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Premier League

Bullet point previews of Premier League matches



Match-by-match facts and statistics ahead of the next round of Premier League fixtures from Saturday 16 September to Monday 18 September.  (All times GMT):

Saturday, Sept. 16

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Liverpool (1130)

* Liverpool, undefeated in their last 15 league matches, have had a player red-carded in back-to-back league games for the first time since March and April 2015.

* Liverpool’s new midfield signing Dominik Szoboszlai scored his first goal for the Merseyside giants in their 3-0 win over Aston Villa before the international break, with vice-captain Trent Alexander-Arnold securing his first assist of the season in the same match at Anfield.


* Wolves have lost 14 of their 18 league matches against Liverpool, with two matches ending in draws.

West Ham United v Manchester City (1400)

* Pep Guardiola will be back on the touchline against David Moyes’ West Ham, who are fourth in the standings and two points behind leaders City, after missing two games following a back surgery.

* Midfielder James Ward-Prowse (one goal, three assists) is the first West Ham player to either score or assist a goal in his first three league appearances.

* This is West Ham’s joint-highest points tally after their opening four games of a league season, having also earned 10 points in 1999-2000.


Tottenham Hotspur v Sheffield United (1400)

* New Spurs captain Son Heung-min scored his fourth league hat-trick in the north London-based club’s last match against promoted Burnley.

* Second-placed Spurs, with the help of new manager Ange Postecoglou, can make their best start to a league season since 1965 by beating Sheffield United at home.

* This is the first time in the English top-flight that as many as four teams, namely Everton, promoted Sheffield United, Luton Town and Burnley, have lost their opening three games to a campaign.

Manchester United v Brighton & Hove Albion (1400)


* Midfielder Sofyan Amrabat and defender Sergio Reguilon will be among those hoping to make their debut for United at Old Trafford, while 20-year-old forward Rasmus Hojlund is in contention to start after making a cameo at Arsenal earlier this month.

* Uruguayan winger Facundo Pellistri could also be given a chance by United manager Erik ten Hag in the absence of Antony, who will not immediately return to United as the Brazilian addresses assault allegations against him.

* Brighton’s 18-year-old striker Evan Ferguson, who scored his first league hat-trick against Newcastle United earlier this month, is an injury doubt.

Fulham v Luton Town (1400)

* This marks the first league meeting between Fulham and promoted Luton since the 1959-60 campaign.


* Luton could become just the second team to suffer four consecutive losses in their debut top-flight season, after Swindon Town in 1993-94.

* Fulham have dominated at home against promoted sides in the last eight matches (W3 D4), suffering just one loss by Leeds United in March 2021.

Aston Villa v Crystal Palace (1400)

* Villa lost their winning momentum before the international break when they suffered a 3-0 defeat by Liverpool, having recovered from a heavy opening-day loss at Newcastle.

* Villa could get a boost with the return of Alex Moreno following the defender’s injury last season.


* Palace just have two wins in 16 league matches at Villa Park.

Newcastle United v Brentford (1630)

* Newcastle’s new signing Sandro Tonali is an injury doubt after the former AC Milan midfielder missed Italy’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Ukraine.

* Eddie Howe’s Newcastle, who qualified for the Champions League for the first time in 20 years, have lost three of their first four league matches this season. They only lost five games last season.

* Thomas Frank’s Brentford have only been beaten once in their last 11 league matches (W6, D4), a 1-0 defeat by Liverpool in May.


Sunday, Sept. 17

Bournemouth v Chelsea (1300)

* Chelsea’s 115 million pounds record-signing Moises Caicedo is the second player to give away a penalty on his top-flight debut for the west London-based side. The Ecuadorian midfielder did so in his side’s 3-1 loss at West Ham last month.

* Chelsea have two wins from their last 16 league games, including an away victory at Bournemouth.

* New Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino is winless in 13 away games in the league, a run that stretches back to Feb. 2019 with his former club Spurs.


Everton v Arsenal (1530)

* Arsenal will look to carry the momentum following a 3-1 home win over league rivals Manchester United.

