Premier League: countdown to the new 2018-19 season – as it happened

Roy Hodgson extends stay at Crystal Palace, Kurt Zouma’s loan to Everton confirmed, Michy Batshuayi set for Valencia loan and all the reaction to deadline day before the big kick-off

Ok, that concludes the Friday buildup. Manchester United v Leicester will be along soon. Too soon, perhaps, but it’s back back back.

Saturday evening’s fixture previewed here.

Pep Guardiola is angry with HM Government.

In a shock move, Neil Warnock has meanwhile said something defensive.

Here’s today’s Fiver for your delight and delectation.

All Everton’s deadline day signings will miss the Premier League opener at Wolves. Barcelona duo Yerry Mina and Andres Gomes, forward Bernard and Chelsea loan signing Kurt Zouma all need time to get up to speed. England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford is expected to start despite his later return to pre-season after the World Cup.

Provisional squad: Pickford, Coleman, Jagielka, Keane, Baines, Gueye, Schneiderlin, Walcott, Sigurdsson, Richarlison, Tosun, Stekelenburg, Kenny, Holgate, Digne, Davies, Besic, Dowell, Calvert-Lewin, Lookman, Niasse.


Steven Gerrard has been banging the Rangers drum as he goes for 55. Speaking ahead of his first Scottish Premiership home game when Ibrox welcomes St Mirren, he said.

These are the games we have to win and take maximum points from. The idea is to make Ibrox a fortress but the mentality has to be whatever team comes to Ibrox and in whatever competition, we have to own the stadium. We need to perform like a Rangers team should perform, which is on the front foot, aggressive and controlling the game with our style. We’re not good enough, and we haven’t been good enough of late over the last few years, to pick and choose the games we turn up in. We can’t just think, ‘Oh it’s a big game today so we’ll turn up’. Every single game is big at Ibrox, whether it be in the league, the cup or the Europa League. That has got to be the mentality. Whoever comes into our stadium has got to feel this new Rangers team.



It’s going off! Guardiola and Klopp begin mind games/blast and counterblast/lock horns etc etc after Liverpool’s manager said City were title favourites.

Thank you, Jurgen. For nine years I’ve lived with that situation, it’s no problem. For nine years, except the first year when I arrived and people in Barcelona didn’t like I was a manager. So we are the favourites. Thank you, Jurgen, you are so kind.

It’s like Talleyrand and Metternich all over again.

Kurt Zouma is of Everton after that last-minute scramble with deal sheets last night.

Marie Meyer emails in from Santa Fe, New Mexico: “Would you like to see a video of two grown men cuddling the very first time they meet? Around the 6 minute mark of this. Are there “behind the scenes” videos from other clubs of similarly post-modern behaviour? Or is it just Klopp? Perhaps one has to be very tall to pull it off. Manuel Pellegrini?”

When Jurgen Met Alisson.

Emery has also been talking/evading the question of Stan Kroenke’s full takeover of Arsenal: “I met the Kroenke family in Atlanta and he gave us his commitment in this project with Arsenal. For me, it’s positive and his commitment is for me, to Arsenal, the most important.”

And on Aaron Ramsey’s new contract? “That’s not my work. For me it’s very important he stays with us. His experience here in Arsenal and the Premier League is very important and will give us all the information and performances in his quality. Then, the contract is for speaking with the club and the players.”

Anyone else missing Arsène Wenger already?

Arsenal boss Unai Emery has been talking ahead of the first game of the rest of Arsenal’s life, Sunday’s match against Manchester City.

It’s more easy to speak here than to do it on the pitch. City, I think, after two years of working with Guardiola they have more stability, more security and when you watch City’s matches, they are playing with a very, very great confidence in themselves. Also, I think that Guardiola’s coaching is clear in this team. For that, we are working this week and preparing for this game and preparing for the opposition against City as a collective and as individual players. Think about each match. Enjoy the challenges of each match. I am looking every day and the players are smiling in training with a big collective spirit. They are working and finishing tired but with a smile also on their face. For me, that is the best message I can give the supporters. It’s for that, my message for Sunday is optimism.

