Premier League Preview: United Looking to Go Four Points Clear

United looking to extend lead at the top

United looking to extend lead at the top

Sir Alex Ferguson and his Manchester United side will today aim to take advantage of Arsenal’s Carling Cup final duty, by winning at Wigan and going four clear at the top of the table again.

United could only manage a 0-0 draw against Marseille midweek, and the league leaders will be looking to get back to winning ways today ahead of their midweek clash against Chelsea.

Rio Ferdinand is still absent for United, so Chris Smalling will continue his impressive run in th side alongside Nemanja Vidic. Veterans Ryan Giggs and Michael Owen are back in training for United, and are both available if needed.

Wigan are also in desperate need of points in their attempt to climb out of the relegation zone, as they currently sit third from bottom.

Roberto Martinez’s men have been on a good run of late, however they will need to be on top of their game today if they are to end United’s long unbeaten run against them.

Emmerson Boyce is the only injury concern for Martinez, who has otherwise a fully fit squad to choose from, including exciting Irish prospect James McCarthy in midfield.

Gerard Houllier’s Aston Villa welcome Blackburn Rovers to Villa Park today, with both teams, Aston Villa in particular, within touching distance of the the bottom three.

Villa are currently 16th in the table only three points off safety, while Kean’s Blackburn are 11th and five points clear of safety.

Houllier is without January signing Jean Makoun who is suspended for the game, with Petrov, Bannan, and Bradley pushing to replace him.
Carlos Cuellar is ruled out with a hamstring injury, with Luke Young also missing out through injury.

Blackburn are waiting to see if catpain Christopher Samba will be fit to make the tie after suffering from a virus, while Hoillet and Jones are definately ruled out for Kean’s side.

Sunderland travel to Goodison Park to take on Everton to today, and they will be boosted following manager Steve Bruce penning a new contract at the club.

Everton will also be full of confidence following their FA Cup victory over Chelsea, and David Moyes could welcome Saha and Rodwell back into his side tonight, however, Tim Cahill is certain to miss the game with an ankle injury.

Sunderland are without Scottish goalkeeper Craig Gordon for the clash, so they will turn to Simon Mignolet to stand between the sticks today.

Sunderland are also without Cattermole, Turner, Mayler, and Campbell for todays clash, which sees Bruce limited for options up front as Danny Wellbeck is also absent through injury.

Newcastle host Bolton at St James Park today with both sides dreaming of a Europa League finish this season.

Newcastle welcome back Steven and Ryan Taylor to their back line today, but are still without Ireland, Smith, Ben Arfa, and Gosling. Alan Pardrew will make a late decision on Peter Lovendrands ahead of the game.

Jussi Jaaskelain returns in goal for Bolton today, while defender defender Gretar Steinsson is also available after recovering from injury.

Both sides lie eight and ninth in the Premiership table, and are only separated by a point.

Wolves take on Blackpool at Molineaux today in the relegation six pointer, with todays game potentially going a long way to determining which side stays in the league.

Kevin Doyle will lead the attack for Wolves today after being ruled fit to play, and the Irish international will be looking to hit the back of the net against a Blackpool defense who tend to conceded a lot of goals.

However Holloway’s men will be boosted following their 3-1 victory against Spurs midweek.
The Seasider’s are without their captain Charlie Adam for todays clash, while Stephen Crainey is also ruled out through injury.

Expect an explosive atmosphere at Wolves today, with both teams going for the three points they desperately need to avoid relegatio.

All games kick off at 3pm.

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