said: “I don’t think…

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Aston Villa boss Lambert targets experienced January signings

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has revealed that he is looking to add more experience to his squad during the January transfer window, Sky Sports is reporting. The current squad at Villa Park is largely made out of youngsters, and Gabriel Agbonlahor is the only member to have several years of Premier League experience behind him. Lambert’s usual policy in the past was to sign promising young players from the Football League or across Europe, but this time around he has hinted that he will take a slightly different approach.…

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Arsenal and Chelsea facing competition for Atletico Madrid striker Costa

Borussia Dortmund have entered the race to sign in-form Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa, who is a target of Premier League duo Arsenal and Chelsea, according to the Daily Express. The Bundesliga club have entered the market for a forward as they prepare for their star striker, Robert Lewandowski, to announce that he will leave the club for bitter rivals Bayern Munich at the end of the season. Chelsea are also determined to find a new striker, with their current trio of Demba Ba, Samuel Eto’o and Fernando Torres all…

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Man City boss Pellegrini rules out Dzeko sale

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has insisted that striker Edin Dzeko will remain at the club beyond the January transfer window, ESPN has reported. The 60-year-old Chilean also revealed that he does not intend to do any business in January, following a summer in which Man City were among the highest spenders, bringing in Fernandinho, Alvaro Negredo, Stevan Jovetic, Martin Demichelis and Jesus Navas. Despite beginning the season as first-choice, Dzeko has once again been mainly used as a substitute, due to the fruitful strike partnership which has been formed…

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Arsenal boss Wenger plays down title chances

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has played down his side’s title chances, despite the fact they go into the New Year as Premier League leaders, Sky Sports has reported. Two consecutive away victories, coupled with successive defeats for Liverpool, have sent Arsenal back to the top of the Premier League, a point clear of Manchester City. A 3-1 triumph at West Ham United on Boxing Day was followed by Sunday’s 1-0 victory over Newcastle United, secured by Olivier Giroud’s second half header. After the win at St. James’ Park, Wenger admitted…

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Holtby eyes more Tottenham starts

Attacking midfielder Lewis Holtby has said that he is looking to start more games for Tottenham under the club’s new Head Coach Tim Sherwood, writes Sky Sports. Since Sherwood took over from Andre Villas-Boas, Holtby has made one start and one substitute appearance, and has generally been in and out of the team throughout the season with Christian Eriksen, Nacer Chadli, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Erik Lamela among the players who are also vying for a place in the starting XI. Holtby joined Tottenham from Schalke in January, signing a five…

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Liverpool’s Suarez accused of diving by Chelsea boss Mourinho

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has accused Liverpool striker Luis Suarez of diving to try and win a penalty during the game between the sides on Sunday, BBC Sport has reported. As the Reds searched for a late equaliser in their 2-1 defeat, Suarez attempted to close down Chelsea right-back Cesar Azpilicueta, but appeared to be brought down by Samuel Eto’o, but referee Howard Webb waved away the appeals for a penalty. Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who believed that Eto’o should have been sent off for a high tackle he made…

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Chelsea vs Liverpool – Premier League preview and team news

After narrowly falling short at Manchester City on Boxing Day, Liverpool now have another extremely difficult away game, at Chelsea. The Blues produced a much better showing against Swansea City than they have at times this season, but again they were dogged by their failure to put the game beyond doubt, due to a combination of poor finishing and fine goalkeeping. However, their current position of third, just two points off the lead is looking quite ominous for the rest, given that they have not played anywhere near their best…

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Tottenham vs Stoke – Premier League preview and team news

Tim Sherwood will be hoping for his first home win in charge of Tottenham when Stoke City come to North London on Sunday. On Boxing Day, they were frustrated by a determined West Bromwich Albion in a game where they were reduced mainly to long range efforts while the visitors created the better chances despite their inferiority in terms of possession. Even if results do not go his way, Sherwood shows little sign of adopting a more cautious approach, and they Stoke will be expecting them to continue to show…

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Newcastle vs Arsenal – Premier League preview and team news

Arsenal have a difficult test on Sunday as they travel to the North East to take on one of the Premier League’s form teams in Newcastle United. Alan Pardew’s Magpies have emerged victorious in seven of their last nine Premier League matches, but were thankful for Stoke City’s loss of discipline and some very generous refereeing decisions on Boxing Day. All the same, this a great run, which has helped them keep up the pace with the pace setters, and victory here would put them just three points behind their…

