Europa and CL ties to contend with here. Let’s get into it.
Aston Villa v Norwich
Guzan; Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Bennett; Holman, Delph, El Ahmadi, Ireland, Agbonlahor; Bent.
Guzan is still preferred to Given, while Bent will face competition for a start from the impressive Benteke– he was rested last week due to international commitments but should be cherry ripe for saturday.
Ruddy; Martin, Bassong, Turner, Garrido; Bennett, Tettey, Johnson, Hoolahan, Pilkington; Holt.
I poo-pooed them last week and they screwed me over. Up yours Hughton. They will surely go in unchanged against Villa.
Arsenal v QPR
Mannone; Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Santos; Arteta, Ramsey, Cazorla; Gervinho, Giroud, Podolski.
Jenkinson‘s days are numbered- Sagna is nearing full fitness, while Gibbs is still injured, which affords Santos a start. Oxlade-Chamberlain is also a doubt, and as Walcott recovers from being poleaxed v Poland, Giroud, Gervinho and Podolski should all start. I expect Ramsey to feature from the bench.
Cesar; Bosingwa, Mbia, Nelsen, Traore; Hoilett, Diakite, Granero, Park; Taarabt; Zamora.
Mbia was shifted to CB last week at Ferdinand‘s expense, while I reckon Wright-Phillips will feature from the bench so Hoilett and Taarabt can start.
Reading v Fulham
Federici; Cummings, Gorkss, Mariappa, Shorey; Kebe, Karacan, Leigertwood, McAnuff; Hunt, Pogrebnyak.
Federici is in line for a recall, but McCarthy will cling on to his start. I’m tipping the Aussie out of patriotism. The rest of the team should be fairly straight forward.
Schwarzer; Riether, Hangeland, Hughes, Riise; Duff, Sidwell, Baird, Ruiz; Rodallega, Berbatov.
Ruiz returns at Richardson‘s expense, while Baird has been preferred in the midfield over Diarra. Rodallega keeps Petric on the bench.
Stoke v Sunderland
Begovic; Cameron, Huth, Shawcross, Wilson; Whitehead, Nzonzi, Adam, Kightly; Walters, Crouch.
Cameron started at RB even though Wilkinson was available, while Whitehead filled in for the doubtful Whelan last week, who remains unsure of a start. A revertion to Pulis’ 4-4-2 is probably on the cards for this fixture.
Mignolet; Bardsley, Cuellar, O’Shea, Rose; Johnson, Larsson, Cattermole, McClean; Sessegnon, Fletcher.
Bardsley is back, meaning Gardner drops to the bench as Cattermole returns from suspension… again. As the CM pairing is strengthened, Colback also misses out.
Wigan v West Ham
Al Habsi; Caldwell, Ramis, Figueroa; Boyce, McArthur, McCarthy, Beausejour; Kone, Di Santo, Maloney.
As per usual for Wigan, as Alcaraz is still injured. Boselli and Gomez will push for a start.
Jaaskelainen; O’Brien, Reid, Collins, McCartney; Noble, Diame, Nolan; Benayoun, Caroll, Jarvis.
Benayoun took Vaz Te‘s wing, instead of Maiga. Down back, Demel has been ruled out, meaning O’Brien will move to RB to cover.
Man City v Swansea
Hart; Richards, Lescott, Kompany, Kolarov; Y Toure, Nasri, Barry; Aguero, Tevez, Sinclair.
Clichy has started the last two games, time for a rotation to Kolarov methinks. Richards starts as Maicon and Zab are injured. Rodwell is still injured so Barry starts. Dzeko started midweek, so I’m tipping Sinclair to start against his old comrades. Silva is still injured.
Vorm; Rangel, Chico, Williams, Davies; Ki, Britton, De Guzman; Hernandez, Michu, Routledge.
Michu is now a striker. That’ll teach me for ditching him. Dyer is nearing full fitness, and will be pushing for a spot on the RW, with Hernandez or Routledge the men to make way.
Everton v Liverpool
Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Heitinga, Baines; Mirallas, Neville, Fellaini, Osman; Naismith, Jelavic.
I can’t really pick Everton at the moment, as Pienaar is suspended- leaving a massive hole on the left. Osman should fill it, or alternatively Anichebe could start and push Fellaini deeper and wider. Fellaini himself is expected to play, but will be not quite right. Heitinga could also drop into the midfield and Distin slot into the back four.
Reina; Wisdom, Skrtel, Agger, Johnson; Allen, Sahin, Gerrard; Sterling, Suarez, Suso.
The same as usual for Liverpool, with Shelvey the only one really pushing for a berth, with Assaidi playing a full 90 midweek v Anzhi.
Newcastle v West Brom
Krul; Simpson, S Taylor, Coloccini, Santon; Ben Arfa, Tiote, Cabaye, Guitierrez; Cisse, Ba.
Newcastle are finally back to full strength, and thank god they are because Coloccini kept them in it last week. Alternatively Ameobi may start up front… but for who? I think this XI is pretty safe.
Foster; Tamas, Olsson, McAuley, Ridgewell; Dorrans, Yacob, Mulumbu, Gera; Morrison; Long.
Tamas is filling in at RB still, while Gera may be primed for his first start in a while on the left. Fortune could also feature here, while Lukaku will probably feature from the bench, as Long has been in great touch.
Southampton v Tottenham
Gazzaniga; Clyne, Fonte, Yoshida, Fox; Schneiderlin, Davis; Puncheon, Lallana; Rodriguez, Lambert.
Only a couple of problems here, with Ramirez still struggling, and Lambert being dropped for last week. I’m tipping him to return though, so if you have him, he will start! He always features in home games. Fox is a doubt with Shaw on standby.
Lloris; Walker, Caulker, Gallas, Vertonghen; Sandro, Dembele; Lennon, Bale, Dempsey; Defoe.
The goalkeeper roulette continues… this week I’ll pick Lloris. Dembele and Bale are both returning after missing Chelsea’s match. Defoe should start over Adebayor again… apparently the Togo international has been unhappy so far at Spurs.
Chelsea v Man United
Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Cole; Mikel, Ramires; Oscar, Hazard, Mata; Torres.
Much of the same from Chelsea, as Lampard is injured so Ramires starts. Sturridge has to feature soon… but surely not against the might of Man United?
De Gea; Rafael, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra; Carrick, Cleverley; Valencia, Rooney, Young; Van Persie.
Cleverley and Carrick might get first crack at the CM, with Anderson and Scholes knocking on the door. Young or Welbeck is up for an attacking midfield slot, and surely Hernandez can’t be far off after a brace midweek v Braga. RVP and Rooney look set to continue their dynamic partnership.
That should do me… good luck to one and all this week!