Last Updated By…
Sir Paulos on 07/08
Updated: Man United, Man City, West Brom, Wigan
Sir Paulos on 07/08
Updated: Man United, Man City, West Brom, Wigan
|July 13 vs Malaysia XI 4-0 – Ramsey, Walcott, Vela, Rosicky|
|July 16 vs Hangzhou Greentown 1-1 – Vela|
|July 23 vs FC Cologne 2-1 – Gervinho (2)|
|July 30 vs Boca Juniors 2-2 Van Persie, Ramsey|
|July 31 vs New York Red Bulls 1-1 Van Persie|
|August 6 vs Benfica 1-2 Van Persie|
Arsenal started of their short pre-season tour of Asia with a comfortable four to nothing win over a Malaysia XI. Scoring started early as Aaron Ramsey slotted a home a penalty after Jack Wilshere was felled in the box inside the first five minutes. Ramsey and Theo Walcott worked well together in their time on the pitch and eventually combined later in the half as the latter grabbed a second goal from a pass from the former. Eight changes in the second half saw Arsenal change styles and a quarter of an hour in as Thomas Rosicky teed up Carlos Vela to scor with his most synonymous goal – a chip. The provider of the third goal nabbed the fourth a final just before the game finished.
The Gunners ended their short tour of Asia with a one a piece draw against Hangzhou Greentown of the Chinese Super League. Arsene Wenger once again used this match to stretch his squad out as he gave 22 men a run out of half a game each. It was the first half side that managed to nab the single Gunners goal courtesy of Carlos Vela. Arsenal improved markedly in the second-half as the likes of Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and Ryo Miyachi put in promising displays.
Following the departure from Asia, Gervinho announced his arrival in Arsenal colours with a brace of goals to see off Cologne in Germany. The Ivorian converted assists from Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott to enamor himself to the Gunners faithful – an immediate pay-off and a perhaps a taster of what is to come from the new signing. Wenger once again shuffled his lineup for this game – replacing his entire starting XI at half-time.
Arsenal let slip a two-goal lead on their way to drawing with Boca Juniors. The desire and trickery of Gervinho impressed, and he set up Robin Van Persie for the opener just before the half-hour mark. Aarom Ramsey, on as a second-half substitute, doubled the Gunners lead with his first touch of the ball, but the frailties of old returned at the back for Arsenal- Johan Djourou was particularly culpable, as Arsenal lost the chance to coast to victory in a match they had dominated.
Arsenal suffered an early setback when Jack Wilshere was forced to leave the field with a minor ankle knock with just seven minutes on the clock. Arsene Wenger made seven changes from the side that drew 2-2 with Boca Juniors the previous day, with Aaron Ramsey handed a start in the attacking central midfield role. Ramsey impressed throughout, getting forward troubling the visitors with a number of shots. Robin Van Persie nodded the hosts ahead just before half-time but yet again, Arsenal failed to win a game they throroughly dominated, as the visitors found the net six minutes from time through a Kyle Bartley own goal.
Arsenal’s final pre-season game saw the Gunners beaten 2-1 at Benfica. Gervinho was again a threat for the away side and seems to have fitted into Arsene Wenger’s first-team seamlessly, with plenty of attacking verve and trickery displayed in the first-half, in particular. Robin Van Persie notched the opener from a fine Kieran Gibbs run and pass from the left and threatened to add to his tally on a couple of occasions, before the first half ended with Wenger’s side a goal to the good. A glut of changes in the second forty-five saw Arsenal lose momentum and the home side capitalised as Arsenal, yet again, came undone thanks to weaknesses at the back.
Most Recent Lineup vs Benfica : Szczesny (Fabianski 45) Sagna (Jenkinson 45), Vermaelen (Miquel 85), Djourou (Squillaci 45), Gibbs (Traore 56), Rosicky (Lansbury 65), Ramsey, Song (Frimpong 45), Arshavin (Miyaichi 45), Gervinho, Van Persie (Chamakh 45)
Form Players: Ramsey, Van Persie, Gervinho
|July 21 vs Walsall 3-1 – Bent (2), Heskey|
|July 27 vs Blackburn Rovers 1-0 – Bent|
|July 31 vs Chelsea 0-2|
|August 3rd vs Derby County 0-2|
|August 6th vs Sporting Braga 1-1 N’Zogbia|
Alex McCleish got his Aston Villa tenure under way with a 3-1 victory against fellow West Midlanders Walsall. Lining his side up in a 4-2-3-1 formation (Albrighton, Ireland and Heskey behind Darren Bent) was perhaps the first hint of tactics to come this season. Darren Bent scored two goals in the first half as well as powering against the woodwork for Emile Heskey to slot home the rebound. On the down side Steven Ireland, subject of a ‘clean slate’, under his new manager had to limp off in the first half with a tight hamstring. The youth were then given their chance to sparkle in the second half while Shay Given played his first full game in a Villa shirt.
Darren Bent grabbed his third goal in two games to fire Villa into the final of the Barclays Asia Trophy with a 1-0 win over Premier League rivals Blackburn. Alex McLeish fielded a 4-4-2 formation, with Barry Bannan on the right and Emile Heskey wide left. Up front, Bent was partnered by Gabby Agbonlahor. At the back, Steven Warnock and James Collins were particularly impressive in a resilient defensive performance.
Villa lost out in their next Barclays Asia Trophy encounter with a superior Chelsea outfit overpowering them to gain a 2-0 victory. Alex McLeish can at least take some consolation having seen Shay Given put up a super display to demonstrate his worth, while the Villa boss also got to tinker with formations, switching from a 4-5-1 to a 4-4-2 in the second-half. It’s pretty clear that, while the back four looks decided at this point, McLeish is still tweaking his attacking players with Stephen Ireland, Marc Albrighton and Gabby Agbonlahor all vying for starting roles come the season kick-off.
Alex McLeish give his first-choice defence the night off for the trip to Pride Park. Playing in a 4-2-3-1 formation again, Big Eck fielded Barry Bannan wide left and Marc Albrighton right, with Stephen Ireland through the middle. With so many first-team regulars missing behind them, though, little should be read into the result.
