PREVIEW: WEEKEND ENGLISH ACTION
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BRIAN SCIARETTA - Friday, November 16, 2012
Clint Dempsey and Tottenham are set for a north London clash against rivals Arsenal while Seb Hines and Middlesbrough can potentially seize first place in the Championship on Saturday.

Arsenal - Tottenham

Just one point separates these two bitter rivals from north London and either team could break into the top five of the Premier League with a win on Saturday.

American goalkeeper Brad Friedel is expected to start for the Spurs along with current US international Clint Dempsey at forward.

Tottenham will be looking to reverse a two game skid in the Premier League after a 2-1 loss to defending champions Manchester City last weekend. The club now sits in seventh place with 17 points through the first 11 games. Their club so far has been boosted but a strong early season from Jermaine Defoe who has five goals to lead the team.

Arsenal also has not notched a victory in two games but they played to a hard fought 3-3 draw with Fulham last weekend. They have 16 points and sit in eighth place.

In the game, Arsenal will be without Abou Diaby, Gervinho ,and Lukasz Fabianski. The Spurs will be missing Mousa Dembele, Scott Parker, Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Younes Kaboul

Manchester City - Aston Villa

American goalkeeper Brad Guzan is likely to have his hand full on Saturday when Aston Villa travel north to take on Manchester City at the City of Manchester Stadium.

Guzan has played well since taking over the starting spot between the pipes but Villa are off to a poor start and sit just above the relegation zone with nine points through 11 games.

Fellow American Eric Lichaj served his suspension last weekend but is questionable to play with an injury.

Aston Villa have won just one Premier League game in their last seven but performed well last weekend in a 3-2 loss to league leaders Manchester United. Pressure is building on the club for them to perform better and push towards the middle of the table. If the losses continue to mount, pressure could mount on head coach Paul Lambert.

Manchester City have yet to lose a game in the Premier League this season but their four draws in 11 games have the club in second place trailing cross-city rivals Manchester City by two points. Bosnian Edin Dzeko currently leads the club with five goals on the season.

For the game, Villa will be without Joe Bennett and Chris Herd while City are missing Matija Nastasic

Reading - Everton

Everton will be looking to keep up their strong start to the Premier League on Saturday when they travel south to visit lowly Reading.

Tim Howard will start for Everton in goal where he has been well all season.

Entering into last week's game, Everton had drawn four games in a row but reversed the trend with an impressive 2-1 win over Sunderland. That win moved them into fourth place in the league with 20 points.

It maybe early but Reading are looking like a safe bet to be relegated with just six points from 10 games. Mark Hughes' team is yet to win a game and speculation continues to mount that his job maybe in jeopardy.

Reading is likely to be without Jimmy Kebe and Karacan for the game but Everton will be missing Kevin Mirallas and Victor Anichebe.

West Ham - Stoke

Stoke City could potentially move into the top ten on Monday should they manage to win on Monday when they visit West Ham United.

Geoff Cameron featured for the US national team this past week but should be ready to go on Monday at right back where he has been playing this season. Maurice Edu is also back from international duty with the US team but he will be lucky to make the matchday 18.

Stoke City have had a difficult schedule this year but have managed to earn 12 points through two win and six draws. They have already managed to earn results against Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City. In their most recent game, they defeated Queens Park Rangers 1-0.

West Ham United has looked strong after earning promotion the Premier League on last season. They now sit in sixth place with five wins and three draws for a total of 18 points. Kevin Nolan has been the team's best player with five goals so far on season.

For the game Stoke City will be missing Marc Wilson while West Ham must do without Matthew Taylor, Jack Collison, Alou Diarra, and Ricardo Vaz Te

Leicester City - Ipswich

Leicester City will hope to get back onto the winning track and add to Ipswich's woes when the two clubs face off on Saturday in Leicester.

Zak Whitbread is likely to start for Leicester where he has broken into the club's starting lineup.

Leicester has not won in their last four games but their last two have been draws. Despite the rocky patch, the club still sits in fifth place in the Championship. Last weekend they played to a hard fought 2-2 draw with Nottingham Forest.

For Ipswich, the club now sits in the relegation zone and it appears they will have a tough task this season to stay in England's second tier. They have been playing better in recent weeks winning two out of their last three including a 2-1 win over Burnley last weekend.

Leicester City's Sean St. Ledger and Michael Keane will both miss the game with injuries as will Ipswich's Paul Taylor.

Birmingham City - Hull City

The early part of the season has largely been a disappointment for Birmingham City who were thought to be a contender for promotion. They hope to gradually begin their climb up the standings on Saturday when they host a tough Hull City squad.

American Jonathan Spector is likely to start the game for Birmingham City while US U-20 international Will Packwood will begin the game on the bench for the Blues.

Birmingham City has lost just once in their past six games and last weekend they played to a tough 1-1 draw against Blackburn Rovers. Still they sit towards the bottom of the standings in 19th place in the 24 team Championship.

Hull City have found themselves in fourth place in the league but are coming into the game on the heels of a hard fought but difficult 2-1 loss to third place Cardiff City on the road.

The Blues have a number of players out with injuries including Keith Fahey, Paul Caddis, Akwasi Asante, and Stephen Carr.

Hull City will be missing Paul McShane, Matty Fryatt, Joe Dudgeon, Tom Cairney, and Jack Hobbs

Cardiff City - Middlesborough

It what will surely be the most anticipated matchup of the English Championship this weekend, second place Middlesbrough will aim to take over first place when they visit third place Cardiff City on Saturday.

American central defender Seb Hines is likely to start in the backline for Boro.

Middlesbrough have been the hottest team in the league as of late with seven wins and a draw in their last eight games. Widely expected to be a promotion favorite, Middlesbrough have not disappointed and are playing well both offensively and defensively.

Cardiff City are right on the heels of Middlesbrough and trail their opponents on Saturday by just one point. They are coming into the game off an impressive 2-1 win over Hull City.

Cardiff City will be missing Tommy Smith and likely Don Cowie as well due to injury.

Middlesbrough will not have Rhys Williams, Muzzy Carayol, Curtis Main, and Julio Arca all out with various injuries.

Carlisle United - Leyton Orient

Carlisle United and Leyton Orient will both be looking to improve on their midtable standing when they two meet at Carlisle's Brunton Park.

American Frankie Simek will start at right back for Carlisle where he has been a consistent contributor this season.

Leyton Orient are currently in 16th place with 19 points and trail Carlisle by just a single point. Leyton Orient, however, have the momentum after winning their last two while Carlisle has a drawn and a loss in their most recent games.

Both teams are not reporting any injuries at this time.

Notes

Tim Ream will likely start the game on the bench for Bolton Wanderers when they host Barnsley on Saturday.

Texas' Conor Doyle is still injured and will miss Derby County's match against Crystal Palace.

Robbie Rogers will begin the game on the bench for Stevenage when they visit Sheffield United.

Mike Grella will aim to make the matchday 18 for Scunthorpe United on Saturday as they host Notts County.

Jon Paul Pittman is likely to begin the game on the bench for Oxford United in Saturday's game against Chesterfield.

Robbie Findley will hope to make the bench for Gillingham when they host Morecambe in League Two action on Saturday.
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