Premier League preview - Week 16
Published: 07.12.12 / Written by: David Gold
Key battles, players to watch and talking points, check out our preview of the Premier League action this week!
Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion
Key Battle: Arsenal’s tired midfield and Mikel Arteta in particular face a tough test against a West Brom side for whom Claudio Yacob has been superb this season.
Player to Watch: Shane Long’s endless and tireless running is the last thing Arsenal will want to face as they look to rescue their season.
Talking Point: Arsenal are out of form and looking to get back on track against the season’s surprise side, but West Brom have lost their last two games.
Aston Villa v Stoke
Key Battle: Peter Crouch will test the talented Aston Villa youngster Ciaran Clark, one of the stars of the season so far for them.
Player to Watch: Christian Benteke is keeping Darren Bent out of the Villa side and can show why here.
Talking Point: Stoke are in good form but Villa have looked good of late as well and can burst their bubble.
Southampton v Reading
Key Battle: Rickie Lambert is a key player for Southampton and the battle of the forwards between him and Adam LeFondre could be key.
Player to Watch: Gaston Ramirez has been impressive for the Saints and his probing and passing can cause problems for the visitors.
Talking Point: Two of last season’s promoted sides, and with both struggling against the drop this is a crucial match.
Sunderland v Chelsea
Key Battle: Sunderland will need Craig Gardner’s combative tackling and energy to overcome a Chelsea side who are looking to bounce back and prevent their season from collapse.
Player to Watch: Juan Mata has been Chelsea’s player of the season so far and they need him to produce something to bring them out of their mid season lull.
Talking Point: Chelsea have not won in seven games in the league, and Sunderland can barely score a goal.
Swansea v Norwich
Key Battle: Michu will find it harder to get into space as he did against Arsenal when he faces this tough Norwich side which has looked solid since Alex Tettey was brought into midfield.
Player to Watch: Nathan Dyer has been in good form for Swansea again this year and he can prove a handful for Norwich
Talking Point: Two teams in great form, Swansea are playing superbly well at the moment but Norwich have a superb defence right now and can stifle their opponents.
Wigan v QPR
Key Battle: Stephane Mbia will have his work cut out to keep Bakary Kone quiet, and the Wigan man can punish QPR if they give him time and space.
Player to Watch: Franco di Santo has looked impressive in recent weeks for Wigan and his goal threat will be one QPR have to be careful of.
Talking Point: Harry Redknapp hopes for a first win after two draws since taking over from Mark Hughes, but Wigan is a tricky place to achieve that.
Manchester City v Manchester United
Key Battle: If David Silva is missing then City will be reliant on Sergio Aguero, but he can torment a weak United defence, who must hope Jonny Evans rediscovers some form soon.
Player to Watch: Carlos Tevez takes on his former team looking to get one over on United again, and can be a real thorn in their side.
Talking Point: City won both league games between the two last season and if they can do so again here they’ll be level on points at the top of the table.
Everton v Tottenham
Key Battle: Leighton Baines can be a menace to Tottenham if Aaron Lennon does not track back enough, his crossing a key part of their game.
Player to Watch: Marouane Fellaini has been in superb form all season long and Tottenham must be wary of his presence in this game.
Talking Point: Without Gareth Bale Spurs may struggle to replicate their good recent form, whilst Everton look like a team threatening to roar back into form.
West Ham v Liverpool
Key Battle: In central midfield Mo Diame will hope to repeat his heroics from last week’s win against Chelsea but will face a tricky test against Liverpool’s Joe Allen
Player to Watch: In the absence of Luis Suarez it is Steven Gerrard who Liverpool will look to for some inspiration.
Talking Point: Liverpool have a lack of goalscorers coming into this game whilst the Hammers are on a high. Which way will it go?
Fulham v Newcastle
Key Battle: Dimitar Berbatov can torment any defence and he will give Fabricio Collocini a real workout in this game.
Player to Watch: Newcastle got back to winning ways against Wigan and Demba Ba is the man providing the thrust of their threat.
Talking point: Two good mid table teams meet here, both looking for a win to force them up the table towards the battle for Europe.