MY Super Single in the Daily Record on Saturday is QPR to beat West Brom – and once again this won’t be universally popular.
When I put up the shortlist on Thursday even one QPR fan said they couldn’t be trusted and I know where he’s coming from.
But QPR are decent at home and in fact all 14 of their points have been gathered at Loftus Road. On top of that they welcome back top scorer Charlie Austin after a ban and I believe they are good value at 29-20 with bet365 to beat a side struggling but boosted by last week’s win against 10-man Aston Villa.
Harry Redknapp’s men have beaten Man City at home and if they want to stay up it’s teams like West Brom who they have to care of.
In the Record I’m also hot on West Ham and Spurs and like the look of a Man City/Man Utd double – although Man City team news might discourage you. Talking of team news here’s all the Premier League latest.
Aston Villa v Manchester United
On-loan Tom Cleverley is banned alongside Alan Hutton and Kieran Richardson. Ashley Westwood (knee), Joe Cole (hamstring), Philippe Senderos (calf) and Nathan Baker (knee) are injured but captain Ron Vlaar and midfielder Fabian Delph are available after both returned from injury last weekend.
Midfielder Marouane Fellaini has been ruled out for Manchester United through illness. Winger Angel di Maria could return after his hamstring injury and striker Radamel Falcao is nearing full fitness. Left-back Luke Shaw (ankle), midfielder Daley Blind (knee) and centre-backs Chris Smalling (groin) and Marcos Rojo (thigh) are out.
Last season: Man Utd 4 Aston Villa 1, Aston Villa 0 Man Utd 3
Hull v Swansea
Hull will be without defender Michael Dawson and midfielders Tom Huddlestone and Mohamed Diame. Dawson is facing at least a month on the sidelines with a grade two hamstring tear, Huddlestone is beginning a four-game suspension and Diame’s knee complaint has yet to ease. Loanee Hatem Ben Arfa has been told he will not play for the club again and Robert Snodgrass remains a long-term absentee.
Lukasz Fabianski returns in goal for Swansea as manager Garry Monk has a fully-fit squad to select from. Fabianski missed last weekend’s 2-1 home defeat to Tottenham through suspension after being sent off against West Ham and will reclaim the keeper’s jersey from Gerhard Tremmel. Argentine central defender Federico Fernandez has trained all week after missing the last six games through calf trouble and could be in contention to play alongside skipper Ashley Williams at the back.
Last season: Hull 1 Swansea 0, Swansea 1 Hull 1
Manchester City v Crystal Palace
Manchester City have no frontline strikers nor their captain Vincent Kompany available. Forwards Sergio Aguero (knee), Stevan Jovetic (hamstring) and Edin Dzeko (calf) could all be out until the new year while defender and skipper Kompany (hamstring) faces a similar lay-off. Teenage striker Jose Angel Pozo, who made his first start against Leicester last week, could get another chance or the likes of James Milner, Samir Nasri or David Silva might play in a more advanced role.
Crystal Palace will be without Marouane Chamakh, who has a hamstring injury. Eagles boss Neil Warnock is unsure how long the problem will sideline the former Arsenal forward. Joe Ledley (hip) is also absent but Adrian Mariappa is fit following a knee injury but may not be fit enough to start at the Etihad Stadium.
Last season: Crystal Palace 0 Man City 2, Man City 1 Crystal Palace 0
QPR v West Brom
QPR will welcome top scorer Charlie Austin back from suspension after the striker missed the 3-1 defeat at Everton because of his sending-off against former club Burnley. Steven Caulker is also in contention after sitting out the Everton game due to a head injury suffered at a social gathering with other players. Mauricio Isla will be absent as he has returned home to Chile for the birth of his child and long-term injury casualties Sandro and Alejandro Faurlin (both knee) are not close to a return.
West Brom will welcome back captain Chris Brunt after he overcame a hamstring injury. The skipper had missed the last two games but is fit again for the game at Loftus Road. Victor Anichebe remains a doubt with a groin strain though and Georgios Samaras has not trained this week after being granted permission to return to Greece for a family matter. Jonas Olsson is sidelined following Achilles surgery.
Last season: No corresponding fixture
Southampton v Everton
Morgan Schneiderlin, Victor Wanyama and Dusan Tadic are among a host of players unavailable for Southampton. Schneiderlin and Wanyama, along with Florin Gardos, are suspended for Saturday’s match, while Tadic and Jake Hesketh join long-term absentees Jay Rodriguez, Sam Gallagher and Jack Cork on the sidelines. Graziano Pelle and Steven Davis are doubts for the match, while Harrison Reed is set for a first Premier League start. A number of Under-21s players have been called up to the squad.
