Category: Football

Football (Soccer) News

Aug 11

Alexandre Lacazette claims goal on initiation into crazy world of Arsenal | Barney Ronay

Record £52m signing Alexandre Lacazette scores within two minutes of his league debut and discovers what Emirates life has been like the past few seasons

Well, that escalated quickly. On a wild, ultimately triumphant night at the Emirates Alexander Lacazette’s first three touches in the Premier League went as follows: kick-off, goal, kick-off. At the end of which Arsène Wenger’s latest club record signing had been treated to an uncut hit of pure, unfiltered Arsenal-dom, the very essence of late Wengerism crushed into the space of 270 giddy seconds.

By the end a match that might have finished nine-three or 12-all and which contained every Arsenal emotion from giddy, brittle hope, to giddy, brittle collapse had ended in a rollicking 4-3 home victory marked out by a carefree disdain for the prosaic disciplines of defending. And all of this on a deep blue north London evening before the season has even started for 90% of the Premier League. Hello Arsenal my old friend. I’ve come to talk with you again.

Related: Olivier Giroud saves Arsenal from homemade chaos in Leicester thriller

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Aug 11

Olivier Giroud saves Arsenal from homemade chaos in Leicester thriller

Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen, to a new season reminiscent of the old at the Emirates, where the good news is Arsenal broke their transfer record for a striker but the bad news is they ended their first game of the season with a classically dysfunctional defence. It was an extraordinary combination – a midfield player at right-back, two left-backs at centre-back and a right-back at left-back. Confused? Who wouldn’t be. Leicester had all the clarity as they took advantage and a 3-2 lead into the final stages of an intoxicating tussle.

Oh Arsenal. Typical Arsenal. Absurd Arsenal. But where in seasons past this kind of situation tended to end with opening day navel-gazing, this time they found the resources to twist the tale with a theatrical flourish. Wenger threw on Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud to attempt a rescue mission and both of them delivered with goals to transform the atmosphere from fretful and pressurised to the liberating joy of a thumping comeback. The match-winner from Giroud sent shudders through north London. In finding the composure to power a header while wrestling his marker he made his point that the purchase of Alexandre Lacazette would not easily make him expendable.

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Aug 11

Vancouver Whitecaps look to wrap up road trip on a high in New England

Before every season, Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson maps out how many roads wins he believes his team will need to make the playoffs. The Whitecaps have seven of a possible nine points from their last three road matches, with victories over the Los Angeles Galaxy and FC Dallas to go along

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Aug 11

Lyon remain top with win at Rennes

Olympique Lyonnais remain top of Ligue 1 Conforama – for 24 hours at least – after beating Stade Rennais FC 2-1 at their Roazhon Park. Memphis Depay (57′) and Mariano (74′) got the goals for Bruno Génésio’s side.

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Aug 11

Troyes stun Nice

Promoted ESTAC Troyes picked up a 2-1 win over last season’s third-placed team OGC Nice, with Adama Niane (54′) and Saîf-Eddine Khaoui (85′) scoring to drown out Alassane Pléa’s penalty for the hosts (63′).

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Aug 11

Neymar gets green light for PSG debut!

THE LFP has announced the ratification of Neymar Jr’s transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain, leaving the way clear for the Brazilian superstar to make his Ligue 1 Conforama debut away to EA Guingamp on Sunday night.

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Aug 11

Arsenal 4-3 Leicester City: Premier League – as it happened

Inspired substitutions and a large slice of luck helped Arsenal come from behind to win a seven-goal opening day thriller at the Emirates

10.10pm BST

Amy Lawrence’s report from the Emirates

Related: Olivier Giroud saves Arsenal from homemade chaos in Leicester thriller

10.00pm BST

Amy was in the Arsenal press box typing her fingers to the bone to bring you this cracking on-the-whistle report, which can’t have been too easy considering all that went on. Tune in later for her rewrite, which will include quotes from some of the main characters involved in a sensational game.

9.51pm BST

The Premier League gets off to a flier with a seven-goal thriller and Leicester will go home wondering how they lost. With Arsenal staring down the barrel of defeat after falling 3-2 behind to Jamie Vardy’s second of the night, substitutes Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud scored two in as many minutes to win the three points for Arsenal.

