Premier League preview - Week 13
Published: 23.11.12 / Written by: David Gold
Key battles, players to watch and talking points, check out our preview of the Premier League action this week!
Sunderland v West Brom
Key Battle: John O’Shea will have a tough task trying to keep the lively Shane Long quiet, and the Irishman can be critical once again for the visitors.
Player to Watch: Adam Johnson is showing some signs of producing the form long expected of him, and can be an important player for his club this season.
Talking Point: West Brom have enjoyed a superb season so far but this will be a difficult trip that they will do well to come away from with three points.
Everton v Norwich
Key Battle: Norwich have been brilliant since Michael Turner and Sebastien Bassong were put together, and they will have to work hard to keep Nikica Jelavic quiet.
Player to Watch: Leighton Baines can produce brilliant set piece delivery which can make the difference in tight games like this.
Talking Point: Norwich are in brilliant form, whilst Everton are attempting to bounce back from defeat last week without Marouane Fellaini.
Manchester United v QPR
Key Battle: Robin van Persie against Stephane Mbia seems a colossal mismatch, and much will rest on how well the QPR man can shackle United’s dangerman.
Player to Watch: Antonio Valencia’s direct running and delivery can carve apart the feeble QPR defence.
Talking Point: Expect QPR to be drastically changed from last week and back to basics for this one. A spirited performance should be expected but United surely will win.
Stoke v Fulham
Key Battle: A fascinating contrast of styles, typified in midfield where the blunt, aggressive Dean Whitehead faces the subtle skills of Damien Duff.
Player to Watch: Peter Crouch has been prolific this season and Fulham will have to be careful of the England forward.
Talking Point: Fulham are decimated with much of their midfield injured. With their biggest presence in defence, Brede Hangeland, out, they will do well to cope with the physicality of Stoke.
Wigan v Reading
Key Battle: Hal Robson Kanu has a crucial role for the visitors to stem the swift passing of the Wigan midfield, in particular Shaun Maloney.
Player to Watch: Bacary Kone has been an excellent signing for Wigan and his direct running will cause Reading problems.
Talking Point: Reading have a long overdue first win of the season, but still face a fierce battle for survival. Wigan away is a big test of their qualities.
Aston Villa v Arsenal
Key Battle: Stephen Ireland has looked good in recent weeks for Villa but will be tested by Mikel Arteta, whose positional sense can frustrate the Irishman.
Player to Watch: Jack Wilshere looked like he was getting back to his best against Montpellier and can be a real handful.
Talking Point: Arsenal look back in form, while Villa endured a miserable 5-0 loss last time out – but the home side have spirit and can cause their visitors problems.
Swansea v Liverpool
Key Battle: It will be fascinating to see Joe Allen going up against his former team mates, in particular Leon Britton, with whom he created a superb midfield partnership last season.
Player to Watch: Michu has been scoring for fun for Swansea and can really hurt Liverpool in this game.
Talking Point: Brendan Rodgers returns to his former team, with a side playing the neat flowing football he craves; which side will dominate possession?
Southampton v Newcastle
Key Battle: Southampton were excellent at QPR, and Rickie Lambert can cause Mike Williamson the same problems as he did to Anton Ferdinand last week.
Player to Watch: Hatem ben Arfa can take advantage of Southampton’s weak defence to punish the hosts.
Talking Point: Newcastle are out of form whilst Southampton will be buoyed following their win last week.
Chelsea v Manchester City
Key Battle: It will be interesting to see how David Luiz, who has been poor of late, can cope with Sergio Aguero, always so dangerous.
Player to Watch: Eden Hazard is a genius and one of the best players in the league, and he can harm City here.
Talking Point: After all the upheaval at Chelsea this week how will Rafa Benitez do in his first game in charge?
Tottenham v West Ham
Key Battle: Kevin Nolan against Sandro is an intriguing clash. Both physical players, but one with technique, the other with brawn.
Player to Watch: Jermain Defoe will be relishing taking on his former team and in the absence of Emmanuel Adebayor he will bear the responsibility for finding the net.
Talking point: West Ham will likely cause Tottenham problems, but can Andre Villas Boas return his side to winning ways?