Premier League preview - Week 15
Published: 29.11.12 / Written by: David Gold
Key battles, players to watch and talking points, check out our preview of the Premier League action this week!
West Ham v Chelsea
Key Battle: Andy Carroll will be all over Chelsea’s David Luiz and will pose serious problems to their London rivals in this game.
Player to Watch: Juan Mata has been Chelsea’s best player of the last year and if he gets on the ball he can be crucial in this game.
Talking Point: Rafa Benitez desperately needs goals from Chelsea but he will also be wary of a tricky West Ham side.
Arsenal v Swansea
Key Battle: Two of the Premier League’s best summer signings, both cut price Spaniards brought in from La Liga, meet here as Santi Cazorla and Michu clash in midfield.
Player to Watch: Theo Walcott’s welcome return to Arsenal gave them something extra in the attacking third against Everton.
Talking Point: Arsenal will be looking forward to this one after two tough away games, but Michael Laudrup’s impressive side will cause them problems.
Fulham v Tottenham
Key Battle: Moussa Dembele takes on his former team here, whilst Dimitar Berbatov does the same, and both have quickly become pivotal to their respective sides.
Player to Watch: Gareth Bale has been the best player in the league in the last couple of weeks and Fulham must be careful of the Welshman.
Talking Point: Tottenham have enjoyed a good run but will be in for a tough afternoon against their former coach Martin Jol and his free flowing Fulham team.
Liverpool v Southampton
Key Battle: Joe Allen and Gaston Ramirez have both become key figures for their new teams this season and could be key to their respective sides on Saturday.
Player to Watch: Luis Suarez’ goal threat could be key and Southampton’s leaky defence may have a tough time against him.
Talking Point: Liverpool lost their unbeaten run against Tottenham but still played well, whilst Southampton are in good form themselves.
Man City v Everton
Key Battle: Phil Jagielka will have the task of shackling Carlos Tevez and if he has a good game Everton may have a fruitful afternoon.
Player to Watch: Steven Pienaar looked like he was getting back to something approaching his best against Arsenal.
Talking Point: Everton have a decent record at Manchester City and can cause them some problems.
QPR v Aston Villa
Key Battle: Stephane Mbia against Barry Bannan in central midfield will be a tough clash in midfield that will go some way to deciding the winner of this game.
Player to Watch: Two teams who have found goals hard to come by, so Christian Benteke will be particularly important.
Talking Point: Can Harry Redknapp inspire QPR to a first win of the season? It is a must win game for them against fellow relegation candidates.
West Brom v Stoke
Key Battle: Claudio Yakob has been brilliant for West Brom but will face a tough challenge against Stoke’s extremely physical midfield and particularly Dean Whitehead.
Player to Watch: Shane Long’s running and skill will cause problems for Stoke.
Talking Point: Functional Stoke are a bit of a bogey team to West Brom, but the Baggies are a class apart from Saturday’s limited opponents.
Reading v Man Utd
Key Battle: Jobi McAnuff may find some joy against Patrice Evra on Manchester United’s left, and the league leaders will have to be wary of his pace.
Player to Watch: Robin van Persie’s movement and ability to find important finishes will test the Reading back line to its limits.
Talking Point: United scraped a win against West Ham in midweek but should be too strong for this Reading team.
Norwich v Sunderland
Key Battle: Michael Turner takes on his old team and will be tasked with keeping quiet their main threat – Steven Fletcher.
Player to Watch: Grant Holt is a tireless worker who will cause no end of problems for Martin O’Neill’s team.
Talking Point: Norwich are in great form, Sunderland look poor. Which way will this critical relegation battle go?
Newcastle v Wigan
Key Battle: Ivan Ramis will have a really difficult test against Papiss Cisse, who scored against Stoke on Wednesday and may be coming back to form.
Player to Watch: Franco di Santo was a thorn in Newcastle’s side when Wigan beat them at the end of last season.
Talking point: This one looks like a home win on paper, but Wigan are playing better than the Magpies at present and this will be a tricky game for the hosts.