Ramsey’s was the crucial goal and it should not have stood – Mesut Ozil handled in the build-up before providing the assist. Arsenal rode their luck and have every right to be pleased with the win, but the woefulness of much of their defending, from an admittedly make-and-do patchwork defence, will give Arsene Wenger plenty to think about. Going forward, however, his team looked sublime at times.

9.45pm BST

“These are the type of goals you will not be happy with but we showed great character,” says Arsenal’s goalkeeper.

9.44pm BST

“That’s a nice start, but obviously I prefer to be on the pitch,” he says. “Tonight we needed this win and everyone knows the first game is important for the confidence.”

9.42pm BST

“Obviously I knew I was going to get a chance in coming on again,” he says on Sky Sports. “We kept the faith and carried on pushing … pushing hard. We were courageous to the end and thank god we won this game.”

9.41pm BST

Peep! Peep! Peeeeeeeeeep! It’s all over and Arsenal have won. On a night the Premier League broke from the traps like a greyhound whose tail is on fire, some inspired substitutions and a huge slice of luck rescued Arsenal from yet another opening day defeat. That was a fantastic game of football.

9.38pm BST

90+4 min: Wes Morgan is booked. I think that’s the first cuation of the game.

9.38pm BST

90+3 min: Leicester hurl the kitchen sink at Arsenal, who should not be too discouraged by defeat if they are beaten. They’re defence at set pieces has been as ropey as Arsenal’s, but they’ve played very well otherwise.

9.36pm BST

90+1 min: Giroud and Lacazette combine well to tee up Theo Walcott, who blazes over. Offside! Going back to that Ramsey goal – he was teed up by Mesut Ozil, who clearly handled the ball in the build-up. His pass to Ramsey was controlled expertly by the Welshman, who fired home from close range. It was a fine goal, but it shouldn’t have counted.

9.34pm BST

89 min: This is bonkers! Kasper Schmeichel is marooned upfield as Leciester go in search of an equaliser, but Arsenal’s attempts to score into an empty goal come to naught. We’ll have five minutes of added time.

9.33pm BST

87 min: The corner from which Arsenal scored that goal came about from a corner they got when Kasper Schmeichel made an absolutely fantastic save to tip an ALexandre Lacazette surface-to-air screamer from close range over the bar. Your humble reporter is struggling to keep up here, there’s so much going on! Leicester substitution I haven’t had a chance to tell you about yet: Kelechi Iheanacho on for Matty James. Demarai Gray has just replaced Marc Albrighton.

9.29pm BST

Incredible scenes! From a corner, Olivier Giroud powers a brilliant header in off the left upright. It bounces behind the line before Kasper Schmeichel can claw it clear.

9.28pm BST

84 min: You will not see a better first touch than the one with which Aaron Ramsey controlled the ball … oh, hang on!

9.27pm BST

Aaron Ramsey equalises for the Gunners. He’s been excellent since coming on.

9.26pm BST

80 min: We’ve 10 minutes to go and Arsenal desperately need a goal to avoid hearing the “CRISIS KLAXON” being sounded. If they do lose, it will be interesting to hear if they are booed off … after their first Premier League game of the season. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain shoots wide after being teed up by Granit Xhaka.

9.23pm BST

76 min: The clock ticks on as Leicester travelling fans strike up a rousing rendition of a song about their opposite numbers’ attempts to get behind their team. The lyrics have no place on a family minute-by-minute report, but you can probably guess what they are.

Bellerin going from right-wing-back to left-back and Oxlade-Chamberlain going from left-wing-back to right-back is novel

9.19pm BST

75 min: Arsenal substitution: Theo Walcott comes on for Danny Welbeck, moments after Mesut Ozil had fired into the side-netting.

9.18pm BST

74 min: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain sends a low, diagonal drive from distance fizzing just wide of the left upright. It took a nick off a defender on it’s way wide and Arsenal get a corner from which nothing comes.

