Premier League – Team news: Arsenal crisis
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Saturday – 12:45 – Arsenal v Manchester United
Robin van Persie‘s suspension for his red card against Stoke adds to Arsene Wenger’s selection headache, with several of the Frenchman’s top stars afflicted by injury. Emmanuel Adebayor (ankle) and Emmanuel Eboue (knee) are definitely out, while captain William Gallas (hamstring) and winger Theo Walcott (shoulder) are doubtful. Bacary Sagna should start after recovering full match fitness, while fellow defender Mikael Silvestre (pictured) could play despite a broken nose.
Sir Alex Ferguson will rotate his squad again after making several changes for Wednesday’s Champions League game at Celtic. Dimitar Berbatov and Wayne Rooney should return to the starting XI with Carlos Tevez consigned to the bench once more. Gary Neville replaces Rafael da Silva at right-back with Wes Brown (ankle) struggling. Edwin van der Sar takes over in goal ahead of Ben Foster.
Left-back Erik Edman is not ready for first-team action despite playing for the reserves after knee surgery – Maynor Figueroa continues. Steve Bruce has faith that a back five, all of whom measure 6′ 1 or taller, will deal with the threat posed by Rory Delap’s long throws.
Stoke boss Tony Pulis is not expected to tinker with the side that beat Arsenal last weekend, keeping faith with Rory Delap and Ryan Shawcross, who were accused by Arsene Wenger of deliberately causing injuries.
15:00 – West Ham v Everton
Injury-ravaged West Ham welcome back central midfielder Scott Parker (calf) as Gianfranco Zola’s side look to arrest a run of four straight defeats. Striker Carlton Cole is still suspended, while nine first-teamers are still injured.
Teenager Jack Rodwell is expected to come into the Everton midfield with Marouane Fellaini suspended – alternatively David Moyes could play Phil Neville in midfield and use Tony Hibbert at right-back. Tim Cahill will play just behind lone striker Ayegbeni Yakubu.
Hull City boss Phil Brown has promised one or two surprises for the visit of Bolton. Former Trotters Stelios Giannakopoulos is pressing for inclusion at the expense of Dean Marney, while right-back Bernard Mendy could also face his former club if preferred to Paul McShane. Skipper Ian Ashbee returns after suspension.
Striker Johan Elmander is back for Bolton after injury and should partner Kevin Davies up front. Winger Mustapha Riga is available after picking up a minor knock last weekend, although Ricardo Gardner could keep his place. Captain Kevin Nolan is suspended.
Goalkeeper Craig Gordon (ankle) appears to be losing his battle for fitness, meaning Marton Fulop continues to deputise. Left-back George McCartney is also doubtful. Striker Djibril Cisse was dropped for the 5-0 drubbing at Chelsea and could reclaim his place ahead of Martin Waghorn.
Croatian midfielder is pressing for his first start of the season and could displace Armand Traore on the left side of midfield. Otherwise Portsmouth boss Tony Adams is likely to name an unchanged side as he searches for his first win, with David Nugent and Glen Little the only absentees.
17:30 – Liverpool v West Bromwich
Rafael Benitez expects Fernando Torres to make his comeback from injury. The striker has not played since the last international break on October 15, missing six matches with a hamstring strain.
West Brom are once again without central defenders Leon Barnett and Abdoulaye Meite but Scotland midfielder James Morrison is fit to play after recovering from the back problem that forced him off against Blackburn. Midfielder Filipe Teixeira, who has not played since March due to a knee ligament injury, could be on the bench.
Wayne Bridge will continue to deputise for Ashley Cole (calf) at Ewood Park. Ricardo Carvalho (hamstring) and midfielders Michael Ballack (foot) and Michael Essien (knee) also still on the sidelines so Brazilian defensive midfielder Mineiro could feature.
Aston Villa have doubts over midfield duo Stiliyan Petrov (hamstring) and James Milner. Petrov has a hamstring strain that also ruled him out of Monday’s 2-0 defeat at Newcastle and Thursday night’s UEFA Cup victory away to Slavia Prague while England Under-21 international Milner suffered a blow to his side against Newcastle.
Afonso Alves and Mido are vying to partner Tuncay Sanli in attack. Mido came off the bench to net his fifth goal of the campaign against West Ham last weekend. Julio Arca is fit and could replace Didier Digard in central midfield.
Manchester City midfielder Vincent Kompany is suspended after picking up five yellow cards. Benjani marked his return from a thigh injury with a goal against FC Twente but is likely to be on the bench with Jo also fit again.
Tottenham welcome back Vedran Corluka and Roman Pavlyuchenko who were cup-tied for the UEFA Cup win against Dinamo Zagreb. The Russian is likely to be on the bench, along with Jamie O’Hara, who was suspended for Thursday’s clash. Mexico forward Giovani Dos Santos is set for a spell on the sidelines after suffering a serious ankle injury
Newcastle United captain Michael Owen came on briefly as a substitute against Aston Villa on Monday but is likely to be on the bench again after a two-week absence with a groin injury.