Charles N’Zogbia opened his Villa account to level matters against Braga in Villa’s final friendly. The former Wigan man fired home after Bent cushioned a Luke Young cross. Alex McLeish started this game with Heskey and Agbonlahor in his lineup, while Ciaran Clark came in at the back to replace the injured James Collins who was suffering with a back problem.
Most Recent Lineup vs Braga: Given, Young, Dunne, Clark, Warnock, N’Zogbia (Albrighton), Petrov (Bannan), Makoun, Heskey, Agbonlahor, Bent (Ireland).
Form Players: Bent, Collins, Given, Heskey
|July 16 vs Accrington Stanley 2-1 – Andrews, Kalinic|
|July 16 vs Morecambe 2-1 – Formica|
|July 27 vs Aston Villa 0-1|
|July 31 vs Kitchee 3-0 Formica, Dunn, Blackman|
|August 6 vs Kilmarnock 4-1 Roberts (2, 1 pen), Dunn (pen), Goodwillie|
Blackburn started their pre-season campaign with not one but two fixtures in the same day as Steve Kean spread his squad out to face both Accrington Stanley and Morecambe Rovers. The latter game saw Mauro Formica score the Blackburn goal from a David Dunn header whilst it was left to Keith Andrews and Nikola Kalinic to notch the decisive goals in the former – the most notable incident from a Fantasy perspective was the removal of Junior Hoillett through injury, though Steve Kean is hopeful the results of his impending scan won’t be too serious.
Mauro Formica showed glimpses of his talent as Rovers faced Aston Villa in the stifling Hong Kong heat. Rovers, for the most, were fairly lacklustre against a Villa side that showed a greater desire for the battle and Steve Kean will be hoping for an improvement this weekend, as the side face Kitchee in the third-place play off.
Rovers recovered from the defeat to Villa by claiming a 3-0 Barclays Asia Cup win over Kitchee. Steve Kean made two changes for this game, resting both Paul Robinson and Chris Samba with Mark Bunn and Grant Hanely drafted in; both Ryan Nelsen and Junior Hoilett remained sidelined despite stepping up their fitness regimes. The goals came from Mauro Formica, David Dunn and a Nick Blackman spot-kick – Dunn, in particular, impressed in this one and his 20-yard second-half free-kick issued a reminder of his talent.
Blackburn eased to a 4-1 win their final pre-season encounter with Kilmarnock, despite going a goal behind in the first half. Two spot-kicks, one converted by David Dunn, the other by Jason Roberts, paved the way. Roberts netted a second before new signing David Goodwillie got in on the act, converting an assist by Mauro Formica.
Steve Kean’s lineup saw Brett Emerton shifted to right-back leaving Michel Salgado benched. Junior Hoilett returned to fitness to lend his attacking threat, while Goodwillie started life on the bench with Roberts leading the attack. Grant Hanley and Gael Givet took up the central defensive roles with Chris Samba and Ryan Nelsen still sidelined and doubts for the season opener.
Most Recent Lineup vs Kilmarnock: Robinson, Emerton, Hanley, Givet, Olsson, Hoilett (Rochina 70), Nzonzi (Anderson 85), Dunn (Ribeiro 81), Pedersen, Formica, Roberts (Goodwillie 66).
Form Players Roberts, Formica, Dunn
|July 14 vs FC Tampa Bay 0-1|
|July 17 vs Orlando City 3-1 – K. Davies, Pratley, Petrov|
|July 20 vs Houston Dynamo 2-0 – Klasnic, K. Davies|
|July 24 vs Bradford City 4-1 – Petrov (pen), Pratley, K. Davies, Klasnic|
|July 27 vs Bury 2-0 – Klasnic, Cahill|
|July 30 vs Newport County 3-1 Williams (og), Klasnic (2)|
|August 1 vs Hereford United 3-0 Eagles, Pratley, K Davies|
|August 5 vs Levante 0-1|
Owen Coyle put out eight of the team that ended last season’s campaign for the first match of Bolton’s US tour, handing a debut to Darren Pratley in midfield, and starting with Ivan Klasnic alongside Kevin Davies up front. Chung-Yong Lee looked sharp early on and came closest to scoring, but it was midfielder Mark Davies that finally put the ball over the line from a Gary Cahill pull-back only for it to be over-ruled.
Despite wholesale changes (with 7 new players on at half time), Bolton continued to dominate in the second-half, but couldn’t find the net with Petrov striking the post and Lee, Kevin Davies and Robbie Blake all-being thwarted by an inspired display from Tampa’s keeper. The home side’s goal most definitely came against the run of play, but despite three further changes and a good late chance for sub Mark Connolly, the match ended in defeat for the Whites.
The second of three American stops on the pre-season trip was to be against Orlando City. Owen Coyle made six changes from the side that lost just a couple of days previously and the proof was seemingly in the pudding as Bolton went on to win by three goals to nil. Martin Petrov shone as he set up Kevin Davies for the first goal before netting the third, while recent Wanderer Darren Pratley grabbed the goal in the middle. Zat Knight was withdrawn early as a precaution.
The Wanderers tour of America ended on a high as their strikers earned their stripes in a 2-0 victory over Houston Dynamo. Both Kevin Davies and Ivan Klasnic kept their predatory instincts in check as the pair of them scored in each half from close range, the latter with a flick on for the former before he took his opportunity to turn home himself following strong play from Martin Petrov. Bolton now head home with a game against Bradford on the horizon.
Bolton’s impressive pre-season continued back on home soil with a resounding 4-1 win at Bradford City. Martin Petrov opened the scoring form the spot after new signing Darren Pratley was felled before the former Swansea man got himself on the scoresheet to put the Trotters two up. Pratley is certainly staking a claim for a Premier League starting role. Kevin Davies and Ivan Klasnic added further goals as Bolton cantered to an impressive win.
In a hard-fought match against neighbours Bury at Gigg Lane, Ivan Klasnic and Gary Cahill grabbed the goals for Owen Coyle’s side in a 2-0 win. Klasnic’s goal was his third in consecutive matches and offers Coyle hope, in light of Johan Elmander’s departure and Daniel Sturridge’s return to Chelsea. New signings Nigel Reo-Coker, Chris Eagles and Tyrone Mears all made their debuts for the Trotters, with Reo-Coker, in particular, catching the eye.
