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Category Archives: Premier League

Ilkay Gundogan returns from injury in Manchester City friendly against Girona

Ilkay Gundogan made his first appearance in eight months as Manchester City lost a friendly 1-0 against Girona in Spain.

The German midfielder has been recovering from the serious knee injury sustained against Watford in December, but following his run-out on the Costa Brava, replacing Phil Foden after 71 minutes, Gundogan could now be available for the Premier League match against Everton on Monday evening.

City opened their domestic campaign with a 2-0 win over newly promoted Brighton at the AMEX Stadium on Saturday.

Manager Pep Guardiola used the trip to the Spanish training camp to further assess his squad although defender Kyle Walker, who joined City in a £45million deal from Tottenham, did not travel.

Guardiola made some nine changes to his starting XI from the Brighton game, but there was no action at the Estadi Montilivi for Benjamin Mendy, the £52m signing from Monaco, who has just resumed training after injury, while Yaya Toure captained the team.

After Raheem Sterling saw a 20-yard effort saved Portu scored from close range after the ball had been swept in following a break down the left on 14 minutes to give the lead to the Spanish side, who are getting ready to play in LaLiga for the first time when they face Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

Blues goalkeeper Claudio Bravo produced a good stop from Cristhian Stuani before half-time, with midfielder Bernardo Silva, another big-money summer recruit from Ligue 1 champions Monaco, later seeing his second-half effort disallowed for offside as City could not find an equaliser.

City are set to return to England on Thursday evening.

Source: PA



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Jesse Lingard sees no limit to Manchester United potential this season

Jesse Lingard believes “anything is possible” at Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United this season.

The three years that immediately followed Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement were as frustrating as they were uninspiring for the Old Trafford faithful, but the club now appear to be back on an upward trajectory.

EFL Cup, Community Shield and Europa League glory in Mourinho’s first season largely overshadowed their sixth-placed Premier League finish, but there is now a requirement to kick on further.

Sunday’s 4-0 thrashing of West Ham was an impressive marker at the start of the domestic campaign and Lingard believes exciting times lie ahead at Old Trafford.

“It has been a long time since we’ve beaten a team 3-0, 4-0 at Old Trafford,” the winger told Press Association Sport.

“It’s a good start for us. I think anything is possible. If we really put our minds to it and really knuckle down, I think anything is possible.

“We’re obviously back in the Champions League this season so there’s many more trophies we can win.”

United certainly have the strength in depth to challenge and their summer acquisitions have brought an extra edge to the side.

Romelu Lukaku, signed in for an initial £75million, has hit three goals in two competitive matches, while defensive midfielder Nemanja Matic already looks a wily acquisition.

Named man of the match against West Ham, the former Chelsea man is not only providing a solid shield but is seen as key to unlocking the full potential of Lingard’s friend and team-mate Paul Pogba.

“You see the pace of Rashy (Marcus Rashford) and the power of Rom,” Lingard said. “That link-up over the course of the season will become stronger.

“(Matic) is taller than I originally thought! Obviously you don’t really watch a lot of other teams, but you see what he can bring: he stabilises the play, he breaks up the play.

“I think (Matic) playing behind in defensive midfield allows (Pogba) to have the freedom to go on and play and make things happen and not worry about defending when we lose the ball.”

Pogba and Lingard were at Old Trafford on Tuesday for the unveiling of a mural created by graffiti artist Alec Monopoly, whose depiction of scenes around the stadium was added to by some of the club’s players.

Mourinho was also there to see the artwork created by TAG Heuer, Manchester United‘s official timekeeper and global watch partner – and the United boss has finishing touches of his own to make in the coming weeks.

The Reds have so far been thwarted in their attempts to sign Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic, but the Portuguese is still targeting someone “playing from the sides” before the window closes.

That arrival could well increase the pressure on Lingard’s place, yet the 24-year-old England international welcomes competition with open arms.

“It is good,” Lingard said. “It is obviously more competition and it makes you work harder in training.

“So it’s all good. We’ve had a lot of players come in over the past few seasons, which is always good to help build the squad up and make it stronger.

“It’s always a massive honour to run out at Old Trafford or wherever we play for Man United.

“I am always going to work hard and keep my feet on the ground.”

Lingard will certainly not be giving up his place without a fight, having had to patiently wait to make a first-team impact after several loan spells.

