Archives for posts with tag: match previews

Sang Tan/AP/Press Association Images

Sang Tan/AP/Press Association Images

Date: Wednesday, 8 January 2014; Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester; Kickoff: 19:45GMT

Manchester City have only lost one of their last 15 meetings with West Ham as Manuel Pellegrini’s team entertain the East Londoners at the Etihad in the Capital One Cup semi-final.

Jack Collison scored a second half winner for the Hammers at Upton Park in March 2009, but that is the only victory they’ve recorded over City since back-to-back wins in 2006. Sam Allardyce remains short of striking options, so West Ham fans shall fondly remember Dean Ashton’s brace during an FA Cup run to the final.

The Hammers are not much better off defensively either and come into this two-legged tie off the back of four defeats in their last five. Big Sam chose the FA Cup third round tie at Nottingham Forest to blood youngsters en masse – a move that resulted in a 5-0 thumping.

City are not sure themselves of a place in the next round of the world’s oldest knockout football competition. Blackburn battled back to force Pellegrini to a replay next midweek just when he was planning on taking the team out for some sun. Both Rovers and West Ham could easily succumb to City’s imperious home form.

Allardyce sees his Hammers sit second bottom of the Premier League, but have already knocked out London rivals Spurs out of the League Cup en route to making the final four. City’s run of seven straight wins may have been stopped last time out, but they remain hot favourites to advance here.

Team News

Spanish winger Jesus Navas has joined Stevan Jovetic and Jack Rodwell as absentees for City after he picked up a knee problem. Pellegrini revealed star striker Sergio Aguero and right back Micah Richards are both back in training. This game comes too soon for both, however.

Centre back Martin Demichelis returns to the City squad after four games out, but fellow defender Dedryck Boyata is banned. Yaya Toure could be back in the XI in midfield, yet keeper Costel Pantilimon should be benched after his error led to Blackburn’s equalizer.

West Ham are highly likely to hand Wolves loan capture Roger Johnson his debut straight away in the heart of defence. Fellow centre halves Winston Reid (ankle), James Tomkins and James Collins (both groin) remain out. Several first-team players that were rested for the trip to Forest will return.

Hammers captain Kevin Nolan serves the second game of a three-match ban, but there is a small chance midfielder Mark Noble could comeback from a calf problem. Forward Ricardo Vaz Te is still struggling with a shoulder injury whilst record signing Andy Carroll is still a week away from returning to the squad.

Source: BBC

Likely Line-Ups

Man City: Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany/Martin Demichelis, Matija Nastasic, Aleksandar Kolarov, Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, James Milner, David Silva, Samir Nasri, Alvaro Negredo 4-2-3-1

West Ham: Jussi Jaaskelainen, Guy Demel, Roger Johnson, George McCartney, Razvan Rat/Joey O’Brien, Mohamed Diame, Alou Diarra/Mark Noble, Joe Cole, Jack Collison/Ravel Morrison, Mathew Taylor, Carlton Cole 4-2-3-1

The post Man City vs West Ham: Match Preview, Team News & Likely Line-Ups appeared first on WhatCulture!.

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Date: 8th December Venue: Craven Cottage Kick off: 1:30pm

Aston Villa visit Craven Cottage as Rene Meulensteen looks for his first win as Fulham boss.

Team News

Brede Hangeland remains Fulham’s main injury concern, with their captain doubtful for the match due a sciatic nerve problem.

The centre back has been absent for over a month now and the Cottagers are still unsure when he will return.

Aston Villa will have to contend without Charles N’Zogbia (achilles) and centre-back Jores Okore (knee).

Key Stats

Aston Villa have the third best away form in the league after picking up 12 points in seven games on the road.

Fulham have the joint worst home defence in the Premier League having conceded 13 goals at home this season.

The London side are also on a six game losing streak after losing 2-1 to Tottenham at home in midweek.

Aston Villa’s top scorer Christian Benteke is without a goal since since September and was dropped for the side’s 3-2 victory at Southampton.

Likely Line-Ups


Stekelenburg, Riether, Senderos, Hughes, Riise, Dejagah, Parker, Sidwell, Kacaniklic, Kasami and Berbatov

Aston Villa

Guzan, Bacuna, Vlaar, Baker, Clark, Westwood, El Ahmadi, Agbonlahor, Delph, Weimann and Kozak.

Match Preview

Aston Villa’s impressive away form makes this a difficult second game in charge for Meulensteen.

Fulham’s new manager lost his first game at the helm against Tottenham on Wednesday, despite the Cottagers going 1-0 up.

After are poor performance away to West Ham last weekend there were at least some positives for Meulensteen following the defeat.