Ivan Klasnic struck his fourth and fifth goals of the pre-season in the 3-1 win at Newport but the result was tainted by a potentially serious injury sustained by Chung-Yong Lee. The Korean was stretchere off with his leg in a brace on the half-hour mark and it was later confirmed that he had suffered a leg break that would rule him out for the season – a sickening blow for player and club.
The match itself saw Klasnic level matters after an early Newport strike, it was the Croatian’s effort that was eventually turned in by a home defender. Klasnic then converted a Martin Petrov assist to put the Trotters in front before notching his second from a David Wheater pass. Owen Coyle started with Klasnic leading the attack; new signing Chris Eagles played off the striker in the holding role with fellow new boys Nigel Reo-Coker and Darren Pratley in central midfield.
Owen Coyle made six changes to the sie that won at Newport two days previous and set his side up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Chris Eagles and Martin Petrov as the wide men, with Mark Davies playing off Kevin Davies. Eagles opened the first-half scoring before Darren Pratley, on as a second half sub for Mark Davies, fired home the second on the hour mark. Minutes later, Martin Petrov set Kevin Davies up for the Trotters’ third.
The Trotters fell foul of a late goal in their final friendly clash, losing out with just three minutes on the clock. Before that point they had the better of affairs with Martin Petrov again posing the most significant threat from the left-flank.
Owen Coyle put out a very strong lineup, selecting a 4-4-2 lineup with Ivan Klasnic rewarded for an outstanding pre-season with a start up front with Kevin Davies.
Most Recent Lineup vs Levante: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson (Riley 76), Cahill, Knight (Wheater 65), Robinson, Petrov, Reo-Coker (Muamba 65), Pratley (M Davies 65), Eagles (Alonso 65), Kevin Davies, Klasnic (Blake 76).
Form Players: Klasnic, Petrov, Pratley, Eagles
|Jul 12 vs Wycombe Wanderers 3-0 – Benayoun, Torres, Rajkovic|
|July 16 vs Portsmouth 1-0 – Ben-Haim (og)|
|July 21 vs Malaysia XI 1-0 – Roslan (og)|
|July 24 vs Thailand XI 4-0 – Lampard, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Malouda|
|July 27 vs Kitchee SC 4-0 – Lampard, Luzardo (own goal), Drogba, Sturridge|
|July 31 vs Aston Villa 2-0 McEachran, Torres|
|August 6 vs Rangers 3-1 Sturridge (2), Malouda|
Chelsea put out two different sides in each half as they played their first warm-up game under the tutelage of new manager Andre-Villas Boas. Yossi Benayoun took short time to impress as he scored an astounding double flick goal lobbing the Wycombe keeper just a few minutes into affairs. The second-half saw a whole new XI come out to play and it took just a few minutes again for Fernando Torres to pick up his first goal of pre-season by slotting home a Nicolas Anelka pass. Torres played further part by being involved in most attacking affairs but also by heading on Yuri Zhirkov’s corner for Slobodan Rajkovic to volley home.
Andre Villas Boas once again played two sides in two halves against Portsmouth in the following match as Chelsea continued to get to grips with the new management and build their fitness. The only goal of the game came early into affairs as ex Chelsea man Tal Ben Haim headed a Fernando Torres cross into his own net. By all reports this was wasn’t the most thrilling of pre-season fixtures but Hilario kept the matters level in the second-half as he first upended Luke Varney in the box only to save the resultant penalty.
Chelsea traveled to Asia but results seemed reminiscent of those before as they had their second consecutive 1-0 win in a row; with the goal once again coming not from one of their players but this time from the opposing goalkeepers back as a Didier Drogba free-kick rebounded off the woodwork and was adjudged to have crossed the line after hitting the man between the sticks. The manager meanwhile blooded virtually his whole squad with Yossi Benayoun (7.0 in FPL) afford a spot in the front three in the first half perhaps drawing the eye of the eager Fantasy Manager searching for a bargain.
The Blues continued their pre-season with a convincing 4-0 win over a Thai Premier League representative side in Bangkok. Frank Lampard opened Chelsea’s account in this one with a typical 20-yard effort, before Jose Bosingwa, Branislav Ivanovic and Florent Malouda added goals to hand Andre Villas-Boas a comfortable victory.
The Chelsea boss was able to call on greater experience in his lineup for this one with Petr Cech starting his first pre-season game following a recent injury. John Terry marshaled the back four, while Lampard started in midfield alongise Josh McEachran, with John Mikel Obi in the holding role. Fernando Torres started up front with Anelka and Sturridge flanking him in a 4-3-3. With Malouda having to come off the bench to earn his goal, there are already signs that Chelsea’s attacking options will result in plenty of rotation with Malouda, Anelka, Sturridge and Kalou perhaps earmarked for roles either side of Torres/Drogba in attack. A potential headache for Fantasy managers.
Andres Villas-Boas rang the changes for Chelsea in their Barclays Asia Trophy semi final with hosts Kitchee. The majority of his starters featured as subs in the previous game- at present, it’s more about ensuring squad fitness than moulding a first XI. Villas-Boas sent the Blues out in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Frank Lampard in a deep-lying central midfield role and Yossi Benayoun in a central role behind Didier Drogba. Lampard opened the scoring from the spot and after an own goal from the hosts captain, Drogba and then Sturridge- with a fine solo goal- saw Chelsea coast into the final. Benayoun pulled the strings throughout and, as mentioned above, is an interesting proposition for next season if Villas-Boas keeps faith in his abilities.
Chelsea claimed the Asia Trophy with their sixth pre-season win and clean sheet. Josh McEachran and Fernando Torres notched the goals in this one as the Blues swamped their Premier League opponents from the start. Villas Boas made several changes to his lineup – notably up front where Anelka was given a rare opportunity to lead the attack – Sturridge and Malouda handed the roles flanking the Frenchman. Jose Bosingwa started at right-back, while Ivanovic took up a central defensive role alongside skipper John Terry. Significantly Villas Boas tweaked matters with his subs, fielding Drogba, Torres and Aneka together in the second-half. The latter took up the point of the midfield diamond as Chelsea abandoned the 4-3-3, leaving Drogba and Torres to work in tandem up front.