The 24-year-old has been rewarded with a new four-year deal after impressing Mourinho, who has sometimes deployed the England international at left wing-back recently.

“Obviously it is not my natural position,” Lingard said. “For me, obviously I like playing more forwards in a three and having that freedom to go and play.

“But if the manager wants you to play there, you’ve got to play there.

“He trusts his players which is good and it gives you the confidence to go and perform. I think that trust between the player and manager is massively important.”

Lingard has his manager’s trust, but not the height Mourinho appears to favour.

United’s summer signings to date have all been above six foot, and when asked if he felt like he was in a land of giants, Lingard said with a laugh: “Yeah, it is a very tall squad, I can say that!

“But it will help with set-pieces. We don’t score many set-pieces but hopefully we can add it to our game.”

Source: PA



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Man City back in for Sanchez?

Man City are preparing to bid £60m for Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez before the transfer window closes, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Arsene Wenger is determined to hold onto the Chilean forward, but the fear is that they will lose him when his contract runs out next summer and Pep Guardiola is keen to take the opportunity to snatch him before the transfer window closes at the end of August.

Apparently, City are also prepared to hand Sanchez a contract worth around £400k per week, if they can convince Arsenal to sell. 

It’s only a matter of time before a deal can be struck, surely?

Source: DSG



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Burnley make payment pledge to travelling fans for derby showdown

Burnley will pay for coach travel for all away fans at next week‘s east Lancashire derby against Blackburn.

The fierce rivals have been drawn against each other in the Carabao Cup second round, with the Premier League Clarets heading to Ewood Park next Wednesday.

Burnley have been allocated 5,000 tickets for the match, the first meeting of the neighbouring sides since March 2016.

A club statement read: “Coach travel to this fixture is compulsory for all visiting fans. Burnley Football Club will pay for the coaching of all supporters to the game, either from Turf Moor or via Supporters’ Clubs.

“Burnley Football Club respectfully asks all supporters to conduct themselves responsibly. Stewards and Police will be available at coach departure points and within the stadium for assistance and for any queries.”

Source: PA



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Fernando Llorente back in training but will miss Manchester United clash

Swansea striker Fernando Llorente has returned to training after fracturing his arm but will not be considered for Manchester United‘s Premier League visit on Saturday.

Llorente missed Swansea’s league opener at Southampton with an injury sustained while cycling on a family holiday.

The 32-year-old will miss United’s trip to the Liberty Stadium, but Swansea boss Paul Clement hopes the Spain international will play at Crystal Palace the following Saturday.

“Crystal Palace is a possibility. We will see,” Clement told the official Swansea website.

“Because of the nature of the injury to the arm, he lost a lot of upper-body bulk.

“He managed as well as possible to maintain his cardio-fitness, but he is going to have to rebuild that upper-body strength which he wasn’t able to work on while the arm was fractured.

“We will take it day by day with him.

“Hopefully he will respond well to the training and will be available soon.”

Llorente finished as Swansea’s top scorer with 15 goals last season following his £5million move from Sevilla.

He has been constantly linked with a move to champions Chelsea throughout the summer and a reunion with his former Juventus manager Antonio Conte.

But Clement insisted last week that Llorente would be staying at Swansea, saying: “He has got a year to go on his deal and we’d like him to stay for this year and longer.

“I’m confident he will because of the conversations I’ve had with Fernando.

“He’s happy here, he likes the work we’re doing, and he likes the way we play.

“He’s a really good player and it’s a shame with the injury he got in the summer.

“It’s a freak one and he did finish off the season strongly. His goals were vital and we want to have him as an option.”

Source: PA



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5 transfers that would not have happened if new proposals had been in place

A proposed change to the summer transfer window for Premier League clubs could see an end to the mad dash for signings with the new season already under way.

With England‘s top-flight clubs reportedly pushing for the window to be shut before the campaign starts, Press Association Sport casts an eye back to consider some of the biggest moves which would not have gone through had the new proposals been in place 12 months ago.

SHKODRAN MUSTAFI

Germany defender Mustafi joined Arsenal in a £35million switch from Valencia on August 29, on the same day that Deportivo la Coruna striker Lucas Perez headed for the Emirates Stadium. Mustafi made his Premier League debut in a 2-1 home victory over Southampton on September 10, the first of 37 appearances last season.