9.17pm BST

72 min: Leicester substitution: Daniel Amartey replaces Shinji Okazaki, who has put in his usual Herculean shift and been rewarded with a goal. Leicester needed to shore up their midfield, as Arsenal have been dominating that area of the field since Ramsey came on.

9.15pm BST

71 min: Mesut Ozil tries to steer the ball inside the foot of the right upright after running on to a Lacazette pull-back from the left side of the penalty area. His effort is blocked.

9.13pm BST

69 min: The camera cuts to Alexis Sanchez in the posh seats again. He still looks glum, possibly because his very, very bored female companion from the first half appears to have abandoned him.

9.12pm BST

68 min: Ramsey immediately finds himself in the thick of the action, powering down the centre to get on the end of a Lacazette cross from the left and head wide. Christian Fuchs did enough to put him off, when he looked certain to score.

9.11pm BST

Arsenal double substitution: Rob Holding and Mohamed Elneny off, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud on.

9.09pm BST

64 min: Arsenal are behind, but dominating and creating the better chances. A replay of Vardy’s second goal shows that before Mahrez took his corner, Granit Xhaka was actually pointing at the unmarked Jamie Vardy and then let him run past him and looked on helplessly as the Leicester striker leaped to turn a splendid header inside the far post.

9.06pm BST

62 min: Another fine save from Schmeichel, who is quick off his line to deny Hector Bellerin, who had been teed up nicely by Danny Welbeck and was bearing down on goal.

9.05pm BST

60 min: Oxlade-Chamberlain has a powerful drive blocked by Kasper Schmeichel and Alexandre Lacazette’s follow-up is ruled out by offside.

9.03pm BST

59 min: Hats off to Riyad Mahrez too, whose delivery from the corner was no source of mirth for Arsenal fans on that occasion. Who’s laughing now, eh?

9.02pm BST

57 min: Shocking defending by Arsenal again – they had nobody on either post, nobody to attack the ball as it came in and nobody marking Jamie Vardy, who gave his man the slip to flick a header in at the back stick. They’ve conceded two from corners tonight.

9.00pm BST

Oh Arsenal. Mahrez takes a corner and a completely unmarked Jamie Vardy skims a header across the box and in at the far post.

8.59pm BST

54 min: The camera cuts to Arsenal’s BFG Per Mertesacker, wearing his suit on the Arsenal bench. He’s oput tonight because of a gash on his head that needed 13 stitches. Only 13 and he can’t play? Wuss!

8.57pm BST

52 min: Sound the Classic Leicester klaxon! Riyad Mahrez plays Jamie Vardy through on goal with a wonderful ball from deep, turning defence into counter-attack in a heartbeat. Petr Cech charges out of his penalty area and dispossesses the striker with a wonderfully timed tackle. That could have been hideously embarrassing for the Arsenal goalkeeper if he’d got his timing wrong.

8.55pm BST

50 min: Leicester attack down the left flank again. The ball’s played across to the right, where Riyad Mahrez takes possession. His cross his ridiculously overhit and prompts laughs and jeers from Arsenal’s fans. Even Mahrez himself can laugh at the sheer badness of his effort.

8.53pm BST

49 min: Mesut Ozil tries his luck with a shot from distance, but drags it wide of the upright.

8.52pm BST

48 min: Arsenal ping the ball around on the halfway line, without advancing up the field. The second half has got off to a considerably more sedate start to the first.

8.50pm BST

46 min: Leicester throw-in deep in Arsenal territory, which is taken long by Christian Fuchs. Holding clears.

8.49pm BST

46 min: Play resumes with no changes in personnel on either side. I thought Rob Holding might get hooked, as he’s looked the most uncomfortable in an Arsenal back three that struggled collectively on the back foot throughout the first half. They have not been helped by Petr Cech, who’s also looked panic-stricken at times. Then again, playing behind a defence that poorly organised, he can probably be excused for the occasional flap.

8.38pm BST

The Premier League has got off to a lively start, with the players trooping off after a massively entertaining 45 minutes of football. Alexandre Lacazette opened the scoring after just two minutes, before Shinji Okazaki equalisedfor Leicester and Jamie Vardy put them ahead. Danny Welbeck levelled proceedings deep in added time, scrambling the ball home from close range after it had been squared to him by Sead Kolasinac. It was scruffy end to a sublime move in which Arsenal’s players tippy-tapped their way through the Leicester defence with laser-like speed and precision.

