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Premier League preview: 17th November 2012

QPR boss Mark Hughes is under intense pressure for his side to get a victory against Southampton on Saturday

This weekend’s Premier League action kicks off at the Emirates Stadium, where Arsenal host North London rivals Tottenham in the early kick-off.

The two teams are very close together in the league table.

Tottenham are seventh with Arsenal one point behind in eighth position. Both teams desperately need wins to get themselves back up towards the top four positions.

The Gunners have doubts over the fitness of Mikel Arteta, Oliver Giroud and Theo Walcott.

However, keeper Wojciech Szczesny may return to the first team for the first team since September and Jack Wilshere will return from suspension.

Tottenham will be without midfielder Moussa Dembele, but Jermain Defoe and Kyle Walker look set to play after recovering from hamstring injuries. Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas may again start with former-Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor up front, with Defoe on the bench.

Elsewhere, Liverpool hosts Wigan at Anfield. The Latics gained their first ever win at Anfield last season, with a 2-1 victory courtesy of a Gary Caldwell goal. Liverpool have struggled for victories this season, but are on a six-match unbeaten run in the top flight.

Liverpool will be hoping that in-form Luis Suarez continues his good form against the Latics. The Uruguayan has now scored eight goals in the top flight this season.

Manchester City hosts Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium, looking for a better performance than in recent weeks. The champions defeated Tottenham 2-1 in their last top flight outing, but wasn’t completely convincing.

Meanwhile Villa threw away a two goal lead over City’s arch-rivals Manchester United and ended up losing 3-2 last weekend. City are the only unbeaten team in league football this season. Villa are just above the relegation zone and look unlikely to be the ones to end City’s unbeaten run.

Two of the division’s strugglers meet at Loftus Road, as QPR face Southampton. The home side are bottom of the Premier League and Southampton are just a place above them in 19th position. Both sides have struggled to keep clean sheets this season, so this game should have goals.

However, the Hoops have conceded just five goals in seven games on home soil. Mark Hughes side are still looking for their first victory of the season though. This is a must win game for both Hughes and Southampton counterpart Nigel Adkins, who are both under pressure because of their teams precarious positions.

West Brom will put to test their superb home record to the test when Chelsea visit the Hawthorns. The Baggies have dropped just three points at home this season, losing to champions Manchester City. Steve Clarke’s impressive start as West Brom boss sees the Baggies in fifth place in the Premier League table.

Chelsea’s form has been patchy in the past few weeks and they now sit third in the Premier League table after leading for the opening few weeks of the season. Chelsea will be without influential skipper John Terry, who injured his knee in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool.

Reading will be looking for their first Premier League of the season when they face Everton at the Madejski Stadium. The Royals have drawn six of their first ten games in the Premier League and are third from bottom in the top flight.

They will have their work cut-out claiming victory against an Everton side that is unbeaten in eight matches and that’s only lost once this season. Belgium midfielder Marouane Fellaini has enjoyed superb start to the season, scoring six goals and he was on target against Sunderland in Everton’s last outing.

Elsewhere, Newcastle faces Swansea at St James Park. The two sides are separated by one place and point in the Premier League table. The Magpies have won just one of their last six Premier League matches, but could move up the table significantly with three points.

The Swans have drawn their last two Premier League outings 1-1 against Chelsea and Southampton respectively and could move above their opponents with a victory in the North East. However, Swansea have never beaten the Magpies in seven attempts and have lost five of those encounters.

Norwich faces Manchester United at Carrow Road in the late-kick. The visitors are currently top of the table, two points above champions and arch-rivals Manchester City. United came  back from two goals behind to beat Aston Villa last weekend, thanks to two goals from substitute Javier Hernandez and an assist from the Mexican striker.

The home side are 15th in the Premier League table after drawing 0-0 against Reading last time out. Chris Hughton’s side have the ability to shock the big boys at Carrow Road, as Arsenal found out earlier this season.

On Sunday,  Fulham face Sunderland at Craven Cottage. The Cottagers have drawn their last two Premier League encounters, 2-2 with Everton and 3-3 with Arsenal in their last match. The Cottagers have enjoyed strong home form this season and will be looking for a win over underachieving Sunderland.

The visitors have struggled for results this season and lost 2-1 at Everton last time out. Only Steven Fletcher and Adam Johnson have scored for the Black Cat’s this season. Sunderland face a difficult task to gain victory, as the Cottagers have only lost one game in the last eight at home.

On Monday night, high-flying West Ham play host to Stoke City at the Boleyn Ground. The Hammers currently sit sixth in the league after winning 1-0 at Newcastle last time out. In their last home game Sam Allardyce’s team held champions Manchester City 0-0.

The visitors have enjoyed mixed fortunes this season, but currently sit 11th in the Premier League table. The Potters defeated QPR 1-0 at the Britannia Stadium in their last Premier League outing. However, their away form has been poor in recent months.

Can Reading claim their first Premier League victory against Everton?

Sat 17 November, 2012
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