JOHN KRETLOW - Friday, December 14, 2012
Eric Lichaj and Brad Guzan look to extend Aston Villa's unbeaten run in their game against Liverpool, while it is a battle of Americans when Geoff Cameron's Stoke City take on Tim Howard's Everton.
Liverpool - Aston Villa
Eric Lichaj and Brad Guzan are both expected to feature in Aston Villa's game against Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday.
Villa, although just above the drop zone by goal differential, are on a five-game unbeaten run. They are coming off a confidence-boosting win over Norwich City in the League Cup this week and hope to take that momentum into Saturday's matchup.
Liverpool is also playing strong soccer, as they have won three games in a row in all competitions. They are in the middle of the standings, but a win could have them putting pressure on the top half of the Premier League.
Fabio Borini and Martin Kelly are scratches for Liverpool, while Enda Stevens, Richard Dunne, and Gary Gardner look to miss for Villa.
Stoke City - Everton
Geoff Cameron looks to feature in Stoke City's crucial matchup with Tim Howard's Everton in a game which could give the Toffees a leg-up on their race for Champions League qualification.
Cameron has been playing left back of late for Stoke City's stingy defense and could be there once again on Saturday. The Potters have only given up two goals in their last six games.
Stoke has lost just one game this season at home and look to garner another three points at the Britannia this weekend. Currently, they trail Everton by just three points in the standings.
The Toffees notched a big come from behind victory last week against Tottenham. They had drawn their previous three games before that victory, but they know to keep up with the Premier League's elite three points is a must.
Ryan Shotton and Marc Wilson are injury scratches for Stoke, while Victor Anichebe and Phil Neville are sidelined for the Toffees.
Tottenham Hotspur - Swansea City
Clint Dempsey is expected to feature in Tottenham's game against Swansea City at White Hart Lane while Brad Friedel looks to be on the bench at the start of the game.
Spurs are coming off a tough last-minute loss to Everton, but they had won four straight games in all competitions prior to that game. They look to bounce back and put some pressure on the Premier League's elite.
Swansea has lost just one game in their last nine in all competitions and they hope to continue their strong season on Sunday. They beat Middlesbrough in midweek League Cup play and will try to continue their momentum against Spurs.
Michael Dawson, Gareth Bale, and Younes Kaboul look to miss with injuries, while Neil Taylor is sidelined for Swansea.
Millwall - Leicester City
Zak Whitbread looks to help Leicester City move up the standings with a win against Millwall this weekend.
The Foxes drew with Barnsley last week, but a strong season has them just four points from an automatic promotion position. With not very much room for error, Liecester will be pushing for a win at the Den on Saturday.
Millwall trails the Foxes by just four points in the standings, and are just goal differential away from a playoff position. They have not lost a home game since September and they look to keep that streak going this weekend.
Martyn Waghorn had his appendix taken out this week and will miss for Leicester.
Middlesbrough - Wolverhampton
Seb Hines and Middlesbrough are just three points from an automatic promotion position and look to get there with a win over Wolverhampton this weekend.
Hines and Boro are coming off a midweek League Cup loss to Swansea, and their league play has been inconsistent in the last month. They look to bounce back to form at home on Saturday.
Wolves are in 16th place in the standings, but just five points separates them from a playoff position. They have won two straight and with everything to play for this season they look for the three points at Boro.
Boro looks to miss Julio Arca due to injury.
Birmingham City - Crystal Palace
Jonathan Spector will try to help Birmingham City separate themselves from the drop zone with a win against Crystal Palace while Will Packwood could make the lineup for the Blues.
Birmingham has just won once in their last six games and will need to improve soon. They lost to Wolverhampton last week and will need a bounce back performance on Saturday.
Crystal Palace is second in the league this season, but they have only won one game in their last four. They trail Cardiff City by just three points and will be gunning for a win on the road this weekend.
Robbie Findley is not expected to feature in Nottingham Forest's game against Brighton & Hove Albion.
Tim Ream hopes to play in Bolton's game against Charlton.
Conor Doyle could dress in Derby County's game against Bristol City.
Frank Simek is questionable to feature in Carlisle United's game against Shrewsbury Town. The right back has a knee injury.
Robbie Rogers and Stevenage take on Crawley Town at home.
Mike Grella could see playing time in Scunthorpe United's match with Leyton Orient.
Jon Paul Pittman and Oxford United take on Morecambe.