Huw Neill knows where the Batman is headed:”…he’s off to Whitby Town FC, obviously.”

Whaddya know? The Batman cometh to Valencia.

More on Manchester City: Riyad Mahrez could make his league debut for the club following his 60million summer move from Leicester.

Provisional squad: Ederson, Bravo, Walker, Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Laporte, Otamendi, Mendy, Danilo, Gundogan, Fernandinho, Delph, De Bruyne, D Silva, B Silva, Foden, Diaz, Sterling, Sane, Mahrez, Aguero, Jesus.

On that redesigned Manchester United dressing room, Gary Naylor calls in.

Bad news for Arsenal: Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne are fit and ready to play for Manchester City on Sunday, according to Pep Guardiola.“

Raheem and Kevin arrived quite well. Three weeks off is not too much time after the World Cup and both arrived in the perfect way. Sterling was fit in four or five days. He’s not a big guy who needs training, he’s sharp so it’s easy. Kevin arrived in the perfect way. He’s going to be a father for the second time. He must look after his wife - that’s why he came back in a perfect way.

Wolves manager Nuno Espírito Santo is geting all wistful about the season ahead.

I have wanted this a long time. For many years I have dreamed about working in the Premier League and we are here, Wolves are in the Premier League. We made it in year one and now this is year two. It was one of the things I wanted and last season I embraced it, we all embraced it. Now we must work hard in what is the best competition. We must be better than we were last season. Dreaming is wishing. Working is making things happen. I don’t call it excitement, I call it motivation and determination and willingness to work.

What to make of this not-so cryptic tweet from Michy Batshuayi? Well, it looks like the Batman is flying off somewhere else, with the smart money going on a loan move to Valencia. Doesn’t look like he will be in the squad for Chelsea’s trip to Huddersfield tomorrow.

Fulham have defensive concerns ahead of their Premier League return against Crystal Palace. Denis Odoi is suspended after his red card in the Championship play-off final while Tim Ream and new signing Alfie Mawson are injured. There are likely to be debuts galore for the Cottagers after boss Slavisa Jokanovic brought in 12 players over the summer, spending more than 100million.

Provisional squad: Fabri, Bettinelli, Fossey, Jenz, Le Marchand, Chambers, Christie, Djalo, Cisse, Sessegnon, Seri, McDonald, Rico, Bryan, Fosu-Mensah, Kebano, Johansen, Cairney, Schurrle, Fonte, Mitrovic, Ayite, Kamara

Bonjour, mes amis. Ligue 1 starts tonight and here’s our preview.

Fresh from his new deal, Roy Hodgson is also celebrating Wilfried Zaha staying on at Crystal Palace.

There’s never been any question of the club wanting or being interested in any offers for Wilf Zaha. We said at a very early stage, myself, the chairman and the American owners, that we don’t want to bring that many players in, and certainly don’t want to lose the good players we have. I’m delighted (Zaha is staying). He’ll be happy too, because he’s such an iconic figure at this club. When you’ve got a player of that quality - and we’ve got several of them - there’s always going to be speculation because other clubs are going to want them. I’m not aware of bids (for him), but that doesn’t mean to say they weren’t there. The bids don’t come these days directly to managers. They come through chairmen, and also through sporting directors. Often it goes owner to owner when you’re talking about the big transfers.

Jacob has gone to lie down in a darkened room. I am all yours so inundate me at and @johnbrewin_.

What a day it’s been! It’s all been happening! Almost too much news! I can barely contain my excitement and would love to keep going, but instead I’m going to hand the blog over to John Brewin for the rest of the afternoon.

Like a new signing.

Every Spurs fan is now a remainer.

I suspect Toni Martinez will not make it at West Ham.

I love the smell of squad sheets on a Friday!

Anyone seen The Meg yet?

Marco Silva has confirmed Kurt Zouma’s proposed loan move from Chelsea to Everton is “almost done”. Everton submitted the deal sheet before 5pm last night and, despite the supposed 7pm cut off point, have been given an extra day to complete the deal. None of Everton’s deadline day signings will feature at Wolves on Saturday, the new manager also said.

