Premier League - Premier League previews

Reuters - Fri, 17 Sep 10:44:00 2010

A look ahead to the weekend with video previews, match facts and team news for all Saturday's games, including Arsenal's trip to Sunderland.

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There is nothing like the visit of Liverpool to help Manchester United vent their anger and after a truly horrible week Alex Ferguson's side can be expected to tear into their old foe with renewed vigour on Sunday.

That will be the hope anyway of Ferguson after a problematic start to the season on and off the field.

As if striker Wayne Rooney's private life being plastered all over the tabloids and frustrating results were not bad enough, the sight of winger Antonio Valencia's shattered ankle on Tuesday would have caused dismay.

Ferguson's tactical backfire against Rangers when his much-changed team toiled in vain during a 0-0 home draw in the Champions League would have darkened his mood considerably.

Against Rangers the Scot made 10 changes from the side that threw away a 3-1 lead at Everton last weekend but his faith in some of his squad players was misplaced as the expected victory over the resolute Scots failed to materialise.

Ferguson will be leaving nothing in the locker on Sunday lunchtime with the likes of Dimitar Berbatov, Paul Scholes and Nani almost certain to start after not even making the squad in midweek.

Rooney will also be exposed to the heckling Liverpool fans after being left out against his former club Everton last week to spare him from abuse, according to Ferguson.

United desperately need a win having already fallen four points behind champions Chelsea side who will look to continue their torrent of goals against Blackpool on Sunday.

Liverpool will not just roll over, however, as they also attempt to kickstart a stuttering start to the season in which they are yet to score away from home.

Their lack of cutting edge has turned the spotlight on Spain striker Fernando Torres, whose performance against Birmingham City last week was savaged by the media.

However, the 26-year-old says he is relishing the chance to ignite his season against United and repay the hero-worship he still receives from Liverpool's fans.

"It's clear how much the Manchester United games mean to the fans, we have been rivals a lot of years. Beating United means everything to them," Torres, who scored twice in Liverpool's 4-1 victory at Old Trafford two seasons ago, told Liverpool's website.

"We are the two most successful teams in England but it has not been nice for the Liverpool fans to watch Manchester United have so much success over recent years.

"Hardly anybody ever wins at Old Trafford and beating Manchester United 4-1 on their own ground is practically unheard of. I scored the equaliser and to this day I think that has to be one of my favourite days wearing the Liverpool shirt."

Torres will hope to outshine Rooney but clearly has some sympathy with the United striker who has been dogged by poor form and personal problems.

"They have some amazing players but Wayne Rooney is their standout player," he said. "I really like him. He is a funny guy, so we usually have a little chat at the end of the game."

Second-placed Arsenal continued their bright start to the season with a 6-0 thrashing of Braga in the Champions League on Wednesday but Sunderland could provide a sterner test.

"I'm already thinking about the Sunderland game," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. "We need to keep our feet on the ground. It will be a big game and we need to go from Champions League to championship, that's important for our season."

Manchester City, hot tips for a top-four finish but still suffering teething problems, travel to Wigan Athletic while Tottenham Hotspur are at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers following their Champions League exploits on Tuesday.

Bottom club West Ham United, still without a point from four games, visit Stoke City.


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