* Abdoulaye Doucoure scored Everton’s first goal of the campaign when the Mali forward netted the opener against Sheffield United.

* Striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin could make a return for Everton after sustaining a facial injury in last month’s 4-0 defeat by Villa, providing a boost to manager Sean Dyche, who will hope to avoid another relegation battle as his side languishes in 18th place.

Monday, Sept. 18


Nottingham Forest v Burnley (1845)

* Forest, who signed as many as seven players on the transfer deadline day, will miss the services of promising Wales striker Brennan Johnson, who moved to Spurs earlier this month.

* Steve Cooper will, however, rely on new signing Anthony Elanga, who joined from United and has already scored a goal and claimed an assist for Forest.

* Burnley manager Vincent Kompany will look to organise his defence after the promoted side conceded as many as 11 goals in their first three matches.



Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Ten Hag credits United’s leadership for proactive transfer moves



Pre Season Friendly - Rangers v Manchester United - Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain - July 20, 2024 Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag Action Images via Reuters/Ed Sykes

Manchester United are on the front foot in the transfer market thanks to the club’s leadership making quick and decisive moves to secure new players early, manager Erik ten Hag said after the signing of Leny Yoro and Joshua Zirkzee.

Since British billionaire and INEOS chairman Jim Ratcliffe took control of football operations at Old Trafford, acquiring a 25% stake in February, United has not only witnessed a new hierarchy but also benefited from new ideas.

United signed French defender Yoro on a five-year contract for a fee of 62 million euros ($67 million) on Thursday, the 18-year-old had been pursued by several top European clubs prior to his move to Manchester, including Real Madrid.

Another crucial signing was striker Zirkzee, who had an excellent season with the Serie A club Bologna last season and played for Netherlands in the European Championship. United paid 42.5 million euros for the 23-year-old for a five-year deal.

“It is very good that we are also there on the front foot, we are very proactive,” Ten Hag said on Saturday. “So, (the) leadership is doing a great job in this moment and that’s how we want to act as United.”


“We are highly ambitious and you have to be on the front foot and be ready for the season. The earlier you get your players in then (the faster) you can work on your team.”

Yoro made a strong impression in his United debut during their 2-0 pre-season friendly win over Scottish side Rangers

on Saturday, while Zirkzee, who has been given time off after the European Championship, is expected to join the squad in August.


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Super Eagles’ Cyriel Dessers fires blank as Rangers crumble to revamped Manchester United



Rangers FC endured their second pre-season defeat in a row, falling to Manchester United at Murrayfield Stadium.

Super Eagles star Cyriel Dessers started the clash for Philippe Clement’s squad but failed to score in his 76 minutes of action, much to the disappointment of the Scottish fans in attendance.

This marks the former US Cremonese striker’s fourth consecutive appearance without a goal for the Glasgow-based club since his strike in Rangers’ 5-2 victory against Dundee FC.

During the game, Ivorian forward, Amad Diallo, capitalized on a clever pass from Mason Mount, firing the ball into the bottom left corner of Jack Butland’s goal.

In the 70th minute, Polish prodigy Maximiliano Oyedele, who has a Nigerian father, delivered a superb pass to Joe Hugill, who unleashed a thunderous strike past Butland.


Another player of Nigerian descent who shone was Habeeb Ogunneye, making an impressive appearance for Erik Ten Hag’s side during his 45 minutes on the pitch.

Meanwhile, Dessers will be eager to end his goal drought as Rangers continue their preseason tour, with a match against Birmingham City up next.

On the side of Manchester United, Leny Yoro, made his first appearance just two days after the French centre-back signed his contract, Yoro was thrown into the starting lineup in Scotland, starting alongside veteran defender Jonny Evans while Lisandro Martinez remains away after his Copa America triumph with Argentina.

Just ten minutes into the game, Yoro caught the eye with an impressive block to deny striker Dessers.

Yoro’s composure on the ball played its part in United’s dominating possession in the first half, but the Red Devils were made to wait until the 39th minute to open the scoring.


It was the impressive Amad Diallo who curled a delightful effort beyond Jack Butland, with Mason Mount grabbing the assist for United’s first goal of pre-season.