Daniel Sturridge struck twice in Chelsea’s final pre-season outing with Florent Malouda netting a third. The day belonged to Sturridge however who, after impressing during the off-season, will be frustrated at having to sit out Chelsea’s opening three matches due to his sending off on the final day whilst on loan with Bolton.
Villas-Boas brought Ramires straight back into his lineup for this one after he resumed training in the week. Frank Lampard shifted to the left-side of midfield with the Brazilian back in the midfield three. Alex started his first game of pre season alongside John Terry at the back. Torres started up front ahead of Didier Drogba, with Kalou and Sturridge out on the flanks.
Chelsea suffered an injury blow when Mikel was forced off just before half-time after aggravating an ankle injury suffered in training making him an early doubt for the trip to Stoke. Drogba was introduced to some effect in the second-half, he will be pushing for inclusion at the Britannia and could yet get the nod ahead of Torres.
Most Recent Lineup vs Rangers: Cech; Ferreira (Bosingwa h-t), Alex (Kalas 86), Terry (c), Cole; Ramires (Benayoun 71), Mikel (McEachran 43), Lampard (Chalobah 85); Kalou (Malouda 59), Torres (Drogba h-t), Sturridge (Anelka 59).
Form Players Benayoun, Lampard, Terry
|July 15 vs Bury 4-1 – Yakubu, Gueye (2), Osman|
|July 20 vs Philadelphia Union 0-1|
|July 23 vs DC United 3-1 – Anichebe, Bilyaletdinov, Gueye|
|July 30 vs Birmingham City 2-1 Baines, Saha|
|August 2 vs Werder Bremen 0-1|
|August 5th vs Villarreal 0-1|
Everton kicked off their pre-season campaign at Gigg lane with a comparatively strong side and an impressive first half performance that saw them enter the break four goals ahead. Mikel Arteta and Marouane Fellaini combined to set up the opener for the returning Yakubu who looked lively throughout. An impressive Magaye Gueye made it two with a purposeful run and scored a second on the stroke of half time to underline his claim for a starting place. Leon Osman notched one from a Phil Neville ball in between.
Four changes at half time saw Baines, Jagielka, Bilyaletdinov and Anichebe take to the field but despite continued dominance Everton couldn’t add to their lead with Jermaine Beckford failing to complete a couple of chances and ultimately limped off on 65 minutes, although the club later stressed this was a precaution only. Bury pulled one back through ex-Blue Steven Schumacher. Notably, Seamus Coleman played a defensive role, echoing David Moyes statement that he saw the player as a right back.
The Toffees came unstuck as they traveled across the Atlantic and fell down by a goal to nil against Philadelphia Union. Mikel Arteta ticked like a metronome in the middle of the park but David Moyes’ men weren’t able to capitalise on his distribution and fell foul to a late goal. A late red card for John Heitinga was a measure of the frustrations on the day.
Everton returned to winning ways against DC United as goals from Anichebe, Bilyaletdinov and Gueye earned a win in the humidity of the US capitol. Interestingly Moyes chose to leave club skipper Neville benched for this one, while Anichebe started wide right with Apostolos Vellios leading the attack as the greek continued to get opportunities to impress. Gueye’s third goal of the pre-season also boosted his reputation and confidence as Everton’s pre-season builds.
Everton’s return to home soil saw them run out 2-1 winners over Championship Birmingham courtesy of a smart Leighton Baines free-kick and the welcome sight of a Louis Saha goal on his first appearance since an injury back in March.
For the match against Werder Bremen, David Moyes made four changes from the club’s previous game at Birmingham, with the likes of Tim Cahill and Sylvain Distin returning to the first-team line-up. Leighton Baines was the Toffees main goal threat, going close with two long-range efforts but despite the introduction of Louis Saha, Moyes’ side failed to make a breakthrough and went down by 1-0, with the hosts scoring in the 36th minute through Wagner.
Everton suffered another defeat in their final pre-season game against Villareal and, perhaps more significantly, lost Seamus Coleman to an ankle ligament injury just before half-time. Coleman had started on the right-flank in a five man midfield with skipper Phil Neville taking up the right-back role. Ross Berkley retained a starting role in what was a youthful midfield lineup.
Most Recent Lineup vs Villareal: Howard, Neville, Baines, Jagielka, Distin, Coleman (Cahill 43), Rodwell, Barkley (Yakubu 73), Fellaini (Heitinga 60), Anichebe (Hibbert 68), Saha (Beckford 60).
Form Players Gueye, Baines
|June 30 vs NSI Runavik (Europa League qualifying) 3-0 – Duff, Murphy, A. Johnson|
|July 7 vs NSI Runavik (Europa League qualifying) 0-0|
|July 9 vs AFC Wimbledon 0-2|
|July 14 vs Crusaders (Europa League qualifying)3-1 – Briggs, Zamora, Murphy|
|July 16 vs Stevenage 0-1|
|July 21 vs Crusaders (Europa League qualifying) 4-0 – Johnson, Duff, Zamora, Sidwell|
|July 28 vs RNK Split (Europa League qualifying) 0-0|
|August 4 vs RNK Split (Europa League qualifying) RNK Split 2-0|
Martin Jol kicked off his tenure as the manager of Fulham with a comfortable win of NSI Runavik of the Faroe Islands. Despite being a full six weeks before the Premier League starts, and before every other team has even begun pre-season training, the Dutchman didn’t rest on his laurels as he named the strongest team at his disposal. Damien Duff, Danny Murphy and Andy Johnson grabbed the goals in this 3-0 victory.
The away leg up in the Faroes was a more solemn affair as a 0-0 result, with Fulham pressing but not plundering, and securing a second qualifying round against Crusaders of Northern Ireland. The Squad saw a little shake up with the likes of Steve Sidwell, Philippe Senderos and Jonathan Greening given a chance to impress the new manager.
Two days later a second string side boosted by Danny Muprhy, Chris Baird and Aaron Hughes fell down by two goals to nil against AFC Wimbledon as the Fulham pre-season rolled on.
