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PREVIEW: Saturday’s Premier League fixtures

Eight games will be played tomorrow

The team here at SillySeason take a look ahead to the eight matches that are set to be played in the Premier League on Saturday. There is one 12:45pm kick off and one 5:30pm kick off, with the rest of the games commencing at 3:00pm.

Stoke City vs Manchester City

Mark Hughes’ Stoke host Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City at the Britannia Stadium in the 12:45pm kick off live on BT Sport.

Both sides are coming into the game having won in midweek; Stoke defeated Sheffield Wednesday 2-0, whereas City defeated Hull City 4-1 at the Etihad Stadium, meaning both progressed into the Capital One Cup semi-finals.

In terms of team news, the visitors are hopeful David Silva will start, as he has completed his return from an ankle injury this week.

However, it looks as if the talismanic Sergio Aguero and shot-stopper Joe Hart could miss the game through injury, whilst Stoke will be without striker Peter Crouch, who is out with a hamstring problem.

The league leaders haven’t won away from home since their last minute 1-0 victory at Crystal Palace on 12th September.

Arsenal vs Sunderland

Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal side will be looking to get their title challenge back on track at home to lowly Sunderland on Saturday, after a disappointing 1-1 draw at Norwich last Sunday.

The Gunners’ good start has somewhat faultered in recent weeks, due to a bad run of injuries to key players.

Wenger will be without the influential Alexis Sanchez and Santi Cazorla for the game at the Emirates Stadium, although he is expected to welcome Kieran Gibbs back with a place on the bench. Laurent Koscielny and Theo Walcott are also in contention to start.

On the other hand, Sunderland have been on a bit of a resurgent run under the guidance of Sam Allardyce, as they again attempt to escape the grasps of relegation.

The Black Cats have won their last two games, 1-0 away at Crystal Palace and 2-0 at home to Stoke, but they could be without the recently absent Jack Rodwell, Sebastian Larsson and their key man Jermain Defoe.

Manchester United vs West Ham United

Manchester United face West Ham at Old Trafford with both teams in desperate need of some consistent form.

Starting with the visitors, a poor November saw the Hammers drop out of the top four into the lower section of the top half.

Their up and down form away from home has seen them take scalps at Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City, but their latest away game at bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur resulted in a 4-1 defeat.

Slaven Bilic will be without the long-term absentees of Dimitri Payet, Enner Valencia and the recently injured Diafra Sakho, who is out for two months.

On the flip side, Manchester United are only one point off the Premier League summit, despite critics questioning Louis van Gaal’s tactics.

A win could see the Red Devils go top of the pile, but they may have to claim the win without the help of Ander Herrera, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo who are all out. Jesse Lingard is also a doubt.

Southampton vs Aston Villa

Southampton will be itching to bounce back from their heavy 6-1 defeat at home to Liverpool in the Capital Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday night, and they have the league’s basement club in sight this weekend.

Ronald Koeman’s Saints face Remi Garde’s Aston Villa, hoping for three points that will help them move on from their midweek embarrassment. The South Coast side are without defender Florin Gardos due to a knee injury.

Villa are in desperate need of points as they currently sit rock bottom and seven points from safety in the Premier League table.

Garde will not have Ciaran Clark at his disposal, as the centre-half is suspended for this particular game; centre forward Gabby Agbonlahor is also a doubt with a calf injury.

Jack Grealish continues to work with the club’s under 21 squad.

Swansea City vs Leicester City

Out-of-form Swansea host in-form Leicester with the Swans needing a win to get their season back on track.

Garry Monk’s only absentee is left-back Franck Tabanou, who is out for a few weeks after suffering a torn thigh muscle. However, he does welcome back Jonjo Shelvey from suspension.

Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester continue to fly high in the Premier League, as they sit joint top of England’s top flight – only behind Manchester City on goal difference.

The Foxes will be without defender Richie de Laet, the full-back is out for up to a month with an ankle injury.

Leicester’s main man Jamie Vardy will be looking to continue his astonishing record by scoring in his 12th consecutive game.

Watford vs Norwich City

Newly-promoted Watford sit in a solid 11th place in the league after a good start to the campaign under Quiche Sanchez Flores.

Fellow promotion gainers Norwich have also started the season in steady fashion, Alex Neil’s men sit 16th and three points clear of the relegation zone.

Flores could see goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes return to Hornets starting eleven, even though the Brazilian was stretchered off last week at Aston Villa.

Also, Norwich will welcome back midfielder Alex Tettey; the Norway international has recently returned from a groin injury.

West Bromwich Albion vs Tottenham Hotspur

West Brom will welcome Spurs to the Hawthorns knowing that a win in front of their own fans could lift them into the top half of the table.

Tony Pulis’ Baggies will be looking to build on a 1-1 draw at West Ham last week, a point that might well have been three.

On the other hand, Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham side had to settle for a 0-0 draw against London rivals Chelsea at White Hart Lane.

West Brom’s Claudio Yacob will miss the game because he must serve a one-match suspension, but Chris Brunt returns from a ban for the hosts.

A huge positive for Spurs will be the fact that starlet Delle Alli will back after he too served a suspension, but his fellow midfielder Ryan Mason is out for around two weeks after sustaining an ankle injury.

Chelsea vs Bournemouth

Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea will be looking for another win at Stamford Bridge as they continue to make a slow recovery to their poor start to this term.

Mourinho classed the Blues’ 0-0 draw at Tottenham as their ‘best performance in weeks’, whereas Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth battled from 2-0 and 3-2 down at home to Everton to draw 3-3 late on.

The champions have received a major boost as goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is fit to start after three months out and Nemanja Matic can play after breaking his nose, but he must wear a protective face mask.

John Terry and Radamel Falcao are set to miss out with niggling injuries.

Ryan Allsop could start between the sticks for the Cherries and make his first Premier League start due to injuries to Artur Boruc and Adam Federici.

Playmaker Harry Arter will miss the game for Bournemouth with a hamstring injury, but it isn’t thought to be serious and he should return soon.

The match will be broadcast live on Sky Sports’ Saturday Night Football, kick off is 5:30pm.

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