Midfielders Darron Gibson (knee) and James McCarthy (hamstring) are both rated 50-50 to be fit for Everton. Forward Kevin Mirallas will be missing after sustaining ankle ligament damage on Monday while Leon Osman (ankle) is unlikely to return this weekend. Midfielder Gareth Barry returns from suspension.
Last season: Southampton 2 Everton 0, Everton 2 Southampton 1
Tottenham v Burnley
Emmanuel Adebayor is available for Tottenham after compassionate leave but is not yet fully fit, so is unlikely to start. Mauricio Pochettino has an otherwise fully-fit squad for the match.
Burnley striker Sam Vokes is nearing a first-team return after a serious knee injury but rather than feature at White Hart Lane the Wales international is instead expected to play for the Clarets’ development squad on Monday against Blackpool. Full-back Ben Mee has fully recovered from the illness which forced him off against Southampton, but Michael Duff (calf) has suffered a setback and joins Matt Taylor (Achilles) and Stephen Ward (ankle) on the sidelines.
Last season: No corresponding fixture
West Ham v Leicester
Midfielder Mark Noble will miss out for West Ham because of an Achilles problem. Manager Sam Allardyce hopes Noble will be back for the Boxing Day trip to Chelsea. West Ham otherwise report no fresh injury problems, with strikers Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho in contention to again lead the attack.
David Nugent is set to return for Leicester after missing last week’s defeat to Manchester City with a calf injury. He will be assessed before the game while keeper Kasper Schmeichel is out after breaking a metatarsal last week which will rule him out for at least five more weeks. Matt Upson is close to a comeback after a long-standing foot injury but will not be risked as he returns to full fitness.
Last season: No corresponding fixture
Liverpool v Arsenal (Sun)
Liverpool are awaiting a late assessment on defender Dejan Lovren’s groin injury. The centre-back was forced off during Wednesday’s Capital One Cup quarter-final win over Bournemouth and should he not be fi, manager Brendan Rodgers can recall Mamadou Sakho or revert to a flat-back four. Midfielder Joe Allen missed the trip to the south coast but could return to the squad, but striker Mario Balotelli is suspended.
Arsenal’s Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (both groin) and Nacho Monreal (ankle) face fitness tests to determine if they can play. Manager Arsene Wenger fears midfielder Aaron Ramsey will miss the hectic festive fixture schedule with his hamstring problem but has Calum Chambers back from suspension. Laurent Koscielny (calf), Mikel Arteta (calf), Mesut Ozil (knee), David Ospina (thigh), Abou Diaby (calf), Jack Wilshere (ankle), Tomas Rosicky (thigh) and Serge Gnabry (knee) are all still out.
Last season: Liverpool 5 Arsenal 1, Arsenal 2 Liverpool 0
Newcastle v Sunderland (Sun)
Jak Alnwick will retain his place in goal for the derby showdown. The 21-year-old has recovered from the shoulder problem he suffered during Wednesday night’s 4-0 Capital One Cup defeat at Tottenham and will continue to deputise for the injured Tim Krul (ankle) and Rob Elliot (thigh), while full-back Daryl Janmaat will return from a one-game ban. Manager Alan Pardew will assess striker Papiss Cisse, who missed the game at White Hart Lane with a virus, while defender Steven Taylor and midfielders Cheick Tiote and Sammy Ameobi (muscle strains) are hopeful of being fit.
Italy international Emanuele Giaccherini could return to the Sunderland squad having been out of action since September with an ankle problem. The midfielder has returned to training and is in contention for the game. However, Billy Jones (hamstring) will be given another week to build up match-fitness, while fellow full-back Patrick van Aanholt continues his recovery from a dislocated shoulder.
Last season: Newcastle 0 Sunderland 3, Sunderland 2 Newcastle 1
Stoke v Chelsea (Mon)
Stoke forward Bojan Krkic looks set to be fit to face the leaders. Bojan, a stand-out performer of late, sustained a hip injury in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace but the Spaniard has trained this week and Potters boss Mark Hughes expects him to be available. Defender Marc Muniesa has recovered from the hamstring complaint which prevented him from being involved in the Palace match, while Hughes is optimistic a knee problem suffered by Stephen Ireland will not rule the midfielder out.
Thibaut Courtois should be fit for Chelsea having missed the Blues’ last two matches with a muscular injury. Didier Drogba should overcome an ankle injury sustained in the Capital One Cup win against Derby, while defender Kurt Zouma is available for selection after suffering a head injury on Tuesday.
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