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Premier League preview 22nd December 2012

Santi Cazorla was outstanding against Reading. Can the Spaniard fire the Gunners back into the Champions League places this weekend?

This weekend’s Premier League programme starts at the DW Stadium, where Wigan host Arsenal.

The visitors have won consecutive Premier League games and have moved up to fifth in the table after hammering Reading 5-2 on Monday night.

Wigan are out of form and have lost three out of their last four top flight games. This poor run of form has dragged the Latics into the relegation zone.

However Roberto Martinez’s men are only in the drop zone on goal difference. A win here could majorly boost confidence ahead of a busy festive period.

Manchester City host Reading looking to close the gap at the top of the league to just three points from arch-rivals Manchester United. Roberto Mancini’s side lost their two year unbeaten home run in their last game on home turf against their rivals.

City will be clear favourites to record victory over struggling Reading, who have now lost six games in a row. The Royals are now six points away from safety and won’t be optimistic about their trip to Manchester.

Liverpool host Fulham at Anfield looking to recover from their 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa last time out. Reds boss Brendan Rodgers has revealed this week that his players are determined to make up for that loss with a victory over the Cottagers.

Fulham are on a poor run of form which has seen the Cottagers pick-up just one victory from their last nine top flight games. Fulham don’t have a good record at Anfield, but their boss Martin Jol has recorded two wins in his last three visits to Anfield.

Newcastle host strugglers QPR at St James Park looking to recover from a terrible run of form which has dragged the Magpies towards the drop zone. Newcastle have suffered six losses in their last seven games and are just two points clear of the relegation zone.

QPR gained their first victory under Harry Redknapp last weekend against Fulham and moved off the bottom of the Premier League table. However the Hoops are still five points away from safety and in need of a victory.

Tottenham face Stoke at White Hart Lane looking to cement their place in the top four of the Premier League table. Spurs have won four out of their last five games, with their only defeat coming at rivals Everton.

Stoke will provide tough opposition though, as the Potters have tightest defence in the Premier League. Tony Pulis side head into this encounter on a seven-match unbeaten run, which has moved the Potters into the top half of the table.

Everton’s blistering start to the season may have slowed in recent weeks, but they go into their trip to West Ham just two points behind fourth-placed Tottenham. The Toffees have a good record at the Boleyn Ground, as they are unbeaten in four trips to the Irons home.

West Ham have been inconsistent in recent weeks and have dropped down into the bottom half of the table. A win over the visitors could move the home side back into the top half again.

West Brom host Norwich at the Hawthorns looking to recover from their recent slump, which has led to the Baggies dropping down to seventh in the table from third. Steve Clarke’s men have lost three out their last four games, but drew 0-0 in their last game against West Ham.

In contrast Norwich City are in a rich vein of form and haven’t lost since October. The Canaries recent run of form has taken Chris Hughton’s men up to eighth in the Premier League table.

Sunderland face a relegation six-pointer with Southampton at St Marys. Sunderland are just one point outside the relegation zone, having picked up just three wins in the top flight this season.

The home side are a point and one place below the Black Cats, and are only out of the relegation zone courtesy of having better goal difference than 18th place Wigan.

In Sunday’s early kick-off Manchester United visit Swansea hoping to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League table. The Red Devils have claimed 10 wins from their last 11 games in the top flight.

The Swans have suffered consecutive league defeats against Norwich and Tottenham, but progressed into the semi-finals of the Capitol One Cup with a 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough.

Also on Sunday Chelsea host Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge. The Blues progressed into the semi-finals of the Capitol One Cup with a 5-1 victory over Leeds at Elland Road on Wednesday, but have had a busy schedule of games in recent weeks.

The visitors are also Capitol One Cup semi-finalists and will be hoping to build on their 3-1 away win at Liverpool last weekend with a victory over the Blues. Villa are currently on a five match unbeaten run.

Can Arsenal move back into the Champions League places?

Fri 21 December, 2012
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