MW1 previews: Alexis Sanchez and Laurent Koscielny in the frame for Arsenal | Barclays Premier League

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Friday 15 August 2014

MW1 previews: Sanchez and Koscielny in frame for Arsenal

Find out all the team news ahead of Matchweek 1 of the 2014/15 Barclays Premier League

Hear from all 20 managers ahead of the opening weekend of the 2014/15 Barclays Premier League

The Barclays Premier League is back with the 2014/15 season getting under way on Saturday 16 August, beginning with Louis van Gaal's first match in charge of Manchester United, who host Swansea City in the lunchtime kick-off. Get the essential information with our at-a-glance preview including team news, manager's views, the views of former Barclays Premier League star Don Hutchison and key stats.

Remember you can follow all the Barclays Premier League action as it unfolds in our Carlsberg Live Match Centre at

Saturday 16 August

3pm kick-offs unless otherwise specified

12.45pm Manchester Utd v Swansea City  |  #MUNSWA  |  More on Live Match Centre >>
Team News
MUN: In: Ander Herrera. Outs: Robin van Persie (fitness), Luke Shaw (hamstring), Michael Carrick (ankle), Antonio Valencia, Jonny Evans, Danny Welbeck, Sam Johnstone. Doubts: Rafael da Silva.
SWA: Ins: Lukasz Fabianski, Bafetimbi Gomis, Jefferson Montero, Gylfi Sigurdsson. Outs: Leon Britton, Marvin Emnes, Jay Fulton (all knee).

Manager quotes
Louis van Gaal:
"Players have to train and Robin [van Persie] needs a full training regime behind him before he can play again."
Garry Monk: "All the focus will be on them, which suits us. You always have the chance and we'll go up there believing we can win. We don't fear it, we see it as a challenge."

Don Hutchison's overview (Hutch's hunches)
Talking point
: "Despite a decent pre-season United still need reinforcements in defence and are Jones, Evans and Smalling good enough to play in the new back three?"
Main man:
Ander Herrera. I've seen him play a lot and like him but with Michael Carrick injured his contribution will be key.
Prediction: MUN 2-0 SWA
. Old Trafford will be a tougher proposition for teams this season.

Key stats

  • Manchester United have never lost on the opening weekend at Old Trafford in the Barclays Premier League (W8 D3).
  • Swansea's three previous matches on the opening weekend of a BPL season have produced 14 goals.


Leicester City v Everton  |  #LEIEVE  |  More on Live Match Centre >>

Team News:
In: Leonardo Ulloa. Outs: Matthew Upson (foot), Anthony Knockaert (ankle). Doubt: Jamie Vardy (thigh).
EVE: Doubts: Seamus Coleman (hamstring), Romelu Lukaku, Kevin Mirallas (both fitness). Out: Bryan Oviedo (leg), Arouna Kone (knee).

Manager quotes
Nigel Pearson:
"Our biggest strength is our group ethic. Alone, that's not enough, but we have a lot of quality in our side too."
Roberto Martinez: "I have been very, very happy with our signings. We have a real good mixture of experienced footballers and characters and talented young players."

Hutch's hunches
Talking point:
Can Leicester keep the momentum from promotion? If the crowd create a magnificent atmosphere it might be tough for Everton.
Main man
: Romelu Lukaku. £28m is a lot of money for the striker.
Prediction: LEI 1-2 EVE
. With their signings Everton will have just a little too much for Leicester.

Key stats

  • Leicester City have won none of their last five fixtures on the opening weekend of the Barclays Premier League (D3 L2).
  • Not since the opening game of the 2009/10 BPL season has Roberto Martinez enjoyed a victory on the first weekend, drawing two and losing two since then with Everton & Wigan.


Queens Park Rangers v Hull City   |  #QPRHUL  |  More on Live Match Centre >>

Team News
QPR: Ins:
Rio Ferdinand, Steven Caulker, Mauricio Isla, Jordon Mutch, Loic Remy.
Ins: Tom Ince, Robert Snodgrass, Harry Maguire, Andrew Robertson and Jake Livermore. Outs: Shane Long (sold), Yannick Sagbo (suspended).

Manager quotes
Harry Redknapp:
"Hull are an example of how you should do it when you get promoted. It is good to start with a home match but it will be a tough game."
Steve Bruce: "We've got irons in the fire to make a replacement [for Long]. I'd like at least another three players to come through the door."

