Friday, 16 August 2013

Premier League - Weekend team news All the team news ahead of the weekend's fixtures in the Premier League.


Premier League - Matchpack: Liverpool v Stoke City(12:45)

Team news, manager quotes and facts ahead of the Premier League match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield.

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is rated at about 80 per cent fit but appears to have shown enough to warrant inclusion against Stoke. Centre-backs Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel (both knee injuries) are expected to be available, although the latter is likely to have to settle for a place on the bench. Summer signings Simon Mignolet and Kolo Toure are set for competitive debuts while fellow new arrivals Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto are also in the squad but striker Luis Suarez is suspended for a further six matches.
Brek Shea misses Stoke's season-opener with the knee injury suffered in a friendly in the United States last month. Another midfielder, Jamie Ness, is also ruled out of Mark Hughes' first competitive game at the helm after his involvement in pre-season was curtailed by injury. Summer signings Erik Pieters and Marc Muniesa, both defenders, are in contention for debuts while Asmir Begovic looks set to remain first-choice goalkeeper ahead of Thomas Sorensen and Jack Butland.
Brendan Rodgers: “Nothing can sabotage what we are trying to do here. There’s too much good work gone on here for it to be overtaken by anything else. The players have set out, their concentration has been brilliant and we are all very determined this year. I can’t let anything detract from that. It’s very simple. So much has been written and said about Luis (Suarez) this summer, but our position has not changed.

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Rodgers focused on Champions League spot

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has set out his goals for the season.

Mark Hughes"In recent times my previous work has been overlooked as a consequence of having an exceptionally poor start to last season. Hopefully we can redress the balance somewhat because it was a bit skewed in a negative way, people's perceptions of my ability as a manager."

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Hughes preparing charm offensive

Mark Hughes accepts there are doubters he needs to win over as prepares to return to the Premier League as Stoke manager.

Liverpool have secured only two points and scored just one goal in their last four Barclays Premier League meetings with Stoke City (D2 L2).
The Potters have lost only two of their 10 Barclays Premier League meetings with Liverpool (W3 D5).
However, Stoke have never scored a Premier League goal at Anfield, despite playing there five times.
Three of the previous five Premier League games between these two sides at Anfield have ended 0-0.
Liverpool are without a win in the last four on the opening day of the season, drawing two home games 1-1 and losing twice away.
Stoke, meanwhile, have only won one of their five previous opening Premier League fixtures (D2 L2).
Liverpool managed more shots than any other side last season (528) but also managed more shots off target than any other team (296).
Stoke scored just 34 goals in 2012/13, a haul superior only to relegated QPR (30).
The Potters also mustered a league-low of just 114 shots on target last season.
Liverpool won four and lost none of their five league games without Luis Suarez playing in 2012/13.
Liverpool 2/5, draw 19/5, Stoke 17/2

Premier League - Matchpack: West Ham United v Cardiff City

Team news, manager quotes and match facts ahead of the Premier League match between West Ham United and Cardiff City at Upton Park(15:00)Print

West Ham's new signings Stewart Downing and Razvan Rat are both set to make their debuts. Downing's arrival from Liverpool leaves Hammers manager Sam Allardyce with a decision to make over who starts on the left wing, with Matt Jarvis also in contention. West Ham will be without Andy Carroll (ankle), with Modibo Maiga set to start up front.
Cardiff manager Malky Mackay is set to hand teenage full-backDeclan John just his second first-team appearance. Regular left-back Andrew Taylor misses out through suspension with 18-year-old John coming into a defence which will also include new signing Steven Caulker. Striker Andreas Cornelius is a doubt but record signingGary Medel will go straight into the starting line-up after completing his move from Sevilla last weekend.
Sam Allardyce: "The emergence of Ravel Morrison has really spiced things up and added competition. He has that bit of class and we’re all hoping that, when his chance comes, he will show everyone he can do it in the Premier League."
Malky Mackay: “The owner took on a more hands-on role here last season and suddenly our three-year plan turned into a two-year plan. He's expected results since last summer. His task to me was to get promotion last season. That's pressure. I've had that for a year so it's just an ongoing thing for me. Football managers are under pressure every week.”
West Ham lost 1-0 at home to Cardiff on the opening day of the Championship season two years ago.
Only Watford (39) claimed more Championship away points than Cardiff (36) in 2012-13.
West Ham have won four of their last five games against Cardiff to nil.
Cardiff have won four and lost none of their last five opening fixtures.
The Hammers shipped a joint-league-high 12 goals in the opening 15 minutes of their games last season.
The Hammers have only drawn one of their last 18 opening games (W9 L8).
West Ham were the only team not to win consecutive Barclays Premier League games last season.
No player picked up more red cards in La Liga (5) than Cardiff’s new signing Gary Medel in the period he was at Sevilla (Jan 2011 – June 2013).
West Ham’s Matt Jarvis created the most goal scoring chances without actually assisting a single Premier League goal last season (46).
The Hammers goalkeeper Jussi Jääskeläinen made a league-high 166 saves last term.
West Ham 19/20, draw 13/5, Cardiff 16/5

