Premier League preview - Week 25
Published: 31.01.13 / Written by: David Gold
Key battles, players to watch and talking points, check out our preview of the Premier League action this week!
QPR v Norwich
Key Battle: Loic Remy scored on his debut and will be looking to add to his goal tally for his new club against Norwich, but faces a tough battle against Sebastien Bassong in this game.
Player to Watch: Adel Taraabt has displayed a new found maturity this season and his spark and creativity can cause problems for the visitors.
Talking Point: Norwich have not been in good form but showed some encouraging signs against Tottenham in the week. QPR desperately need to win games like this to survive
Arsenal v Stoke
Key Battle: Olivier Giroud’s physicality means Arsenal have a forward capable of getting the better of the aggressive Stoke defence, and their old nemesis Ryan Shawcross.
Player to Watch: Jack Wilshere has been in good form and his combative spirit will be key against this Stoke team.
Talking Point: Arsenal are in desperate need of points as they battle to get into the top four, whilst Stoke have been surprisingly porous at the back recently
Everton v Aston Villa
Key Battle: Christian Benteke and Victor Anichebe will lead the lines for their respective clubs and whichever of these powerful forwards has a better game could be key to this match.
Player to Watch: Marouane Fellaini has not been the same player since his suspension at the start of January – can he get back to his best here?
Talking Point: Villa are in appalling form and need something to turn their season around fast. Then again, they did win on their last visit to Merseyside.
Newcastle v Chelsea
Key Battle: Yohan Cabaye is getting back to his best form and Chelsea’s David Luiz will have a testing afternoon up against the Frenchman.
Player to Watch: Juan Mata has been Chelsea’s best player for most of the season and is involved in their best moves and most of their goals.
Talking Point: Newcastle seem revitalised following their spending splurge in France – can that continue against this Chelsea team?
Reading v Sunderland
Key Battle: This will be a tough battle between two hard working sides. You feel Adam Federici will have to put on a good show to keep out Steven Fletcher though.
Player to Watch: Adam le Fondre has scored twice in his last two games coming off the bench – surely he will start and score?
Talking Point: Reading had an encouraging draw with Chelsea in the week and will be confident they have what it takes to get the better of Sunderland
West Ham v Swansea
Key Battle: Michu will hope to take advantage of any weakness in this West Ham defence, so Winston Reid will have to be alert to keep him from scoring here.
Player to Watch: Kevin Nolan was back in goalscoring form in midweek and West Ham will hope that is a sign that he is getting back to his best after a lean spell.
Talking Point: West Ham’s form has not been good and they are looking to halt a run of defeats, but Swansea pose a tricky test for them.
Wigan v Southampton
Key Battle: James McCarthy is one of the Premier League’s most underrated midfielders, and will be tasked of getting the better of a midfield duel against Gaston Ramirez here.
Player to Watch: Roger Espinoza showed glimpses of his quality against Stoke in the week and the Honduran is a potential gem for Wigan.
Talking Point: Wigan beat the Saints earlier this season but the visitors have improved markedly since then. Two teams who like to play football the right way should make for a fascinating duel.
Fulham v Manchester United
Key Battle: Bryan Ruiz can run rings around this Manchester United team if they are not solid in midfield, meaning Michael Carrick will have a lot of defensive work to do.
Player to Watch: Dimitar Berbatov will be up against his former club hoping to make them pay for letting him go in the summer.
Talking Point: Fulham are a good side but have not really enjoyed the same heights in terms of form as last season. United were not at their best in the week, so this could be a close game.
West Brom v Tottenham
Key Battle: Gareth Bale will look to get the better of Jonas Olsson and get some joy against this West Brom team which is out of form.
Player to Watch: Jermain Defoe has not been at his best in recent weeks but he is lively and can pierce any defence.
Talking Point: Tottenham seem to have suffered since the loss of Sandro to injury, but West Brom are not in good form and this is a game the visitors really need to win for their Champions League hopes.
Manchester City v Liverpool
Key Battle: Luis Suarez will hope to pierce a weakened City defence, in which Mateja Nastasic will be increasingly important.
Player to Watch: David Silva is the man who can make things happen for City and Liverpool must restrict his space.
Talking point: Liverpool had a good draw in the week at Arsenal and will hope to dominate their opponents. City need a win for their title hopes.