Premier League preview - Week 21
Published: 14.01.12 / Written by: David Gold
Key battles, players to watch and talking points, check out our preview of the Premier League action this week!
Aston Villa v Everton
Key Battle: It was an awful display by Aston Villa last time out and Richard Dunne will have to organise his defence better to not be carved open by Leon Osman.
Player to Watch: Landon Donovan could be making his first appearance back in a blue shirt and his talent has been sorely missed.
Talking Point: Everton improve in the second half of a season whilst Villa are not a good team despite a recent win at Chelsea.
Blackburn v Fulham
Key Battle: Chris Samba’s height and strength is key against Bobby Zamora, who was brilliant against Arsenal last time out.
Player to Watch: Bryan Ruiz’s trickery and skill caused Arsenal problems and he will be a danger to Blackburn.
Talking Point: After a superb win at Man Utd, defeat at home to Stoke. Which Blackburn will turn up against Fulham?
Chelsea v Sunderland
Key Battle: Chelsea need to get points on the board quickly and Daniel Sturridge has been key for them; but he will be up against a stronger Sunderland defence and Wes Brown.
Player to Watch: Seb Larsson has been a thorn in many a team and Chelsea will have to watch his set piece deliveries.
Talking Point: Chelsea continue to make individual errors and let down their manager, whilst Martin O’Neill has made a solid start at Sunderland.
Liverpool v Stoke
Key Battle: Andy Carroll will be pivotal for Liverpool, against the physical Stoke, and Ryan Shawcross is a powerful, if unsubtle presence.
Player to Watch: Steven Gerrard is back and Liverpool will hope his ability will shine again
Talking Point: Liverpool’s home form has been poor and Stoke know how to make life difficult for opponents.
Man Utd v Bolton
Key Battle: Antonio Valencia has been brilliant at times and up against Paul Robinson he could have a field day.
Player to Watch: Wayne Rooney was left out for United’s game with Blackburn and he will be hoping to show Alex Ferguson his best form.
Talking Point: Man Utd need to get back on track in the league and could choose few better opponents than Bolton
Tottenham v Wolves
Key Battle: Without Scott Parker, Sandro will have to step up to the plate, and he will be up against a tough Wolves midfield with former Spurs man Jamie O’Hara and Karl Henry.
Player to Watch: Emmanuel Frimpong is on loan from Arsenal and will want to do his team a favour, and can take advantage of a Parker less Tottenham.
Talking Point: Tottenham’s form has been good – can they continue their run?
West Brom v Norwich
Key Battle: Chris Brunt and Anthony Pilkington will go head to head in the battle of the playmakers.
Player to Watch: Grant Holt’s height and skill has tested many defences and West Brom will need to be wary.
Talking Point: Norwich’s away form has been decent, whilst West Brom’s has been poor.
Newcastle v QPR
Key Battle: Joey Barton will miss the game with his former club, meaning Shaun Derry will have a tough job against Cheik Tioté on his own.
Player to Watch: Demba Ba has been one of the best forwards in the league and so he could be crucial.
Talking Point: It’s been a good year for Newcastle but QPR’s form is poor and they need to get back on track, and fast.
Swansea v Arsenal
Key Battle: Leon Britton’s passing is on a par with his Arsenal rivals, but he will have a tough job against Alex Song.
Player to Watch: Theo Walcott has been disappointing for Arsenal of late and will be expected to produce the goods against Swansea.
Talking Point: Two teams who love to pass the ball, coming off the back of very different results.
Wigan v Man City
Key Battle: Man City will be hoping that David Silva can pick holes in the Wigan defence, which will be marshalled by Antonin Alcaraz.
Player to Watch: Sergio Aguero has not been as prolific after his start to the season but will hope to fill his boots here.
Talking Point: City’s goals have dried up away from home – is this the perfect chance to arrest the slide?