Premier League - Matchpack: Arsenal v Aston Villa

Team news, manager quotes and stats ahead of the Premier League match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at the Emirates. (15:00)

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert expects to be without midfielderYacouba Sylla. The energetic Mali international is struggling with a twisted ankle suffered in a youth team game earlier this week and is unlikely to have overcome it in time for the trip to north London. Versatile midfielder Chris Herd (calf) is also highly unlikely to feature but Lambert has no other concerns unless any of his men return from international duty with new injuries.
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert expects to be without midfielderYacouba Sylla. The energetic Mali international is struggling with a twisted ankle suffered in a youth team game earlier this week and is unlikely to have overcome it in time for the trip to north London. Versatile midfielder Chris Herd (calf) is also highly unlikely to feature but Lambert has no other concerns unless any of his men return from international duty with new injuries.
Arsene Wenger: “I understand every frustration. There are so many frustrated people. But what is important is the quality of what you do on the football pitch, so let’s not create a crisis out of nothing. Ideally you would want it to be quicker. To finalise any transfer you need the agreement of three parties. You can see with our main rivals as well, it is not easy. It’s difficult to find the quality players to strengthen the team and the squad, because there is a shortage of top, top, top players who are available."

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Wenger taking nothing for granted

Arsene Wenger warns his side cannot expect any "presents" from their Premier League rivals next season

Paul Lambert: "Even last year I thought that there were goals there in the team. We've tried to enhance it. We're trying to build something here and it's not going to happen overnight, I know that. But what we've done is bring in people who have got legs."

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Lambert confirms Bent in Fulham medical

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has confirmed striker Darren Bent is undergoing a medical at Fulham.

Arsenal have lost only one of their last nine Barclays Premier League meetings with Aston Villa (W5 D3).
Aston Villa won one more point (21) away from home than they did at home (20) in the 2012-13 Barclays Premier League.
Villa have won just two of their last 19 trips to London to face Arsenal, but both of these have come since the Gunners moved to the Emirates Stadium.
Indeed only Chelsea (three) have won more away Premier League games at the Emirates than Aston Villa (two). Villa have won just one point from their last seven Premier League away trips to London.
Arsenal have not lost any of their last 12 opening Premier League games (W8 D4), though they have drawn their last three.
Villa have played their opening fixture away from Villa Park 12 times in the Premier League era and have only won once (1-0 at Newcastle in 1999), drawing seven and losing four.
Arsenal finished last season with a 10-game unbeaten run (W8 D2) and lost just one of their last 16 fixtures to secure a top-four berth yet again.
Darren Bent has scored six goals in his last eight Premier League games against Arsenal and has scored three in three at the Emirates.
The Emirates Stadium saw more goals than any other stadium in the Premier League last season (70).
Arsenal 2/5, draw 4/1, Aston Villa 8/1

Premier League - Matchpack: Sunderland v Fulham

Team news, manager quotes and stats ahead of the Premier League match between Sunderland and Fulham at the Stadium of Light. (15:00)

Jozy Altidore and Emanuele Giaccherini are set to make their competitive debuts while former Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Mannone could get the nod ahead of Keiren Westwood. Defender Wes Brown has been ruled out as a precautionary measure after a slight recurrence of a knee complaint, striker Steven Fletcher is also forced to miss the opening game with an ankle injury, while Craig Gardner is suspended.
Fulham's new signing Darren Bent could be in line to make his debut, but midfielder Alexander Kacaniklic is a doubt because of a hamstring injury. Goalkeeper David Stockdale is struggling with a thumb problem, but new signing Maarten Stekelenburg is the club's number one choice in the position. Adel Taarabt, a loan signing from QPR, is short of match fitness but will be included in the squad.
Paolo Di Canio: "I don't hope (Jozy Altidore) will be a success here, I know he will. He will score many goals for us. I can't give you a number but it will be 15 or more if he uses the energy he did for the national team. He is an animal. He did not have a fantastic experience at Hull but he was young and they struggled. He left, went around Europe and grew up and last year finished with a very good goals tally."

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Di Canio still chasing new players

Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio insists his summer transfer business is far from finished ahead of the season opener.

Martin Jol: "Darren Bent is a striker I have always admired. He has shown in the Premier League that he is composed and clinical in front of goal but, even if he is not scoring, he is involved in some good link-up play, creating opportunities for his team-mates. He gives us pace up front and I am confident he will add to our goals scored tally this season."

