Player News

Date: Team: Pos:

Liverpool fielded a strong XI in their trip to Finland and managed a pair of second half goals to beat HJK Helsinki, 0-2.

While we wait to see the much anticipated debuts for Christian Benteke and Roberto Firmino in tomorrow's final preseason match, today's XI looked much closer to what Brendan Rodgers will have in mind when the club open the season next weekend away to Stoke City. After a rather uneventful first half, the Reds began taking control of affairs and Divock Origi would finally break the goalless affair in the 73rd minute. Only five minutes later, Pool doubled the advantage when Coutinho played a 1-2, then fired an angled shot that took a deflection and smashed the back of the net. As much growth as we witnessed in Coutinho last season, he still has a crack at getting even better. If he can add a few goals to the bevvy of assists he is sure to provide, he could move into the top tier of midfield options with David Silva-type numbers. Another interesting note, Joe Gomez got the start again today and is still has an outside chance of supplanting Alberto Moreno at left back.
Source: Guardian
Aug 1 - 4:00 PM

Swansea City concluded their preseason with a 0-0 result against Deportivo La Coruna at the Liberty Stadium.

Taylor started the Swans' previous friendly a week ago and this was the final test before opening away to Chelsea next weekend. To see him starting again is a good sign that he has held Franck Tabanou off for now for the left back spot. Interestingly, Tabanou came on in the second half and was at the center of the game's biggest controversy. Deportivo had a shot hit off of Tabanou's hand in the area, but no penalty was awarded, resulting in a scuffle that ended with five yellow cards being issued.
Aug 1 - 2:59 PM

Manchester City were ill-prepared defensively today as they conceded four first half goals, three within six minutes of each other, eventually losing to Stuttgart, 4-2.

The down season for Vincent Kompany last season may not be an aberration. He was noticeably shaky in an exchange with Joe Hart and was beaten rather badly on one of the Stuttgart goals. To be fair, they have covered many miles in a short time on their preseason tour, but again, taking last year into consideration, one has to temper expectations with the Sky Blue defense and hope Kompany can find his mojo again. On a positive note, the two City goals in the second half were each supplied by Raheem Sterling, who looks to have no worries in being a major force on his new club straight away.
Aug 1 - 2:00 PM

Roberto Martinez decided to use Everton's tune up with Leeds United to test some of his younger prospects, especially in defense, but the Toffees would lose the match 2-0 to.

The academy-level defense held up well through the first half of play, keeping Leeds out and limiting their chances, but the hosts eventually broke through twice in the second half. Bryan Oviedo got a start on the left of midfield as he completes his return from injury. Steven Naismith and Arouna Kone were leading the line, and though Romelu Lukaku is thought to be "OK" according to Martinez, we may see something similar for Week 1 if RM reconsiders Lukaku's status between now and then. Everton have been awfully quiet in the transfer window, with only a currently crocked Gerard Deulofeu and Tom Cleverly having been brought in to improve on what was a disappointing previous campaign.

Arsenal forward Chuba Akpom will be joining teammate Isaac Hayden on loan at the KC Stadium for the 2015-16 season.

Akpom has been impressive when he has been given a chance in pre-season matches and in early round Cup matches. A move to relegated Hull City will presumably give him experience as he attempts to make the difficult leap from the Arsenal youth team to the Arsenal senior squad. The talent appears to be there but with Danny Welbeck, Theo Walcott, Alexis Sanchez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Olivier Giroud ahead of him it was always unlikely he was going to get significant playing time anywhere other than the Arsenal U21 side. Arsenal supporters will have good cause to tune in to Hull City matches this season.
Source: BBC Sport
Aug 1 - 1:40 PM

Newcastle wrapped up a less-than-impressive preseason with a 0-1 loss to Borussia M'gladbach in front of the St. James' faithful.

That makes three losses and a draw in the Magpies' final four friendlies. While the results "don't matter", it cannot help the morale of a club looking to move ahead from their poor showing last season. On a positive note, the defense wasn't a disaster, as McClaren put forth an experienced line of Daryl Janmaat, Mike Williamson, Steven Taylor and Massadio Haidara. Fabricio Coloccini is still missing from the squad, continuing the speculation that he is on the verge of an exit. Chancel Mbemba then should have a very good shot at starting Week 1 after getting a run out today. Odds are, he will partner Taylor next weekend. Taylor is looking the only 4.0 defender in FPL that will be in a Week 1 XI.

Crystal Palace finish up their preseason schedule with a 1-1 draw against Fulham.

Palace looked the stronger side, as they should, but they conceded a goal early and were unable to convert any of the several chances they created until Souare was able to head in from a Jordon Mutch corner in the 51st minute. The outfield X for Alan Pardew is looking mostly settled, leaving the biggest question at keeper. Wayne Hennessey started the game while Alex McCarthy rode the bench. No sign of incumbent Julian Speroni who is nursing a minor hand injury. Speroni should still be considered top of the depth chart, but the Eagles have three credible options. There are too many keepers that carry no risk at all to try and gamble on one from Palace. Best to allow the season to get underway and wait for one to be established before looking that direction.

AFC Bournemouth wrapped up their preseason schedule with a 0-0 draw against Bundesliga side Hoffenheim.

A couple of projected starters played in yesterday's friendly against Cardiff while the rest started today. Tyrone Mings was given another shift to prepare him for the starting gig at left back. Dan Gosling, Matt Ritchie, Callum Wilson and Shaun MacDonald all had shots on target but were denied by the Hoffenheim keeper. It was an encouraging effort from the defense though. If the Cherries can keep some clean sheets in the top flight, Mings and Simon Francis stand to carry very good value for the coming season.

