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Premier League preview

Southampton boss Nigel Adkins is under pressure to get a victory over Tottenham this weekend

This weekend is a big one of rivalries in the Premier League.

Arguably the two biggest games of the weekend are on Sunday.

In the early kick-off on Sunday Everton host Merseyside rivals Liverpool at Goodison Park.

Everton have made a good start to their Premier League campaign, but lost all three meetings with their rivals last season, including an FA Cup semi-final defeat.

The Toffees could be without key players Darron Gibson and Marouane Fellaini for the game and midfielder Steven Pienaar will also miss the clash through suspension.

Liverpool have endured a poor start to the season, but did claim a 1-0 victory over Reading in their last Premier League fixture. The Reds will take heart from last season’s victories over the Toffees. This will no doubt be a feisty affair. The games between the two sides have produced 20 red cards in the Premier League era, a record.

In the later kick-off Chelsea hosts Manchester United at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea have made an impressive start to their Premier League campaign and are currently top of the league by four points. The Blues have only failed to win once this season, their only slip-up coming at neighbours QPR.

Manchester United are second in the table, but performances this season really haven’t been convincing at all. United have struggled to keep clean sheets this season and this clash should test their leaky backline to the limit.

Also on Sunday Southampton host Tottenham at St Marys. Spurs lost to Chelsea in their last Premier League outing but will be confident of getting a victory on the South Coast. Spurs currently sit just outside the top four of the Premier League and could resume a place in the Champions League places with maximum points.

Southampton have taken just four points from their first eight games in the Premier League this season and manager Nigel Adkins is under intense pressure to turn things around. In all eight of their league games so far this season the Saints have found themselves behind at some stage and Spurs will offer difficult opposition.

In the last of Sunday’s Premier League action Newcastle hosts West Brom at St James Park. West Brom have made a very good start to their league campaign and are currently sixth in the Premier League table.

However, their home form is better than their away form and a trip to the North East represents a tricky one for Steve Clarke’s men. The home side have been inconsistent this season in the top flight and kick-off the game in the bottom half of the table after drawing 1-1 with North East rivals Sunderland last weekend.

In Saturday’s games Norwich hosts Aston Villa in the early kick-off at Carrow Road. Former-Canaries boss Paul Lambert will return to his former-club for the first time. Norwich moved out of the relegation zone with a 1-0 victory over Arsenal last weekend.

The visitors have yet to find any consistency under Lambert and have won just one match so far under the Scot. The Villans are 17th in the Premier League table and know they need to start to pick up points quickly.

Manchester City host Swansea in the evening kick-off. City lost their midweek Champions League clash with Ajax 3-1. City haven’t looked the same team as last season, but have should have enough quality to see off the Swans.

Swansea picked up a 2-1 home win against Wigan in their last Premier League fixture and certainly won’t be afraid of playing football against the champions. Swansea are currently 10th in the Premier League table.

Arsenal host QPR at the Emirates Stadium looking to recover from an awful week. The Gunners lost 1-0 to Norwich last weekend and suffered a 2-0 home reverse to Schalke in the Champions League in midweek.

QPR are still bottom of the table, after drawing 1-1 against Everton last weekend, despite the Toffees being reduced to ten men. Hoops boss Mark Hughes is under pressure and will be hoping for an unlikely victory against their London rivals.

Reading hosts Fulham at the Madejski Stadium. The Royals haven’t won any of their Premier League games so far and are finding life difficult in the top flight. However, they will look at this as a winnable game.

Fulham have struggled for victories on their travels in recent seasons, but will hope to add to their tally of one away victory this season. The Cottagers are well placed in the table in 8th place, thanks to their solid home form.

Wigan host West Ham at the DW Stadium. The Latics have struggled in the Premier League this season, despite playing some nice football. Roberto Martinez’s team are just one point outside the drop zone.

In contrast the visitors have made a solid start to their campaign on their return to the top flight. Sam Allardyce’s men are seventh in the top flight table and will be looking to continue that good start with a win in the North West.

Elsewhere, Stoke City hosts Sunderland at the Britannia Stadium. The home side have an outstanding home record and the away side’s record on their travels is awful. Stoke are unbeaten in 10 Premier League games at the Britannia Stadium.

Sunderland have enjoyed a miserable time on their travels and have in fact not won an away game in 11 attempts. Black Cats boss Martin O’Neill will be hoping his side can change that this weekend.

Will there be any shock results this weekend?

Fri 26 October, 2012
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