The five biggest injury concerns ahead of this weekend's fixtures

Giroud Arsenal

Arsenal, Newcastle United, Norwich City, Sunderland and Chelsea players feature.

This weekend’s Premier League fixture list contains a number of mouth-watering clashes. Here are the players who are likely to miss out through injury.

Olivier Giroud is a major doubt for Arsenal’s clash with Manchester City at the Emirates this Sunday after suffering a large gash on his knee in their FA Cup draw with Swansea City last weekend.

The Frenchman will undergo a final fitness test on Saturday to assess whether he will take part in the match. Left-back Andre Santos also picked up an injury to his stomach muscles but may still feature on the bench.

With Gervinho away on international duty with Ivory Coast in the African Cup of Nations, Theo Walcott will likely get the nod up front in the event that Giroud is ruled out.

Chelsea captain John Terry is nearing recovery from his knee injury sustained against Liverpool two months ago.

However, despite his appearance in the Blues’ U21 game against Fulham on Thursday evening, he is unlikely to start against Stoke on Saturday, although he may be included in the squad that travels to the Britannia.

Finally, a bit of good news for Newcastle United ahead of their game with Norwich on Saturday – it looks as though Yohan Cabaye will travel with the squad who Pardew is hopeful will also include Papiss Cisse and Fabricio Coloccini. Although he’ll likely be available for selection, Cabaye will probably start on the bench.

Grant Holt could also be involved in the fixture for Norwich City, after 5 weeks out with a hamstring injury sidelined him for the entire festive period. The captain has returned to light training and, although unlikely to start, could very well be involved from the bench.

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill face a serious selection headache ahead of his side's clash with West Ham at the Stadium of Light on Saturday. Carlos Cuellar and Danny Rose both picked up hamstring injuries agaist Bolton in last weekend's FA Cup draw and will be sidelined for several weeks. The boss will be desperately hoping John O'Shea returns from his hamstring injury in time but, at present, that looks doubtful.

In other news, Wayne Rooney will definitely not be taking any part in Manchester United’s hosting of Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday. However, United may find consolation in the return to fitness of Nani and Anderson who are both available for selection for Sir Alex Ferguson and will likely start on the bench.

Sergio Aguero will not be taking any part in Manchester City’s trip to Emirates to face Arsenal. Yaya Toure and Kolo Toure, along with Abdul Razak are all on international duty at the African Cup of Nations, whilst Maicon, Micah Richards and Jack Rodwell are still out with long-term injuries.

image: © ronnie macdonald

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