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Everton vs Southampton – Premier League preview and team news

Everton will be hoping to recover from the shock of losing at home to Sunderland by defeating Southampton at Goodison Park. Despite the setback, Toffee boss Roberto Martinez still found plenty of reasons to be positive. The goal came from a horrendous mistake at the back, and after they were reduced to 10 men, Everton showed some real spirit and resolve to make light of their one man disadvantage, with only a series of superb saves from Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone keeping them at bay. The Saints emphatically returned to…

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Chelsea vs Liverpool – Premier League best and worst

Chelsea and Liverpool meet in the Premier League on Sunday, and as is normally the case between two of the top clubs, the fixture has produced several notable incidents in the past: Last Meeting Liverpool have not lost any of their previous three Premier League games at Stamford Bridge, and the latest of those games ended in a 1-1 draw. John Terry put Chelsea in front, capitalising on some terrible Reds marking to powerfully head home a corner. Terry was taken off with an injury before Luis Suarez rescued a…

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Two clubs chasing Everton striker Jelavic

Everton manager Roberto Martinez is considering whether to allow Nikica Jelavic to leave the club, after confirming that two unnamed clubs had made enquiries for the striker, writes Sky Sports. Jelavic is out-of-favour at Goodison Park, with Chelsea loanee Romelu Lukaku regularly preferred as the lone striker. He has been at the club since January 2012 when he joined from Rangers, and after a great start to life on Merseyside, he is now finding goals exceptionally hard to come by. The Croat, who has not scored in any of his…

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Sunderland boss Poyet thrilled by late comeback

Sunderland manager Gustavo Poyet was delighted after seeing his side score two goals in the dying minutes to salvage a point from their trip to Cardiff City, Sky Sports has reported. Cardiff looked to be cruising to a comfortable victory as their dominance of the first hour of the encounter was rewarded by Jordon Mutch’s deflected strike, and Fraizer Campbell’s close range finish against his old club. But as managerless Cardiff dropped deep to defend their advantage, Sunderland found a way back into the game as Steven Fletcher toe-poked the…

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Meulensteen left stunned by Fulham collapse

Fulham Head Coach Rene Meulensteen declared himself ‘shocked’ after his side were thrashed 6-0 away to Hull City, BBC Sport has reported. After a goalless first half which was largely controlled by the hosts, Fulham went behind four minutes into the second when Ahmed Elmohamady found the net from the edge of the penalty area. From then on, the newly promoted side ran riot, with Robert Koren scoring twice, George Boyd and Tom Huddlestone firing in low efforts and Matt Fryatt volleying home a rebound from close range. The embarrassing…

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Liverpool set to miss out on former star Alonso

Liverpool now look unlikely to be able to bring former midfielder Xabi Alonso back to Anfield after reports in Spain suggested that he is ready to sign a new contract with Real Madrid, according to the Metro. Alonso spent five years at Liverpool under Rafael Benitez between 2004 and 2009, gaining acclaim for his passing range and ability. In his Reds career, he helped them win the Champions League and an FA Cup, scoring 18 goals in 209 appearances in all competitions. He left for the Bernabeu after feeling he…

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Cardiff vs Sunderland – Premier League preview and team news

Saturday’s late kick-off in the Premier League is another vital clash, as bottom club Sunderland visit South Wales. Malky Mackay’s job security was done no favours by his Cardiff City side on Boxing Day as they capitulated in the first half-hour against Southampton to lose 3-0, giving away some soft goals in the process. Played out in front of watching owner Vincent Tan, the result left Cardiff just a point above the relegation zone, and four ahead of their opponents. Sunderland are slowly becoming more and more optimistic that they…

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Aston Villa vs Swansea – Premier League preview and team news

Aston Villa and Swansea City meet in another important Premier League game, with both looking down the table rather than up. The tension is building around Villa Park as form continues to worsen for Paul Lambert’s side. Defeat to Crystal Palace at home on Boxing Day resulted in the team being booed off by frustrated supporters, with the club just three points clear of the drop zone after a run of only two wins from 12 games. Their home record also makes terrible reading, with six defeats from nine outings.…

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