Premier League briefing
Team news and statistics ahead of this weekend's action in the Barclays Premier League.
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(Current league positions in brackets)
Saturday, November 24
Aston Villa striker Darren Bent is back in contention after a three-game absence due to an ankle injury. The England international has returned to training this week after missing the games with Sunderland and the two Manchester clubs. Left-back Eric Lichaj is also available after a leg muscle strain but Joe Bennett, Chris Herd, Charles N'Zogbia (all knee) and Richard Dunne (groin) are still out.
Arsenal will again be without forward Theo Walcott (shoulder). Defender Andre Santos (stomach muscle) is also out, but forward Gervinho and defender Kieran Gibbs are again in contention having been in the squad for the midweek Champions League win over Montpellier. Midfielder Abou Diaby (thigh) and Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky (hamstring) continue their rehabilitation.
Last season: Arsenal 3 Aston Villa 0, Aston Villa 1 Arsenal 2
Last five league matches: Aston Villa L D W L L; Arsenal L W L D W
Top scorers (all competitions): Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) 7; Theo Walcott (Arsenal) 9
Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)
Injury-hit Everton could welcome back midfielders Kevin Mirallas and Darron Gibson against Norwich. Mirallas missed last weekend's defeat by Reading with a hamstring problem while Gibson has been out since the start of September with a hamstring injury but played for Everton's Under-21 side earlier this week. Captain Phil Neville is unlikely to play again this year following knee surgery while key midfielder Marouane Fellaini is suspended. Striker Victor Anichebe (hamstring) and full-back Tony Hibbert (calf) are doubtful.
Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy looks set to make the trip to his former club after making good progress with the knee injury suffered against Manchester United last weekend. Full-back Russell Martin (back) is back in training and could also feature. Defender Michael Turner (shoulder) is described as "touch and go" by manager Chris Hughton.
Last season: Norwich 2 Everton 2, Everton 1 Norwich 1
Last five league matches: Everton D D D W L; Norwich W D W D W
Top scorers (all competitions): Marouane Fellaini (Everton) 6; Grant Holt (Norwich) 3
Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)
Wayne Rooney will return to the Manchester United starting XI against QPR. Rooney has recovered from tonsillitis, which prevented him making the midweek trip to Galatasaray, and will be involved along with Chris Smalling, who has shrugged off a shoulder problem. Jonny Evans (groin) has returned to training but will not play while Nani (hamstring) is also sidelined.
QPR captain Park Ji-sung remains a doubt for the trip to his former club. Park has been suffering from a knee problem and, despite returning to training, is likely to miss out. Stephane Mbia is back after serving a three-match ban but strikers Bobby Zamora (hip) and Andrew Johnson (knee) are out and on-loan defender Fabio cannot feature against his parent club.
Last season: Man Utd 2 QPR 0, QPR 0 Man Utd 2
Last five league matches: Man Utd W W W W L; QPR D L D L L
Top scorers (all competitions): Robin van Persie (Man Utd) 11; Bobby Zamora (QPR) 4
Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)
Stoke could be without defender Andy Wilkinson (back) who had to come off in the first half of Monday's 1-1 draw at West Ham.
a back problem. If he is ruled out, his replacement at Upton Park, Ryan Shotton, is likely to deputise once again at full-back. Midfielder Dean Whitehead is available after suspension but striker Michael Owen is not expected to make his return from a hamstring complaint, while midfielder Rory Delap (hernia) and defender Marc Wilson (broken leg) remain sidelined.
Fulham will again be without a number of key players. Alex Kacaniklic and Bryan Ruiz are both out for the next two weeks with hamstring injuries, while Mickael Tavares and Kieran Richardson miss out with similar complaints. Manager Martin Jol can call upon Mahamadou Diarra (knee) and Chris Baird (suspension) again, although captain Brede Hangeland (suspension), Simon Davies (hip) and Kerim Frei (loan return) are also unavailable. David Stockdale, Marcello Trotta and Alex Smith have left the club on loan.
Last season: Fulham 2 Stoke 1, Stoke 2 Fulham 0
Last five league matches: Stoke L D L W D; Fulham W D D D L
Top scorers (all competitions): Peter Crouch (Stoke) 5; Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham) 5
Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)
Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill will welcome Craig Gardner back from suspension against West Brom. Gardner is available again after serving a one-match ban for reaching five bookings. O'Neill admitted "one or two" players are battling against knocks, but declined to name them, but midfielder Lee Cattermole (knee) and full-back Phil Bardsley (hamstring) returned to action in the 3-1 win at Fulham on Sunday, while goalkeeper Keiren Westwood (thigh) was able to take a seat on the bench.
Central defender Gareth McAuley and on-loan Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku will return for the Baggies. McAuley has recovered from a hamstring injury suffered on international duty with Northern Ireland while Lukaku was ineligible to face his parent club in Albion's 2-1 win last weekend. But midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu is ruled out with a tight hamstring and goalkeeper Ben Foster is absent for a third successive game with a groin problem.