Kevin de Bruyne and Raheem Sterling returned from holiday in “perfect condition” according to Pep Guardiola and both will be involved when Manchester City visit Arsenal. Eek!

Rafa Benitez’s press conference was briefly interrupted by a dog barking outside. “That’s not a new signing,” the Newcastle manager said.

Benitez also issued a rallying cry before facing Tottenham.

I am a fighter. I have to concentrate on football. I will try to do my best”

Maurizio Sarri has been speaking to the media about replacing Thibaut Courtois with Kepa.

The Courtois situation was clear. He wanted to go to Madrid. So we lost maybe one of the most important goalkeepers in the world now. But we bought a young goalkeeper, I think one of the most important among young goalkeepers in Europe, so I’m really happy.

Sarri was asked if Kepa is as good as Courtois.

“Not at the moment. Not at the moment, for sure. But he’s very young, 23 I think. So I hope he can improve very fast. But, for the moment, he’s not Courtois, of course.

Sarri was also asked about signing Mateo Kovacic on loan from Madrid.

Kovacic, I think, is a very technical player and he likes to play between the lines of the opponent. For us, that could be very important. I’m really happy and now, I think, the squad is complete.”

Sarri, who said that Cesar Azpilicueta will be captain against Huddersfield tomorrow, was asked if he expects Chelsea to send players on loan.

Now I think the squad is too large, so I think some players have to go on loan. But I don’t know who at the moment. I prefer to have 23 / 24 players, and three or four very young players. No more.”

Sarri added that it was “impossible” that Chelsea will sell Eden Hazard or Willian now. He said he has spoken to Hazard three or four times this week, but would not reveal whether he discussed a new contract with the Belgian.

My job is on the pitch, to improve my players. My job is to try to win matches. It’s not to sign new contracts. But I have seen a player who is very happy to stay here, so I think it will be no problem, the new contract.”

Hello again. John’s off to get his lunch now.

Last but not least of our 2018-19 previews, here’s Nick Miller on Wolves.

Jurgen Klopp is soon to run up the steps of the Liverpool Art Museum, followed by hordes of excited youngsters.

Cardiff manager Neil Warnock has defended his club’s lack of business.

We’re not throwing money away or done things we can’t sustain. We’ve got players on loan so if things don’t go right it’s not going to bankrupt the club in 12 months. But at the same time they’ve got something to prove and last year we gave most teams a run.

Back to happy house Manchester United, who have come up with a cunning ruse to disguise the lack of new defenders coming into the club: they’ve changed Marcos Rojo’s number from 5 to 16, the shirt worn previously by Roy Keane and Michael Carrick. Perhaps Rojo is set to play centre midfield. With José Mourinho playing it for lolz, then that’s can’t be ruled out.

Liam Gallagher fan Manuel Pellegrini has been speaking ahead of West Ham’s trip to Anfield and he is, for him at least, sounding rather optimistic and upbeat.

When I talked with the owners, we agreed we needed to work on a project. They wanted to invest money to bring in players. We have improved the squad, all of the players are here because I asked for them. For me as a manager, it’s difficult when you don’t have options. We have options, I choose the starting XI and they know that during the whole season, you need a strong squad. We have two players in each position and they must work in a competitive way and it’s my duty to pick the team I think is the best.

Newcastle fans must be delighted by this news from the real world...

His last to come tonight?

News from Scotland, where prodigal Honduran Emilio Izaguirre has rejoined Celtic on a one-year deal subject to international clearance from Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Fayha, returns to the Hoops to provide cover for left-back Kieran Tierney.

Mauricio Pochettino is happy. Very happy. So so happy. So so so happy that Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Kieran Trippier, Danny Rose, Eric Dier, Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembele, Toby Alderweireld and Hugo Lloris are back in training and that some of Tottenham’s World Cup stars might face Newcastle.

