English Premiership soccer news


Soccer:The latest word on team selection for the opening weekend of the season.

Arsenal (1) v Sunderland (15)

Arsenal will assess the fitness of England forward Theo Walcott (thigh), with midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (ankle) and defender Laurent Koscielny (calf) already ruled out. Summer signing Santi Cazorla could be involved and Lukas Podolski is expected to lead the attack following the sale of Robin van Persie to Manchester United. Midfielder Jack Wilshere (ankle) and defender Bacary Sagna (broken leg) remain out.

Sunderland could include new signing Louis Saha in attack, but fellow forward Stephane Sessegnon is an injury doubt due to an ankle problem. Wes Brown (knee), Phil Bardsley (ankle) and David Vaughan (surgery) are all set to miss out.

Last season:Sunderland 1 Arsenal 2, Arsenal 2 Sunderland 1

Last five league matches:Arsenal L D D D W; Sunderland D D D L L

Match odds:H 1-3 A 8-1 D 4-1

Referee:Chris Foy (Merseyside).

Fulham (5) v Norwich (10)

American forward Clint Dempsey has been left out of Fulham’s squad after confirming he wants to leave the club. Kerim Frei (pelvis), Philippe Senderos (foot) and Zdenek Grygera (knee) are unavailable.

Norwich are hopeful midfielders Wes Hoolahan(achilles) and Anthony Pilkington(hamstring) will be fit enough to be involved. Summer signings Steven Whittaker (ankle) and Jacob Butterfield (knee) miss out, but Robert Snodgrass and Michael Turner should feature. Javier Garrido has been awaiting international clearance on his season-long loan from Lazio, so may not be available.

Last season:Fulham 2 Norwich 1, Norwich 1 Fulham 1

Last five league matches:Fulham W L W W L; Norwich L L L D W

Match odds:H 5-6 A 7-2 D 12-5

Referee:Michael Oliver (Northumberland).

Newcastle (9) v Tottenham (17)

Newcastle have doubts over a key quartet of players, with strikers Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba and midfielders Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa all needing to have their fitness assessed. Centre-back Steven Taylor and midfielder Sylvain Marveaux return after long-term injury lay-offs, while new recruits Vurnon Anita, Curtis Good, Gael Bigirimana and Romain Amalfitano are available to make their debuts.

Playmaker Luka Modric is expected to be left out of Tottenham’s squad as he moves closer to joining Real Madrid. Defender Jan Vertonghen and midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson are likely to make their debuts, but Scott Parker (Achilles) and Heurelho Gomes (ankle) are out.

Last season:Tottenham 5 Newcastle 0, Newcastle 2 Tottenham 2

Last five league matches: Newcastle W L W L L; Tottenham L W W D W

Match odds:H 17-10 A 17-10 D 21-10

Referee:Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire).

QPR (11) v Swansea (16)

QPR manager Mark Hughes will name his new captain tomorrow. Hughes has several candidates to take over from Joey Barton — who is serving a 12-match ban for his dismissal in the final match of last season against Manchester City. Alejandro Faurlin, who is lacking match sharpness following a long injury lay-off, and Armand Traore (ankle) are definite absentees tomorrow, while Bobby Zamora and Samba Diakite (both knee) could also miss out.

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup is to make a late decision on the availability of Scott Sinclair who has told the club he will not sign a new contract and is set to be sold. Laudrup is keen to select the winger if he feels mentally ready to feature. New signings Michu, Chico Flores, Jonathan de Guzman and Itay Shechter are all set to make their debuts. Defender Garry Monk is set to miss out with a back problem.

Last season:QPR 3 Swansea 0, Swansea 1 QPR 1

Last five league matches:QPR L W L W L; Swansea W D D L W

Match odds:H 21-20 A 13-5 D 23-10

Referee:Lee Probert (Wiltshire).

Reading (12) v Stoke (14)

Reading could include Jem Karacan after his recovery from a broken ankle. They will be without winger Jimmy Kebe (hamstring) and striker Jason Roberts, who serves a two-match ban, but former Fulham frontman Pavel Pogrebnyak is included in the squad. Centre-back Robert Huth could play for Stoke despite spending most of last week in hospital with viral meningitis. Winger Jermaine Pennant has been struggling with a thigh strain so will be assessed, while new signings Michael Kightly and Jamie Ness could make their debuts.

Last season:No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches:Reading W W W D L; Stoke L D D L D

Match odds:H 7-5 A 2-1 D 11-5

Referee:Kevin Friend (Leicestershire).

