PREVIEW: WEEKEND ENGLISH ACTION
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JOHN KRETLOW - Friday, December 16, 2011
Zak Whitbread looks for his second start in a row in Norwich City's game against Tim Howard's Everton, while Brad Guzan and Aston Villa host Liverpool.

Tottenham Hotspur - Sunderland

Brad Friedel and Tottenham Hotspur try to avenge last week's loss to Stoke City with a win this week against Sunderland.

Freidel started and went the distance in Tottenham's loss last week. He should be in the starting eleven this week once again.

The Stoke loss last week broke an eleven game unbeaten run by Spurs. They beat Shamrock Rovers in Europa League play this midweek and hope to get momentum from that victory.

Sunderland go into the game just two points above the relegation zone. A win last week over Blackburn though was good news for the Black Cats.

Spurs will be without Danny Rose, Niko Kranjcar, Michael Dawson, and Tom Huddlestone.

Marcos Angeleri, Craig Gordon, Connor Wickham, and Frazier Cambell are out with injuries for Sunderland.

Aston Villa - Liverpool

Brad Guzan and Aston Villa take on Liverpool in a Premier League clash.

Guzan got his first start of the season last week and should be in the starting eleven once again.

Villa are coming off a win over Bolton last after having gone three games winless prior. The Villains are in 9th place in the Premier League standings.

Liverpool find themselves in 6th place in the standings, just outside a Europa League spot. They are coming off a win over Queens Park Rangers and hope to duplicate that victory this weekend.

American Eric Lichaj is out with injury for Villa. Shay Given and Jermaine Jenas will miss as well.

Liverpool's Lucas Leiva and Steven Gerrard are out with injuries. Jay Spearing will miss due to suspension.

Everton - Norwich City

Tim Howard and Everton take on Zak Whitbread and Norwich City this weekend.

Howard will be in the starting lineup once again for Everton.

Whitbread started in last week's win over Newcastle after missing the majority of the season with a hamstring injury. He was subbed out in the 82nd minute. The center back should feature once again for the Canaries.

Everton are coming off two straight losses and are just four points above the relegation zone. The Toffees will want a win to relieve some of the stress they have had this season.

Norwich City beat Newcastle last week and find themselves three points above Everton. They hope to duplicate last week's win with a victory at Goodison Park.

Daniel Ayala, Ritchie De Laet, James Vaughan, and Elliot Ward will miss for the Canaries.

Everton's Jack Rodwell, Victor Anichebe, and Leon Osman will miss.

Fulham - Bolton Wanderers

Clint Dempsey and Fulham host Bolton Wanderers in a pivotal Premier League game.

Dempsey is a regular starter for Fulham and should be in the lineup once again this weekend. Stuart Holden continues his rehab and will not feature for Bolton.

Fulham are coming off a tough draw again Odense in Europa League, where they were officially bounced form the competition. The Cottagers are just three points form the relegation zone and are in need of three points.

Bolton are in last place in the Premier League and need to start winning games before the situation becomes hopeless. They lost last week against Aston Villa but hope they can reverse their luck this weekend.

Mark Schwarzer and Zdenek Grygera are injured for Fulham and will not feature.

Aside from Holden, Bolton will be without Nigel Reo-Coker, Ivan Klasnic, Tyrone Mears, Sean Davis, Chung-Yong Lee, and David Wheater.

Crystal Palace - Birmingham City

Jonathan Spector and Birmingham City travel to play Crystal Palace in Championship action on Monday.

Spector started and went the distance for City in their last game against Doncaster Rovers. The American should get the start once again.

City's win over Doncaster last week snapped a three game losing streak in all competitions. With two games in hand compared to most teams in the Championship, their position is still strong.

Crystal Palace beat Nottingham Forest last week and will want to duplicate that performance. They hold a two-point lead over City, making this game pivotal for both.

Liam Ridgewell and Jordon Mutch are questionable to feature because of injuries for Birmingham.

Notes

Conor Doyle hopes to feature for Derby County in their match versus Ipswich Town. Cody Cropper hopes to make the game day roster for Ipswich.

Robbie Findley could see playing time in Nottingham Forest's game against Bristol City.

Frank Simek continues to recover form injury and will not feature in Carlisle United's match versus Wycombe.

Anton Peterlin hopes for playing time in Walsall's match with Chesterfield.

Jemal Johnson could be on the roster in Southend United's game against Bradford City.

John Paul Pittman is unlikely to see the field in Crawley Town's game against Crewe Alexandra.
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A big question for U.S. fans heading into the World Cup is surely on Jozy Altidore and just what is plaguing the young striker at Sunderland.
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