Fulham’s Europa League campaign continued with a 3-1 first leg win over Crusaders – Briggs, Zamora and Murphy notched the decisive goals as Jol again went for a strong starting lineup – only the inclusion of Kerim Frei, the 17-year-old Swiss talent will have raised an eyebrow. Matt Briggs again made the lineup and staked a claim for further opportunities by opening the scoring with his first senior goal for the Cottagers – a rasping 20-yard effort. Following a Crusaders reply, Zamora restored the Fulham lead from a Duff assist before Murphy converted his second penalty of the pre-season following a handball.
A couple days later, once again, reserve manager Billy McKinlay got to call on some of the senior squad as Stephen Kelly, Philippe Senderos and Steve Sidwell were given a run out. New signing John Arne Riise also picked up his first 60 minutes of matchplay.
Fulham continued to progress through the Europa League qualifying stages by Crusading through their opponents 4-0 at the Cottage. John Arne Riise made his debut start for the club which allowed youngster Matthew Briggs the chance to push up into midfield. The Norwegian made his mark by setting up Andy Johnson for the first goal. Damien Duff doubled their lead early in the second half before Bobby Zamora and Steve Sidwell put the game far beyond their opponents as Martin Jol’s side now look ahead to games with RNK Split.
The Cottagers third qualifying round of the Europa League saw them make their furthest venture. A goalless draw in Croatia saw Fulham put themselves in a strong position in the tie. They finished the job back at the Cottage as Martin Jol gave Clint Dempsey a start on the left wing, with Matt Briggs dropping to the bench. Aaron Hughes replaced Chris Baird at right-back, allowing Philippe Senderos the chance to partner Brede Hangeland in defence. Andrew Johnson gave the Cottagers the lead early on and was also involved in his side’s second goal, brought down in the box for a penalty that Danny Murphy slotted home just before the hour mark.
Most Recent Lineup vs RNK Split:
Schwarzer, Hughes, Hangeland, Senderos, Riise, Duff (Kasami 88), Murphy, Etuhu, Dempsey (Briggs 79), Johnson, Zamora (Dembele 75)
Form Players: Duff, Briggs
|July 13 vs Guangdong Sunray Cave 4-3 – Poulsen, N’Gog, Coady, Carroll|
|July 16 vs Malaysia XI 6-3 – Adam, N’Gog (2), Rodriguez (2), Kuyt|
|July 23 vs Hull 0-3|
|July 28 vs Galatasaray 0-3|
|August 1 vs Valerenga 3-3 Carroll, Agger (2)|
|August 6 vs Valencia 2-0 Carroll, Kuyt|
Another game of two halves kicked of the campaign for Liverpool as Kenny Dalglish tested out most of his squad in a compelling 4-3 victory. It was the turn of Christian Poulsen to score the first Liverpool goal of pre-season after volleying home a Joe Cole cross quickly followed by David N’Gog doubling their lead. The hosts pulled a goal back just before half-time where the manager rung the changes. Youngster Conner Coady got his first ever run out and a half hour into his spell he latched onto an Andy Carroll pass to make it three. The provider turned scorer late in the game before the hosts added a very late brace to make the scoreline a little more flattering.
Three days later, Charlie Adam netted his first goal in a Liverpool shirt -a converted penalty for which Andy Carroll had earned, just one of many promising interactions between the pair in the first half- as Liverpool ended up the victors in a resounding 6-3 scoreline against a Malaysia XI. Liverpool changed the whole side at half time and it was the forgotten trio of Alberto Aquilani, Emiliano Insua and David N’Gog combined twice in in minutes to move the scoreline clear. Maxi Rodriguez added two more goals himself before Dirk Kuyt got a capper deep into injury time.
Kenny Dalglish saw his side suffer their first defeat of the pre-season as they slumped to a shock 3-0 defeat at Hull City. Dalglish handed debuts to Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson but their interventions weren’t enough to muster a response to a plucky display from their Championship opponents. Interestingly Liverpool switched to a 4-2-3-1 with Adam’s introduction in the second-half – the former Blackpool man sitting in a deep lying creative role while Downing was seen switch flanks throughout.
There was no Turkish delight this time for a youthful looking Liverpool. The reds were felled by one of their ex players and a recent Premier League departee in a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Galatasaray. Andy Carroll was one of just a handful of first team players starting this game, but to little effect. The introduction of Dirk Kuyt at half-time furthered the cause but in the end Liverpool toiled some more and will be looking ahead to their next friendly in Norway sooner rather than later.
Liverpool welcomed back Pepe Reina, Glen Johnson and Daniel Agger from injury. The Reds kicked off in a 4-4-2 but a poor first half, where Andy Carroll stabbed home a Stewart Downing cross after the hosts went two-up, prompted Kenny Dalglish to alter the shape for the second forty-five. Liverpool played 4-2-3-1, with Kuyt, Henderson and Downing off Carroll and Liverpool were far more impressive. Agger’s double put them ahead with just a couple of minutes remaining but a poor defensive performance was capped when Valerenga grabbed an equaliser in stoppage time as the game ended 3-3.
Liverpool grabbed a 2-0 home win over Valencia thanks to goals from Andy Carroll and sub Dirk Kuyt. Kenny Dalglish set up his side in a 4-2-3-1 formation and despite a few changes to personnel, kept the same shape- perhaps an indication of his tactical thinking next season. Stewart Downing impressed on the left and provided plenty width and delivery from the flank. Andy Carroll grabbed the opender after a mistake by David Albelda and Dirk Kuyt, on for Jordan Henderson, notched the second. Glen Johnson limped off with a potential thigh injury early in the first half, with Martin Kelly his replacement.
Most Recent Lineup vs Valencia: Reina; Johnson (Kelly 7), Carragher, Agger (Kyrgiakos 79), Aurelio (Robinson 46); Aquilani (Maxi 58), Spearing (Lucas 46), Adam (Flanagan 74), Henderson (J Cole 58), Downing (Kuyt 58); Carroll (Ngog 58).
