Arsène Wenger will err on the side of caution as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain continues his recovery from a serious knee injury.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has not played competitively since damaging his medial knee ligament during the loss to Barcelona in the last-16 of the Champions League back in February. The unlucky winger, who has endured an injury plagued few seasons at the Emirates, then suffered a setback in training [May] which effectively ended his hopes of appearing at Euro 2016. However, Oxlade-Chamberlain is hoping to hit the ground running this season in what could be a make or break year after just 49 Premier League starts since his arrival at the club in August 2011. The 22-year-old scored a sublime equaliser against Lens on Friday but Wenger remains cautious: "He’s fully recovered but I want him to go through four or five games first to be completely reassured. You could see that straight away, when he came on, he brought something to the team. Let’s hope he gets through the rest of pre-season."
Ashley Barnes and Lukas Jutkiewicz didn’t take any chances during the win at Bradford City on Saturday after the pair were replaced due to hamstring problems.
Barnes walked straight down the tunnel moments before half-time as Burnley cruised past last season’s League One play-off losers 4-1 at the Coral Windows Parade. However, manager Sean Dyche was quick to allay any serious concerns by confirming the striker had only suffered a minor tweak. "Ashley felt his hamstring and that’s why he just walked straight off," he said. "I’ve told the players to do that. There are no heroes at this stage and as soon as they feel anything at all they have to head off, because then there’s a shorter recovery period." Meanwhile, his replacement – Jutkiewicz – barely managed two-minutes after failing to return for the second forty-five. "Lukas was going to come out, but his hamstring was tight when he was warming up," revealed Dyche. "So I said not to push it. We want people fit."
Sunderland has officially confirmed David Moyes as the club's next manager after signing him to a four-year contract.
The news comes just one day after former manager Sam Allardyce left the club after less than one year to become the head coach of the England national team. Moyes, who was sacked by Real Sociedad last season, arrives at the club following previous stints in the Premier League with Everton and Manchester United. Said the new manager: "I am delighted to have joined Sunderland. I am relishing the challenge and excited by the opportunity. I have taken over a big British club, with a great support and I’m looking forward to working in the Premier League again."
Benik Afobe suffered a knee injury in training during AFC Bournemouth's current preseason tour in the United States and the striker will have a scan when the club returns home
According to Eddie Howe, Afobe "just took a knock to the knee" so it was not a major contact injury and the odds are it isn't too serious. While that means Afobe may not miss any time when the regular season begins, it eliminates his chances of impressing his manager in the preseason in the fight for regular playing time when league play gets underway. Callum Wilson has already bagged a brace on this current tour and looks to be the clear-cut first choice striker when the Cherries open up against Manchester United in three weeks' time.
Steve Cook could miss up-to two weeks after he pulled out of the recent friendly win over Minnesota as a precaution.
Cook felt discomfort in his thigh during the warm-up on Wednesday and Eddie Howe decided not to risk his defender in the hope of avoiding any long term damage. Initial tests reveal that the 25-year-old -- who started all but two of last season’s Premier League matches – will only be side-lined for a fortnight. Meanwhile, there was better news regarding striker Benik Afobe who was injured in training recently: "Benik had a scan and everything looks good with the knee so we’re hopeful it’s not too bad," revealed the Bournemouth boss. Baily Cargill [groin] and Nathan Ake [rested] will also miss the game against Portsmouth on Saturday, but Andrew Surman and Ryan Fraser could return after they were omitted from the squad last time out.
John Stones and Phil Jagielka will miss Everton’s first pre-season friendly at Barnsley on Saturday through injury.
While Stones has been linked with a summer move away, the club have been keen to stress that a minor muscular problem has denied him a return to his former stomping ground, although he could be back on Tuesday to face MK Dons. Jagielka on the other hand, looks to have suffered a recurrence of the hamstring strain which hampered his progress during the latter stages of the 2015/16 campaign. However, Ronald Koeman will be able to call upon the services those involved in France at Euro 2016 -- Seamus Coleman, James McCarthy, Aiden McGeady and Ross Barkley – with the new boss promising the quartet at least 45 minutes of action.
The FA has confirmed Sunderland coach Sam Allardyce as England's next manager following the resignation of Roy Hodgson.
Allardyce leaves Wearside after less than a year at the helm of Sunderland, who he led out of the relegation zone last season by two points over rival Newcastle. The manager signed a two-year contract to lead England through the next World Cup: "I will do everything I can to help England do well and give our nation the success our fans deserve. Above all, we have to make the people and the whole country proud. While my main focus will be on the senior team and getting positive results, I want to add my influence to the great work being done across the development teams at St. George’s Park – a facility I have used with my previous clubs"
In addition to an injury crisis, Hull City now has a managerial crisis after confirming that manager Steve Bruce has left the club.
The former Manchester United player has KCOM Stadium after four years at the club, which included two promotions into the Premier League, one relegation and one appearance in the FA Cup final. The club announced the decision was by mutual consent after Bruce failed to land the England managerial job while up against Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce, who left Wearside on the same day. The Tigers will now start their search for a new manager while assistant Mike Phelan takes over preseason arrangements.