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Premier League predictions

week one of the season

Saturday, 13th August 2016
Hull City 0 Leicester City 2
Burnley 0 Swansea City 1
Crystal Palace 2 West Bromwich Albion 1
Everton 1 Tottenham Hotspur 1
Middlesbrough 0 Stoke City 2
Southampton 2
Watford 1
Manchester City 3 Sunderland 1

Sunday, 14th August 2016
AFC Bournemouth 1 Manchester United 2
Arsenal 0 Liverpool 1

Monday, 15th August 2016
Chelsea 1 West Ham United 2

During the 2015/16 Premier League season I somehow got one hundred and seventy-two perfect predictions. I was going to work out who would have come where if all my predictions had come true but even I am not that sad. I’m not!

Hot Football Transfer Gossip: Hart ‘will not leave on loan’, Gunners ‘want Gimenez’, Chelsea ‘to re-sign Essien’

The Boss of Goss Kevin Darling has the latest transfer ‘news’ on Joe Hart’s Manchester City future, Arsenal’s defensive crisis and more.

There are all sorts of funny hypothetical football scenarios you could come up with. Sam Allardyce picking Carlton Cole in his first England squad, Mark Hughes appointing a cat as Stoke’s assistant manager and watching all future matches with the animal on his shoulder, Memphis Depay scoring a hat-trick.

But the idea that has tickled the Manchester City hierarchy is a bit more mundane. According to the Sun, City chiefs have “laughed off” suggestions that Joe Hart could leave the Etihad on loan. They think that suggestion is hilarious. Instead they have insisted the goalkeeper will leave Manchester in a cash sale only of “at least £30m”. Some people would think that’s the funny bit.

Everton and Borussia Dortmund are said to be the two clubs most interested in England’s number one, although whether they will pay in excess of £30m for him is debatable.

The man to replace Hart will be Barcelona’s Claudio Bravo, the Mirror confidently proclaims. Barca have reportedly agreed to sign Jasper Cillessen from Ajax for £10m, which paves the way for them to sell Bravo to City for £17.4m. Hart is still worth more than £30m though, right?

Arsene Wenger cited a lack of defensive experience for his Arsenal side shipping four goals to Liverpool last weekend, so it makes perfect sense that the man he wants to solve his centre-back crisis is 21-year-old Jose Gimenez.

The Mail says the Gunners are “in talks” with Atletico Madrid about the £40m-rated Uruguayan, who is said to be “open to a move to London”. However, the Star disagrees and declares that Wenger will instead agree a fee of £25.9m for Valencia’s Shkodran Mustafi on Friday. 

Joe Allen revealed in the Telegraph that he only discovered he had been sold by Liverpool when he got a text from a friend congratulating him on his move to Stoke - much to his dismay. If only he’d read Hot Football Transfer Gossip in the preceding weeks, it wouldn’t have come as a shock at all.

Leicester have gone all Rick Astley on Jeffrey Schlupp, with the Birmingham Mail reporting that the Baggies are never going to give up signing him. Ever.

Elsewhere, Swansea want to sign an Italian defender to replace Ashley Williams but they don’t know which one (Wales Online), Chelsea are considering signing their former midfield colossus Michael Essien for a laugh (Express) and Ronald Koeman has told Oumar Niasse he needs to leave Everton “for the sake of his career” (Liverpool Echo). Which is a nice way of saying, I’m won’t be playing you because you’re rubbish.

@darlingkevin

Saturday, August 13th 2016

Hull City 2 Leicester City 1 (1-0 HT)
· KCOM Stadium · 12:30pm
· Mike Dean (Y: 2 / 2) · 21,037 attendance
Diomande (45+1), Snodgrass (57)
Mahrez (47 pen)
   Leicester’s defence of their Premier League title began with a shock defeat after a terribly flat performance against newly promoted Hull, who are manager-less and relegation favourites.

