Saturday Soccer preview


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Aston v. Arsenal

Aston Villa left-back Wilfred Bouma is a major doubt for the clash with Arsenal at Villa Park.

The Dutch international damaged his knee during Wednesday's 3-3 draw at Fulham.

While Bouma is struggling for fitness, Villa could get an unexpected boost with the return of central defender Olof Mellberg.

Swedish international Mellberg has missed Villa's last three games with a hamstring strain but is recovering faster than expected.

However, Villa are still without striker Kevin Phillips (knee) and midfielders Patrik Berger (knee), Lee Hendrie (Achilles) and Ulises De La Cruz (calf).


Junior Member
Danny Murphy out for Charlton

Charlton must do without suspended midfielder Danny Murphy when West Ham head to The Valley.

As Wednesday night's game at Newcastle was postponed because of the adverse weather, Murphy will now serve a one-match batch against the Hammers following his red card on Boxing Day.

Defender Gonzalo Sorondo (foot) and midfielders Alexei Smertin (knee) and Jerome Thomas (virus) all face fitness tests, while winger Dennis Rommedahl is pressing for a recall.

This suspension should hurt Charlton so I would play WEST HAM


Junior Member
Chelsea a go v Birm

England midfielder Frank Lampard is expected to have shaken off his virus in time to face struggling Birmingham at Stamford Bridge.

Lampard's run of 164 consecutive games in the top flight was brought to a halt when he was forced to miss the game against Manchester City on Wednesday night because of illness.

Centre-half Ricardo Carvalho remains doubtful with an ankle problem but Chelsea have no other major injury worries.

Coach Jose Mourinho is set to continue with his festive rotation policy with goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini possibly handed a place in the starting line-up instead of Petr Cech.

Argentinian striker Hernan Crespo is likely to lead the attack in place of Didier Drogba with winger Arjen Robben replacing Damien Duff.

Birmingham is in a tither, so Chelsea is a STRONG PLAY

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