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Midweek Premier League preview with Tony Cascarino

Sports Mole looks ahead to four of the midweek Premier League fixtures with Tony Cascarino.

The 2013-14 Premier League campaign is now just over a third of the way through and is about to enter a traditionally hectic festive period.

It starts this evening when West Ham United travel to Crystal Palace, before the remaining 18 sides all turn out tomorrow night.

Here, Sports Mole has looked ahead to four of those matches with former Chelsea, Aston Villa and Republic of Ireland international Tony Cascarino, who is now an analyst for The Times.

Crystal Palace vs. West Ham United

"The right man for Palace is someone that is going to find something different because right now, they don't have enough about them. They need players who change football matches if they are to stay up. Tony Pulis is going to find it really difficult to get what is essentially a Championship team together to go out and win Premier League matches. He will need Selhurst Park to be the sort of venue that the Britannia Stadium was when he was at Stoke City. It needs to be very volatile and noisy because that lifts the team and in fairness to the Palace fans, it has been like that for most of the season. I don't see many goals from Palace and if that's the case, a side like West Ham can grind you down and beat you in the end."

New Crystal Palace boss Tony Pulis looks on during the Barclays Premier league match between Norwich City and Crystal Palace at Carrow Road on November 30, 2013© Getty Images

Arsenal vs. Hull City

"Arsenal will have too much and should dispatch Hull quite comfortably. Looking at the way that Liverpool defended against Hull, Arsenal won't do that. Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny look like a great partnership and Wojciech Szczesny is starting to fulfill the potential that he showed when he first came back from a loan spell at Brentford. Their midfield is extraordinary. If one doesn't step up to the plate, they've got many options like Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla - there is so much talent in there. That midfield is as good, if not better, than anything in Europe, let alone the Premier League. I can only see one result - an Arsenal win."

Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal celebrates with Olivier Giroud and Nacho Monreal  as he scores their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Cardiff City and Arsenal at Cardiff City Stadium on November 30, 2013© Getty Images

Sunderland vs. Chelsea

"The big important thing from Chelsea's point of view is that they have been indifferent in recent weeks. Jose Mourinho has shuffled his team around. He brought on Demba Ba at the weekend and played him alongside Fernando Torres. I thought that worked slightly better because for 45 minutes, Southampton were really comfortable. It looked as though they were going to win the game.

"Chelsea have had a couple of games like that. Against West Brom and Southampton they've fallen behind and they've had to come back. It says a lot about their character, but I'm not quite sure where they are as a team. They certainly haven't got the flair of what we've seen from Man City or Arsenal so far.

"Sunderland are a side that are mediocre. I don't see many match-winners in that side - anybody that can really make a difference. Adam Johnson has his moments and Steven Fletcher is a decent finisher when given chances, but as we saw against Aston Villa, Gus Poyet is really trying to tighten things up and not concede goals. If he starts with the basics of Wes Brown and John O'Shea at the heart of the defence, they might nick some games 1-0, but I can't see that happening against Chelsea."

Jose Mourinho the Chelsea manager reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge on November 9, 2013© Getty Images

Manchester United vs. Everton

"[Everton] are well capable [of picking up a positive result]. Their full-backs, even though they have lost Leighton Baines to injury, have plenty of pace, particularly Seamus Coleman. They are very solid in midfield - James McCarthy has settled in very well and Romelu Lukaku gives them a real physical presence up front. Then there are the likes of Steven Pienaar and Kevin Mirallas, they have got a number of players that can now change a game in the blink of an eye. It wouldn't be a surprise if they got a big result at Man United.

"The Bayer Leverkusen game was probably the arrival of David Moyes [at United] because of the way that they won it and his team selection. He went for a lot of athleticism in his team to match what Leverkusen had. There was lots of good things and they did it without Nemanja Vidic, Michael Carrick and Robin van Persie - that's the spine of their team, which is a big plus for Moyes.

"They've got to be careful, though, because when you have got a player playing as well as Wayne Rooney is, it can mask over a few of your other problems. He has been getting them out of jail by scoring goals. The fact is, their midfield is well short of what they need to be challenging."

Man United manager David Moyes gestures on the touchline during the match against Arsenal on November 10, 2013© Getty Images

Watch Tony Cascarino's Monday Inquest on The Times Goals, which brings subscribers Premier League goals and highlights before anyone else on mobile, tablet and online. Visit to find out more.


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Manchester United's English striker Wayne Rooney scores a goal during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at White Hart Lane in London on December 1, 2013
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