Barclays Premier League briefing

Team news, statistics and our verdict for the weekend's remaining action in the Barclays Premier League.

Last Updated: 08/12/13 at 16:15 Post Comment

Bacary Sagna: Again ruled out for Arsenal

Bacary Sagna: Again ruled out for Arsenal

Sunday, December 8

Fulham v Aston Villa

Brede Hangeland will miss the Villa clash after being ruled out for six weeks after surgery to correct a nerve problem in his right leg. Defender Phillipe Senderos will face a fitness test after playing through a thigh strain in Wednesday's 2-1 home defeat to Tottenham, and Fernando Amorebieta is also doubtful.

Loan striker Darren Bent is unable to play due to Fulham facing his parent club and has a hamstring strain in any case. Kieran Richardson is a doubt with hamstring trouble.

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert faces defensive issues. Skipper Ron Vlaar is doubtful with a calf injury that forced him off in the midweek win at Southampton, whilst Antonio Luna is struggling with a groin problem, added to which Joe Bennett continues to recover from a back issue that has kept him out since the end of September. Lambert must also decide whether to recall Christian Benteke to the starting line-up.

Last season: Aston Villa 1 Fulham 1, Fulham 1 Aston Villa 0

Last five league matches: Fulham L L L L L; Aston Villa D W D D W

Top scorers (all competitions): Darren Bent & Hugo Rodallega (Fulham) 3; Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) 5

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral).

Our verdict: Fulham 1 Aston Villa 2

Arsenal v Everton

Arsenal will again be without full-back Bacary Sagna (hamstring) for Sunday's match against Everton. Manager Arsene Wenger reported no fresh injuries from their midweek win over Hull when several first-team players were rested. German forward Lukas Podolski is back in training after his hamstring injury, but not yet match fit. Forward Yaya Sanogo (back), midfielders Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Abou Diaby (both knee) are all still sidelined.

Everton boss Roberto Martinez will take the same squad which defeated Manchester United to the leaders. Centre-back Antolin Alcaraz, who has yet to make his debut because of injury, travelled with the team to Old Trafford and could come into the matchday 18. Left-back Leighton Baines is still three to four weeks away from recovering from a broken toe while striker Arouna Kone and midfielder Darron Gibson are out.

Last season: Arsenal 0 Everton 0, Everton 1 Arsenal 1

Last five league matches: Arsenal W L W W W; Everton D D D W W

Top scorers (all competitions): Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) 13; Romelu Lukaku (Everton) 8

Referee: Howard Webb.

Our verdict: Arsenal 1 Everton 2

Monday, December 9

Swansea v Hull

Swansea strikers Michu (ankle), Wilfried Bony (hamstring) and Alvaro Vazquez (groin) are all injured and doubtful for the clash but with few alternatives available boss Michael Laudrup will hope at least one of them may pull through in time to feature. If not, the Dane may elect to again play with a 'false nine' after the tactic proved successful in the midweek win over Newcastle.

Curtis Davies is available again for Hull - the defender missed the defeat at Arsenal through suspension and boss Steve Bruce must decide whether to recall him in place of James Chester. Striker Matty Fryatt also hopes to figure having recently returned to the club following a loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Swansea L D W L W; Hull W L L W L

Top scorers (all competitions): Wilfried Bony (Swansea) 9; Robbie Brady & Matt Fryatt (Hull) 4

Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside).


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