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Premiership Preview

Aston Villa – Crystal Palace
Bottom of the table Crytasl Palace travel to Villa Park in search of their first Premiership win of the season.

Ian Dowie’s side were tagged the worst team to play in the top flight by pundit Alan Hansen having lost five Premiership ties in succession. The narrow midweek victory over Hartlepool will do little to inspire confidence.

Villa have failed to score in their last two league games but were on target midweek in their Carling Cup match with QPR, running out 3-1 winners. The last time the teams met was in the Carling Cup last season, Villa won that encounter 3-0 and will be looking for a repeat performance tomorrow.

Bolton Wanderers – Birmingham City
High-flying Bolton entertain Steve Bruce’s side looking to build on their unbeaten start to the season.

Draws to Manchester United and Arsenal in recent weeks have established Bolton as serious contenders for Europe despite making hard work of Yeovil Town in the midweek.

Fernando Hierro may keep his place in the starting line-up after his commanding performance in the Cup.

Birmingham are without leading striker Mikael Forsell and it is difficult to see where the goals will come from with the burden resting on shot-shy Emile Heskey.

Fulham – Southampton
Steed Malbranque returned for Fulham in their 4-1 League Cup victory over Paul Gascoigne’s Boston United and may feature against the Saints.

Andrew Cole is ruled out of the tie through suspension leaving Tomasz Radzinski to lead the line following his brace on Wednesday night.

Southampton coach Steve Wigley is under pressure to get a result after criticism being at his methods coming within his own squad, following Belgian import Jelle Van Damme’s outburst at the stagnation in the Saints first team.

Southampton languish fourth from bottom in the Premiership but Wigley has so far kept faith with his starting XI.

Liverpool – Norwich
Rafa Benitez’ Liverpool will be looking to bounce back from their defeat at the hands of Manchester United with three points against Norwich.

Steven Gerrard will be sorely missed at Anfield; the Liverpool skipper begins his possible two-month lay-off due to a broken metatarsal.

Norwich boast only four points from the opening six fixtures and complete the trio of newly promoted clubs in the drop zone. The unlikely strike partnership of Huckerby and Doherty will attempt to secure the first win for a promoted side this campaign.

Manchester City – Arsenal
Sol Campbell looks set to return to the champion’s first team after coming through a mid-week outing with the reserves.

Arsenal will need to be at their best defensively to see off the threat of Nicolas Anelka who will be gunning for his old team.

The tie promises goals with all three of the leagues leading scorers (Anelka plus Henry and Reyes) on display, all incidentally brought to the Premiership by Arsene Wenger.

Middlesborough – Chelsea
Jimmy Floyd Hasslebaink will have a point to prove to his former employers as they visit the Riverside.

The charismatic Dutchman has formed a productive partnership with fellow new arrival Mark Viduka; the two should provide a stern physical challenge to Chelsea captain John Terry.

The Blues lacked penetration in their game against Spurs and will have to improve if they are to prevent Steve McClaren’s side parking their team bus in front of the goal as well.

Playing Sunday
Portsmouth – Everton
This fixture was Everton’s only away win of last season and David Moyes will be hoping for a repeat performance as they push Arsenal and Chelsea in the league.

The Toffees are racing towards their 40-point target having hit the ground running following last year’s relegation battle. H

arry Redknapp’s Portsmouth beat Tranmere 1-0 on Wednesday in the Cup with a goal from record signing Diomansy Kamara. They will be looking to extend their ten match unbeaten streak at Fratton Park.

Tottenham Hotspur – Manchester United
Jacques Santini has a number of attacking options at his disposal with all three strikers on target in their resounding 6-0 victory against Oldham on Wednesday.

Naybet, Edman, Robinson and Pamarot look set to return after being rested for the midweek clash, but Timothee Atouba is doubtful with a knee injury.

United were back to their best against Liverpool on Monday and represent a daunting prospect for the Londoners.

The return of Ferdinand and Heinze have balanced the defence whilst United’s attacking prowess was never in question. Wayne Rooney is still not back to fitness, a silver lining for Spurs.

Playing Monday
Charlton Athletic – Blackburn Rovers
Mark Hughes’ side were the biggest scalp of the midweek Cup action losing to the Cherries on penalties although they were lucky to take it that far.

They will be hoping to bounce back at the Valley although the extra time played midweek may count against them.

Alan Curbishley’s side have drawn their last two Premiership games, the Addicks managed a 2-1 win over Gimsby in the Carling Cup with Danny Murphy and Francis Jeffers making the score sheet however were unconvincing against their League two opponents.

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