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Premier League

Bullet point previews of Premier League matches

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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.

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* 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.

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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)

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* 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.

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* 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.

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* 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.

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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.

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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

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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.

Reuters

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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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June 12 relief for Ten Hag…to stay at Old Trafford

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Manchester United Can Still Finish Fourth, Says Erik Ten Hag -

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag will remain in the job for next season and has entered into talks with the Old Trafford club over a contract extension despite the team’s lowest ever Premier League finish of eighth, British media reported.

The decision comes after an end-of-season review by the club’s board for the 2023-24 campaign, which finished on a high with a shock FA Cup final win over favourites Manchester City.

Ten Hag’s contract runs until the end of next season, with the club having the option of extending it a further 12 months.

Former Ajax Amsterdam coach Ten Hag had come under increasing pressure after 20-times English champions United suffered their worst start to a season since 1962-63 with eight defeats in their first 15 matches in all competitions.

They ended up eighth after 14 defeats in their 38 league games and bowed out of the Champions League in the group phase.

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Ten Hag’s job security had been the subject of speculation all season and many pundits believed the FA Cup final would be the Dutchman’s last game with the team, win or lose.

But moments after their thrilling triumph, the 54-year-old insisted he had no doubt he would be back and said he had received the backing of the club’s owners all season.

“I’m in a project and we are exactly where we want to be. We’re constructing a team. When I took over it was a mess at United, and we are on our way to construct a team for the future,” he told reporters at Wembley.

“The team is developing, the team is winning and the team also plays to an identity. What you need to play is to be available, you need a strong squad in top football, and especially when you play in England, the Premier League is so competitive.”

INJURY WOES

Ten Hag pointed to United’s revolving door of injuries last term, the most of any Premier League team and concentrated in key positions such as central defence.

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He also spoke about the breakout seasons of young players such as midfielder Kobbie Mainoo, who is part of England’s Euro 2024 squad in Germany, and Argentina winger Alejandro Garnacho.

In Ten Hag’s two seasons in charge, United have played in three Wembley finals and lifted two trophies, having also won last season’s League Cup.

Media reports said that all eventualities were considered in the club’s post-season review and the clear preference was for Ten Hag to remain in charge at Old Trafford.

Among coaches linked to the job as potential replacements were Thomas Tuchel and England manager Gareth Southgate.

Ten Hag is United’s fifth permanent manager since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 as the club have searched for someone to lead them back to the heights of their glory years.

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He guided United to third in the league in his debut season

-Reuters

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Another Nigerian blood to flow in Chelsea veins

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Carabao Cup - Quarter Final - Everton v Fulham - Goodison Park, Liverpool, Britain - December 19, 2023 Fulham's Tosin Adarabioyo celebrates after the match REUTERS/Carl Recine

Chelsea have signed centre back Tosin Adarabioyo from fellow west London club Fulham on a free transfer, the Premier League side announced on Friday.

Adarabioyo, a former England youth international is of Nigerian descent. He is the latest Nigerian linked with Chlesea after Celestine Babayaro, Mikel Obi and Victor Moses among others.

The 26-year-old Adarabioyo who will join the Stamford Bridge side on a four-year contract beginning on July 1, has made one appearance for the England Under-19s and has played 78 times in the Premier League.

He is the first player to join Chelsea since they announced the arrival of new head coach Enzo Maresca, opens new tab earlier this week, and will bolster their options at centre back following the departure of veteran Thiago Silva.

“We are delighted to bring Tosin to Chelsea,” Chelsea co-sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley said.

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“Throughout his career, he has showcased his maturity and defensive qualities and has gained a wealth of experience in the Premier League in recent seasons.

“He is ready to make the step up to Chelsea and work alongside the talented players in our squad. We look forward to Tosin joining up with us for pre-season.”

Chelsea are looking to revive their fortunes under Maresca after finishing sixth in the standings last season.

“I’m looking forward to starting work with Enzo and I’m sure the boys are too,” Adarabioyo said.

“It’s going to be exciting. We’re going to play good football and win a lot of games. There are top players in this squad and I’m eager to play with them all.”

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-Reuters

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Nigerian-born Ogbonna leaves West Ham after nine-year stay

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Premier League - West Ham United v Luton Town - London Stadium, London, Britain - May 11, 2024 West Ham United's Angelo Ogbonna applauds fans as he is substituted REUTERS/Tony Obrien/File Photo

West Ham United centre back Angelo Ogbonna is leaving the club after nine years in east London, the Premier League side said on Wednesday.

Ogbonna was born to Nigerian parents who emigrated to Italy from Nigeria in 1983, settling in the city of Cassino in the central part of the country, but managed to obtain Italian citizenship only after his 18th birthday. He is now 36.

The  Italy international made 201 Premier League appearances for the club and was part of their Europa Conference League-winning side last year.

The former Juventus player struggled with several injuries during his time at West Ham, including a cruciate ligament tear suffered in 2021 that kept him out for almost a year.

“When he was not playing, Ogbonna was always a willing supporter of the club’s community work,” West Ham said in a statement. “He will always be a beloved member of the West Ham United family

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-Reuters

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