Friday, 17 August 2012

Start of the 2012-13 season - The Weekend's EPL Fixtures Preview:

The best league in the world begins again, for the 21st season tomorrow.


Hello and welcome to my EPL Fixture Preview Blog Post once again. This is the first time that I have done this in over 3 months, as the start of the new 2012-13 EPL season begins on tomorrow afternoon.

First, let me start with the latest EPL transfers and news:

Wigan Athletic have bolstered their attacking options by signing Arsenal's young forward Ryo Miyaichi on a season-long loan.

For the future: Ryo Miyaichi has joined Wigan on a season-long loan deal to give him more first-team experience.

Newcastle United have completed the signing of Ajax full-back Vurnon Anita for around £6.5million.

New boy on the block: Left-back Vurnon Anita has completed his transfer to Newcastle from Ajax.

He will give manager Alan Pardew more options in the attacking and defending sides of his team for the next few season to come.

Manchester City have been given some bad injury news:
Defender Micah Richards has been ruled out of action for up to 10 weeks with an ankle injury suffered at the London Olympics, playing for Team GB.

LATEST - in the Robin Van Persie transfer saga:

Arsenal captain Robin Van Persie has arrived in Manchester for his medical with Manchester United.

Welcome to United: Manager Sir Alex Ferguson unveiled Robin Van Persie at a press conference earlier today.
Press conference: RVP answers questions in his first conference as a United player.
Strong strikeforce: Robin Van Persie trains with new team-mate and fellow striker Wayne Rooney.

He has completed his medical and Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has said that he fully expects RVP to make his full debut in a United shirt on Monday, when they face Everton. 

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has been fined £45,000 by The FA after a comment posted on Twitter.

Sunderland have confirmed the signing of former Manchester United striker Louis Saha.
He was released by Tottenham at the end of last season, and Sunderland's lack of attacking options made them show interest in the free agent.


Adventure: Striker Louis Saha has signed a one-year contract deal with Sunderland. This will be his 6th EPL club.
Fulham have fined midfielder Clint Dempsey after he refused to play for the club ever again. 
Manager Martin Jol has confirmed that he is able to leave the club as Liverpool and Arsenal are among the clubs wanting to sign him.

QPR have confirmed the signing of full-back Jose Bosingwa on a three-year-deal. 

Staying in London: Full-back Jose Bosingwa will stay in London after a four-year spell with Chelsea.

FACT: This is QPR's 8th signing of the transfer window.

He was released by Chelsea at the end of last season. 

Liverpool have confirmed the £3million signing of 24-year-old Morocco winger Oussama Assaidi.  


Looks promising: Liverpool have completed the £3million signing of winger Oussama Assaidi.
The green light: Assaidi is put through his medical at Melwood by the club doctor.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted that defensive midfielder Alex Song could be on his way out of the club, and could be moving to Barcelona for £15million.

He has confirmed that defender Thomas Vermaelen will become the new captain after RVP's departure.

LATEST - In the Luka Modric transfer saga:

Yesterday, as all of the Tottenham players returned from international duty, one notable absentee was Croatia midfielder Luka Modric.

He has missed yesterday's training session, to leave England and fly into Spain, where he will hold personal talks with Real after Tottenham accepting a £34million deal for him.


Southampton have had a club's record £11.8million bid for Bologna striker Gaston Ramirez accepted. 

They beat Liverpool and Tottenham to him.

Ramirez has confirmed to Italian media that the clubs have agreed everything and he will join, but he is yet to agree personal terms.

Newly promoted Southampton are sending a big message to the rest of the EPL by making big-money signings to highly boost their chances of staying in the EPL for years to come.

Big statement: Striker Gaston Ramirez impressed during the Football at London Olympics for Uruguay.
QPR midfielder Joey Barton is closed to joining French club Marseile on a season-long loan.

Marseille defender Stephane M'Bia would be moving to QPR.

Swansea winger Scott Sinclair has refused to sign a new contract deal with Swansea.


Interesting news: Swansea winger Scott Sinclair has refused to sign a new contract.

This news has attracted a lot of attention from Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal.

The Weekend's EPL Fixtures Preview:

Saturday (15:00 unless stated):

Arsenal vs Sunderland:


'One to watch': Arsenal vs Sunderland.

The first of four 'one to watch' football matches this weekend sees The Gunners face Sunderland at The Emirates.