DAVID LUIZ

Brazilian Luiz completed a shock £34million return to former club Chelsea from Paris St Germain as the Blues splashed out the best part of £60million on defenders – Marcos Alonso arrived as well – on August 31. Luiz, who had left Stamford Bridge for PSG in a £50million switch in June 2014, was a mainstay in last term’s title-winning side.

CHRISTIAN BENTEKE

Crystal Palace did not wait long to re-invest the proceeds of Yannick Bolasie’s move to Everton, committing up to £32million to lure Benteke from Liverpool to Selhurst Park on August 20. The breakthrough followed weeks of negotiations, although the manager who signed him, Alan Pardew, witnessed only eight of the 17 goals he scored last season before losing his job in December.

MOUSSA SISSOKO

Sissoko was another who had to wait until the death for his move, eventually leaving Newcastle for Tottenham on August 31 in exchange for £30million. The midfielder had enjoyed a fine Euro 2016 finals campaign with France, but eyebrows were raised on Tyneside when Spurs agreed to pay big money for a man whose inconsistency over the previous three and a half years had been a source of huge frustration.

ISLAM SLIMANI

Shock 2015/16 champions Leicester also left their business late when they made a £29million swoop for Algerian striker Slimani from Sporting Lisbon. Another deadline-day arrival, he was signed to spearhead the club’s Champions League campaign and defence of their title, although he made just 16 starts in all competitions last season.

Source: PA



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Gareth Barry closing in on move to West Brom

Gareth Barry is set to undergo a medical at West Brom today ahead of a proposed move from Everton, Press Association Sport understands.

The 36-year-old midfielder is expected to sign a 12-month contract at The Hawthorns with the option of another year.

An ankle injury saw him miss Everton’s opening Premier League game against Stoke at the weekend but the problem is not expected to complicate any deal and Barry could even be fit to make his debut when West Brom face Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday.

Albion head coach Tony Pulis has been looking for a replacement for Darren Fletcher in central midfield after he left for Stoke this summer and the experienced Barry fits the bill.

The former Aston Villa trainee, who has also played for Manchester City, has made 628 Premier League appearances and needs to play just five more matches to overtake former Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs as the competition’s all-time record appearance holder.

Everton boss Ronald Koeman was open to keeping Barry but the club’s summer spending has made competition for places fierce at Goodison Park and the anticipated arrival of Gylfi Sigurdsson from Swansea would see the former England international fall further down the pecking order.

Barry would become the fourth new signing at West Brom this summer after the acquisitions of Jay Rodriguez, Zhang Yuning and Ahmed Hegazi.

Pulis said in the build-up to his side’s opening game of the season against Bournemouth that he wanted four or five more additions before the transfer window closed at the end of the month.

Source: PA



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Defender Florian Lejeune faces weeks on sidelines with ankle ligament damage

Newcastle defender Florian Lejeune is facing weeks on the sidelines after being injured in a challenge by England striker Harry Kane.

The Magpies have confirmed that the Frenchman, an £8.7million summer signing from Spanish club Eibar, suffered ankle ligament damage in the incident during Sunday’s 2-0 Premier League defeat by Tottenham.

Kane was booked for the fist-half tackle, but Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez later claimed the frontman should have been sent off.

The Spaniard’s disappointment has deepened with the news that fellow defender Paul Dummett, who had earlier limped off with a hamstring problem, is also likely to be missing for some time.

A club statement said: “Newcastle United have confirmed that defenders Florian Lejeune and Paul Dummett will be out of action for a number of weeks.

“Both players were forced off with injuries during the first half of Sunday’s Premier League defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at St James’ Park.

“Dummett limped off with a hamstring injury after just seven minutes, before Lejeune – making his Magpies debut – sustained ankle ligament damage during a tackle by Harry Kane.

“Assessments by the club’s medical staff are continuing in order to establish the full extent of their injuries, but both players are expected to be out for weeks, rather than months.”

Newcastle face Huddersfield, who were also promoted from the Sky Bet Championship last season, in their second top-flight fixture on Sunday.

Source: PA



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YouTube star Dina Tokio rates Manchester City’s kit as the best in the business

Manchester City have received a unexpected boost ahead of the new Premier League season after their kit was hailed as the most fashionable of the title contenders.

YouTube vlogger Dina Tokio says the “lovely baby blue” colour, comfortable-looking fit, nice collar and tastefully-printed sponsor means City have stolen a march on their rivals in the fashion stakes.

