Friday, 24 August 2012

The Weekend's Fixture Previews, EPL Transfers and News:

Hello and welcome to my EPL Blog, where I will be talking about the upcoming weekend's fixture previews, the LATEST transfer news and general news in the EPL.

EPL Transfer News and General News:

Chelsea have confirmed the signing of Marseille and Spainish right-back Cesar Azpilicueta for £7million.

Chelsea have confirmed the signing of Marseille right-back Cesar Azpilicueta for £7million.
New Blue: Azpilicueta has been seen training at Chelsea after transferring from Marseille.
Building chemistry: Azpilicueta trains with news team-mates Lampard, Torres, Merieles and Benayoun.

West Ham United have confirmed that they have broken the club record transfer fee, by signing Wolves winger Matthew Jarvis for £10.75million on a five-year contract deal. 

Bye Bye Wolves: Winger Matthew Jarvis joins London club West Ham for a club record fee of £10.75million.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has ruled out making any more signings before the close of the transfer window closes next Friday night.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed he could spend again before the transfer window closes and admits there could also be further departures at the club.

Sunderland have completed the £12million signing of Wolves striker Steven Fletcher on a four-year deal.

More attacking options: Sunderland have confirmed the £15million signing of Wolves striker Stephen Fletcher.
Bolstering the attack: Wolves striker Steven Fletcher has joined Sunderland for £12million.

Spainish giants Barcelona are both interested in signing defender David Luiz, and are ready to test the waters with a £30million offer. 

Manchester City have had a £30million bid for Chelsea defender David Luiz rejected. Can Barca tempt Chelsea with an improved offer?

Liverpool look to have won the race against Arsenal for Real Madrid midfielder Nuri Sahin.

Sunderland have had a £10million bid accepted by Manchester City for winger Adam Johnson. He has agreed personal terms with the club and has signed a four-year contract deal with Sunderland. 

Big transfer news: Sunderland have confirmed the £10million signing of Manchester City winger Adam Johnson.

(MORE TO FOLLOW SOON) 

Saturday's Matches (15:00 unless stated):

Swansea City vs West Ham United: LIVE at 12:45pm

This match will be played at The Liberty Stadium, as Swansea host West Ham in South Wales.  
Both sides won their opening match last weekend, and they will be hoping for another three points tomorrow.

Team News:

Swansea:

Celtic midfielder Ki Sung-Yueng has joined Swansea today, but will not be included in the squad.

Swansea have confirmed the £5.5million signing of Celtic midfielder Ki Sung Yueng, but he will not be available for tomorrow's match because of international clearance.

Winger Scott Sinclair will feature again in  the squad, despite rejecting to sign a new contract and wanting a move (City making a £5million bid). 
Defender Chico Flores is a fitness doubt for the match, having a groin problem and will undergo a fitness test with new signing Kyle Bartley a potential replacement for him.


West Ham:

New £10.75million signing Matthew Jarvis will go straight into new manager Sam Allardyce's squad for the match tomorrow against Swansea.

Midfielder Jack Collison (knee) remains sidelined while new defensive midfielder Alou Diarra and Modibo Maiga are in contention to break into the starting 11.

PREDICTION:
Swansea should have too much quality with new signing Michu, Scott Sinclair and Nathan Dyer for a West Ham side who do have a secret weapon in Kevin Nolan and Matthew Jarvis. Swansea should win, but it could be a draw or a slight shock on the cards.


Aston Villa vs Everton:

This match will be played at Villa Park, as Aston Villa host Everton looking for their first win against a strong Everton squad that beat Manchester United on Monday night.

Team News:

Aston Villa: 

Aston Villa striker Nathan Delfouneso will boost manager Paul Lambert's attacking options after being cleared to face Everton tomorrow afternoon.

The forward missed last weekend's opening defeat against West Ham with a thigh problem but, like defender Chris Herd, will be included in the squad.