Poch quoth:

I am so happy in the way they come back to training on Monday. I am really, really, really, really, really happy. I am so proud about them because they were very focused on trying to arrive in a very good condition. Of course the circumstances are completely different from each other, and the profiles of the players are completely different. Some need more time to get fit than others. That’s normal. Some players will be fit to start the game. Some will be fit to be on the bench. Maybe some players will stay here to try to reach the level, to give more time, for different reasons - because maybe we don’t want to take risks, because they need more preparation, because the background or history of their injuries is different. That is why for us it’s so important for us to be right in our judgement now and take the best decision and then to provide the team a very good balance to try to be competitive against Newcastle. We’re going to be competitive. I promise you I’m so happy in the way everyone came back, so focused, so happy to join us again.

Cardiff are without deadline day loan signing Harry Arter on their return to the Premier League. Arter is unable to play against parent club Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium, but Aron Gunnarsson is fit after missing the final pre-season game with a slight knee concern. Josh Murphy should make his debut after joining from Norwich, while fellow summer signings Alex Smithies, Greg Cunningham, Victor Camarasa and Bobby Reid are expected to start on the bench.

Provisional squad: Etheridge, Smithies, Peltier, Richards, Cunningham, Morrison, Bamba, Manga, Bennett, Gunnarsson, Damour, Ralls, Camarasa, Paterson, Mendez-Laing, Hoilett, Murphy, Reid, Zohore, Ward, Madine.

New Liverpool signing Fabinho faces a late fitness test before manager Jurgen Klopp decides whether he can make his debut at home to West Ham on Sunday. The Brazilian had a scan on a muscle injury on Thursday but although that came back clear the midfielder was sent home from training after feeling unwell. Joe Gomez is expected to be fit after missing Tuesday’s friendly against Torino but fellow defenders Ragnar Klavan and Joel Matip are unlikely to be ready while World Cup finalist Dejan Lovren will not be considered having only returned from extended leave at the weekend.

Provisional squad: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Gomez, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Milner, Keita, Salah, Firmino, Mane, Karius, Clyne, Phillips, Moreno, Henderson, Lallana, Fabinho, Grujic, Sturridge, Shaqiri, Solanke.

Burnley boss Sean Dyche has been speaking, ahead of that Southampton clash on Sunday and after last night’s draw with Istanbul Basaksehir. Burnley failed to add anyone on deadline day, and they were otherwise engaged. Ben Gibson, Matej Vydra and Joe Hart were the arrivals.

He growled:

Even some of the big, big clubs haven’t got the player they wanted. And even more for us - we’re spending pretty decent money now, if you’re looking at 10million and 15million, and yet you can’t scratch the surface. It’s very frustrating and difficult and I’ve very pleased it’s closed.

Joe Hart seems very happy to be back playing.

I loved it. I thought the lads were absolutely fantastic and showed good European nous. An away result was so important, and I think we realised that with 10 or 12 minutes to go and we shut the door. I absolutely love playing in Europe. The Premier League is fantastic but, once you get a taste for it, it’s the place to be.

I’m going to grab some lunch and leave you in the capable hands of John Brewin. Back soon.

Here’s more reaction after news of Roy Hodgson extending his Crystal Palace contract.

Steve Parish, Palace’s chairman, said:

I’m thrilled that Roy has agreed to extend his contract and I know the news will be a big lift to everyone connected with the club. We are looking to build on the hard work and results achieved last season and I believe this is the most important part of making that happen. It’s of course fantastic that Roy has a long connection with the club and I think that understanding the South London mentality is a benefit but make no mistake he’s here because he’s the very best man for the job as we look to take this club forward on and off the pitch. I am equally pleased that Ray Lewington has also extended for the same period, putting us in great shape for this season and beyond.”

Hodgson said:

I am delighted to have extended my contract with Crystal Palace. It is a club that has been close to my heart since I was a youngster growing up in the borough of Croydon, and having stood on the terraces in the 1950s, it is a wonderful thing to be managing my boyhood club all these years later. We can be proud of our achievements last season in turning things around despite a poor start, but this year we want to ensure we don’t endure the same struggles. I am thrilled that I have the support of the owners, who believe that I am the right man to help this club move forward and I will do everything I can to make that happen.”

As for Arsenal, Unai Emery will be without Sead Kolasinac and Laurent Koscielny for Sunday’s visit from Manchester City.

