Premier League preview - Week 19
Published: 25.12.12 / Written by: David Gold
Key battles, players to watch and talking points, check out our preview of the Premier League action this week!
Everton v Wigan
Key Battle: This is a game of two terrific left backs – Leighton Baines and Jean Beausejour. Whichever is the more effective could decide this game.
Player to Watch: Nikica Jelavic has struggled to get back to his best goalscoring form and David Moyes will hope he can do so quickly.
Talking Point: Everton have enough to punish a Wigan team who are struggling without their usual central defence at present.
Fulham v Southampton
Key Battle: Two talented forwards in Dimitar Berbatov and Rickie Lambert vie for goals here, and the more effective frontman will be vital.
Player to Watch: Without Bryan Ruiz Fulham have struggled for inspiration, making Damien Duff’s influence from out wide more important.
Talking Point: Having been thrashed by Liverpool, Fulham will hope to get back to winning ways, but face a tough challenge from the visiting Saints.
Man Utd v Newcastle
Key Battle: Nemanja Vidic is back at the heart of the United defence and if he can shut out Demba Ba United should be on course for victory.
Player to Watch: Robin van Persie, United’s top scorer, will hope to continue his good goalscoring record against Newcastle.
Talking Point: Newcastle are struggling and do not have a number of key players for this visit to Manchester.
Norwich v Chelsea
Key Battle: Sebastien Bassong will be charged with keeping Fernando Torres quiet in this game and if he can do so Norwich have a chance.
Player to Watch: Chelsea will be buzzing after an 8-0 win against Aston Villa, and few more so than two goal man Ramires.
Talking Point: Norwich have not failed to win a home game since October and their solid organisation could prove problematic for Chelsea
QPR v West Brom
Key Battle: Jamie Mackie can get QPR another crucial three points if he can get the better of West Brom defender Gareth Macauley.
Player to Watch: James Morrison has been a key part of the West Brom side this season and he can carve QPR apart.
Talking Point: This is surely a must win game for QPR if they are to drag themselves away from the relegation zone
Reading v Swansea
Key Battle: Adam leFondre is Reading’s key dangerman and he will hope to get the better of Swansea’s Ashley Williams in this clash
Player to Watch: Michu is in prolific form for the Swans and can punish Reading here.
Talking Point: Reading almost beat Swansea in Wales earlier this season and at home, they can inflict a third defeat in four on Michael Laudrup’s men.
Sunderland v Man City
Key Battle: John O’Shea has a tough job on his hands to keep Sergio Aguero quiet, and to give Sunderland a chance in this game.
Player to Watch: David Silva is key to so much of City’s best play, and if he plays well, his team will have a great chance.
Talking Point: Sunderland are hoping to repeat their showing last year when they stunned City at home. Can lightning strike twice?
Aston Villa v Tottenham
Key Battle: Matt Lowton has been brilliant for Villa but was vulnerable against Chelsea, and will have to keep Gareth Bale quiet in this one.
Player to Watch: Jermain Defoe’s brilliant finishing ability could be the key to this match if Tottenham have few chances.
Talking Point: Villa will have no confidence after their 8-0 thrashing by Chelsea, and Tottenham at home is not an ideal game to play after such a defeat.
Stoke v Liverpool
Key Battle: Expect Ryan Shawcross to use all of his aggression to get at his opponents as usual as he tries to keep Luis Suarez quiet.
Player to Watch: Stewart Downing finally scored and set up a goal for Liverpool against Fulham – can he strike again here?
Talking Point: Stoke, quite possibly Europe’s most boring team, will have every intention of grinding out yet another goalless draw.