Last season: West Brom 4 Sunderland 0, Sunderland 2 West Brom 2
Last five league matches: Sunderland D D L L W; West Brom L L W W W
Top scorers (all competitions): Steven Fletcher (Sunderland) 6; Shane Long (West Brom) 6
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez could be without seven first-team players against Reading. Ben Watson (broken leg), Gary Caldwell (hamstring), Ryo Miyaichi (ankle) and Franco Di Santo (leg) all suffered injuries in last weekend's 3-0 defeat by Liverpool, although strikers Miyaichi and Di Santo could still feature. Midfielder James McArthur (dead leg), winger Albert Crusat (knee) and defender Antolin Alcaraz (groin) are not yet ready to return.
Reading manager Brian McDermott could welcome Jimmy Kebe back into his squad. Kebe missed last weekend's win over Everton with a groin problem but has returned to training and is in contention for the match at the DW Stadium. McDermott has also seen goalkeeper Alex McCarthy return to training, along with midfielders Danny Guthrie and Jem Karacan, although Saturday's game will be too early for any of them to return.
Last season: No Corresponding fixture
Last five league matches: Wigan L W W L L; Reading L D D D W
Top scorers (all competitions): Arouna Kone (Wigan) 4; Pavel Pogrebnyak (Reading) 5
Referee: Howard Webb
Sunday, November 25
Rafael Benitez must decide whether to recall Fernando Torres for his first game in charge of Chelsea. One of Roberto Di Matteo's final acts as manager was dropping Torres for the first time this season before Tuesday's fateful Champions League defeat at Juventus. Chelsea remain without John Terry (knee) and Frank Lampard (calf).
Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany will be given a fitness test after suffering a knee injury late in the midweek clash with Real Madrid. Striker Mario Balotelli, dropped for the defeat of Tottenham a fortnight ago, has been training after being forced out of the last two games by a back injury. Left-back Gael Clichy (ankle) is back in contention while midfielder Jack Rodwell (hamstring) edges closer to a return, but right-back Micah Richards (knee) is still out.
Last season: Man City 2 Chelsea 1, Chelsea 2 Man City 1
Last five league matches: Chelsea W L D D L; Man City W W D W W
Top scorers (all competitions): Juan Mata & Fernando Torres (Chelsea) 7; Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko & Carlos Tevez (Man City) 7
Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)
Frazer Richardson and Richard Chaplow remain Southampton's only absentees for the clash with Newcastle. Right-back Richardson is out after suffering a recurrence of a thigh injury last week, while Chaplow is also out through injury. Guly do Prado and Artur Boruc could be involved after being left out of the squad for the games with Swansea and QPR.
Midfielder Cheick Tiote returns to the Newcastle squad after missing out in Europe through suspension. However, skipper Fabricio Coloccini, who played in Thursday's draw with Maritimo, completes his three-match domestic ban and will join winger Hatem Ben Arfa (hamstring) and midfielder Yohan Cabaye (groin) on the sidelines, while striker Shola Ameobi (also groin) and midfielder Gabriel Obertan (toe) remain doubts. Winger Jonas Gutierrez (knee) and utility man James Perch (thigh) are available, while striker Papiss Cisse has a chance despite picking up a kick on the thigh last night, and fellow frontman Nile Ranger has been added to the squad.
Last season: No Corresponding fixture
Last five league matches: Southampton L L L D W; Newcastle D W D L L
Top scorers (all competitions): Rickie Lambert (Southampton) 5; Demba Ba (Newcastle) 8
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup has Ki Sung-yueng and Kyle Bartley back in his squad to face Liverpool. Ki missed the win at Newcastle with a hamstring problem, while defender Bartley returns after a lengthy absence with a thigh problem. Goalkeeper Michel Vorm is a couple of weeks away from full fitness after a groin injury while Danny Graham, Ben Davies and Luke Moore are struggling with illness but should be available.
Defender Andre Wisdom is expected to be fit after sustaining a knee injury in the Europa League draw with Young Boys on Thursday. Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez will be restored to the starting line-up. Midfielder Lucas Leiva returned to competitive action today after three months out with a thigh injury by playing 45 minutes for the under-21s, but is probably a week away from rejoining first-team squad.
Last season: Swansea 1 Liverpool 0, Liverpool 0 Swansea 0
Last five league matches: Swansea W L D D W; Liverpool W D D D W
Top scorers (all competitions): Miguel Michu (Swansea) 8; Luis Suarez (Liverpool) 13
Referee: Jon Moss
Mousa Dembele is a doubt for the visit of West Ham despite making his comeback following a month out with a hip injury against Lazio on Thursday. Dembele still does not feel 100% despite his second-half appearance in the Stadio Olimpico and may start on the bench this weekend. Emmanuel Adebayor starts a three-match suspension while long-term absentees Scott Parker (Achilles), Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Younes Kaboul (both knee) remain sidelined.
West Ham winger Matt Jarvis will return to the squad ahead of the trip to Tottenham. Jarvis missed Monday's 1-1 draw with Stoke with a shin injury but is in contention to start at White Hart Lane. Yossi Benayoun is still not available as he looks to overcome a thigh problem with Jack Collison (knee) and Ricardo Vaz Te (shoulder) also ruled out.
Last season: No Corresponding fixture
Last five league matches: Tottenham L W L L L; West Ham W L D W D
Top scorers (all competitions): Jermain Defoe (Tottenham) 8; Kevin Nolan (West Ham) 5
Referee: Andre Marriner