Form Players: Carroll
|July 16 vs Club America 2-0 – McGivern, Wright-Phillips|
|July 18 vs Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 – Guidetti, Wright-Phillips|
|July 24 vs LA Galaxy 1-1 – Balotelli|
|July 30 vs League of Ireland XI 3-0 Wright-Phillips, Johnson, Scapuzzi|
|July 31 vs Inter Milan 3-0 Balotelli, Dzeko, Johnson|
|August 7 vs Manchester United (Community Shield) 2-3 Lescott, Dzeko|
Roberto Mancini handed debuts to Stefan Savic, Gael Clichy and Freddie Veseli in an unfamiliar starting line-up against Mexican’s Club America – a team that also included Vladimir Weiss and Ryan McGivern. It was the latter who got the ball rolling for City, converting after an Edin Dzeko effort was half-cleared after good work from Shaun Wright-Phillips. He was another player to impress in this pre-season opener, firing home the second goal to give City full control of the game mid-way through the first-half.
Wright-Phillips was again a key figure as City ranout 2-1 winnners over Vancouver Whitecaps two days later. A generally unconvincing City performance was capped by a first-half ankle injury to Yaya Toure -a setback that was played down by Roberto Mancini after the game. The winner from Wright-Phillips was the highlight for City, his goal – a 25-yard effort – provided further demonstration of his worth as he continues to emerge as City’s form pre-season form player.
Man City’s 1-1 draw with LA Galaxy was completely dominated by a ridiculous display of showboating from Mario Balotelli. His errant backheel when well-placed to pass or shoot direct on goal earned him an immediate substitution and a volley of anger from Roberto Mancini.
The match itself provided a stern test for City’s title hopefuls – Balotelli had given his side the lead from the spot after Micah Richards was felled in the box but Mancini’s side were victims of a super second-half equaliser which took the game to spot-kicks. Joe Hart eventually provided a save and a conversion to win the day for City. Vincent Kompany, seen pitch side nursing a knee injury was the only real concern for Mancini, aside from Balotelli’s petulance.
City opened their account in the Dublin Super Cup with a comfortable victory over an all Ireland lineup as Roberto Mancini handed opportunities to some of his fringe players with Inter lying in wait next. Shaun Wright-Phillips continued his impressive pre-season with City’s opening strike before Adam Johnson provided a reminder of his talents to earn City’s second goal. Trialist Luca Scapuzzi notched the third.
Roberto Mancini fielded a strong starting XI for the showdown with his former club. Yaya Toure returned to the City side, fully recovered from an ankle injury that has disrupted his appearances during the club’s tour of the US. Gael Clichy missed out, having received a knock to the head in City’s game against LA Galaxy, allowing Aleksander Kolarov a stint at left-back. David Silva was the star of the show, however, with a performance of sheer class tearing the Inter defence to pieces. Mario Balotelli started out left and opened the scoring before Silva supplied a sublime pass for Dzeko to fire home the second. Adam Johnson added a third in injury time to score for the second game in succession.
Man City lost the Community Shield after throwing away a two goal lead in a second half they’ll want to forget. A disciplined first forty-five saw Roberto Mancini’s side grab a two goal lead through Jolean Lescott and Edin Dzeko (his second in successive games) as the silky skills of David Silva lit up their attacking moves. Sergio Aguero remained benched, with blistered feet preventing the Argentine from making his debut while fellow new boy Gael Clichy came on as a late sub for Aleksander Kolarov. City’s back-four, so often the cornerstone of their success, were no match for United’s irresistable attacking play, with even the ever-reliable Vincent Kompany guilty of switching off, allowing Nani to sneak past him and race on from the half way line to score the winner.
Most Recent Lineup vs Man United: City: Hart; Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov (Clichy 74); Milner (Johnson 67), De Jong, Toure Y, Silva; Balotelli (Barry 59), Dzeko
Form Players Wright-Phillips, Silva
|July 13 vs New England Revolution 4-1 – Owen, Macheda (2), Park|
|July 20 vs Seattle Sounders 7-0 – Owen, Diouf, Rooney (3), Park, Obertan|
|July 23 vs Chicago Fire 3-1 – Rooney, Rafael, Nani|
|July 27 vs MLS All-Stars 4-0 Anderson, Park, Berbatov, Welbeck|
|July 30 vs Barcelona 2-1 Nani, Owen|
|August 5th vs New York Cosmos 6-0– Scholes, Rooney (pen), Anderson, Welbeck, M Diouf (2)|
|August 7th vs Manchester City (Community Shield) 3-2 Smalling, Nani (2)|
Manchester United kicked off their latest American adventure with a resounding 4-1 victory against the New England Revoltuion. The scoreline should have, in all eventualities, been much more in favour of the traveling side. Lead strikers Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov squandered good chances in the first half to open the scoring and it was left to their half time replacements Michael Owen and Federico Macheda who scored three goals between them inside the first quarter of an hour of the time on the pitch. Park Ji-Sung put a cherry on top of the second half performance with a clipped finish in the 80th minute.
Things only got more prolific in United’s second game on American shores as a second half barrage saw the team end up in seventh heaven before the final whistle was blown. Michael Owen scored the sole first half goal heading home following an Ashley Young/Patrice Evra combination down the left. The substitute’s let rip in the second half though as Wayne Rooney bagged himself a hat-trick (with him and Park scoring 3 goals between them inside a five minute spell) and the match-ball. Luis Nani picked up two assists before being replaced by Gabriel Obertan who then went on to set up himself and grab the final goal of the game.
Three days later, United came back from a goal down to earn a 3-1 win over Chicago Fire in sweltering conditions – Rooney, Rafael and Nani notched the goals in this one. David de Gea and Phil Jones were given their first starts of the pre-season as United had to be content to play second fiddle to the hosts for prolonged periods – superior finishing in front of goal proved decisive however. Rooney eventually leveled just after the hour-mark from a Rio Ferdinand pass before Nani and Rafael combined with the Brazilian applying the finish. Nani’s cheeky finish then capped a tough run-out for Alex Ferguson’s men.
After a tentative start, United won their showcase match against MLS All Stars at a canter. Up against a side including Thierry Henry and David Beckham, the Premier League champions took the lead through Anderson on 20 minutes before Park -with his third goal in four matches- notched the second right on the half-time whistle. Dimiatar Berbatov looked likely throughout and picked up the third before sub Danny Welbeck notched the fourth late on. Interestingly, Phil Jones started the game at right-back for United, perhaps giving indication that Sir Alex Ferguson sees him as cover at full-back, in addition to centre-half and defensive central midfield.