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Jol: Taarabt can give us goals and creativity

Press conference with Fulham manager Martin Jol who talks about Adel Taarabt, Darren Bent and the club's new owner.

Fulham are unbeaten in their last four Barclays Premier League away trips to Sunderland (W1 D3).
Sunderland have won only one of their last eight Barclays Premier League home games.
Both teams scored a penalty in this fixture last season (Gardner and Berbatov).
Fulham have kept a clean sheet in each of their last four Premier League games on the opening day of the season.
The Whites have only won one of their seven previous top-flight away games on the opening day (D2 L4), winning 1-0 at Portsmouth back in 2009/10.
Sunderland are unbeaten in their last four games on the opening day of the season, though they have drawn their last three.
Indeed the Black Cats have only scored eight goals in 12 previous Premier League opening fixtures combined.
Sunderland scored just two headed goals in 2012/13 – a league-low.
Dimitar Berbatov scored the first goal of the game more often than any other player in 2012/13 (nine times).
Fulham gained just five points from losing positions in the whole of last season, a league-low.
Sunderland 13/10, draw 12/5, Fulham 12/5

Premier League - Matchpack: West Bromwich Albion v Southampton

Team news, manager quotes and stats ahead of the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Southampton at The Hawthorns (15:00)

Nicolas Anelka is set to make his competitive West Brom debut. The 34-year-old, scorer of seven pre-season goals for Albion since joining in July, is one of three new faces added to the squad this summer along with fellow striker Matej Vydra and defender Diego Lugano, both of whom could also be involved in the campaign-opening game. Wantaway frontman Peter Odemwingie has trained apart from the first team this summer and seems certain not to get a look in, while midfielders Zoltan Gera and George Thorne (both knee) are not yet ready for selection after their injuries.
Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino could be without two of his first-choice full-backs. Both Nathaniel Clyne and Luke Shaw are struggling with knocks picked up in the latter stages of pre-season but could yet feature in the opening fixture at The Hawthorns. Shaw (knee) is the most likely of the two youngsters to be involved with Clyne still recovering from a problem he picked up in Austria. England's latest goalscorer Rickie Lambert is expected to lead the line but the fitness of Gaston Ramirez and Maya Yoshida was expected to be judged later today after they travelled long-haul for midweek internationals.
Steve Clarke: "There is no downside with Nicolas. That ('Le Sulk') is an image that is portrayed in the press, but I find him to be a very engaging character, a very good person and he has been great in the group here. He has come in and settled well. He is already a favourite among the players."
Mauricio Pochettino: "Rickie Lambert has achieved something (scoring on his England debut). Because of his goal the fans feel very close to the players. I would go as far as to say he might be able to change the face of the national side to make the players seem much more approachable and down to earth."

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West Brom boss defends Anelka signing

Press conference with West Brom manager Steve Clarke ahead of the game against Southampton.

West Brom have only won two of their last 15 opening league games (D5 L8).
The Saints lost a league-high 29 points from winning positions last term.
Wantaway striker Peter Odemwingie scored a brace in this fixture last season as the Baggies won 2-0.
The Throstles have lost only one of their last eight league with the Saints.
Southampton have conceded only two goals in total in their last five Barclays Premier League away games.
The Saints have won just one of their previous 14 games on the opening day of the Premier League season.
Of all teams to have played 10 or more Barclays Premier League seasons, Southampton have the worst opening day record (an average of just 0.64 points per game).
Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin made more tackles (146) and interceptions (139) than any other Premier League player in 2012-13.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side failed to win any of their last six league games last season (D4 L2), avoiding relegation by just five points.
The Baggies also won just one of their last nine league games last term, drawing three and losing five.
West Brom 7/5, draw 12/5, Southampton 11/5

Premier League - Matchpack: Swansea City v Manchester United

Team news, manager quotes and match facts ahead of the Premier League match between Swansea City and Manchester United at the Liberty Stadium. (17:30)

Jonathan de Guzman will miss out for Swansea. The Dutch midfielder was hurt in a training ground collision with Dirk Kuyt while on international duty and could also miss the first leg of the Europa League play-off against Petrolul Ploiesti. Pablo Hernandez and Jonjo Shelvey are available again after their respective groin injury and illness, while Wilfried Bony is set to feature despite only arriving back from Ivory Coast's friendly against Mexico in New Jersey late last night.
David Moyes must decide whether to include Wayne Rooney in the squad for his first Premier League game as Manchester Unitedmanager. Rooney completed 65 minutes of his first game of the summer when England defeated Scotland on Wednesday and is expected to be on the bench at the Liberty Stadium. Rafael andJavier Hernandez (both hamstring) and wing duo Nani and Ashley Young are all expected to be sidelined, so Wilfried Zaha stands by for his first top slight start, although Michael Carrick should recover from the eye infection which kept him out of England's friendly.
Michael Laudrup: "From my point of view I don't want Michu to leave for any amount in the world but if someone comes in and gives an absolutely ridiculous bid then I can understand if the player or the club say this is way beyond what we could expect in the future."