8.34pm BST

It’s all square again as Danny Welbeck scuffs home from about four yards after some delightfully intricate play by assorted Arsenal players in the Leciester penalty area.

8.32pm BST

45 min: Another Leicester corner, which leads to a throw-in deep in Arsenal territory. Christian Fuchs Delaps the ball goalwards and Petr Cech flaps. He sticks up a hand to prevent the ball sailing straight into his goal from the throw-in. It wouldn’t have counted … I think, but will need to check just to be sure.

8.30pm BST

44 min: Marc Albrighton curls an inswinging cross towards the far post from deep and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain heads it out for a corner. Albrighton takes it, but there’s nobody in the area to convert his pretty good delivery.

8.29pm BST

41 min: There are loud penalty appeals as Leicester midfielder Onyine Ndidi handles the ball in his own penalty area. Although he did raise his arm, the ball was blasted at him by Sead Kolasinac from one yard away. Mike Dean declines to award a spot-kick.

8.27pm BST

39 min: On Sky Sports, Jamie Carragher points out that in the stands, the home crowd are already getting agitated. Meanwhile on the pitch, he says “it’s the same old problems year-in, year-out for Arsenal”. I suspect he’s talking about their lack of leadership and organisation in defence and lack of concentration when defending corners. Going forward, on the other hand, they’ve looked exquisite at times.

8.23pm BST

36 min: The camera cuts to Alexis Sanchez, who is sitting in the posh seats, chewing gum and looking a bit glum. He’s sitting beside a blonde woman, presumably his wife or girlfriend, who looks very, very bored. I hope she isn’t, because this is a very entertaining football match.

8.21pm BST

33 min: Another Leicester attack down the left, The ball’s floated in again, this time by Matthew James and Shinji Okazaki out-jumps his marker to head inches wide of the upright.

8.19pm BST

32 min: Another Leicester counter-attack. This time it’s Riyad Mahrez who crosses from the left, but his delivery is too high for Vardy, who acknowledges his team-mates efforts with a wave.

8.17pm BST

31 min: That was classic Leicester – attacking on the counter and catching Arsenal with their pants down. Marc Albrighton crossed from the left, Jamie Vardy stole between two of Arsenal’s back three and fired home without breaking stride from about six yards. Great cross! Great finish! Shocking defending from Arsenal … again. They’re really struggling with this back three.

8.15pm BST

Jamie Vardy fires Leicester ahead from six yards out. Arsenal in crisis! Let the chants of “WENGER OUT!!!” begin in earnest.

8.14pm BST

27 min: Sead Kolasinac smashes the ball towards Kasper Schmeichel, who blocks but can’t hold it. Arsenal are at their irresistible best around the Leicester penalty area at times, carving the defence open with neat, fast, passing. Oh … hang on!

8.12pm BST

25 min: Arsenal go close again, with Danny Welbeck having another shot blocked. The ball breaks kindly for him and he gets an opportunity to pull it across the penalty area, but there’s nobody on hand to smash it home.

8.11pm BST

24 min: Alexandre Lacazette is penalised for a foul on Marc Albrighton as he tried to prevent the ball from going out of play. On Sky Sports, commentator Geoff Shreeves and his sidekick Jamie Carragher are discussing Alexandre Lacazette’s “fox in the box” qualities.

8.09pm BST

22 min: A series of neat passing and one-twos around the Leicester penalty area sees Arsenal “arsenal” their way towards goal down the inside left. Mohamed Elneny pulls the ball into the path of Danny Welbeck, but Harry Maguire blocks a shot that looked like it was goal-bound with his backside.

8.07pm BST

21 min: Harry Maguire has just got a long talking-to from referee Mike Dean for bundling over Alexandre Lacazette. He manages to avoid a yellow card for now.