Provisional squad: Cech, Ospina, Leno, Bellerin, Lichtsteiner, Holding, Mustafi, Mavropanos, Papastathopoulos, Monreal, Nelson, Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Elneny, Torreira, Guendouzi, Ramsey, Iwobi, Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Welbeck, Lacazette, Aubameyang.

With Victor Wanyama and Erik Lamela sidelined for the trip to Newcastle, Mauricio Pochettino will have to assess the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Jan Vertonghen and Hugo Lloris after their World Cup exertions. Tottenham’s squad contains nine players who made it to the last weekend in Russia.

Provisional squad: Lloris, Vorm, Gazzaniga, Trippier, Walker-Peters, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Foyth, Rose, Sanchez, Davies, Dier, Dembele, Eriksen, Sissoko, Alli, Son, Moura, Llorente, Kane.


Watford host Brighton on Saturday afternoon. Gerard Deulofeu, Tom Cleverley and Nathaniel Chalobah are out for the former, Florin Andone and Jose Izquierdo are out for the latter.

This is Watford’s provisional squad: Foster, Gomes, Janmaat, Kaboul, Britos, Prodl, Mariappa, Cathcart, Feminia, Zeegelaar, Masina, Kabasele, Doucoure, Hughes, Capoue, Pereyra, Deeney, Gray.

This is Brighton’s provisional squad: Ryan, Button, Steele, Bernardo, Bruno, Bong, Dunk, Duffy, Balogun, Schelotto, Montoya, Suttner, Bissouma, Stephens, Propper, Kayal, Knockaert, March, Gross, Jahanbakhsh, Locadia, Hemed, Murray.

What of Bournemouth? New signing Jefferson Lerma isn’t match fit yet, Junior Stanislas has a knee injury, Kyle Taylor is out and Diego Rico is suspended for the visit from Cardiff.

Provisional squad: Begovic, Boruc, Francis, Cook, Ake, Daniels, Smith, Mings, Gosling, Surman, Pugh, Cook, Ibe, Brooks, Fraser, Mousset, Wilson, King, Defoe.

Who want team news? You asked for it. Let’s start with Southampton, who could hand Danny Ings a debut against Burnley on Sunday. Mark Hughes has a full squad to choose from after Cedric Soares recovered from illness.

Provisional Southampton squad: Gunn, Forster, Soares, Stephens, Yoshida, Vestergaard, Hoedt, Bertrand, Bednarek, McQueen, Targett, Hojbjerg, Davis, Romeu, Lemina, Ward-Prowse, Armstrong, Elyounoussi, Redmond, Sims, Gallagher, Long, Gabbiadini, Austin, Ings.

Cardiff manager Livia Soprano reckons financial prudence is the way forward for the Premier League newcomers. The Welsh side have signed six players this summer. “I think we’ve spent about 25m net,” Soprano said. “We’re not throwing money away or doing things we can’t sustain. We’ve got players on loan so if things don’t go right it’s not going to bankrupt the club after 12 months. But at the same time the players have got something to prove and last year we gave most teams a run.”

Some news from the wires: Christopher Schindler has signed a new contract until 2021 with Huddersfield. Here’s what David Wagner has to say about the 28-year-old German defender.

We all knew that ‘Schindy’ was a top, top performer after his first season at Huddersfield Town, but his quality really shone through as we played in one of the best leagues in the world last season. He took to the Premier League as if he has played in it all his life. We’re absolutely delighted that he has signed this new contract at the club; it’s as good as any news or incoming that we had success with during the summer transfer window. As well as being a superb player, he is a top character in the dressing room too; a real leader.”

Roy Hodgson signs new Crystal Palace contract

Mr Roy! Look how happy he is!


Jurgen Klopp described Liverpool as the Rocky Balboa of this season’s title race, rather than the Ivan Drago, which was a reference to the attitude his players must take into every league game. The Liverpool manager, an avid fan of the Rocky films, believes with the right amount of aggression, belief and quality his team can eventually prevail and end the club’s current 28-year wait for the title - a la Sylvester Stallone in the final round of Rocky IV.