United gained revenge for their Champions League final defeat by downing Barca 2-1. The win gives Sir Alex Ferguson’s side a record of five wins from five games in what has proved to be a thoroughly successful US tour, though their opponents were without the likes of Messi, Xavi, Pique and Puyol. Nani proved a real thorn in Barcelona’s side and the winger grabbed the opener on the counter attack in the 22nd minute. David De Gea turned in a defiant performance in goal but was finally beaten by a fantastic Thiago strike on 70 minutes. United were not to be denied, however, and Michael Owen -on for Wayne Rooney in the second half- slotted home the winner sic minutes later after being played through by Tom Cleverley.
United warmed up for the Community Shield clash with rivals City with a 6-0 stroll in Paul Scholes’ testimonial match. Fittingly, it was Scholes who opened the scoring in this one with Mame Diouf earning himself a brace along with goals from Anderson, a Rooney penalty and a Danny Welbeck strike.
Man United edged the Community Shield in a 3-2 thriller over neighbours City. Sir Alex Ferguson paired Wayne Rooney with Danny Welbeck up top, as Dimitar Berbatov sat amongst the subs. Chris Smalling started at right-back and Michael Carrick recovered from a knock to take his place in central midfield. Despite dominating from the off, they found themselves 2-0 down at the break but a brilliant second-half performance brought a deserved win. Chris Smalling side-footed home an Ashley Young free-kick and two fantastic goals from Nani will bring the Portuguese winger into many Fantasy manager’s thoughts ahead of next weekend’s season kick-off.
Most Recent Lineup vs Man City:De Gea, Smalling, Evra (Rafael 72), Ferdinand (Jones 46), Vidic (Cleverley 46), Anderson, Young, Carrick (Evans 46), Nani, Rooney, Wellbeck (Berbatov 89)
Form Players: Rooney, Nani, Young
|July 15 vs Darlington 2-0 – Barton, S Ameobi|
|July 20 vs Sporting Kansas City 0-0|
|July 23 vs Orlando City 0-1|
|July 26 vs Columbus Crew 3-0 Shola Ameobi, Coloccini, Vuckic|
|July 31 vs Leeds United 2-3 S Taylor, Vuckic|
|August 6 v Fiorentina 0-0 – Match Abandoned|
Pre-season preparations in Newcastle kicked off with their first encounter that’s closer to home than their upcoming tour of America as Alan Pardew’s side took a short trip to Darlington. While the pitch invasion which took place will be the most reported part of this fixture, the 2-0 victory and appearance of some of the new faces is certainly of note. Joey Barton opened the scoring after only a few minutes from a Leon Best knockdown before Danny Guthrie took a knock that left him limping off the pitch. This however did give Yohann Cabaye an early chance to impress in the black and White stripes – he and Hatem Ben Arfa offered plenty of promise but it was Sammy Ameobi who bagged the second goal which sparked the aforementioned pitch invasion.
Newcastle started their American tour with a nervy affair against Sporting Kansas City which saw the game finish goalless. More importantly was the injury news coming out of the camp following this game – Hatem Ben Arfa took a knock to the ankle which has seen him sent home to Newcastle with the manager cautiously optimistic on his state by saying “we think he’s okay”. Jose Enrique’s absence form the game was meanwhile described as a precautionary measure as the player nurses a knock to his previously troublesome hamstring.
Newcastle’s stateside tour continued with a narrow defeat to Orlando City. A disappointing outcome for Alan Pardew’s side who picked up an injury to Ryan Taylor early on – he was replaced aftter 25 minutes with Jose Enrique slotting into the back four. Meanwhile, Joey Barton, refused entry to the US, was back home helping Newcastle second-string, scoring in a 3-2 win over FC Utrecht’s reserves.
Alan Pardew made five changes to the Newcastle starting XI from the previous game against Orlando City, with Ryan Taylor missing out due to injury. Sylvain Marveaux’s delivery saw the new signing take Newcastle’s free-kicks and corners, in light of Joey Barton’s enforced US absence. Pardew’s side were in cruise control long before Columbus Crew had their keeper sent off before half time for handling outside the box.
Pardew fielded a 4-4-2 with Shola Ameobi up front alongside Demba Ba and it was the former who gave his side the lead, firing home on 8 minutes. Captain Fabricio Colocinni grabbed the second and Haris Vuckic, on for Marveaux with just over quarter of an hour to play, netted the third in what was a thoroughly impressive cameo. Marveaux’s substitution was thought to be precautionary, with the winger signalling to the bench to be taken off on 74 mins.
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew sent out a side containing many first-teamers for the match at Elland Road but saw his side pipped 3-2. New boys Demba Ba and Yohan Cabaye took to the field, with Cabaye playing in a holding role in central midfield. Interestingly, despite the presence of Joey Barton in the Newcastle side, Cabaye took his fair shar of corners and looks like vying with Barton for set-pieces. Steven Taylor served reminder of the goalscoring form that saw him net in the side’s final three games of 2010/11 and Haris Vuckic kept up his good pre-season scoring form but a Billy Paynter goal for the hosts with just five minutes remaining means Pardew’s side have lost two of their last three.
The Magpies’ final pre-season tie with Fiorentina was abandoned by referee Mark Halsey on 64 minutes due to a waterlogged pitch. The match offered some indication of Alan Pardew’s thinking ahead of the opening game against Arsenal with Tim Krul given the nod in goal, while Haris Vuckic earned a start on the flank as a reward for two pre-season strikes. Leon Best started up front with Peter Lovenkrands as Demba Ba dropped to the bench. Jose Enrique returned from injury and lined up at left-back, despite speculation surrounding his future at St James’ Park.
Most Recent Lineup vs Fiorentina : Krul (Forster 46), Simpson, Enrique, Coloccini, Taylor, Gosling (Ba 46), Vuckic, Cabaye, Gutierrez (Marveaux 46), Best (S Ameobi 46), Lovenkrands (R Taylor 59).
