Premier League – Team news: Van Persie out
Emmanuel Adebayor has been declared fit for Arsenal’s game against Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, but strike partner Robin van Persie has been ruled out by injury.
FOOTBALL: Arsenal strikers Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin van Persie – 0
* Arsenal v Liverpool
* Aston Villa v Bolton
* Blackburn v Tottenham
* Fulham v Sunderland
* Manchester City v Chelsea
* Newcastle v Reading
* Wigan v Birmingham
* Middlesbrough v Manchester United
* Everton v Derby
CLICK ON THE LINKS TO THE RIGHT TO SEE PREDICTED LINE-UPS. ALL GAMES 15:00 BST SATURDAY, UNLESS STATED.
Arsenal v Liverpool (12:45 BST, Saturday)
Adebayor has overcome an ankle injury sustained during Tuesday’s Champions League game against Liverpool but van Persie – who came off at half-time with a thigh strain – will not be able to play.
Midfielder Abou Diaby is suspended, while full-back Bacary Sagna (ankle) and Tomas Rosicky (hamstring) are still sidelined. Eduardo is out for the season with a broken leg.
Liverpool will be without suspended midfielder Javier Mascherano, who was given an additional two-match ban by the FA on Thursday following his dismissal against Manchester United two weeks ago.
Rafael Benitez may make changes with Tuesday’s Champions League return against the Gunners looming on the horizon, so Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher could all be made to sit out.
Aston Villa v Bolton Wanderers
Villa’s leading scorer John Carew looks like winning his battle to be fit for the clash with Gary Megson’s Bolton, after limping out of the 4-0 mauling by Manchester United at Old Trafford last weekend with a groin strain.
Midfielder Craig Gardner is again ruled out with the thigh injury picked up on England Under-21 duty against Poland.
Bolton will again be without skipper Kevin Nolan, who is serving the second game of a two-match suspension after picking up his 10th booking of the season against Manchester City.
Goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen (back) and defenders Nicky Hunt (dislocated shoulder) and Ricardo Gardner (rib) are sidelined through injury.
Blackburn v Tottenham
Defenders Brett Emerton and Christopher Samba return to give Blackburn a full-strength squad as Mark Hughes’s side look to sustain their push for Europe.
Emerton returned to training this week after being laid low by a groin problem, while Samba is available again following a one-match ban which ruled him out of Saturday’s goalless draw at Reading.
Spurs will have midfielder Jermaine Jenas available for the trip to Ewood Park following illness and defender Younes Kaboul (dead leg) could also play, but captain Ledley King will not feature for the remainder of the season as he continues his rehabilitation from a knee problem.
Fulham v Sunderland
Fulham have no fresh injury worries ahead of Sunderland’s visit to Craven Cottage, and manager Roy Hodgson includes Finland international Jari Litmanen in the squad as his side look for a win that will boost their survival hopes.
Kasey Keller is set to continue in goal, while Brian McBride is likely to partner Eddie Johnson again in attack.
Sunderland midfielder Dwight Yorke misses out for the Black Cats after damaging a knee in training on Thursday and is likely to be out of action for a week.
He joins Dickson Etuhu (also knee) on the sidelines, although manager Roy Keane has no other new fitness concerns.
Manchester City v Chelsea
Manchester City look set to have midfield duo Martin Petrov (flu) and Michael Johnson (groin) available, as they look for a win that would boost city rivals United’s chances of retaining the title.
Both players could feature at Eastlands but defenders Michael Ball and Micah Richards (both knee) remain on the sidelines.
Goalkeeper Petr Cech could be included in title-chasing Chelsea’s squad as Blues coach Avram Grant is hoping that he has finally recovered from his ankle problem.
Midfielder Frank Lampard has recovered from the stomach bug that kept him sidelined following international duty.
Newcastle v Reading
Newcastle striker Mark Viduka should be fit after leaving the pitch at Tottenham last weekend with a tight hamstring, but midfielder Emre will be missing for three weeks after aggravating his calf injury on his return to action for the reserves in mid-week.
Stephen Carr (hamstring) and James Milner (foot) are close to being available again, but Shay Given and Claudio Cacapa (both groin) and Peter Ramage (knee) are still missing.
Reading will be without Marek Matejovsky as the midfielder serves a one-match ban following his sending-off against Blackburn last week.
Winger Glen Little is in the squad for the first time in almost a year as he completes his comeback from an Achilles injury, but forward Jimmy Kebe (knee), midfielder Brynjar Gunnarsson (groin) and defender Graeme Murty (knee) are not available.
Wigan v Birmingham
Wigan midfielder Wilson Palacios, who spent the first half of the season on loan at St Andrews, is expected to face his former club after serving a one-match ban.
Fellow midfielders Michael Brown and Jason Koumas are still suspended, although manager Steve Bruce – who left Birmingham for Wigan last November – has no new injury problems to contend with.
Birmingham will be without defenders Franck Queudrue and Liam Ridgewell (both suspended), so Martin Taylor and Rafael Schmitz could deputise.
James McFadden (knee) and Olivier Kapo (hamstring) are unlikely to be considered despite making good progress.
Middlesbrough v Manchester United (13:30 BST, Sunday)
Middlesbrough will be without Egyptian striker Mido, who will miss the rest of the season following hernia surgery to fix a pelvic injury.
Gary Neville has been named in the United squad after 12 months out with an ankle injury, but the league leaders will be without centre-half Nemanja Vidic (knee) and have doubts over winger Nani (thigh).
Wes Brown is likely to step in at centre-half alongside Rio Ferdinand with John O’Shea coming into the side at right-back, while defender Mikael Silvestre, who has been out since September with a knee ligament injury, could return.
Everton v Derby (15:00 BST, Sunday)
Everton are expected to have striker Andrew Johnson available after he recovered from a groin injury, and teenage striker Victor Anichebe is also back in training after spending the early part of the week in hospital for tests on a virus.
The Toffees have doubts over full-back Tony Hibbert (hip) and midfielder Steven Pienaar (knee), while Tim Cahill and James Vaughan are both out for the season with long-term injuries.
Derby manager Paul Jewell will be without Marc Edworthy, as the Rams defender is suffering from a cracked rib.
Edworthy joins long-term absentees Claude Davis and Giles Barnes on the sidelines as Jewell goes in search of a first league win as County manager.