Hutch's hunches
Talking point:
Glenn Hoddle arriving as coach and playing three at the back with Steven Caulker, Richard Dunne marking and Rio Ferdinand sweeping up.
Main man: After the sale of Shane Long it will be interesting to see how Nikica Jelavic gets on without his strike partner.
Prediction: QPR 1-1 HUL. I fear QPR will struggle this year but should manage a point at home with a Long-less Hull.

Key stats

  • Queens Park Rangers have taken just one point from six opening weekend matches in the Barclays Premier League (D1 L5).
  • Hull have conceded at least two goals in their last five BPL matches


Stoke City v Aston Villa   |   #STKAVL  |  More on Live Match Centre >>

Team News
Ins: Bojan Krkic, Mame Biram Diouf, Phil Bardsley, Steve Sidwell, Dionatan Teixeira.
AVL: Ins: Darren Bent, Philippe Senderos, Joe Cole, Kieran Richardson, Aly Cissokho. Out: Christian Benteke (knee) and Libor Kozak (leg).

Manager quotes
Mark Hughes:
To follow
Paul Lambert: "It's a great atmosphere for football – it's a good place to play. If you don't enjoy going to these places, there's something wrong."

Hutch's hunches
Talking point:
How much more has Mark Hughes changed the style of Stoke over the summer, what with the arrival of Bojan?
Main man: Bojan Krkic. I hope Hughes hasn't just brought him in as a name, because he is quite diminutive.
Prediction: STK 1-0 AVL. Stoke will do quite well this season starting against Villa.

Key stats

  • Peter Crouch scored a goal and assisted a goal in both of Stoke's Barclays Premier League victories over Aston Villa last season.
  • Only Aston Villa (491) committed more fouls than Stoke City (486) in the 2013-14 BPL.


West Bromwich Albion v Sunderland  |  #WBASUN   |   More on Live Match Centre >>

Team News
WBA: Ins:
Craig Gardner, Cristian Gamboa, Sebastien Pocognoli, Andre Wisdom, Jason Davidson. Outs: Joleon Lescott (knee), Gareth McAuley (calf) and James Morrison (knee).
SUN: Ins:
Will Buckley, Costel Pantilimon, Jordi Gomez, Patrick van Aanholt, Santiago Vergini. Out: Emanuele Giaccherini (groin). Doubt: Billy Jones (hamstring).

Manager quotes
Alan Irvine:
"We don't want to be looking over our shoulder. Like many others we want to get to 40 points as soon as possible."
Gus Poyet: "I hope we take [the momentum] into this season because it is very, very important we start well in the Premier League."

Hutch's hunches
Talking point:
I fear West Brom need a decent start this season and are up against a Sunderland side with some good signings.
Main man: Being the home side West Brom will have a go so Sunderland's rearguard will be called into action and Costel Pantilimon will need to stand tall.
Prediction: WBA 0-0 SUN. This one will be tight and may not be pretty.

Key stats

  • West Bromwich Albion's last four opening day fixtures have produced 13 goals.
  • If only away games had counted last season, Sunderland would have finished in the top half (10th).


West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur  |  #WHUTOT   |   More on Live Match Centre >>

Team News
WHU: Ins: Enner Valencia, Mauro Zarate, Cheikhou Kouyate, Aaron Cresswell. Outs: Andy Carroll (ankle), Matt Jarvis (knock). Doubts: Diafra Sakho (clearance) and Carl Jenkinson (hamstring).
TOT: Doubts: Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembele, Nacer Chadli, Paulinho (all fitness), Kyle Walker (pelvis), Michael Dawson (knock), Vlad Chiriches (back).

Manager quotes
Sam Allardyce:
"Overall we've shopped very wisely. Of the signings, the average age is about 23. That's good for now and for the future." 
Mauricio Pochettino: "We want to improve every time, but we need to learn. We know we need time to improve our new system, our new philosophy, but we are very happy at the moment."

Hutch's hunches
Talking point:
The atmosphere will be brilliant for this, although West Ham may not have enough goals in them and I like Mauricio Pochettino as a manager Spurs have a poor recent record against West Ham.
Main man: I hope Roberto Soldado will be a like a different man under Pochettino.
Prediction: WHU 1-1 TOT. West Ham have key players injured but should hold out for a point.

Key stats

  • West Ham United won both clashes with Tottenham Hotspur last season in the Barclays Premier League.
  • Spurs have won just four of their last 16 opening weekend fixtures in the Premier League (D4 L8).