8.06pm BST

18 min: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain canters down the left wing, cuts inside and sends in a cross. Danny Simpson’s clearing header is poor and the ball breaks cross the penalty area, just waiting to be pounced upon and buried by an Arsenal player. It doesn’t break kindly enough and Marc Albrighton wins a free-kick and some breathing space for Leicester after

going down under a challenge from
backing into Hector Bellerin and falling over.

8.03pm BST

17 min: Just going back to Alexandre Lacazette’s goal and specifically, the celebration that followed – it was noticeably restrained. He simply raised his hands in the air and stood still as his team-mates rushed to mob him.

8.02pm BST

15 min: Okazaki is penalised for a psuh on Monreal as the Arsenal defender tried to shepherd the ball out of play for a goal-kick.

8.00pm BST

12 min: Arsenal attack down the right flank with Mesut Ozil on the ball. It’s played across to Oxlade-Chamberlain on the left and Arsenal enjoy a spell of possession courtesy of some neat passing around the fringes of the Leicester penalty area. Oxlade-Chamberlain tries his luck from about 20 yards, but gets no real power behind his shot and Kasper Schmeichel saves easily.

7.57pm BST

10 min: Just 10 minutes in and we’ve had two goals and a number of missed chances. Jamie Vardy and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have also both had opportunities, but been denied.

7.56pm BST

9 min: Arsenal’s players seem rattled by that Leciester equaliser, which had a hint of offside about it. Moments previously, Riyad Mahrez had volleyed a half-chance wide from the edge of the area. Leicester are currently on top, but Arsenal have a corner. Hector Bellerin’s delivery is too high and sails across the penalty area and out of play.

7.54pm BST

6 min: Atrocious defending from Arsenal, as Leicester respond in the strongest possible terms to their early setback. Leicester took a quick short corner and with Arsenal’s defenders hopelessly disorganised, the ball was crossed deep to the far post. Harry Maguire headed back across goal and Shinji Okazaki leaped highest to send the ball looping into the empty, unguarded half of it that was gaping.

7.51pm BST

Shinji Okazaki equalises with a header from three yards out, sending a looping header into a net that was unguarded as Per Cech went AWOL. What a start!

7.50pm BST

3 min: Wow! That’s some start for Alexandre Lacazette, scoring just two minutes into his Arsenal debut. Mohamed Elneny crossed from the left wing and he peeled off Wes Morgan to send a bullet header past Kasper Schmeichel from about eight yards out.

7.48pm BST

Alexandre Lacazette scores with a header from a Mohamed Elneny cross from the right.

7.47pm BST

1 min: Alexandre Lacazette gets the ball rolling for the new season and we’re off and running. Arsenal line up in a 3-4-3 formation, with full-back Nacho Monreal flanked by Rob Holding and Sead Kolasinac in the middle of the back three. Hector Bellerin and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are the wing-backs, with Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka in the centre of midfield … oh, hang on!

7.42pm BST

Just five minutes until kick-off and Arsenal mascot Gunnersaurus is going through his final pre-match duties of whipping the Emirates crowd into the frenzy for which they are renowned around the football world. England manager Gareth Southgate is in the house and the teams are lining up in the tunnel. Referee Mike Dean is ready! The players are ready! The fans are ready! Let’s get ready to rumble!

7.37pm BST

I’ve a sneaky feeling Leicester might win this one, although it’s one that isn’t based on any great foundation of logic. Their record against Arsenal is fairly dreadful, but I think they might catch them cold tonight. Arsenal’s opening day record has been fairly dismal over the past seven seasons (P6 W1) and they’re missing a few key players.

7.32pm BST

“I’d like to reassure Daniel, currently of Friendship, Maine, that he does have at least one er … friend on the east coast in a similar predicament,” he says. “I’m following the updates from the even-more-quaintly-named Mystic, Connecticut (home of the Julia Roberts Pizza – sort of). And though it seems Meg left long ago (she always saw it coming) I’ll risk predicting a big, Wellbeck-inspired win for the Gunners.”

