Premier League – Team news: Adebayor back
Team news for the final round of Premier League games in 2008, including Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor‘s return from suspension.
Click the links on the right for predicted line-ups and players to watch!
(Kick-offs 14:00 UK time unless stated)
Newcastle v Liverpool (12:00)
Fernando Torres could appear on the bench for the Premier League leaders but Rafa Benitez is unlikely to risk his hamstring from the start. Fabio Aurelio could return at left-back but Alvaro Arbeloa is still out.
Arsenal v Portsmouth
Alex Song and Johan Djourou are the latest names on the Arsenal injury list, but their absence is compensated by the return of Gael Clichy, who made a successful substitute appearance on Boxing Day. Emmanuel Adebayor (pictured) is back from suspension.
Erik Edman aside, Wigan are at full strength. Steve Bruce has the option of resting some tired legs but this Lancashire derby is a big game for both sides.
No new worries for Sunderland boss Ricky Sbragia, with Craig Gordon and George McCartney the only absentees. Sbragia may wish to shuffle his strikers following a dismal Boxing Day display by Djibril Cisse.
Fulham defender Brede Hangeland missed Friday’s game with the flu but will be keen to return for the derby, while it is a similar story for Jimmy Bullard who has a dead leg. Midfielder Zoltan Gera (calf) is still out.
Tom Huddlestone limped out of Friday’s game against Fulham and should be replaced by Jermaine Jenas. Ledley King is highly unlikely to play twice in three days, meaning a return for defender Jonathan Woodgate.
West Ham United v Stoke
Craig Bellamy misses out through suspension after his two-goal salvo at Portsmouth. Gianfranco Zola will replace him with Davide Di Michele or Diego Tristan. Captain Lucas Neill is an injury doubt with Julien Faubert standing by.
Andy Wilkinson’s red card against Manchester United earned him a suspension, and Tony Pulis may rush Andy Griffin back from injury to play right-back. Salif Diao and Liam Lawrence are also pushing to return.
Rovers skipper Ryan Nelsen is expected to miss out with an eye injury, with Zurab Khizanishvili filling in. Roque Santa Cruz is back in training after a calf strain and could replace either Benni McCarthy or Jason Roberts.
Mark Hughes will be tempted to field an unchanged City side after they hammered Hull 5-1. Benjani‘s thigh strain will keep him out for a fortnight, meaning two-goal Felipe Caicedo continues alongside Robinho up front.
Manchester United v Middlesbrough (20:00)
United’s defence is threadbare with Patrice Evra suspended, Rio Ferdinand (back) injured and John O’Shea doubtful. Alex Ferguson may bring in Dimitar Berbatov, Park Ji-Sung and Michael Carrick for Carlos Tevez, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes.
Phil Brown would probably like to make 11 changes after the 5-1 drubbing at Manchester City, but his thin squad prevents him from doing so. He may suffice with the restoration of Sam Ricketts at left-back.