Friday, January 8, 2010
Tim Howard and Everton stare down Arsenal while Jozy Altidore and Hull head to Stamford Bridge this weekend amid England's worst cold spell in 13 years.

Arsenal - Everton

Tim Howard will be looking forward to facing Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday and Landon Donavan will look to get straight to work as he expects to be included in David Moyes' plans to help his depleted squad.

London has been hard hit with snow and ice, with more expected, and Arsenal's Wednesday evening game against Bolton Wanderers was postponed because of safety concerns for the fans on the approaches to the stadium.

If the game goes ahead the Toffees could see several players coming back to fitness including Louis Saha, Joseph Yobo, Dan Gosling and Sylvain Distin from hamstring injuries, with Jo and Victor Anichebe also recovering from knee injuries.

They will definitely be without Joseph Yobo and Ayegbeni Yakubu to international commitments, and Jack Rodwell with a hamstring tear, plus continuing knee injuries to Phil Jagielka and Mikel Arteta.

Arsenal are suffering an injury crisis, compounded with the absence of African players Emmanuel Eboue and Alex Song who are no longer at their disposal. Tomas Rosicki will once again be available, however no other players will be making a return from the sidelines for the game with Nicholas Bendtner, Cesc Fabregas, and Theo Walcott not expected to return until the end of January.

Kieran Gibbs is out with a broken foot, while Gael Clichy and Denilson have back injuries, plus Robin van Persie and Johan Djourou are both out for the long haul, Van Persie out with a sprained ankle and Djourou with a knee injury.

Chelsea - Hull City

Jozy Altidore will be hoping to make the starting eleven as the Tigers travel to London to play the Premier League's top ranked team. The weather will again determine whether the game goes ahead.

Paul McShane should be available for the visitors after recovering from a hamstring strain, but they will be without Daniel Cousin, Seyi Olofinjana and Kamel Ghilas who are all playing in the Africa Cup of nations, while Jimmy Bullard and Ian Ashbee, are suffering with knee injuries. Bullard is just a few weeks away from playing, but Ashbee will be lucky to see the field again this season.

Chelsea is one of the hardest hit teams in the Premier League with Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, Jon Obi Mikel and Saloman Kalou on international duty in Angola. They should be boosted by the return of Deco from a groin strain and Nicolas Anelka who is fit after a hamstring injury, but the game comes too soon for Jose Bosingwa who still has not recovered from a knee injury.

Hull are trying to complete the loan signing of forward Felipo Caicedo from Manchester City in time to play, but this is in the balance at the moment.

Fulham - Portsmouth

After the Cottagers narrowly failed to claw back a three-goal halftime deficit at Stoke in midweek despite Clint Dempsey's wonder goal from 30 yards, the team will be raring to start against a Pompey team who sit rooted to the bottom of the Premier League, and who are also missing key players.

Fulham could see several players once again available after injury, including Seol Ki Hyeon and Diomansy Kamara from knee problems, and Simon Davies who is over an ankle injury.

The bad news though is that they lose on-fire top scorer Bobby Zamora, who has eleven goals this season, to a dislocated shoulder, along with John Pantsil and Dickson Etuhu who are o international duty in Angola.

The African Cup of Nations could not come at a worse time for Portsmouth, as they lose Kevin-Prince Boateng, John Utaka, Nadir Belhadj, Aruna Dindane, Hassan Yebda and Kanu for the next few weeks. Better news is that they may see the return of England goalie David James as he has recovered from a calf injury.

Wigan Athletic - Aston Villa

Brad Friedel will be restored to the starting lineup, and Brad Guzan will return to the bench as Villa travel north to play the Latics.

The visitors should see Craig Gardner return from a back injury and Wilfred Bouma from an ankle problem, whilst Curtis Davies is a week away from recovery after a dislocated shoulder. Moustapha Salifou is on his way to play in the African Cup of Nations.

The hosts have keeper Chris Kirkland recovered from a virus, but Mohamed Diame is three weeks away with a MCL Ligament injury. Richard Kingson is also unavailable as he travels to Angola.

West Ham United - Wolverhampton Wanderers

Marcus Hahnemann should be back in the starting eleven as Wolves face a vital game at one of their relegation rivals after being rested in last weekend's FA Cup game at Tranmere Rovers. Jonathan Spector will hope to make the bench for the Hammers.

Carlton Cole could return for the hosts after a knee injury, as could Scott Parker and Herita Ilunga after hamstring injuries. They will not have Mark Noble, Danny Gabbidon or Kieron Dyer due to hamstring problems, Zavon Hines and Kuis Boa Morte with knee injuries, or Callum Davenport who received stab wounds to his thighs during an attack at his home.

Christophe Berra should be over his concussion, but the visitors will be without Michael Kightly, Andy Keogh and David Edwards due to ankle injuries, and Matt Murray who has a long-standing knee problem.

Leeds United - Wycombe Wanderers

Jon-Paul Pittman should be one of the starting forwards as the Chairboys travel to top of the Standings Leeds. Mike Grella will start from the bench for the hosts.

Following last week's win at Manchester United in the FA Cup, Leeds will be full of confidence. After scoring the winner last weekend, Jermaine Beckford handed in a written transfer request, but will still play, as Head Coach Simon Grayson will want to include the forward who has scored 20 goals this season, including five goals in his last three appearances.

Wycombe will be without Lewis Montrose with a knee injury, while Leon Johnson has a hip injury. John Akinde has been recalled from his loan at Wanderers by Bristol City, and forward Chris Zebrowski has been transferred to Torquay United.

If Beckford transfers from Leeds, it would be expected that Grella would see more playing time in the future.


Seb Harris will make the bench as Northampton Town host Chesterfield in League Two action.

All other American players not mentioned earlier in this article will have the weekend off as their games have been postponed due to adverse weather conditions.