Barclays Premier League briefing

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

Last Updated: 12/01/14 at 13:37 Post Comment

Santi Cazorla: In good form ahead of Arsenal's trip to Villa

Santi Cazorla: In good form ahead of Arsenal's trip to Villa

Sunday, January 12

Newcastle v Manchester City

Goalkeeper Tim Krul (shoulder) and midfielder Yohan Cabaye (Achilles) could both return to the Newcastle squad after both missed the FA Cup third round defeat by Cardiff last weekend. However, full-back Davide Santon is a doubt with a thigh problem and is set to join fellow defenders Fabricio Coloccini (knee) and the suspended Mathieu Debuchy on the sidelines.

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure is fit after overcoming a minor ankle knock suffered in midweek. Top scorer Sergio Aguero (calf) remains on the sidelines but could be close to a return while fellow forward Stevan Jovetic and midfielder Jack Rodwell (both hamstring) are also still out. Winger Jesus Navas returns after resting a knee problem while defender Dedryck Boyata is available again after suspension. Defenders Micah Richards and Martin Demichelis are available after injury.

Last season: Man City 4 Newcastle 0, Newcastle 1 Man City 3

Last five league matches: Newcastle D W W L L; Man City W W W W W

Top scorers (all competitions): Loic Remy (Newcastle) 10; Sergio Aguero (Man City) 19

Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)

Our verdict: Newcastle 1 Manchester City 3

Stoke v Liverpool

Goalkeeper Jack Butland could make his first Premier League start for Stoke, though Thomas Sorensen is back in training. With Asmir Begovic having broken a finger, Butland came off the bench to replace Sorensen (Achilles) against Everton and started the FA Cup third-round win over Leicester. Robert Huth (knee) also trained with the first team this week but may not be ready, and Andy Wilkinson (heel) remains sidelined. Oussama Assaidi is unavailable to face his parent club.

Striker Daniel Sturridge is set to return to the Liverpool squad after seven weeks on the sidelines with an ankle sprain. The England international returned to full training this week having not featured in a matchday squad since the Merseyside derby on November 23. Centre-back Daniel Agger has been ruled out for three to four weeks with a calf strain, but Mamadou Sakho is back after a hamstring injury.

Last season: Stoke 3 Liverpool 1, Liverpool 0 Stoke 0

Last five league matches: Stoke D W L L D; Liverpool W W L L W

Top scorers (all competitions): Peter Crouch, Kenwyne Jones & Charlie Adam (Stoke) 5; Luis Suarez (Liverpool) 20

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)

Our verdict: Stoke 2 Liverpool 1

Monday, January 13

Aston Villa v Arsenal

Aston Villa will assess the condition of defenders Ron Vlaar (calf) and Nathan Baker (hamstring) after both sat out the FA Cup defeat to Sheffield United last Saturday. Forward Gabriel Agbonlahor, who also missed the cup tie, and goalkeeper Brad Guzan are fit despite having had niggles, but the game is too soon for midfielder Chris Herd and defender Joe Bennett to make their comebacks after injury.

Arsenal expect to have forward Olivier Giroud back from an ankle problem and illness, but England forward Theo Walcott has been ruled out for the rest of the season and the World Cup after suffering knee ligament damage in the FA Cup third-round win over Tottenham. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, fit again following his own serious knee injury, could be back in the squad having played for the under-21s on Thursday. Fellow midfielder Aaron Ramsey (thigh) and defender Kieran Gibbs (calf) are also closing in on a return. Captain Thomas Vermaelen (knee) is doubtful, while Nicklas Bendtner (ankle), Yaya Sanogo (back) and Abou Diaby (knee) continue their rehabilitation.

Last season: Arsenal 2 Aston Villa 1, Aston Villa 0 Arsenal 0

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

Top scorers: Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) 5; Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) 13

Referee: Neil Swarbrick (Lancashire)


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