Press Association Sport asked Dina to rate the new kits brought out by the Premier League‘s big six – City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool – as well as Barcelona and Real Madrid purely from a fashion perspective.

And the sartorially-sharp Cristiano Ronaldo and his Real Madrid team-mates could be forgiven for feeling sheepish when they step out at the Bernabeu after their shirt was branded the least stylish because of its “really tacky” turquoise trim.

City’s position at the top of the pile is a pt for a team managed by the effortlessly elegant Pep Guardiola.

“It c ould work very well with a nice tan, somebody with olive skin,” Dina said on the City strip.

“I would wear like light blue joggers, and then heels and big hoop earrings.

“I can imagine me wearing this out.”

City fans can afford to be extra smug in the knowledge that United’s kit was rated the worst of the Premier League challengers because of its v-neck.

“I’m not feeling that,” said Dina.

“I’m not going to lie, I don’t really like v-necks when it comes to T-shirts or kits, I prefer a crew neck.”

She did complement the “classic” red, white and black colour scheme, but it was not enough to escape a damning verdict.

“I probably wouldn’t wear that when I’m trying to be stylish,” Dina said.

Arsenal slipped out of the top four last season, but under-fire boss Arsene Wenger can take heart from the fact they are already back in it, of sorts, in second place in the fashion standings.

“These guys look like they mean business,” was Dina’s take on the Gunners shirt.

” On the sleeves you’ve got a bit of like almost greyscale from Games of Thrones, snakeskin print, which could be quite stylish. If they’d consider maybe putting that all over the shirt.

“I think I would enjoy the fit of this shirt and I think it would really work well tucked into a skirt or something.”

Arsenal will be pleased to see north London rivals Tottenham back in sixth place, with their famous cockerel logo condemned as “very GCSE textiles”.

Dina also echoed the thoughts of many angry Spurs fans in taking issue with the Arsenal-red sponsorship lettering.

“I’ m not a fan of primary colours being used together because I feel it’s very old school,” she said. “Red and a blue, I’m not a huge fan of that.”

Chelsea were awarded the third best kit because of its “strong” blue colour and “stylish” badge.

“I could layer it with a nice crisp white collar for a look,” said Dina. “I do like the Chelsea logo as well, it’s like a medallion.”

Barcelona, known for their class on the field, came next thanks to their slimming vertical stripes concentrated down the middle of the shirt.

“I magine this with, like, mum jeans tucked in, clean white trainers and then just a mac over the top, that could look pretty cool,” said Dina.

Perhaps Neymar was not convinced.

Liverpool were ranked fifth based on their “very strong collar” and “lipstick red” colour

But European champions Real, unbeatable on the pitch, look anything but the part.

“I think turquoise is so tacky in clothing, unless you’re going for all one colour, head to toe,” said Dina.

“I do like the white, because white T-shirts go with anything and sometimes they can be the statement of an outfit, but normally when it’s white with black font.”

Ronaldo, Ramos, Bale – consider yourselves told.

Source: PA



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The Ox wanted by Conte, Gunners eyeing Madrid youngster as Sanchez replacement

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain continues to be linked with a move away from Arsenal.

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is concerned about the size of his squad and sees the versatile 23-year-old as the ideal man to plug several holes.

According to the Evening Standard, the Blues are increasingly confident they will be able to prise the England man away for £35million.

Philippe Coutinho is not part of Liverpool‘s squad to face Hoffenheim on Tuesday but the Brazil playmaker took the headlines anyway.

With the 25-year-old pushing for a move to Barcelona, Reds captain Jordan Henderson said he would do all he can to convince him to stay at Anfield.

With the futures of  Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alexis Sanchez still uncertain, Arsenal could be looking to Real Madrid’s Marco Asensio as a replacement.

The Sun reports the 21-year-old has demanded talks with the Spanish giants after learning of interest from the Gunners.

ONLINE/SOCIAL ROUND-UP

PLAYERS TO WATCH

VIRGIL VAN DIJK: The long-running saga over Southampton’s captain could soon come to a head with Yahoo reporting Chelsea and Manchester City lead the race ahead of Liverpool, but the fee could reach £70million.

DAVINSON SANCHEZ: The Independent reports the 21-year-old Colombian has told Ajax he wants to join Tottenham.

ALEXIS SANCHEZ: Arsene Wenger insists the Chile forward is staying at Arsenal, but the Daily Telegraph reports Manchester City will test their resolve with a £60million bid.

Source: PA



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