His side demonstrated a willingness to fight and compete against Spurs, an attitude that will be crucial if they are to survive this season.

Aston Villa come into this encounter off the back of an impressive victory over high-flying Southampton.

This Villians won 3-2 at St.Mary’s, meaning they have now won more games away from home than at Villa Park.

The big talking point from Paul Lambert’s team’s triumph was the dropping of top scorer Benteke for Libor Kozak.

The Czech striker scored against the Saints and therefore can expect to keep his place on Sunday.

While Aston Villa have been lethal away from home, Fulham looked to have improved under Meulensteen and they should be good enough for a point.

Prediction: 1-1

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Date: Saturday, Decmber 7 Venue: Elland Road Kick-Off: 15:00

Leeds will be looking for a win to keep up in the race for the play-offs, while last years losing finalists Watford are starting to fall behind and need a victory.

Team News

Leeds are without striker Dexter Blackstock, on-loan from Nottingham Forest, and defender Scott Wootton. Ross McCormack has shaken off a hip injury in time but Luke Varney provides an alternative.

Sam Byram and Stephen Warnock are chasing recalls.

Watford are boosted by the return of four players for their trip to Leeds as Ikechi Anya, Josh McEachran, Manuel Almunia and Gabriele Angella all return to the fold.

Almen Abdi is close to a return but misses this game, with the Hornets also without Lloyd Doyley, Essaid Belkalem and Tommie Hoban.

Key Stats

Leeds have recorded five straight wins on the trot and will be hoping to make it six against Watford, who are coming to Elland Road looking to win their first win in eight matches.

In this tie last year, the Hornets embarrassed their hosts by smashing six goals past them and coming away with a 6-1 victory.

Striker Ross McCormack is on blistering form this season after already taking his season tally to 14 in the league.

Watford haven’t won away from home in the league for over two months, with their last win on the road coming on 5th October against Huddersfield.

Likely Line-Ups

Leeds United
Kenny, Byram, Lees, Zaliukas, Pearce, Warnock, Murphy, Mowatt, Austin, Smith, McCormack

Almunia, Faraoni, Nosworthy, Cassetti, Elkstrand, Bellerin, McGugan, Thorne, Murray, Deeney

Match Preview

Leeds United currently sit in 7th place in the Championship and will be looking for their second consecutive win after they defeated Wigan Athletic 2-0 in midweek.

They are currently two points behind Blackpool, who occupy sixth place and the final play-off spot. A win and a Blackpool loss will see Leeds move above them and they could potentially rise as far up as fourth.

After losing last years play-off final Watford have been struggling. They haven’t won in seven games and haven’t won on the road for just over two months.

Another loss could see them tumble to 14th but a win may see them rise to ninth. They currently find themselves seven points off the play-off places, any further slip-ups could really hurt their aims this season.

Leeds are in fine form at home and welcome visitors that have been struggling. Watford picked up a spectacular result last year in this tie but it shouldn’t be a similar afternoon for them.


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Date: Tuesday, October 22 Venue: Veltins Arena Kick-Off: 19:45 BST

Can Chelsea draw level with Schalke at the top of Group E of the Champions League?

Team News

Schalke will be without a number of high profile players as they prepare to welcome Chelsea to the Veltins Arena for their Champions League Group E clash.

The German side will be without star striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar as well as winger Jefferson Farfan, however, midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng has returned from a knee injury.

Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole has not made the trip to Germany after failing to recover from a rib injury.

However, former Bayer Leverkusen attacker Andre Schurrle has travelled as part of a 21-man group.


Key Stats

Schalke are unbeaten in their last 13 Champions League games in the group stages (9 wins, 4 draws).

Chelsea have only won one of their seven away Champions League games in Germany (including the 2012 final v Bayern Munich). It was against Vfb Stuttgart in February 2004 (1-0).

Chelsea have only failed to score once in their last 22 Champions League games, against Juventus in November 2012 (0-3).

Schalke have won their two opening games for the first time in a Champions League campaign and are three points above Chelsea in Group E.


Likely Line-Ups

Hildebrand, Uchida, Santana, Howedes, Aogo, Hoger, Neustadter, Draxler, Meyer, Clemens, Szalai

Cech, Bertrand, Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic, Ramires, Lampard, Hazard, Oscar, Schurrle, Torres

Match Preview

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Media Image Ltd

Chelsea will be hoping for more success in Germany when they return to the country for the first time since their Champions League win over Bayern Munich to face Schalke tonight.

The Blues have had an indifferent European campaign thus far – defeat against Basel and a win against Steaua Bucharest has left them third in Group E and any hope of qualifying for the knock out stages as winners could vanish tonight.