West Brom (18) v Liverpool (6)

West Brom’s Scottish midfielder James Morrison and Swedish defender Jonas Olsson returned from midweek international duty with minor injuries and could miss out. New signing Markus Rosenberg is unlikely to be fit, while midfielder Graham Dorrans remains on leave due to family issues. Striker Shane Longis available despite missing the Republic of Ireland’s match with Serbia.

Liverpool’s new signings, striker Fabio Borini and midfielder Joe Allen, could both be involved after joining from Roma and Swansea respectively. Midfielder Joe Cole has recovered from a hamstring injury sustained in the Europa League qualifier against FC Gomel in Belarus earlier this month.

Last season:Liverpool 0 West Brom 1, West Brom 0 Liverpool 2

Last five league matches:West Brom W W D D L; Liverpool L W L W L

Top scorers:Fabio Borini, Stewart Downing, Steven Gerrard & Glen Johnson (Liverpool) 1

Match odds:H 3-1 A 19-20 D 23-10

Referee:Phil Dowd (Stoke).

West Ham (19) v Aston Villa (2)

Jack Collison will miss out for West Ham due to a knee injury but James Collins will be fit to face his former club after a groin problem. Manager Sam Allardyce revealed his summer signings from overseas, Alou Diarra and Modibo Maiga, will not start.

Aston Villa’s new midfield signing Brett Holman has recovered from a knee problem and is available, along with three fellow summer arrivals in central defender Ron Vlaar, right-back Matthew Lowton and midfielder Karim El Ahmadi. Striker Gabriel Agbonlahor (knee), defender Richard Dunne(groin) and winger Marc Albrighton (foot) are sidelined.

Last season:No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches:West Ham D W D W W; Aston Villa D L D D L

Match odds:H 13-10 A 11-5 D 11-5

Referee:Mike Dean (Wirral).

Sunday, August 19

Manchester City (7) v Southampton (13)

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini will run the rule over new midfield recruit Jack Rodwell in training. Goalkeeper Joe Hart could return after missing the Community Shield victory over Chelsea due to a back complaint, while defender Micah Richards (ankle) and midfielder Gareth Barry (abdominal problem) are definitely ruled out.

Jack Cork is Southampton’s only injured player, with the midfielder ruled out for several weeks after suffering an ankle injury in the pre-season friendly at Bristol City. Danny Fox and Steven Davis returned safely from midweek international duty and should be included in the squad, although manager Nigel Adkins kept quiet on whether Tadanari Lee would be included after a foot injury.

Last season:No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches:Man City W W W W W; Southampton W L W L W

Top scorers:Samir Nasri, Carlos Tevez & Yaya Toure (Man City) 1

Match odds:H 1-5 A 12-1 D 11-2

Referee:Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).

Wigan (20) v Chelsea (3)

New Spanish centre-back recruit Ivan Ramis is Wigan’s leading fitness doubt, with a hamstring strain. Midfielder James McCarthy(back) could also miss out. Striker Victor Moses is in the squad despite interest from Chelsea, while Fraser Fyvie, Arouna Kone and Ryo Miyaichi are in line for debuts.

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo could hand attacking midfielder Oscar his debut. The Brazilian only arrived at his new club yesterday after playing for Brazil for a large chunk of the summer. Fellow new boy Marko Marin remains sidelined by a hamstring injury.

Last season:Chelsea 2 Wigan 1, Wigan 1 Chelsea 1

Last five league matches:Wigan W L W W W; Chelsea D W L L W

Top scorers:Ryan Bertrand & Fernando Torres (Chelsea) 1

Match odds:H 11-2 A 8-15 D 3-1

Referee:Mike Jones (Cheshire).

Monday, August 20

Everton (4) v Manchester United (8)

Former Rangers forward Steven Naismith is in line for his competitive Everton debut, and midfielder Steven Pienaar is set to start after returning from Tottenham on a permanent basis. Marouane Fellaini (groin) and fellow midfielder Darron Gibson (thigh) have both recovered from injury.

Robin van Persie goes straight into the Manchester United squad after completing his transfer from Arsenal. Given his lack of match practice, the Dutchman may be on the bench. Shinji Kagawa could also make his debut in midfield but defenders Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans (both foot) and Phil Jones (back) are all ruled out.

Last season:Man Utd 4 Everton 4, Everton 0 Man Utd 1

Last five league matches:Everton D W D D W; Man Utd W D L W W

Match odds:H 3-1 A 10-11 D 5-2

Referee:Andre Marriner (W Midlands).

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