7.31pm BST

And what a good signing she is! Very funny and well informed, she’s presenting tonight’s coverage and is joined by Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher. The Chuckle brothers have been given a more roving brief on otnight’s show: Gary Neville was out on the concourse interviewing Arsenal fans, while Jamie Carragher has just been in the tunnel interviewing Harry Maguire, who makes his debut for Leciester tonight and will ease into his new role by marking Alexandre Lacazette.

7.15pm BST

Related: Arsène Wenger braced for toughest Arsenal season after rivals’ big spending

7.12pm BST

“I’m a little disappointed to be missing most of the opening weekend’s action due to the fact that I’ll be in the remote town of Friendship, Maine, without much access to television and internet,” he says. “I’ve rationalized this by telling myself that the first three weeks of the season are largely crap, as players are still building up their fitness and sharpness or are held out of the squad entirely as they agitate for a move to greener pastures. Is my cynicism justified, or should I be canceling my trip to Maine to indulge in the opening weekend of The Greatest League on Earth?”

I would say that in life, Friendship should always come first … even if it is just a one-horse town in Maine. And while you’re there, give my best to the good folks at Egg Rock Lighthouse.

7.09pm BST

“Mahrez is the perfect candidate for Arsenal, where he’ll follow in the footsteps of a long lineage of flaky, inconsistent, foreign, tackle-shy attacking midfielders, dating right back to Antonio Reyes,” he writes. Ah, how I’ve missed the Premier League.

7.05pm BST

Interestingly (well, I think it’s interesting), Alexandre Lacazette is the only player in their starting XI with a single-digit shirt number: No9. Mezut Ozil is next lowest with No11, then Alex Oxlade Chamberlain with No15 and Rob Holding with No16. Mohamed Elneny is highest with No35. Leicester, by contrast, have five players wearing numbers between one and 11 (inclusive): Schmeichel, SImpson, Morgan, Albrighton and Vardy.

6.53pm BST

Arsenal: Cech, Holding, Monreal, Kolasinac, Bellerin, Elneny, Xhaka, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Welbeck, Ozil, Lacazette.

Subs: Ramsey, Giroud, Ospina, Walcott, Iwobi, Mustafi, Coquelin.

6.50pm BST

Premier League debuts for Sead Kolasinac and Alexandre Lacazette.

Here’s our team in text: Cech, Holding, Monreal, Kolasinac, Bellerin, Elneny, Xhaka, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Welbeck, Lacazette#AFCvLCFC

6.46pm BST

Arsenal already lagging behind as Leicester are first out of the blocks with their line-up.

Tonight’s starting XI: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan (c), Maguire, Fuchs, Mahrez, Ndidi, James, Albrighton, Okazaki, Vardy. #ArsLei

6.21pm BST

6.20pm BST

Related: Premier League 2017-18 preview No1: Arsenal | Amy Lawrence

Related: Premier League 2017-18 preview No9: Leicester City | Simon Burnton

6.17pm BST

For Arsenal, Alexis Sanchez is out with an abdominal strain, possibly suffering a tightness of the gut that comes from really, really, really wanting to go to Manchester City. Laurent Koscielney is consigned to the naughty satep for the first two league matches of the season after getting sent off against Everton in the final game of the last campaign. Shkodran Mustafi, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Per Mertesacker and Jack Wilshere are all back training after injury lay-offs or extended holidays, but are unlikely to feature this evening.

Leicester’s want-away midfielder Riyad Mahrez is expected to leave the club before the end of the month, but has promised to give his all if selected until he inks a deal with Arsenal, Inter or one of his other suitors. Danny Drinkwater has been linked with a move to Chelsea and will miss out tonight with a thigh injury, while Robert Huth is also expected to be absent this evening as he works on his fitness. Kelechi Iheanacho is expected to make his competitive debut despite picking up a slight foot injury in a pre-season friendly.

4.52pm BST

Lend us your ears …

Related: The big Premier League kick-off – Football Weekly Extra

9.14am BST

After 82 days of frenzied transfer speculation, it’s finally time to get back to the comparatively mundane pursuit of actually playing football, with Arsenal and Leicester City being given the task of getting the Premier League ball rolling in the first of just 380 top flight games scheduled for this season.