Norwich City used goals from Wes Hoolahan and Cameron Jerome to defeat Championship side Brentford, 2-1, but the bigger story is that Youssouf Mulumbu made an early exit with an injury.

No details on the severity or even the exact location of the injury for Mulumbu, but it appeared to be an ankle issue. It happened with just ten minutes remaining in the contest. It would be a major blow to the Canaries should one of their key summer signings need to miss any time. Robbie Brady made his first start for his new club and the XI looked pretty close to what we should expect to see next weekend. The biggest question mark is at striker, where Lewis Grabban started today and through most of a productive preseason while Cameron Jerome, thought to be the preferred option has been working his way in gradually from an injury layoff. Perhaps Grabban has earned a Week 1 start, but with Jerome scoring in a substitute role today, expect the latter to reclaim the job relatively soon.

Manual Pellegrini is in the firing line ahead of the new season, with reports that Pep Guardiola is heading to the Etihad next season and the departing Stevan Jovetic also takes a swipe…

The season hasn’t even started yet and Manual Pellegrini must be feeling the heat. The Sun newspaper has reported that Pep Guardiola is destined for the Etihad next season - on an eye-watering £20 million contract – after the Spaniard has said he is ‘not convinced’ about renewing his deal with Bayern Munich. Stevan Jovetic has also had a pop at his former boss, saying that he is not the only player unhappy at Man City. Now an Inter Milan player – in a loan deal that will become permanent next summer – Jovetic featured just 44 times in two season. Despite struggling with injuries he complained that even when fit he was over looked, with others feeling the same. Edin Dzeko has also left, Roma agreeing a fee of around £15m for the Bosnian. You get the feeling City need to hit the ground running…
Source: The Mirror
Aug 1 - 10:47 AM

TalkSPORT have offered their eight recommendations for bargain Fantasy League players that will make a difference this season…

Based on the version of the game, TalkSPORT has offered a list of eight bargain priced players that they predict will have a big impact this season. Please note: this list does not represent the views of the author (although I do like number one and number six). Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel (£4.5m) is first up, with defenders Joel Ward (Palace) and Per Mertesacker (Arsenal) also considered snips at £4.5m and £5.5m. A midfield three of Jonjo Shelvey (Swansea), Mark Noble (West Ham) – both at £5.5m - and Southampton’s Victor Wanyama (at £4.5m) make the list. With the pick of the cut-price forwards thought to be West Brom’s Saido Berahino (£6.5m) and Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson (at just £5.5m). Over to you…
Source: Talksport
Aug 1 - 10:33 AM

Norwich manager Alex Neil leaves a string of big-hitters on the bench for the final friendly before the business gets under way for real…

Several expected first choice starters were left out for the final friendly v Brentford. The Championship side who only narrowly missed out on promotion to the Premier League themselves, will provide solid opposition in the final tune up for the real business gets underway. But new loan signing from Liverpool Andre Wisdom was left on the bench with last season’s star performers Cameron Jerome, Alex Tettey and Nathan Redmond. Strikers Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper were left out completely. New signing Robbie Brady starts at left-back in a 4-4-1-1 formation with Wes Hoolahan in the ‘number 10’ role behind lone striker Lewis Grabban.
Aug 1 - 10:13 AM

Sunderland’s Sebastien Coates says it was an ‘easy’ decision to leave Liverpool and is looking forward to being the club’s number one center-back, despite strong competition…

Sebastien Coates was the first signing of the Dick Advocaat era, following the manager’s successful rescue mission last season. The Uruguayan says his decision to make his loan move permanent was an ‘easy’ one, after breaking into the team in the final month of the season and making the position his own. ‘The last month changed everything. Playing in the last six games was great’, he told local newspaper the Sunderland Echo. Based on pre-season Coates looks to be the number centre-back choice with John O’Shea, Younes Kaboul and Wes Brown (in that order) battling for the slot alongside him. Despite a poor season last time, Sunderland registered 13 clean sheets – only five teams had more – so Coates might appeal as a FL wildcard, at the right price.
Aug 1 - 9:57 AM

Yann Kermorgant will be assessed after the Frenchman took a heavy kick to the foot and limped off during the first half of Friday nights’ home defeat to Cardiff City.

With only 8-days until the PL kick-off Cherries’ boss Eddie Howe will be hoping his withdrawal was more of a precaution. Kermorgant contributed 15-goals and 10-assists during last seasons’ Championship campaign [his best return in professional football] and his experience will be essential both on and off the pitch. Kermorgant becomes the second Bournemouth attacker to pick up a problem within the last 4-days after Christian Atsu pulled up with a back injury midweek although reports suggest that the Chelsea loanee could feature against Hoffenheim today. Should either prove to more serious than initially thought then expect Callum Wilson to assume his a position at the head of a 4-2-3-1 with support coming from Ritchie and Pugh otherwise Howe may opt for a variation on 4-4-2 which served the team so well - when required - last season.

Manchester City travel to Stuttgart for their final pre-season game on Saturday but the Citizens will be taking no risks as Yaya Toure, Fabian Delph and Gael Clichy remain at the Etihad Complex recovering from injury.

Toure was involved in a collision with Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas during a friendly game seven days ago and the Ivorian has been rested as a precaution. Initial concerns were that Toure was suffering from concussion after "feeling groggy" but subsequent tests were clear and although the 32 year-old will miss the trip to Germany he is expected to fully recover for GW1. Delph has been ruled out after suffering a hamstring tear just 20-minutes into his debut while Clichy has picked up a knock. However there was better news as Wilfried Bony was included having missed the tour of Australia due to a ‘mystery illness’ but there was no place for Aguero, Demichelis, Fernandinho or Zabaleta having been given additional time-off due to their involvement in the Copa America.
Jul 31 - 6:05 PM

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