Burnley 0 Swansea City 1 (0-0 HT)
· Turf Moor · 3pm
· Jonathan Moss (Y: 3 / 2) · 19,126 attendance
Fer (82)
   The Premier League might be changing beyond recognition but not for Burnley, not for Sean Dyche. He moaned last time that his side were constantly cheated out of points and did so today after Leroy Fer tugged Michael Keane’s shirt in the box. No penalty given, Eight minutes from the end a lightning quick Swansea break resulted in a goal scored by Fer. Of all people.

Crystal Palace 0 West Bromwich Albion 1 (0-0 HT)
· Selhurst Park · 3pm
· Craig Pawson (Y: 2 / 2) · 24,490 attendance
Rondon (74)
   Salomon Rondon’s header was enough to give West Brom a narrow win over Crystal Palace in a dreary encounter. Both sides struggled for wins at the back end of last season and it showed in a game low on chances.

Everton 1 Tottenham Hotspur 1 (1-0 HT)
· Goodison Park · 3pm
· Martin Atkinson (no bookings) · 34,494 attendance
Barkley (5)
Lamela (59)
   Erik Lamela’s second-half header salvaged a point for Spurs against an Everton side who impressed in their first league game under Ronald Koeman with a high pressing, Jurgen Klopp-esque style of play. How ironic.

Middlesbrough 1 Stoke City 1 (1-0 HT)
· Riverside Stadium · 3pm
· Kevin Friend (Y: 3 / 5) · 32,110 attendance
Negredo (11)
Shaqiri (67)
   Xherdan Shaqiri’s top bin free-kick earned Stoke a point as Middlesbrough were denied a deserved victory on their return to the Premier League.

Southampton 1 Watford 1 (0-1 HT)
· St Mary’s Stadium · 3pm
· Roger East (Y: 1 / 2, R: 0 / 1) · 31,488 attendance
Redmond (58)
Capoue (9)
   Nathan Redmond scored on his first league appearance for Southampton to rescue a point after a very wayward team performance that will leave new manager Claude Puel concerned. Watford substitute Ben Watson survived twelve minutes before getting the first red card of the 2016/17 season.

Manchester City 2 Sunderland 1 (1-0 HT)
· City Of Manchester Stadium · 5:30pm
· Robert Madley (Y: 1 / 2) · 54,362 attendance
Aguero (4 pen), McNair (87 og)
Defore (71)
   Pep Guardiola needed a late own goal from an ex-Man United player to make a winning start with Man as David Moyes lost his first game as Sunderland manager. Guardiola though will be very relieved after his side looked sluggish and, frankly, poor.

Tottenham linked with late move for Barcelona starlet Munir El Haddadi

Barcelona starlet Munir El Haddadi is waiting to receive an offer from Tottenham Hotspur as the 20-year-old forward knows that his short-term future lies away from the Nou Camp, according to Sport. Everton, Stoke City, Valencia, Celta Vigo and Real Sociedad are also monitoring the situation but the Spanish publication claims that he could make a “surprising move” to White Hart Lane instead.

Follow the latest Premier League ins and outs on our dedicated summer transfer page

Munir committed himself to the La Liga giants only last month after signing a new deal until 2019, setting his release clause at €60m (£51.7m, $67.7m). However, his future at Barcelona has been under scrutiny in recent days as manager Luis Enrique is expected to add a new forward as back-up to Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar before the end of the transfer window.

Recent reports in Spain claimed that Barcelona met with Munir to inform him that he may need to leave the club to secure playing time. Yet, the Catalans still have faith in his long-term future at the Nou Camp and are likely to see him moving on loan or by including a buy-back option in a potential transfer.

Sport now reports that Barcelona’s priority would be to send him to Valencia to convince Los Che to let Paco Alcacer moving in to the opposite direction to the Nou Camp.

However, they are also open to let him go somewhere else for only €15m should the suitors agree to include a buy-back clause in the deal. Celta and Valencia have been linked with such a move in recent days but Sport claims that the emergence of Tottenham in the race could see the Spanish starlet moving to the Premier League instead.

The Spanish publication add that Tottenham are yet to make any formal offer but are “seriously considering his signing in what could be one of the latest surprises of the transfer window”.