One of the reasons why it is a 'one to watch' match because it will be very interesting to see how Arsenal will be able to cope without their talisman last season Robin Van Persie.

Arsenal:

New signings Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski are expected to start and lead the attack, meanwhile winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and defender Laurent Koscielny are both ruled out due to injuries.


Set to start: Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla is set to make his debut tomorrow against Sunderland.
Replacing RVP: German striker Lukas Podolski should start for Arsenal tomorrow.


As to are full-back Bacary Sagna (broken leg) and midfielder Jack Wilshere (ankle rehabilitation)

Sunderland:

Meanwhile, The Black Cats have new striker Louis Saha who should start instead of Stephane Sessegnon (injury - doubt).

Defenders Wes Brown (knee ligaments), Phil Bardsley (ankle) midfielder and David Vaughan (surgery) are all on the sidelines.


Arsenal should have too much quality for Sunderland to handle at The Emirates tomorrow, even without Robin Van Persie.
We will see.

Fulham vs Norwich City:

This match will be played at Craven Cottage, as Fulham host Norwich.

This will be an interesting match.

Fulham:

Fulham have been in the football headlines recently, notably wantaway midfielder Clint Dempsey who has been left out of the squad for tomorrow's match.

Winger Kerim Frei (pelvis), defenders Philippe Senderos (foot) and Zdenek Grygera (knee) are unavailable from Fulham's selection.

Norwich:

Norwich are hopeful that midfielders Wes Hoolahan (Achilles) and Anthony Pilkington (hamstring) will be in the squad tomorrow.


Summer signings Steven Whittaker (ankle) and Jacob Butterfield (knee) will miss out, but midfielder Robert Snodgrass and defender Michael Turner should feature. 

Fulham should edge out this match, simply because they have more quality than Norwich.
But stranger things have happened...


QPR vs Swansea City:

This match will be very interesting also, because Swansea were the surprise team of the season last season.

QPR:

QPR have signed a lot of players in this transfer window including Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-Sung, Blackburn winger Junior Holiett and West Ham goalkeeper Robert Green.


Injury news:

Midfielder Alejandro Faurlin is still lacking match sharpness following a long injury lay-off, and full-back Armand Traore (ankle) are definite absentees while striker Bobby Zamora and midfielder Samba Diakite (both knee) could also miss out.

Swansea:

Swansea will play against QPR tomorrow, with new signings including Michu, Chico Flores and Kyle Bartley all set to make their debuts for the club.

Manager Michael Laudrup is set to make a late decision over the availability of winger Scott Sinclair who has refused to sign a new contract and is poised to leave the club soon.


I'm off: Scott Sinclair will not know until tomorrow whether he will play against QPR.

The only injury problems for The Swans is that defender Garry Monk is set to miss the match with a back problem.

Swansea and QPR are both good teams, but QPR's summer spending spree should give them a slight edge over Swansea after the departure of Joe Allen and Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Reading vs Stoke:

This match will be played at the Madejski Stadium as newly promoted side Reading face a tough task against tough tacklers Stoke.

Reading:

Reading have decided to include Jem Karacan in their provisional squad for the match tomorrow against Stoke.

Karacan wants to return to first-team action after breaking his leg.

Reading however, will be without winger Jimmy Kebe hamstring and striker Jason Roberts who will be serving a two-match ban.

Stoke:

Stoke defender Robert Huth could play tomorrow, despite spending last week in hospital with viral meningitis.

Winger Jermaine Pennant and Huth will both be medically assessed before the match to see whether they are 100%.

Stoke should win this match, considering that they have a lot of experience in the EPL, but Reading could pull off an upset with a win at home or take a draw.




West Brom vs Liverpool:

This match will be played at The Hawthorns Stadium where West Brom host Liverpool, who are desperate to get back into the Champions League this season after a poor league campaign last season.

West Brom:

West Ham United vs Aston Villa:

Newcastle vs Tottenham Hotspur: LIVE at 17:30pm

Sunday:

Wigan Athletic vs Chelsea: LIVE at 13:30pm

Manchester City vs Southampton: LIVE at 16:00pm


Monday:

Everton vs Manchester United: LIVE at 20:00pm


Monday Night Football comes back with a bang, and the last of my featured matches this weekend (yes, I know Monday is not in the weekend).

Last season, this match was very exciting, dramatic and was a 4-4 thriller.

This season, it will be an interesting encounter because United's attack has been significantly strenghtened with the signings of Shinji Kagawa and Robin Van Persie.