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Chelsea looks to consolidate lead

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Saturday, September 29, 2012

LONDON - Chelsea will try to cement their position at the top of the English Premier League by winning at London rivals Arsenal on Saturday (Sunday Fiji time) in their first match since Blues skipper John Terry was banned for racist abuse.

Terry was given a four-game ban by the Football Association (FA) on Thursday after being found guilty of racially abusing Queens Park Rangers' Anton Ferdinand and fined STG220,000 ($A345,000) pending appeal.

Terry has 14 days from receiving the written reasons for the decision to lodge an appeal against a decision relating to an incident that took place during Chelsea's match away to QPR at Loftus Road on October 23 last year.

The ban - which comes after the 31-year-old former England captain was acquitted of criminal charges relating to the same incident in July - will not come into force until the appeals procedure is complete.

That means central defender Terry, who played in the 6-0 English League Cup rout of Wolves on Tuesday, is available for Chelsea's trip to Arsenal.

Before the hearing started, former England captain Terry dramatically retired from international football.

Second-placed Manchester United face Tottenham at Old Trafford with England striker Wayne Rooney set to make his Premier League return after a gashed thigh.

Reigning champions Manchester City, who have won just two of their five league games this season and conceded seven goals in the process, travel to in-form Fulham looking for victory and a shut-out for goalkeeper Joe Hart.

Liverpool go in search of their first league win this term when they travel to Norwich, with manager Brendan Rodgers hoping refereeing decisions at last go in the Merseysiders' favour.

Anfield great John Barnes believes Liverpool are being punished because striker Luis Suarez has an undeserved reputation for diving.

The Uruguay forward was denied a penalty during last weekend's 2-1 home defeat by arch-rivals United after going down in the box.

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew takes his side to bottom of the table Reading, buoyed by being given a new eight-year contract by the Magpies in a huge show of faith by the north-east club's owner, Mike Ashley.

Sunday's other matches see high-flyers Everton at home to Southampton, Stoke play Swansea and Sunderland face Wigan.

Aston Villa take on Midlands rivals West Brom on Sunday while Monday sees London rivals QPR and West Ham meet at Loftus Road.





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