He explained: “I know a lot of people think that (Liverpool should win the Premier League) because we were so active in the transfer window but that is part of the business, it doesn’t decide anything. We want to be, it has been clear for ages, champion of England and winning the league but how can we say that? What about (Manchester) United? What about the other clubs? The champions Manchester City did not lose any player and brought in Mahrez, so it doesn’t make them weaker. They are top quality.

“We are still Rocky Balboa, not Ivan Drago. We are the ones who have to do more, fight more, and that must be our attitude. In the moment someone thinks we already reached that point (of winning the title) then that is when you start disappointing yourself and the people around you. Why should we do that? We didn’t reach anything so far. We went to finals. Should we go to a final again we should try to win it this time. In the league it is exactly the same: we came into the Champions League (places) but there are still two places at three and two which would be better than four. Then we can talk but at the moment it is nothing. It is like scientists without trying to see if it really works. We have to be like Rocky.” So there you have it, clear as day.

I went to Stamford Bridge to see Kepa Arrazibalaga yesterday. Fair to say the new Spaniard’s a confident lad, even though he’s now the most expensive goalkeeper in the world after joining Chelsea for £71.6m.

In terms of being the most expensive keeper in the world, it’s something I don’t think about,. I’m just going to be myself and try to give my best to the club. “I don’t really think about the price. It is not something I have in my mind. I just think Chelsea have made a great bet in taking me. I will do everything I can to repay the trust they have put in me. I don’t think there will be additional pressure. The only pressure I experience is the pressure I put on myself. I am a player who demands a lot from myself, so I will just try to give everything I can to the team.”


Game of the weekend? It has to be Southampton v Burnley Arsenal v Manchester City on Sunday afternoon. Unai Emery against Pep Guardiola, Shkodran Mustafi against Sergio Aguero, Granit Xhaka against Bernardo Silva. It’s going to be a strange experience for the Arsenal fans when they see Emery in the Emirates dugout instead of Arsene Wenger. But life goes on and Arsenal are going to have to hit the heights to deal with the Premier League champions, who looked in good nick when they beat an underpowered Chelsea in the Community Shield.

Here’s Paul Wilson’s big Premier League preview.

Jurgen Klopp has been speaking before Liverpool’s match against West Ham on Sunday. The Liverpool manager has revealed that Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan are out and that Fabinho, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez are doubts. Manuel Pellegrini, West Ham’s new manager, is speaking to the press later today.


In case you were wondering, here’s how the Guardian writers predicted the Premier League table. Most people had Arsenal winning the league, but I brought the average down by tipping them to finish bottom. By the way, we were asked to do this last month, so I imagine some people would like to alter some of their picks now the window’s shut.

1 Manchester City
2 Liverpool
3 Manchester United
4 Tottenham Hotspur
5 Arsenal
6 Chelsea
7 Everton
8 West Ham
9 Leicester
10 Wolves
11 Burnley
12 Southampton
13 Newcastle
14 Brighton
15 Fulham
16 Crystal Palace
17 Bournemouth
18 Watford
19 Huddersfield Town
20 Cardiff City

Regarding Douglas Luiz, the understanding is that the Brazilian has been refused a work permit to play for Manchester City this season and there seems little chance of this changing. It means he is set to return on lam to Catalan club Girona - he was there last season - where the hope will be he can make more appearances than last term. After missing out on Jorginho, Pep Guardiola had stated Douglas would be called on so this is a blow. However the manager still has Fabian Delph, Danilo, and Ilkay Gundogan as frontline players who can operate as Fernandinho’s stand-in as the holding midfielder.

Tottenham are the first Premier League club not to make a signing since the introduction of the summer window in 2003. Mauricio Pochettino has put it down to Brexit.

What the club is doing is showing it is so brave,. Building a new training ground, finishing this summer the lodge was a massive investment. Building a stadium that is nearly £1bn. That is true, don’t believe in £400m, that is the truth. Then with Brexit it’s worse because the cost is 30 per cent more. That is a drama, I feel sorry for the English people. For me that is to be brave. Of course maybe in the mind of everyone they will say, ‘Oh Tottenham didn’t sign’, but to sign for the sake of sign