5.30pm Arsenal v Crystal Palace  |  #ARSCRY  |  More on Live Match Centre >>

Team News
ARS: Ins:
Alexis Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers. Doubts: Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski (all fitness), Abou Diaby (hip), Laurent Koscielny (Achilles). Outs: Theo Walcott (knee), Ryo Miyaichi (knock), Serge Gnabry (knock), David Ospina (thigh).
CRY: Ins: Martin Kelly, Fraizer Campbell, Brede Hangeland. Doubts: Damien Delaney (knock), Adrian Mariappa (rib), Jonathan Williams (thigh).

Manager quotes
Arsene Wenger:
"We are positive and confident but the performance tomorrow will depend on how we start and how we concentrate."
Keith Millen: "It's going to be tough [without Tony Pulis], but we're organised. It's not like I've come in and tried to drastically change what we are doing."

Hutch's hunches
Talking point:
How Arsenal's summer signings are able to adapt in the first match against a Palace side, who will be in shock at Tony Pulis's exit.
Main man: Alexis Sanchez is exactly what Arsenal need, in getting behind the defence when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Theo Walcott aren't fit.
Prediction: ARS 3-1 CRY. Arsenal will have too much firepower for this match.

Key stats

  • Arsenal have won none of their last four Barclays Premier League opening weekend fixtures (D3 L1); including defeat to Aston Villa at home last season (1-3). They had won eight of the previous nine (D1).
  • Crystal Palace have lost just one of their last eight BPL matches (W5 D2 L1).

Sunday 17 August

1.30pm Liverpool v Southampton  |  #LIVSOU  |  More on Live Match Centre >>

Team News
LIV: Ins:
Lambert, Lovren. Outs: Adam Lallana (knee), Lazar Markovic (ankle), Jon Flanagan (knee), Daniel Agger (calf).
SOU: Ins: Dusan Tadic, Shane Long, Fraser Forster, Ryan Bertrand. Outs Jay Rodriguez (knee). Doubt: Morgan Schneiderlin (fitness).

Brendan Rodgers: "What happened last season counts for nothing, but we carry the belief. [To] finish in the top four is our objective."
Ronald Koeman: "I know what it is to win at Anfield and they will have to play well to beat us."

Hutch's hunches
Talking point:
It has to be how the Southampton old boys Dejan Lovren and Rickie Lambert perform against their former team-mates.
Main man: Coutinho.
He's had a brilliant in pre-season and I've loved every minute of him in a red shirt.
Prediction: LIV 3-0 SOU
. They still need another centre-forward but Brendan Rodgers' side will be too strong at home.

Key stats

  • Dejan Lovren scored the winning goal in this fixture last season while playing for Southampton.
  • Liverpool’s new forward Rickie Lambert scored 28 Premier League goals over the last two seasons for Southampton; seven more than any other Saints player.


4pm Newcastle United v Manchester City   |   #NEWMCI  |  More on Live Match Centre >>

Team news: To follow

Alan Pardew: To follow
Manuel Pellegrini: To follow

Hutch's hunches
Talking point.
It's a tough start for Newcastle and having made nine signings this summer the pressure is on Alan Pardew to deliver.
Main man: Remy Cabella is just what Newcastle need with a good touch and silky skills to please the fans.
Prediction: NEW 1-2 MCI. There's no real pressure on Newcastle for this match, so they may run the champions close.

Key stats

  • This is the reverse of last season's opening Barclays Premier League fixture when Newcastle United lost 0-4 at Etihad Stadium..
  • Manchester City’s total of 102 goals in the BPL last season is the second highest in the competition's history (behind Chelsea with 103 in 2009-10).

Monday 18 August

8pm Burnley v Chelsea  |  #BURCHE |  More on Live Match Centre >>

Team news: To follow

Sean Dyche: To follow
Jose Mourinho: To follow

Hutch's hunches
Talking point.
It'll be tough for Burnley, despite their unknown factor, with Chelsea's an excellent opening-day record.
Main man: I am a big fan of Diego Costa, of his workrate and physical approach, and I think he will hit the ground running?
Prediction: BUR 0-2 CHE. The atmosphere at Turf Moor will carry Burnley for the first 45-60 minutes but Chelsea's overriding quality will show in the end.

Key stats

  • Burnley lost their only previous opening weekend fixture in the Barclays Premier League (0-2 to Stoke in Aug 2009).
  • Jose Mourinho has seen Chelsea win on all five opening BPL weekends that he has been manager.

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