Schalke will know a win at home would virtually guarantee them safe passage through to the latter stages of the competition but they will have to do so without several key players, most notably Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

The striker will be a huge miss for the Germans tonight, as will winger Jefferson Farfan.

However, coach Jens Keller says his side have nothing to fear.

“Just a glance at Group E, as well as our recent results in the Bundesliga, give us self-confidence.

“We’re at home and Chelsea are going to feel that from the very first minute.”

The post Schalke vs Chelsea – Team News, Match Preview & Likely Line-Ups appeared first on WhatCulture!.

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Date: Tuesday, October 22 Venue: Emirates Stadium Kick-Off: 19:45 BST

Arsenal can all-but confirm qualification for the Champions League knock-out stages with a win over Borussia Dortmund tonight.

Team News

Arsenal will be without defensive midfielder Mathieu Flamini for Tuesday night’s visit of Dortmund, after the 29-year-old suffered concussion in the 4-1 Premier League win over Norwich.

Theo Walcott remains sidelined, as do Yaya Sanogo (back), Lukas Podolski (hamstring), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Abou Diaby (both knee).

Dortmund continue to be without captain Sebastian Kehl as well as Lukasz Piszczek and Ilkay Gundogan.

However, Nuri Sahin, Sven Bender and Marco Reus have overcome knocks, and Marcel Schmelzer is also in contention after being rested at the weekend with a thigh problem.


Key Stats

Arsenal have won their last two home games against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League (4 goals scored, 1 conceded).

Dortmund have never kept a clean sheet in four Champions League games against Arsenal.

Dortmund’s only away win in England in the Champions League dates back to April 1997 against Manchester Utd (1-0). Since then, they have suffered three defeats and a draw.

Arsenal have only lost four of their last 47 home games in the Champions League (33 wins, 10 draws), but the last two defeats have both come against German sides (Schalke and Bayern Munich in 2012/13).

Likely Line-Ups

Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Ramsey, Wilshere, zil, Cazorla, Giroud

Weidenfeller, Schmelzer, Hummels, Subotic, Grosskreutz, Bender, Sahin, Reus, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang, Lewandowski

Match Preview

Media Image Ltd

Media Image Ltd

Arsenal play host to Borussia Dortmund tonight knowing a win over last season’s Champions League finalists will all-but assure them of qualification for the knock-out stages of the competition.

The Gunners have put together a terrific run of late, going unbeaten in the Premier League since the opening day defeat against Aston Villa on August 17 – a run of seven matches.

They also made light work of Napoli in their last European outing, winning 2-0 against Rafa Benitez’s side, but arguably their first real challenge of the season comes here, tonight.

Dortmund, who were defeated finalists in last season’s competition, will serve as the metaphorical barometer as to how realistic Arsene Wenger’s side’s Champions League hopes really are.

With the second-highest goalscorer in the tournament last season, Robert Lewandowski in the side, as well as such talents as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nuri ahin and Marco Reus, the Londoners will know this is a stiff test.

However, Dortmund don’t travel well against English sides. You have to go back to 1997 to find their last win against a team from our shores – a 1-0 victory over Manchester United.

And, if that dismal record is extended tonight, Arsenal will be in the knock-out stages.

The post Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund – Team News, Match Preview & Likely Line-Ups appeared first on WhatCulture!.


Date: Thursday, September 19 Venue: Mestalla, Valencia Kick-Off: 18:00

Swansea City visit Valencia for their opening fixture of the Europa League in Group A.

Team News

Swansea winger Pablo Hernandez will not play against his former side Valencia tonight after being ruled out with a hamstring strain.

However, striker Wilfried Bony will be fit to play against the Spaniards, despite injuring his ribs in the 2-2 draw against Liverpool on Sunday.

Valencia manager Miroslav Djukic has promised his side will attack.

The La Liga club have suffered a difficult start to their season and are currently 16th in the table after losing three of their four games.

However, Djukic claims his side will not play conservatively, despite opting to leave Victor Ruiz and Oriol Romeu, who is on loan from Chelsea, out of his squad due to tactical reasons.

Vicente Guaita is set to start in goal instead of Diego Alves.

(Sky Sports)

Key Stats

Valencia are without a win in over a month, with their last victory coming against Malaga on August 17.

However, they have already beaten English opposition this season, defeating Everton 1-0 in a pre-season friendly at Goodison Park.

Swansea go into this tie off the back of a 2-2 draw against Liverpool, but have won only once in the Premier League this season.

The Swans qualified for the Europa League by beating Petrolul Ploiesti 6-3 on aggregate, despite losing the second leg 2-1 away.