Yoro was removed at the break alongside nine other outfield starters. Only Jadon Sancho, making his first appearance for United in nearly 11 months after his clear-the-air talks with manager Erik ten Hag, remained for the second half.

United went incredibly young for the second 45 and predictably lost their dominant control of proceedings, while the heavy rain did not help either side play their best football.

The Red Devils added their second goal with 20 minutes remaining as Joe Hugill thundered home a glorious effort, removing the shred of doubt about the result which had started to creep in.

Just five minutes later, Rangers brought out their own wholesale changes, but the Scottish side continued to struggle in the final third as United managed to hold out for a solid win.

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Nigerian-born Man United’s new striker promises  creativity and unpredictability to fans



Manchester United newcomer Joshua Zirkzee said fans can expect to see a creative, unpredictable player who developed his skills in cage football, and idolised Ronaldinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

He is a Dutch, but has Nigerian mother.

The 23-year-old striker signed for the Red Devils on July 14 after an excellent season with Italian Serie A club Bologna, where he scored 11 goals and made five assists and helped them secure a place in the Champions League.

“Yeah, it’s been a roller-coaster the past few weeks, but some very good experiences. I’m very happy to be here,” Zirkzee said in an interview for United’s website on July 17.

“Obviously, (I’m arriving) at a good point, making a transfer to Manchester United is something very positive. So yeah, I just can’t wait to get started and continue what I basically did last season.”


The 1.93m-tall Dutchman is technically gifted for a player his size, which he attributes to his childhood in Spijkenisse, in the south of the Netherlands where he developed his skills in Johan Cruyff cages – enclosed football pitches named after the Dutch football great.

“As a young boy growing up, playing mostly with tougher, bigger guys who are older than you makes you adapt, so I think that’s something that you learn at a young age in Holland, especially where I grew up,” Zirkzee added.

“(I’m a) creative player, good with the ball, I’m just a bit unpredictable at times.”

He laughingly recounted the countless times he got in trouble with his mother for coming home late.

“I hope she forgives me now for all the times I came home late, or if I broke something in the backyard,” he said.


“Eventually, it all worked out pretty well… that was just life back when I was younger, playing football, forgetting about the time and getting back home late.”

Zirkzee also said that having a Dutch manager in Erik ten Hag is a “privilege” and the added presence of Ruud van Nistelrooy – the former Netherlands and United striker who joined ten Hag’s coaching staff earlier this week – will help him adjust to his new team.

But they are not the only reasons he made the move to United.

“Manchester United is a great, huge club so it’s just an extra privilege,” he said.

“Having some Dutch people around obviously makes it a bit easier, (but) to be fair I’m not too difficult adapting.


“When I was younger, watching the Dutch national team, Manchester United, watching (van Nistelrooy) play, he was one of the guys who you pretend to be when you were playing with friends. So, having him out here is a bit special.

Zirkzee was a late addition to the Netherlands squad for the European Championship, making his senior debut in the quarter-final victory against Turkey.

On the heels of Euro 2024, he will be given some time off and is not expected to link up with his new teammates until early August.

Following his arrival at Old Trafford for a fee of about £36.5 million (S$63.6 million), United are set to sign Lille’s promising teenage defender Leny Yoro in a £52 million swoop, according to reports on July 17.

The 18-year-old had been linked with a move to European champions Real Madrid, but he has since travelled to England and has undergone a medical test with the Red Devils, before putting pen to paper.


United will reportedly pay £52.7 million as an initial fee, with add-ons worth a further £6.7 million.

Yoro, who made his Lille debut at the age of 16, has been ranked as one of the best young players in Europe.

Ten Hag has been keen to land a new centre-back after Raphael Varane left at the end of last season.

Varane and Lisandro Martinez were United’s starting centre-backs in their FA Cup final victory over Manchester City in May, with Harry Maguire missing the showpiece due to an injury that also ruled him out of Euro 2024.

United have also been chasing Bayern Munich’s Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt and is understood to have had two offers rejected for Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite.



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