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Laudrup: United clash never easy

Swansea boss Michael Laudrup insists there will never be an easy time for any side to play Manchester United.

David Moyes: "(On United's fixture list): I find it hard to believe that’s the way the balls came out of the bag, that’s for sure. I think it is the hardest start United have had for 20 years. I hope it’s not because United won the league comfortably last year that the fixtures have been made much more difficult."
Swansea ended a run of six successive opening day defeats with a 5-0 win at Queens Park Rangers last season.
Man Utd have taken 10 points from their four Barclays Premier League encounters against Swansea.
Man Utd’s last three Barclays Premier League away games have ended as draws, despite them scoring eight goals in that spell.
Michu has scored in both of his two previous appearances against Manchester United. The Spaniard is one of only four players to have played against the Red Devils more than once in the Premier League and still average a goal a game or better (Paul Mason, Mario Balotelli, Romelu Lukaku).
Michu also netted a league-high six headed goals last season.
Manchester United have lost just two of their last 17 opening league fixtures, though one of those was last year at Everton.
Only Chelsea (44) have won more points from their opening games than Man Utd (43) in the Premier League era.
Man Utd hit the woodwork 24 times last season, more than any other side.
Manchester United came from behind to claim 29 points in the Premier League last season. Only Newcastle in 2001-02 (34) have claimed more.
The Red Devils had 20 different goal scorers in 2012-13, a record spread in a single Premier League season.
Swansea 3/1, draw 5/2, Man Utd 21/20


Premier League - Matchpack: Crystal Palace v Tottenham Hotspur

Team news, manager quotes and stats ahead of the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur at Selhurst Park (13:30)

Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway will not be able to hand a debut to summer signing Jerome Thomas. The 30-year-old winger suffered an ankle injury in a friendly against Lazio last weekend and is set to be sidelined for at least two weeks. However, a host of other new signings could be in line for their competitive debuts with the likes ofMarouane Chamakh and Elliott Grandin likely to be involved. Captain Paddy McCarthy (groin) is back in training but will not be ready while Glenn Murray (knee) and Yannick Bolasie (hamstring) are also absent.
Wantaway Tottenham forward Gareth Bale has been ruled out because of a foot injury. Defender Jan Vertonghen is doubtful due to an ankle injury he suffered in pre-season while midfielder Lewis Holtby misses out with a knee injury. Striker Emmanuel Adebayor will not feature as he only returned from compassionate leave on Wednesday while midfielder Scott Parker is expected to be left out of the squad as he is in talks with other clubs about a move away from White Hart Lane.
Ian Holloway: "We were all over (Dwight Gayle) like a rash (at Dagenham) but (Peterborough) got in first so I was left having to fork out for him. Having said that I believe he will prove to be worth every penny. He's a lethal finisher and I'm looking for double figures from him. We have money to spend and the chairman is on the case. I expect us to be busy right up until deadline day."

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Holloway's hand forced in transfer market

Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway has admitted the club are having to force the issue of signing new players as he does not have the luxury of a deep squad.

Andre Villas-Boas: “(Gareth Bale's) mental state nobody knows because the player doesn’t speak. The only thing that we are able to see or you are able to see is the player arriving in and out of the training ground. We are aware that Real Madrid are interested in the player. It doesn’t mean that we are willing to negotiate on him."
Palace have found the net in all but one of their previous eight Premier League fixtures against Spurs.
Tottenham have only won two of their last 12 opening Barclays Premier League games (D4 L6).
Spurs lost their last Premier League game against Crystal Palace; 0-3 in January 2005 at Selhurst Park.
The Eagles have lost only one of their last six Premier League games against Spurs.
Both Palace and their opponents have scored in all four of the Eagle’s previous opening day fixtures in the Premier League.
Against no other side have Palace scored more Premier League goals than they have managed against Spurs (10).
This will be the 16th time Tottenham have played away from home in their opening Premier League game, a competition-record.
The Eagles won 16 penalties in the Championship last season, including the one in the playoff final that took them to the Premier League. This was more than any other side.
The last time Crystal Palace opened up a Premier League campaign on home soil, they were beaten 1-6 by Liverpool.
Palace striker Glenn Murray scored more goals than any other player in the Championship in 2012-13 (30) but sustained a serious knee injury in the playoffs.
Crystal Palace 15/4, draw 11/4, Tottenham 5/6

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