Arsenal’s opening day record is far from good: They’ve won just one of their opening league fixtures in the past seven years, but even at their title-winning best Leicester City were unable to beat them, going down twice against Arsene Wenger’s men two seasons ago. Indeed, Leicester have not beaten Arsenal since November 1994, a time when Pato Banton’s Baby Come Back was top of the UK charts and Paul Dickov and Ian Selley featured in Arsenal’s starting line-up.

Related: Premier League: 10 things to look out for on the opening weekend

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Aug 11

Brighton & Hove Albion v Manchester City: match preview

Brighton make their long-awaited Premier League debut knowing that, while a match against Manchester City may be considered a free hit, home form will be crucial to their survival. A previously slow summer of transfer activity stepped up this week with the arrivals of Davy Pröpper from Ajax and, imminently, the Club Brugge winger José Izquierdo but City have left most others in the dust when it comes to expenditure during this window and Pep Guardiola will want his own side to set down a marker early on. Nick Ames

Kick-off Saturday 5.30pm

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Aug 11

Pep Guardiola: Manchester City manager says summer’s spending is ‘unsustainable’

Boss Pep Guardiola says Manchester City have invested in the squad for the “next five years” but admits this summer’s spending in the transfer market is “unsustainable”.

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Aug 11

West Bromwich Albion v Bournemouth: match preview

One point and one place separated these teams last season but Bournemouth only stole into ninth position following West Bromwich Albion’s traditional slide into summer once safety had been assured. Tony Pulis’s side took only two points from their last nine games and have not won since mid-March. Do not bet against Pulis, the arch-pragmatist, rectifying that in this match against Eddie Howe’s improving but still unpredictable side. Paul Chronnell

Kick-off Saturday 3pm

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Aug 11

Crystal Palace v Huddersfield Town: match preview

Huddersfield Town will field several new signings in their first top-flight match for 45 years. David Wagner may start Tom Ince, Mathias Jorgensen, Jonas Lossl and Steve Mounié as he embarks on a quest to keep the relegation favourites in the Premier League. Frank de Boer’s first Crystal Palace lineup are set to have a youthful flavour, with Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Jairo Riedewald in contention. Rich Flower

Kick-off Saturday 3pm

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Aug 11

Watford v Liverpool: match preview

Philippe Coutinho may be the main conversation topic but he will not be on the pitch – the Brazilian is out with a back problem. Liverpool are also without Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridgedue to injury. They travel to Vicarage Road uncertain of what kind of opponents they will face in Watford, now managed by Marco Silva and with seven new signings jostling for places. One of those, record transfer Andre Gray, looks certain to start up front in the absence of the injured Troy Deeney while Nathaniel Chalobah is likely to anchor midfield after permanently returning to the club where he played on loan five seasons ago. Paul MacInnes

Kick-off Saturday 12.30pm

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Aug 11

Premier League predictions: Do these Radio 1 and 1Xtra DJs know their football?

Premier League predictions by BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra DJs Charlie Sloth, Adele Roberts, Trevor Nelson, Nick Bright and Chris Stark on the season’s opening weekend.

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Aug 11

Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Manchester United in talks to re-sign striker after recovery from injury

Manchester United are in talks to re-sign striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the second half of the season, says manager Jose Mourinho.

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Aug 11

Big and little, old and new

A huge team, a little striker, an veteran midfielder and fresh champs feature in’s latest stats review, along with Real retention and climbing Poles.

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Aug 11

Sky faces paying extra £1.8bn for Premier League broadcast rights

Likely competition from Amazon could force Sky to pay £600m more each year to retain its lion’s share of football fixtures

Sky could be forced to pay an extra £600m annually to retain the lion’s share of Premier League matches when the next rights auction launches this year, with Amazon emerging as a potential competitor for the biggest prize in UK sport broadcasting.

Google, Apple, Facebook and Netflix are other possible rivals for Britain’s most valuable sports rights, which are split between Sky and BT under the current three-year deal. The prospect of a heated auction involving deep-pocketed tech firms has led analysts to estimate that Sky might have to pay a premium of up to 45% on the near £4.2bn it paid last time. That means a further £1.8bn, or £600m annually, to keep Silicon Valley off the ball.

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