Striker Gabriel Agbonlahor (knee), defender Richard Dunne (groin) and winger Marc Albrighton (foot) are still sidelined while youngster Samir Carruthers has an ankle problem and is unavailable to play.


Everton: 

Major team news for Everton is that manager David Moyes will make a late decision on whether to include Kevin Mirallas in his squad to face Aston Villa.

The £6million signing from Belgium has only had a couple of days' training since signing last Sunday and although he has had intensive sessions, Moyes is unsure about the player's fitness.
  
Defender Sylvain Distin (back) and striker Nikica Jelavic (groin) are minor injury concerns.

PREDICTION:
Everton will be on a high from beating Manchester United on Monday, and will be high on morale also. Baines, Fellani and Pienaar will all be key for them in the match.

Aston Villa do not look very strong, and could get comprehensively beaten, unless they pass well and Darren Bent and co are on form.







Manchester United vs Fulham:

This match will be played at Old Trafford as Manchester United host Fulham at home as they look to regain their EPL crown from rivals Manchester City this season. 

Manchester United lost to Everton on Monday night, meanwhile their opponents Fulham thrashed Norwich 5-0 on Saturday.

Team News:

Manchester United:

The major news from United is that new £24million signing Robin van Persie is set to make his first start for Manchester United tomorrow.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has hinted that he will be promoted to the first team for the match at Old Trafford.

Starts: New £24million striker Robin Van Persie will get his first start for his new club against Fulham tomorrow.

Sir Alex has also confirmed to the media that new full-back Alexander Buttner will be involved but will most likely start on the bench.

May feature: Manchester United's new full-back Alexander Buttner may play against Fulham tomorrow.

Defenders Phil Jones (back), Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling (both foot) and Rio Ferdinand (leg) will be unvailable due to injury.

Fulham:

The major news from Fulham is that key midfielder Clint Dempsey is missing from the squad.

Unsettled: Fulham midfielder Clint Dempsey has been left out of the squad to face Manchester United tomorrow.

According to manager Martin Jol, he is not in the right frame of mind to play after transfer interest from Liverpool has unsettled him. 

Winger Kerim Frei (pelvis) and Philippe Senderos (foot) are unavailable, but Zdenek Grygera (knee) has been passed fit.

PREDICTION:
Fulham will not be an easy team to face for United, and they will press throughout the match, looking for a result.
However even though you would expect United to win you never know.


Norwich City vs QPR:

This match will be played at Carrow Road as Norwich host 'mini moneybags' QPR.

Both teams lost their opening matches last weekend against Fulham and Swansea - by 5-0 scorelines.

Team News:

Norwich:


Norwich will be without winger Elliott Bennett, who has a knee problem.

New signings Sebastien Bassong and Javier Garrido, who now has international clearance on his season-long loan from Lazio, are both in contention as manager Chris Hughton could make changes following the 5-0 thrashing against Fulham.

Defender Steven Whittaker (ankle), midfielders Jacob Butterfield (knee) and David Fox (knee) and defender Elliott Ward (ankle) all continue their rehabilitation to get back to 100% fitness.


QPR: 

Major news from QPR is that former Chelsea full-back and new signing Jose Bosingwa could make his QPR debut against Norwich tomorrow at Carrow Road. 


Jose Bosingwa may start for QPR against Norwich. He will be needed after QPR were poor last week.

Manager Mark Hughes is expected to change his squad massively after the 5-0 defeat last Saturday to Swansea.

Only midfielders Alejandro Faurlin and Kieron Dyer are definite absentees as they both lack match sharpness following long injury lay-offs.

PREDICTION:
Wingers Junior Holiett and Adel Taarabt will be essential to QPR's play tomorrow as they look to beat Norwich away from home.

If Norwich do not use striker Grant Holt to the best of his ability, they may not get anything from the match. 

Southampton vs Wigan Athletic:


This match will be played at St. Mary Stadium, as Southampton face Wigan in an interesting match between two teams who are expected to be in the relegation fight come April and May of next year.

