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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 23 April, 2014

Premier League previews: Who will win today’s games and why

No rest for the wicked footballers, with both Manchester clubs among those competing this afternoon.

All games kick off at 3pm unless stated otherwise.

West Brom v Fulham (12.45pm)

(Steve Clarke will be hoping his side can recover from their recent poor form – David Davies/PA Wire/Press Association Images)

TV: Sky Sports 1

Betting: evens (home), 12/5 (draw) 14/5 (away)

Doubtful: West Brom – Youssouf Mulumbu, Jonas Olsson, Goran Popov, Steven Reid and Claudio Yacob. Fulham – Mark Schwarzer, Mahamadou Diarra, Damien Duff and Mladen Petric.

Following their tremendous start to the season, the Baggies’ form has wavered somewhat, as they’ve won just two of their last seven matches.

However, the club have a relatively solid home record and face a Fulham team with countless problems of their own.

They’ve won only one of their last 12 matches, and are heading rapidly closer to the relegation zone as a consequence.

So while West Brom have been unconvincing at times in recent games, they should have enough in their side to earn a straightforward victory today.

Verdict: West Brom

Man City v Stoke City

(Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko celebrates after scoring his team’s opening goal against Norwich - PA Wire/PA Wire/Press Association Images)

Betting: 2/7 (home) 9/2 (draw) 10/1 (away)

Suspended: Man City – Samir Nasri.

Injured: Man City – Mario Balotelli, Aleksandar Kolarov and Maicon.

Man City have sometimes struggled against sides with Stoke’s level of physicality in the past, so this afternoon’s encounter should be an intriguing one.

They must do without Samir Nasri, following his sending off against Norwich, while striker Mario Balotelli also remains absent.

Stoke, meanwhile, followed their impressive defeat of Liverpool with a fortuitous draw against Southampton.

The Potters haven’t beaten City away since 1997, and while they have impressed of late, don’t expect that to change today.

Verdict: Man City

Swansea v Aston Villa

(Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert during the Barclays Premier League match at Villa Park against Wigan – Jon Buckle/PA Wire/Press Association Images)

Betting: 8/13 (home), 3/1 (draw), 9/2 (away).

Doubtful: Swansea – Michu.

Injured: Aston Villa – Darren Bent, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Charles N’Zogbia, Ron Vlaar, Nathan Baker and Richard Dunne.

Despite some suggesting they may be susceptible to second-season syndrome, especially following the loss of key personnel, Swansea have continued in a similar vein to last season’s successful campaign.

However, they will likely be forced to cope with the injury loss of arguably their best player in Michu at the Liberty Stadium this afternoon.

They face a Villa side who have been performing abysmally, conceding 15 goals in their last three games.

Swansea, on the other hand, are unbeaten in their last three matches on New Year’s Day, and you can expect that run to continue.

Verdict: Swansea

Tottenham v Reading

(Gareth Bale will miss Tottenham’s game through suspension – Steve Drew/EMPICS Sport)

Suspended: Tottenham – Gareth Bale

Doubtful: Reading – Jason Roberts and Alex McCarthy.

Betting: 4/11 (home), 15/4 (draw), 8/1 (away).

Tottenham are the clear favourites for this fixture, with Reading priced as high as 8/1 for a win.

They must cope, however, with the absence of star man Gareth Bale, whose yellow card for supposedly diving against Sunderland was his fifth of the season.

Nevertheless, don’t expect the Welshman’s absence to knock Tottenham’s confidence, as they’ve taken 19 of a possible 24 points from their last eight matches.

Thus, while Reading have shown signs of improvement recently, they are unlikely to get anything from this encounter.

Verdict: Tottenham

West Ham v Norwich

(West Ham United’s Ricardo Vaz Te rues a missed chance in front of the goal – Andrew Matthews/PA Wire/Press Association Images)

Betting: 23/20 (home), 23/10 (draw), 12/5 (away).

Suspended: West Ham – Kevin Nolan and James Collins. Norwich – Bradley Johnson.

Injured: West Ham – Mohammed Diame and Andy Carroll.

Doubtful: Norwich – Steve Morison and Grant Holt

Two of the Premier League’s most inconsistent teams are set to meet at Upton Park.

The Hammers are likely to be short of confidence going into the match, having lost five of their past eight games.

Norwich, too, have reason to be dispirited, after losing their last three fixtures, despite having previously gone unbeaten in 10.

Such statistics means caution will probably dominate proceedings, with a draw being the most probable outcome.

Verdict: Draw

Wigan v Man United

(Manchester United’s Robin van Persie celebrates scoring against West Bromwich Albion – Martin Rickett/PA Wire/Press Association Images)

Injured: Wigan – Antolin Alcaraz, Albert Crusat, Antonio Lopez, Ryo Miyaichi and Ben Watson.

Betting: 11/2 (home), 3/1 (draw), 8/15 (away)

On the face of it, this looks like it’ll be a straightforward win for United.

However, most pundits would have suggested the same last season, with United vying for the title, and the Latics battling relegation, yet a surprise result ensued.

Then again, United didn’t have Robin van Persie in their side back then – the Dutchman has 62 goals in his last 75 appearances now.

Wigan will at least be buoyed by Saturday’s 3-0 victory against Villa, but expect Fergie’s men to prevail.

Verdict: Man United

Southampton v Arsenal (5.30pm)

(Arsenal’s Theo Walcott shoots to score his team’s fourth goal – Nick Potts/PA Wire/Press Association Images)

TV: Sky Sports 1

Betting: 4/1 (home), 11/4 (draw), 7/10 (away).

Doubtful: Southampton – Adam Lallana. Arsenal – Per Mertesacker.

Injured: Arsenal – Andre Santos and Abou Diaby.

Southampton go into this game having taken only two points from their last nine matches against top-half opposition.

Moreover, they face an Arsenal side who have looked rejuvenated ever since their embarrassing League Cup loss against Bradford.

Yet the one outcome of this game more likely than an Arsenal victory is that it will ultimately provide plenty of goals.

Southampton have the second worst defensive record in the league, while the Gunners’ back four has also looked very creaky at times this season.

Verdict: Arsenal

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