PREVIEW: WEEKEND ENGLISH ACTION
Tim Howard and Everton gear up for the always-hyped Merseyside derby while three points could be there for the taking for Clint Dempsey and Fulham who host Wigan.
Everton – Liverpool
Tim Howard and Everton take on Liverpool in an always heated derby match up.
Howard did not get a rest in the Toffees FA Cup win over Scunthorpe last weekend and will again start at goal against Liverpool.
David Moyes looks to be without Phil Jagielka who is suffering from a thigh injury. Ross Barkley also will be sidelined for the derby.
Everton are currently in the middle of the standings but are only four points from the relegation zone.
Liverpool find themselves level with Everton in points and feeling the ongoing pressure to perform to their regular standards. Kenny Dalglish's men lost to Blackpool earlier this week and look to win at Anfield this weekend.
The Reds will be without Steven Gerrard who is serving a suspension and Jamie Carragher from injury.
Everton won the first meeting earlier this season in October.
West Ham United – Arsenal
Jonathan Spector and West Ham United host Arsenal in Premier League action this weekend.
Spector started and played the full ninety minutes in West Ham's first leg victory over Birmingham in the Carling Cup semifinal.
West Ham are hoping to capture some of that momentum and apply it this weekend to make it out of last place.
Avram Grant looks to be without a plethora of players. Valon Behrami, Herit Ilunga, and Benni McCarthy have missed of late but could have their health back for this game. Lars Jacobsen's heel looks to keep him out while Manuel Da Costa and Thomas Hitzlsperger will be out until February. Anthony Edgar and Peter Kurucz are out long term.
Arsenal are coming off a disappointing Carling Cup semifinal first leg loss to Ipswich and hope to reverse their fortunes against the Premier League bottom dwellers.
Denilson injured his thigh in Arsenal's Carling Cup loss this week and will be sidelined. Thomas Vermaelen will be out with an Achilles injury while Lukasz Fabianski is questionable to feature against West Ham. Sebastien Squillaci is out with a hamstring problem and Abou Diaby should miss with a calf injury.
Fulham – Wigan Athletic
Clint Dempsey and Fulham take on Wigan Athletic in a Premier League clash.
Dempsey started and played 61 minutes in Fulham's emphatic FA Cup victory over Peterborough United.
The Cottagers and Dempsey hope that play continues this weekend against Wigan. Currently Fulham are only one point from the relegation zone and a win on Saturday could give some breathing room for the London team.
Fulham got good news this week that Andrew Johnson and Mousa Dembele trained this week and could feature for the Cottagers after time on the sidelines. Bobby Zamora and Philippe Senderos are out long term.
Wigan beat Hull City last week in the FA Cup and will hope that momentum runs through this weekend. They are currently in the relegation zone and are in desperate need for three points.
They look to be without Rodriguez Adrian Lopez who was injured in their FA Cup win. James McCarthy, Victor Moses, and Franco Di Santo are out long term. Tom Cleverly looks to miss with a hamstring problem.
Bolton – Stoke City
Stuart Holden looks to return for Bolton as they take on Stoke City.
Holden has missed lately due to a thigh injury but could feature once again for Bolton.
The Wanderers are currently seventh in the standings and would love to keep up with the best of the Premier League. Bolton beat York last week in an FA Cup matchup.
They look to be without Ivan Klasnic who is suffering from a groin injury. Gretar Steinsson is out with a knee injury while Sean Davis and Joey O'Brien also are sidelined with similar injuries.
Stoke City tied their FA Cup game against Cardiff City. They currently are only three points from Bolton and hope to be level with them in points by the end of this weekend.
Jermaine Pennant was carted off in Stoke's FA Cup tie and is questionable to feature this week.
Aston Villa – Birmingham City
Brad Friedel and Aston Villa take on city rivals Birmingham City this weekend.
Friedel has been Villa's regular starter at goalie this season and should again start in this pivotal relegation zone fight.
Aston Villa beat Sheffield United last week in the FA Cup and look to keep that run going against Birmingham. Villa are currently in the relegation zone, sitting only above West Ham.
They should be without Luke Young who is nursing a thigh injury and Andreas Weimann who has an ankle problem.
Birmingham lost in their midweek Carling Cup semifinal first leg against West Ham and hope to reverse their luck in league play. They currently sit only one point from the relegation zone.
James McFadden is out with a knee injury for Birmingham.
Norwich City – Cardiff City
Zak Whitbread and Norwich City take on Cardiff City in Championship action.
Whitbread started and went the full ninety in Norwich's loss to Leyton Orient in the FA Cup last weekend. The American center back could feature once again for the Canaries.
Norwich are currently in third place in the league and will want to keep their stellar league play against Cardiff.
Elliot Ward could miss with a calf injury while Henri Lansbury also could be sidelined with a hamstring problem. Andrew Surman looks to be out with a knee injury.
Cardiff, currently tied with Norwich in points in the standings, is coming off a tie with Stoke City in the FA Cup last weekend.
Andrew Keogh left their last game injured and is questionable for this weekend's game.
Hull City – Barnsley
Brad Guzan returns to action as Hull City take on Barnsley in the Championship.
Guzan missed Hull's FA Cup loss to Wigan Athletic last week because his parent club Aston Villa did not give him permission to play. He should feature for the Tigers this weekend.
Hull have a fairly comfortable gap between them and the relegation zone, but will need to keep garnering points to keep it that way.
The Tigers' Paul McShane could return to action after missing some games due to a shoulder injury. Liam Rosenior will miss due to suspension while Tom Cairney should also miss due to injury.
Barnsley are currently tied with Hull in the standings and will want to take the three points in this pivotal game for both.
Jay McEvely and Luke Potter are both nursing knee injuries and are questionable.
Carlisle United – Bristol Rovers
Frank Simek and Mike Grella aim to help Carlisle United as they take on Bristol Rovers in League One play this weekend.
Simek is a sure starter for Carlisle while Grella could feature for the Cumbrians.
Carlisle lost 1-0 to Torquay last week in the FA Cup and will hope to reverse their fortunes this week in league play.
Sean McDaid, Tony Kane and Danny Livesey are all long-term injuries for the Cumbrians.
Bristol are currently in the relegation zone are are desperate for a win this weekend. They tied Walsall in their midweek game.
Chris Lines was carted off at the end of Bristol's tie against Walsall last week and is questionable to feature this week.
Marcus Hahneman and Wolverhampton take on Manchester City.
Conor Doyle recently off of a U-20 US team training camp could feature Derby's game against Watford.
Jemal Johnson hopes to feature in Milton Keynes Dons game against Tranmere.
Anton Peterlin and Plymouth take on Oldham Athletic in League One play.