Southampton were unlucky not to get anything at The Ethiad last Sunday against Manchester City, while Wigan did not took their chances against Chelsea and lost 2-0 on Sunday aswell. 

Team News:

Southampton:

The only team news is that midfielder Jack Cork remains Southampton's only injury concern ahead of the match tomorrow against Wigan.

He is recordvering from an ankle knock picked up in pre-season and should miss the match tomorrow. 

Apart from that Southampton have a fully fit, injury-free squad.


Wigan:


Wigan manager Roberto Martinez is monitoring the fitness of three midfield players before the match against Southampton.

Defensive midfielder Jean Beausejour missed last Sunday's 2-0 home defeat to Chelsea due to a soft tissue problem and will be assessed.

Fellow midfielders James McArthur (back) and Shaun Maloney (dead leg), both had to be substituted during the match against Chelsea, and also will be assessed.

PREDICTION:

Southampton will feel motivated by their good play against Manchester City, and if they unleash Clyne, Davis and Rickie Lambert then they should beat a weak Wigan side who are missing forward Victor Moses with a £9million move to Chelsea (on the cards in the next few days). 


Sunderland vs Reading:

This match will be played at The Stadium Of Light as Sunderland and Reading both look for their first win in the new 2012-13 EPL season. 

Both teams drew last Saturday against Arsenal and Stoke respectively (who play each other on Sunday coincidentally!)

Team News:

Sunderland:

The major news from Sunderland is that new £15million signing and striker Steven Fletcher could make his debut for his new club tomorrow against Reading after his transfer from Championship club Wolves was completed before the deadline today.

Defenders Wes Brown (knee ligaments), Phil Bardsley (ankle) and David Vaughan (ankle) are all still recovering from injuries and will miss the match.

Reading:

Reading manager Brian McDermott has no fresh injury doubts for the match against Sunderland on Saturday afternoon.

Jem Karacan is still working his way back from a broken ankle while Jimmy Kebe (hamstring) will not be available until after the international break.

Experienced striker Jason Roberts is back from suspension but a calf problem, along with a lack of match fitness, means that it is unlikely that he will start the match. 

PREDICTION:
Sunderland should win their first match at home tomorrow with a strengthened squad.
New signing Steven Fletcher should combine with Sebastien Larsson, Stephane Sessegnon and James McClean to win the match comfortably. 

Having said that, Reading gave Chelsea quite a shock on Wednesday night and were unlucky to not go back home with three points.
If striker Pavel Pogrebnyak and Adam Le Fondre both link up together, then they could get a point, or even win the match against Sunderland away from home.


Tottenham Hotspur vs West Brom:

This match will be played at White Hart Lane as Tottenham host West Brom.

Tottenham lost their opening match against Newcastle 2-1 on Saturday, while West Brom beat Liverpool comfortably 3-0.

Team News:

Tottenham:

The major team news for Tottenham is that new signing and defender Jan Vertoghen may start for his new club after defender Younes Kaboul has been ruled out with a knee injury.

Midfielder Luka Modric will not feature tomorrow as Tottenham look to finalise his move to Real Madrid this weekend.

Wanted defender Michael Dawson is available to play despite holding talks with QPR over a potential £9million move this week. 

New striker Emmanuel Adebayor is available after his £5million transfer from Manchester City went through earlier this week but defensive midfielder Scott Parker (Achilles), forward Giovani Dos Santos (muscle) and goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes (ankle) are all on the sidelines.

West Brom:

West Brom manager Steve Clarke has a fully fit, and injury free squad to choose from for tomorrow's trip to London to face Tottenham. 

His secret weapon will be strikers Peter Odemwingie and Romelu Lukaku.

PREDICTION:
Tottenham will be expeceted to win especially against West Brom and at home.

West Brom have shocked the EPL once already this season with a 3-0 win against Liverpool last week. Can they do it again? 



 
Chelsea vs Newcastle United: LIVE at 17:30pm

This match will be played at Stamford Bridge, as Chelsea host Newcastle United in a very interesting match. 