Likely Line-Ups

Guaita, Pereira, Costa, Mathieu, Bernat, Canales, Parejo, Banega, Postiga, Jonas, Pabon

Vorm, Rangel, Williams, Chico, Davies, Britton, De Guzman, Shelvey, Michu, Bony, Routledge

Now click “Next” for our Match Preview.

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PAUL Ince is in the dugout at The Riverside tomorrow against the club he joined fourteen years ago this week.

The corresponding matches yielded eleven goals last term; Blackpool winning 4-1 at Bloomfield Road and Middlesbrough running out 4-2 winners in last season’s Boxing Day fixture.

Grant Leadbitter looks likely to play for the Teessiders after recovering from an knock picked up in his side’s win over Charlton last week. But Jason Steele faces a late fitness test after picking up an ankle injury in the same fixture, however Boro have signed veteran stopper Dimi Konstantopolous who is set to deputise should Steele be ruled out.

Tom Ince is serving the second game of his three match ban for the visitors. The manager’s son picked up the suspension for inappropriate behaviour in Blackpool’s Capitol One Cup defeat at Preston.

The two teams were inseparable last season, both teams finishing their campaign on 59 points. But Blackpool’s far superior goal difference meant they finished a place above their weekend opposition in 15th place.

Both Boro and Blackpool squeaked one-nil wins last week. Blackpool’s winner was their third goal already this season in the 87th minute or later; the injury time own goal joins the two they scored against Doncaster, the week previous, in the dying embers of the game.

Tomorrow’s referee, Trevor Kettle, is no stranger to bringing his cards out of his pocket. His last three games at championship games have yielded a whopping 30 cards, four of which have been red.

Kettle’s last Boro game was their trip to Portsmouth, which the visitors ran out 3-1 winners. He awarded both teams a penalty and sent off now Boro skipper Rhys Williams and handed out another ten yellow cards.

Blackpool’s last run in with Kettle was when they too ran out 3-1 winners, this time at Bristol City’s Ashton Gate. This will only be his ninth championship game since then.

Blackpool are visiting The Riverside this Saturday putting their 100% league record on the line, after victories against Doncaster and Barnsley. Middlesbrough are looking for only their fourth home, league win of the calendar year.

Likely line-ups

Middlesbrough: Steele, Richardson, Williams, Woodgate, Friend, Varga, Whitehead, Leadbitter, Adomah, Carayol, Jutkiewicz

Blackpool: Gilks, Broadfoot, MacKenzie, Cathcart, Robinson, Basham, Ferguson, Osbourne, Grant, Davies, Delfouneso

The post Middlesbrough vs Blackpool: Match Preview appeared first on WhatCulture!.


  • Date: Thursday, 14th February
  • Venue: St James’ Park
  • K/o: 20:05

Team News

Newcastle United will be without defender Mathieu Debuchy and striker Yoan Gouffran for their Europa League clash with Ukrainian side Metalist Kharkiv. The French duo are cup tied having already played in Europe for Bordeaux and Lille respectively this season. Gouffran wouldn’t be available anyway as he continues to battle back to match fitness following a leg injury.

The Magpies will also be without Hartem Ben Arfa (knee) and Sammy Ameobi (hamstring).

Metalist manager Myron Markevych has no injury concerns ahead of this clash. Because of a mid-season domestic break for the Ukrainian side, Metalist have been enjoying the countryside of England’s North East this past week and took part in a friendly against Whitley Bay in preparation for tonight’s game.

Match Preview

While Alan Pardew’s Newcastle have found themselves embroiled in a relegation battle that took another hit at the weekend with defeat to Tottenham, Metalist Kharkiv have been gallivanting through the countryside of the North East taking in all the views and fresh air.

It is currently a mid-season break for the Ukrainian Premier League and the only action Metalist have seen recently came in a 1-1 draw with Whitley Bay this week in preparation for tonight’s Europa League clash.

The Eastern European outfit aren’t to be underestimated, however; they have won five and lost two of their last nine away matches in Europe and no side scored more goals in the final 15 minutes of Europa League group stage matches than Metalist Kharkiv (5), meaning Newcastle will have to be on their toes.

This is Metalist’s first encounter with Newcastle and the Ukrainian’s only clash with English opposition before this came in the 2007/08 Europa League. Then, they were eliminated in the first round by Everton 4-3 on aggregate.

Likely Line-Ups

Krul, Santon, S Taylor, Yanga-Mbiwa, Simpson, Marveaux, Tiote, Cabaye, Sissoko, Obertan, Cisse

Goryainov, Vilagra, Torsiglieri, Fininho, Sosa, Torres, Blanco, Marlos, Gueye, Cristaldo, Willian

Source: Yahoo!

