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Premier League: Norwich, QPR and Reading all have chances this weekend

Green will need to be at his best against Everton

The Toffees’ have enjoyed an good start to the season and currently sit fourth in the table, just a point off Manchester City and Manchester United, but they will have to ensure their squad are fully prepared to go again on Sunday.


Recommended Bet
QPR to snatch a point off Everton on Sunday at 3.55n/a

Hannah Duncan assesses the sides near the foot of the Premier League table and asks if they can take advantage of the bigger clubs' international break hangovers this weekend...

The fixture list can often be a cruel thing, particularly for teams languishing near the bottom of the Premier League, but this weekend could throw up a few blessings in disguise for the clubs currently occupying the relegation places.

There's no better time to play the top sides than after an international break which is why Reading, Norwich and QPR, who have landed fixtures against Liverpool, Arsenal and Everton respectively, all have decent chances of taking points this weekend.

Arsenal typically don't respond well following foreign jaunts, especially if their first game back in domestic action is away from home. Last season, they struggled to amass points after every Champions League match on the road, so it doesn't necessarily bode well for this weekend's trip to Carrow Road.

Norwich are 6.611/2 underdogs to beat the Gunners on Saturday, but despite Chris Hughton side's awful start to the season - they're yet to win a match - it could be the perfect time to welcome Arsenal to Norfolk.

Theo Walcott is already a doubt for the weekend following the chest injury he picked up in the opening minutes of England's 5-0 win over San Marino last week, while Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have also been away with Roy Hodgson's side - a stay lengthened by Tuesday's postponement.

Elsewhere, the star of the season so far - Santi Cazorla - has been on duty with Spain who travelled to Belarus last week and hosted France last night, where team-mate Olivier Giroud was among the opposing ranks.

Other names on international duty included Lukas Podolski for Germany, Aaron Ramsey for Wales and Belgium's Thomas Vermaelen.
One Belgium player who didn't over-exert himself over the past week was Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini, who picked up a knock in the Toffees' last outing against Wigan, ruling him out for three weeks, although fellow Belgian Evertonian Kevin Mirallas did report for international duty.

But what is a big blow for David Moyes' side will be a huge boost for QPR. The Hoops are down at just 3.412/5 to become only the second side to beat Everton this season when the two meet at Loftus Road on Sunday.

The Toffees' have enjoyed an uncharacteristically good start to the season and currently sit fourth in the table, just a point off Manchester City and Manchester United, but they will have to ensure their squad, including the likes of Croatian Nikica Jelavic, Irishman Seamus Coleman and England internationals Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka, are fully prepared to go again on Sunday.

Back to Saturday's action and Reading will be hoping they can pounce on Liverpool's shaky form and tired internationals to claim their first win of the season.

The Royals are big outsiders at 11.5n/a to win at Anfield but could take advantage of the prolonged international stay of captain Steven Gerrard and youngster Jonjo Shelvy, while Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling travelled to Serbia with England Under-21s where they were subjected to an ugly atmosphere involving racial abuse and violence.

Joe Allen, Daniel Agger and Pepe Reina were also among those spending time away from Merseyside, leaving boss Brendan Rodgers with little time to prepare his players for the weekend's fixture.

Of course, being top professionals with experience of a demanding schedule, players from Arsenal, Everton and Liverpool may remain unaffected by the international break, but the fixture list could just play into the hands of those who need it most this weekend.

Recommended Bet
QPR to snatch a point off Everton on Sunday at 3.55n/a

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17 October 2012

Premier League

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