Mauricio Pochettino, according to the report, wants to add another versatile forward to his squad and consider that the availability of Munir could be a good transfer opportunity for Spurs. However, Sport believes that the stumbling block in Munir potential move to White Hart Lane is that Tottenham are not likely to include a buy-back option in the transfer. The report pointed out that Spurs failed to sign Sandro Ramirez in the past due to the same issue.

Meanwhile, Sport add that Everton and Stoke are also monitoring the situation but consider the €15m demanded by Barcelona too high.

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Saturday’s results. Defending champions, Leceister go down to newly promoted Hull City. Pep Guardiola wins his first game in charge of Man City. And Ronald Koeman’s Everton hold Mauricio Potchentino’s Tottenham to a draw.

Stoke City vs Manchester City, Premier League 2016/17: Where to watch live, preview, betting odds and possible XI

Stoke City host Manchester City at the Britannia as Pep Guardiola looks set for his first real test in the Premier League on Saturday (20 August).

Where to watch live

Kick-off is set for 12.30pm BST. Live coverage of the game will be on Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 1 HD. Highlights of the game will be available on BBC Match of the Day from 10.30pm BST on BBC One.

Overview

Stoke will be looking for their first win after sharing points against newly promoted Middlesbrough in a tightly fought affair. Alvaro Negredo scored the opening goal for the hosts, which was cancelled out by Xherdan Shaqiri’s 67th minute strike. They have a hard run of fixtures ahead starting against City, with Everton and Tottenham Hotspur lined up next.

However, the Potters have been notorious for taking points from big teams last season and will be fancying their chances against Guardiola’s men, who come into the game on the back of a mid-week fixture against Steaua Bucuresti. Their transfer spend has not been the best this season but they have made a big money signing of Joe Allen from Liverpool while Ramadan Sobhi and Ryan Sweeney are the other two names on the squad list.

Meanwhile, City, fresh from their 5-0 thrashing of Bucuresti, will be looking to build on their win over Sunderland in their first game. The Citizens have all but confirmed qualification into next season’s Champions League and Guardiola will be looking to build an early season lead at the top, especially with the other challengers also getting their season under track with a win.

All eyes will be on Sergio Aguero, who scored a hattrick against Bucuresti despite missing two penalties and will be the chief weapon should City have to get the better of Stoke. Joe Hart is another player who will be in the limelight ahead of his prospective departure from the Etihad and City’s reported interest in Barcelona stopper Claudio Bravo.

What Managers Say

Phil Hughes: “[on Hart] I don’t want to debate people’s situations at their club, or maybe a situation that’s been on-going for not just the last couple of weeks. From the outside, it seems the decision was made a long time ago and I’m sure they had discussions on all aspects of their team moving forward. It (distribution) is an important factor, but you have to keep the ball out of the back of the net as well and that’s quite important when you’re talking about the goalkeeping position. Ideally, you’d like a goalkeeper who’s comfortable with the ball at his feet and can instigate attacking moves.”

Pep Guardiola: “[Onn Gabriel Jesus] He is little bit like Kelechi (Iheanacho), Sergio (Aguero),” he said. “When the ball is there, it’s a goal. He as the sense of goal. So we buy goals. Jesus has been dubbed the ‘new Neymar’ in his homeland — but Guardiola insists he will not be burdened by the pressure of having to live up to such high expectations. I hear most of the players are the new Messi,” he said. “I know it doesn’t help him. Neymar is already a player. For Jesus, it’s the first time he goes to Europe. But here is going to find a good environment, quiet, to work every day, it will not be a problems. We will be there to help him. If he wants to be helped, we are going to help him.”

Betting Odds (betfair)

  • Stoke City win: 6/10
  • Draw: 29/10
  • Manchester City Win: 9/2

Team News

Stoke City

Possible XI: Butland; Bardsley, Shawcross, Wollscheid, Pieters; Imbula, Allen, Shaqiri, Bojan, Arnautovic; Diouf

Manchester City

Possible XI: Caballero; Sagna, Stones, Otamendi, Clichy; Fernandinho, Silva, Sterling, De Bruyne, Nolito; Aguero

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