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  • Date: Wednesday, 6th February
  • Venue: Wembley Stadium
  • K/o: 19:30

Team News

England manager Roy Hodgson will be without a trio of players ahead of tonight’s international friendly against 5 time World Cup Winners Brazil.

Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick (hip), Tottenham’s Jermain Defoe (ankle) and Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge (thigh) have dropped out, and Hodgson has opted not to call up any replacements.

Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole will start in defence, gaining his 100th England cap in doing so, becoming only one of seven internationals to achieve such a feat for the Three Lions.

Brazil have included former Barcelona and AC Milan midfielder Ronaldinho in their 23-man squad tonight. Julio Cesar will likely start in goal following his impressive performances for Queens Park Rangers recently, while Luiz Felipe Scolari’s team boats three current Chelsea players in the form of David Luiz, Ramires and Oscar.

Luis has been announced as the club’s captain and it is hoped he will overcome a calf complaint in time to play.

Prodigious Santos striker Neymar is likely to spearhead the attack alongside Zenit St. Petersburg’s Hulk.

Match Preview

Five-time FIFA World Cup winners Brazil will kick-off The Football Association’s 150th anniversary year when they visit Wembley Stadium tonight, a warm up for Roy Hodgson’s men ahead of next month’s World Cup Qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro.

Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole will definitely start tonight, according to the England manager, who has been shorn of attacking options following the late omissions of Daniel Sturridge and Jermain Defoe through injury.

Wayne Rooney is likely to get the nod up front tonight alongside fellow Manchester United teammate Danny Welbeck, though Arsenal’s Theo Walcott is also being considered as an attacking option.

This will be the 24th meeting between the pair, and it has usually been a one-sided encounter. Of the 23 meetings so far, Brazil have prevailed in 11 of them, compared to England’s 3 wins and 9 draws. Brazil have also outscored England since their first encounter in 1956, scoring 31 to England’s 19 strikes.

That, coupled with the fact that Brazil are the most successful team in World Cup history, will make this one as stern a test as any for England.

It will hardly be made any easier with the inclusion of Santos striker Neymar, who last year banged in 43 goals in 47 appearances and has already scored five in five appearances in 2013, too.

The word “prodigious” was tailor-made for players such as this.

This encounter could serve as a barometer as to where England stand in terms of facing world class opposition, and may provide us with some indication as to their chances at the 2014 World Cup, hosted by tonight’s visitors.

Likely Line-Ups

Hart, Cole, Cahill, Jagielka, Johnson, Lennon, Lampard, Gerrard, Walcott, Rooney, Welbeck

Cesar, Alves, Luiz, Miranda, Adriano, Oscar, Ramires, Ronaldinho, Moura, Neymar, Hulk

Source: Sky Sports

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  • Venue: Etihad Stadium
  • Date: Sunday, 3rd February
  • K/o: 16.00
  • TV: Live Sky Sports 1

Team News

Manchester City continue to be without captain Vincent Kompany for Sunday’s clash with Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium, but there is some hope for Matija Nastasic (knee), who made the bench at QPR in midweek. Javi Garcia has so far deputised for the centre-half.

Brazilian Maicon has returned to training and could soon return, while Micah Richards (knee) could be back by the end of this month.

Mancini is also without brothers Yaya Tour and Kolo Tour who are still on international duty for the African Cup Of Nations.

New signing Philippe Coutinho will not be in the squad for the City game, as he has briefly returned to Milan after Wednesday’s switch from Inter and will not return until next week. Joe Enrique is likely to start having returned from injury in midweek. Flanagan and Kelly both remain sidelined by knee injuries.

Match Preview

Brendan Rodgers might find his position a little more questioned than it has been to date, after the humiliation against Oldham in the FA Cup last week, plus the surrender of two points against Arsenal a few days later. They face the difficult prospect of a Man City team looking to push themselves on, as well as the daunting stats that they haven’t beaten a top ten side so far this season, and came away from the Etihad the last two times with 3-0 defeats.

A draw is likely to help neither team in their respective quests for points, with City in particular in dire need of the maximum to close the ten point gap that has appeared at the top of the table. Hopefully that means attack, attack.

Likely Line-Ups

Man City

Hart; Zabaleta, Lescott, Nastasic, Clichy; Garcia, Barry; Nasri, T vez, Silva; Ag ero.


Reina; Johnson, Agger, Carragher, Enrique; Henderson, Lucas, Gerrard; Downing, Sturridge, Su rez.

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Source: Telegraph

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