PREVIEW: WEEKEND ENGLISH ACTION
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JOHN KRETLOW - Friday, September 21, 2012
Tim Howard and Everton hope to keep their strong season going as they take on Swansea City, while Eric Lichaj, Brad Guzan, and Aston Villa look to win their second game in a row this weekend.

Swansea City - Everton

Tim Howard is expected to start in Everton's road game against surprise package Swansea City this weekend.

The Toffees have enjoyed a strong start to the season, but last week's draw to Newcastle United had fans feeling undone by the referee. Everton had two goals waved off for various reasons, giving Newcastle the opening to tie the game in the dying moments.

Everton and Swansea are both tied in points, and with a win they could make an early appearance in the Premier League's top four teams.

Despite a loss last week to Aston Villa, the Swans have enjoyed a solid start to their 2012-2013 campaign.

The Welsh team will be without the suspended Chico, and injured players Kyle Bartley and Neil Taylor look to miss as well.

Nikica Jelavic and Darron Gibson look to miss due to injury for the Toffees.

Chelsea - Stoke City

Geoff Cameron and Maurice Edu hope to feature in Stoke City's big clash with Premier League leader Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Cameron came on late in Stoke's draw with Manchester City, but it is likely the former Houston Dynamo star break the starting eleven on Saturday. Edu has yet to make his debut for the Potters but could see time this weekend.

Stoke has yet to win a game in the 2012-2013 campaign, as they have tied every game this season thus far. The Potters know they have to start winning games to avoid a relegation battle, and they hope this Saturday's game could be a major bolster.

Chelsea is unbeaten thus far this season, though they are coming off their first draw of the campaign last week against Queens Park Rangers. With Manchester United and a plethora of teams within striking distance, the Blues look for a home victory on Saturday.

The Blues look to be without Daniel Sturridge and Oscar, while Jamie Ness is injured for the Potters.

Southampton - Aston Villa

Eric Lichaj and Brad Guzan look to help Aston Villa get their second win in a row as they take on Southampton.

Guzan has started the last two Premier League games in place of Shay Given. He is likely to start this weekend after impressing the last few weeks.

After starting the season with two losses, Villa drew with Newcastle and then beat Swansea City last week. They look to keep their momentum going with a win on Saturday.

Southampton has had a tough start to the season, having los every game thus far. They are at the bottom of the standings and need to start garnering points before their hole is too deep to climb from.

Jos Hooiveld, Steve De Ridder, and Jack Cork have suffered knocks but are expected to be fit for Saturday's match.

Cody Cropper is not likely to make the roster as he is spending time with Southampton's U-21 team.

Tottenham Hotspur - Queens Park Rangers

Brad Friedel, Clint Dempsey, and Tottenham Hotspur host Queens Park Rangers in a London derby this weekend.

Friedel is expected to start, while it is unclear if Dempsey will see the starting lineup or come off the bench for Spurs.

The Texan debuted in last week's win over Reading, as he came off the bench to see the game out. Dempsey also started in Thursday's Europa League draw with Lazio. He was subbed out in the 76th minute.

Spurs win over Reading was their first win this season and first of the AndrÚ Villas Boas era. Tottenham split the season with QPR, as they won their game at White Hart Lane last season.

QPR finds themselves in an early hole, as they have not won a game this season and are in the relegation zone. A win this weekend could give them momentum going forward.

Andy Johnson is expected to miss for QPR, while Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Younes Kaboul will miss for Spurs.

Birmingham City - Barnsley

Jonathan Spector looks to start in Birmingham City's game against Barnsley at St. Andrew's Stadium.

American defender Will Packwood is not expected to feature for the Blues.

Birmingham is undefeated in their last three games and have not lost at home since February of this year in the 2011-2012 campaign. The Blues look to keep it that way with a win this weekend.

Barnsley has only won one game in their last five and will need to start improving if they want to avoid a relegation battle throughout the season. They look to upstart their season with three points on Saturday.

The Blues look to be without Stephen Carr and Darren Ambrose.

Coventry City - Carlisle United

Frank Simek and Carlisle United take to the road to play Coventry City in League One play.

Simek has been a regular starter for the Cumbrians and should be in the lineup this weekend.

Carlisle is currently on a three game unbeaten streak and playing good soccer. They drew with Crewe Alexandria in a midweek game.

Coventry City is having a tough season thus far, having not won a game this season and lost their last four games in league play.

Notes

Tim Ream hopes to make the game day roster in Bolton's game at Sheffield Wednesday.

Conor Doyle could see playing time in Derby County's game against Burnley.

Zak Whitbread and Leicester City take on Hull City.

Robbie Findley is not expected to feature in Nottingham Forest's game against Leeds United.

Seb Hines and Middlesbrough take on Blackpool on Friday.

Robbie Rogers and Stevenage take on Doncaster Rovers in League One action.

Mike Grella hopes to make the game day lineup in Scunthorpe United's clash with Colchester United.

Jon Paul Pittman was injured last week and questionable to feature in Oxford United's game against Bradford City.
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