Premier League preview - Week 23
Published: 19.01.13 / Written by: David Gold
Key battles, players to watch and talking points, check out our preview of the Premier League action this week!
Liverpool v Norwich
Key Battle: Luis Suarez netted a hat trick against Norwich earlier in the season and Sebastien Bassong will be charged with avoiding a repeat of that
Player to Watch: Daniel Sturridge has two goals in two already for Liverpool and will hope to continue his scoring run.
Talking Point: Liverpool’s home form is patchy but on paper they should win, although Norwich’s defence has improved.
Man City v Fulham
Key Battle: David Silva will hope to get the time and space to dictate in midfield free of the shackles of Steve Sidwell.
Player to Watch: Edin Dzeko was City’s dangerman at Arsenal last week and the Bosnian can wreack havoc on the Fulham defence.
Talking Point: City need points to haul in Manchester United and Fulham tend not to travel well.
Newcastle v Reading
Key Battle: Pavel Pobrebnyak has suddenly started scoring for the Royals, so Fabricio Coloccini will have to put thoughts of returning to Argentina to one side to stop the Russian.
Player to Watch: Sylvain Marveaux has been one of Newcastle’s better players this season and his creativity can be crucial here.
Talking Point: Newcastle have won two in 17, whilst Reading are desperately trying to clamber away from the drop zone.
Swansea v Stoke
Key Battle: The classic clash of styles will be on show in Wales, with the free flowing, technical passing epitomised by Leon Britton for the Swans contrasting with the aggression fuelled direct physical football of Stoke and Dean Whitehead.
Player to Watch: Michu has been scoring for fun and will surely be targeted for rough treatment by Stoke. If the referee is on his game, Michu could cause damage.
Talking Point: Neutrals would want the Swans to win, but this will be a tough encounter between two teams with contrasting styles.
West Ham v QPR
Key Battle: West Ham will hope that they can get Kevin Nolan into the game and if they can they can cause QPR and Shaun Derry nightmares.
Player to Watch: Adel Taraabt has been brilliant of late for QPR and will hope to produce another fine show to help his team win another crucial three points.
Talking Point: West Ham are not in good form but QPR are looking like they are improving and may be full of confidence. Harry Redknapp also returns to Upton Park.
Wigan v Sunderland
Key Battle: Shaun Maloney is a key player for Wigan, setting the tempo in midfield, if he can get free of the physical attention of Lee Cattermole.
Player to Watch: Arouna Kone has looked lively and useful for Wigan all season but has not scored recently. Can he get himself back on the scoresheet?
Talking Point: Sunderland look like they are safe, for now at least, whilst Wigan desperately need points to climb to safety.
West Brom v Aston Villa
Key Battle: Shane Long can cause no end of problems for an inexperienced Aston Villa defence and Ciaran Clark in particular.
Player to Watch: Christian Benteke is the man Villa will look to as an outlet to give them a foothold in the game.
Talking Point: Paul Lambert desperately needs points, but will be hard pressed to take all three from the Hawthorns.
Chelsea v Arsenal
Key Battle: Ramires’ energetic play will have to be at its best to prevent Jack Wilshere running the midfield in this encounter.
Player to Watch: Juan Mata is Chelsea’s best player most of the time and if he is on form it will take a lot to stop him.
Talking Point: Both sides seem to do better away from home that at home these days, so perhaps there is a slight advantage with Arsenal in this one.
Tottenham v Manchester United
Key Battle: A tough test here for Tottenham and Jan Vertonghen as they look to cope with the goalscoring prowess and movement of Robin van Persie.
Player to Watch: Gareth Bale, Tottenham’s star player, can cause Manchester United major problems if given time and space.
Talking Point: How will Tottenham cope without midfield maestro Sandro? Can they dominate the midfield without him?
Southampton v Everton
Key Battle: Rickie Lambert has been brilliant of late and Nigel Adkins will hope he can give Phil Jagielka the run around in this one.
Player to Watch: Luke Shaw was excellent against Chelsea in the week, a brilliant run and pass setting up the crucial equaliser.
Talking point: Southampton are in good form and looking like they have a real chance of avoiding the drop, whilst Everton are hoping to get back to winning ways to push for the Champions League.