Chelsea beat Wigan and Reading in their last two matches, while Newcastle beat Tottenham 2-1 last Saturday.

Team News:

Chelsea:

The major team news from Chelsea is that captain John Terry will not feature against Newcastle, due to a neck injury sustained against Reading on Wednesday.

Down: Chelsea captain and defender John Terry sustained a neck injury against Reading on Wednesday night.

Wanted defender David Luiz is expected to be fit after not playing against Reading during midweek.
The only other injury setback for Chelsea is that new winger Marko Marin is still unavailable to play because of a hamstring injury.


Newcastle:

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew will make late fitness checks on defender and captain Fabricio Coloccini (thigh problem) and striker Demba Ba (shin).

Midfielder Cheick Tiote (calf) and striker Shola Ameobi (hamstring) remain doubts for the match.

PREDICTION:
Chelsea will be desperate to win against Newcastle, but they will not be an easy side especially with Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye, Papiss Cisse and Hatem Ben Arfa all on form and dangerous targets. 

It does not help when your captain is out injured but new signing Eden Hazard will look to weave his magic once again and play very well alongside Juan Mata and Fernando Torres.

Sunday's Matches:



Stoke City vs Arsenal: LIVE at 13:30pm 

This match will be played at The Britannia Stadium as Stoke host a slightly weak Arsenal side. 

Both teams drew their opening matches last Saturday, and will be desperate to win on Sunday.

Team News:

Stoke:

Stoke manager Tony Pulis does not have any injury problems but defender Dean Whitehead is serving a one-match ban after he was sent off (two yellow cards) last weekend against Reading. 

Winger Jermaine Pennant could return to the squad, after having recovered from the thigh injury which kept him out of the match last week.



Arsenal:

Arsenal will assess goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who has a minor ib problem ahead of the match on Sunday.
If he is not 100% fit, 2nd choice goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski will take his place 'in between the sticks'.

The major news is that Arsenal's young startlet Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has




recovered from an ankle injury and may feature (possibly even start)

Defender Laurent Koscielny (calf) and midfielder Tomas Rosicky (hamstring) are both injured and will miss the match.





Midfielder Jack Wilshere (ankle) continues his rehabilitation from an long-term ankle injury as does full-back Bacary Sagna (broken leg).


PREDICTION:
Stoke's ('men behind the ball') style of play may be tested like Sunderland's last week as new signing Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla will knock on the goal throughout the match.

Arsenal have already started life without RVP, and even though they have also lost Alex Song - they have not played poorly so far, and the new signings just need time to settle in.

I expect Arsenal to win, but Stoke will give them a hard time and do not be surprised if there is a shock on the cards.




 


Liverpool vs Manchester City: LIVE at 16:00pm

This match will be played at Anfield, as Liverpool look to bounce back from their 3-0 loss to West Brom last Saturday, while Manchester City look to prove a point to the rest of the EPL by disposing of a weak Liverpool side who are without the suspended defender Daniel Agger.

Team News:

Liverpool:

Defender Daniel Agger (as I said earlier up the page) is suspended after his straight red card against West Brom but full-back Jose Enrique could return after a knee injury kept him unavailable.

Striker Andy Carroll missed the match against Hearts with a hamstring problem and will be assssed in the next day or two.

Manchester City: 

The major news for Manchester City is that striker Sergio Aguero is unavialable due to the knee injury that he suffered against Southampton last Sunday.

Midfielder Gareth Barry and full-back Micah Richards are the only other injured players, as City look to beat Liverpool away from home with an otherwise fully fit squad.

PREDICTION:
Liverpool were well beaten against West Brom last week, and unfortunately for them unless Suarez and Gerrard delive a miracle they will probably be well beaten against Manchester City aswell without key defender Daniel Agger.

Thank you for reading my EPL Blog, and I will speak to you all tomorrow for LIVE Coverage throughout, as Week 2 of the 2012-13 EPL season continues.