Wed, 02 Dec 2020

LONDON, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) -- The compact Champions League schedule is taking its toll on the big clubs in the Premier League as injuries continue to play a major role in team selections ahead of the seventh round of matches this weekend.

Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp has lost Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho and will have to decide who partners Joe Gomez in central defense to visit West Ham United on Saturday afternoon. Jordan Henderson could drop back from his usual midfield role, or Klopp could hand an opportunity to 19-year-old Rhys Williams against a direct rival that will look to outmuscle Liverpool whenever they get the chance.

The round of games kicks off on Friday with a mid-table duel between Wolves and Crystal Palace that is likely to be dominated by strikers as Raul Jimenez leads the line for the home side against Palace's in-form Wilfred Zaha.

Manchester City makes the short trip across the Pennines to play winless Sheffield United with Pep Guardiola, probably thinking that with Aymeric Laporte, Ruben Dias and Kyle Walker all fit, he has something approaching his first choice defense available.

City showed away to West Ham last week that they can still be vulnerable, but tightened things up at the back for their Champions League win in Marseille when Ferran Torres showed what a good signing he could turn out to be in attack.

Chelsea have an important visit to Burnley, another team still looking for their first win this season. Frank Lampard's side showed what they could do with their 4-0 away to Krasnador in the Champions League and now need to produce some consistency at home.

Hakim Ziyech impressed in midweek and could help take some of the burden off Kai Havartz and allow more space for the impressive Timo Werner in attack.

Sunday starts with an interesting game as an in-form Southampton with Che Adams and Danny Ings scoring goals for fun, entertain Aston Villa, whose 100 percent record was left in tatters by Leeds United last week.

Villa need to tighten up from last week's display if they are to take anything from the long trip to the south coast after being outclassed by Leeds last week.

League leaders Everton slipped up badly away to Southampton last weekend but will hope to have James Rodriguez back for the visit to Newcastle. However, Lucas Digne and Richarlison will miss the visit to St James' Park through suspension.

There was a time when a game between Arsenal and Manchester United was likely to be a title decider, but Sunday's game between the two comes with Arsenal down in 11th with three wins and United in 15th. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side are showing signs of improvement after Champions League wins over Paris Saint Germain and a 5-0 thrashing of RB Leipzig but need to start picking up wins if they want to start climbing the table, while Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta is under pressure to restore Pierre-Emerick Aubameyan to a more central attacking role.

Jose Mourinho will want an immediate reaction after Tottenham's 1-0 defeat in Antwerp on Thursday, and he can be expected to ring the changes for the trip to play Brighton with Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son likely to lead a powerful looking attack against a rival that plays pretty but open football.

The last two games are played on Monday with a key relegation battle between Fulham and West Brom, while Leeds United take on Leicester City in what promises to be one for the neutral fans to enjoy.

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