Form PlayersCabaye, Barton, Coloccini, Vuckic
|July 16 vs Gorleston 7-0 – Holt (2), Whitbread, Smith, Jackson, Johnson, Wilbraham|
|July 21 vs Sparta Gottingen/RSV Gottingen 8-0 – Vaughan (2), Jackson, Francomb, Morison, Bennett, Ward (2)|
|July 23 vs Nordhausen/Regional Select XI 11-0 – Morison, Hoolahan, Crofts, Wilbraham, Surman, Martin, Jackson (2), Holt (2), Johnson|
|July 26 vs Crystal Palace 0-1|
|July 28 vs Southend United 0-0|
|July 30 vs Coventry City 3-0 Wilbraham, Morison, Bennett|
|August 3 vs Real Zaragoza 1-1 De Laet|
|August 6 vs Parma 3-0 – Surman (2), Holt|
The Canaries played their first game of the pre-season build-up against lower league side Gorleston and walked away with an emphatic 7-0 victory as they look to get fit and ready for their return to the Premier League. All in all 24 members of the Norwich squad got time on the pitch ranging from 5 minutes to 45. Grant Holt scored his first two goals sandwiching a Zak Whitbread header before the first subs were made and two more goals from Simeon Jackson and Korey Smith made it five up at half time. Bradley Johnson and Aaron Wilbraham completed a comfortable afternoon for Paul Lambert’s men.
Norwich played an unique game of two halves against two sides from Gottingen which saw them face both teams for 45 minutes each – to keep things simple they went on to win each half 4-0. Steven Morison and James Vaughan played in separate halves but managed to get their first goals in Canary yellow while centre-back Elliott Ward grabbed a late brace with two identical headers.
The Canaries continued on the goal trail three days later, slaughtering a Nordhausen/Regional Select Xl by an 11 goal margin. Grant Holt and Simeon Jackson both notched a brace as Lambert’s side ran riot.
Ritchie De Laet was the stand-out performer as Norwich went down 1-0 to Crystal Palace. The Man United loan signing took his place in central defence alongside Leon Barnett, with Bradley Johnson the only other summer signing to start, although the likes of Steve Morison and Elliott Bennett were introduced in the second-half. Grant Holt was partnered by Simeone Jackson up top, with Chris Martin at the tip of the midfield diamond behind the pair. Paul Lambert rang the changes in the second-half, with ten players coming on around the hour mark, and won’t be too perturbed by the result, with Palace offering a competitive game for the Canaries as they continue their pre-season build-up.
Paul Lambert’s side continued their busy schedule with a 0-0 at Southend. On loan signing Kyle Naughton made his debut at right-back and Adam Drury made his first pre-season appearance on the opposite flank. Lambert ditched his usual 4-4-2 diamond formation and experimented with a 4-1-4-1 for the friendly, with Wes Hoolahan in the hole behind Steve Morison. With fitness his main priority, the Canaries boss rang the changes in the second-half, though new boy Naughton was the real stand-out player in this game, before being subbed off within the hour mark.
Elliot Bennett announced himself to the Norwich faithful with a standout performance in the convincing 3-0 win over Championship Coventry. Bennett provided a smart assits of Steve Morison to notch the Caneries second after Grant Holt had assisted the opener for Aaron Wilbraham. Bennett then sealed the win with a 25-yard drive.
Norwich’s Ritchie De Laet is proving to be a real stand-out player for the Canaries this pre-season. The on-loan Man United defender grabbed the home side’s opener but Zaragoza levelled just before the break to earn themselves a draw. Paul Lambert fielded a strong side but the game was played at half pace and perhaps the most notable incident was a 10 minute delay in play following a lightning storm.
A brace from Andrew Surman, adding to an opening strike from skipper Grant Holt earned the Canaries an impressive 3-0 win in the final pre-season fixture against Parma.
Manager Paul Lambart was forced into an early change to his starting lineup, as Russell Martin pulled up in the warm-up to be replaced by loan signing Kyle Naughton. Elsewhere the likes of Surman and Hoolohan impressed, along with Holt up front who came out of the game with a goal and an assist to reinforce his importance to the side. Places in the defence remain up for grabs with Zak Whitbread starting alongside De Laet in this one. The United loanee looks a certain starter at Wigan next weekend.
Most Recent Lineup vs Parma: Ruddy, Naughton, Whitbread (Barnett 50), De Laet, Tierney (Drury 71), Surman, Hoolahan (C.Martin 71), Fox, Bennett (Pilkington 50), Holt (Morison 71), Jackson (Johnson 50).
Form Players De Laet, Surman, Holt, Bennett
|July 15 vs Harrow Borough 1-0 – Saikou Kujabi|
|July 18 vs Tavistock 13-0 – Ephraim (4), Smith, Agyemang, James (og), Shittu, Helguson (2), Webber, Vaagan Moen, Connolly|
|July 20 vs Plymouth Argyle 1-0 – Helguson|
|July 27 vs Cesena 0-1|
|July 30 vs Braga 1-0 – Bothroyd|
|July 30 vs Atalanta 1-1 Faurlain|
|August 2 vs Crawley Town 4-2 Gorkss, Helgusson 2, Cook|
|August 5 vs Luton Town 1-3 DJ Campbell|
QPR got their pre-season underway with a 1-0 win at non-league Harrow thanks to an extraordinary 30-yard strike from trialist Pa Saikou Kujabi. The Gambian international hammered home his long-range effort to earn Neil Warnock’s men victory but, other than his ability from the deadball, there was little to be gleaned from this first Rangers performance or Warnock’s first starting XI.
Warnock’s squad then enjoyed shooting practice against non-league Tavistock, running up a 13-0 scoreline against the Cornish Amateurs. Hogan Ephraim’s four goals grabbed the headlines and saw him emerge as a name to watch over the remaining pre-season matches.
Jay Bothroyd started his first game in the blue and white of Rangers but it was his early replacement who earned his bacon in the dying breaths of the game, Heidar Helguson scoring in the final minutes of the game to earn QPR a slender 1-0 win. The aforementioned new signing had to be replaced after just half an hour after what is reported to be something of a nothing challenge and no new report yet as to if any injury was caused. Kieron Dyer also made a start for his new club while trialists such as Danny’s Webber and Gabbidon also got time on the pitch to try and impress the man in charge.
QPR suffered their first loss of the pre-season, going down 1-0 to Italian club Cesena. Lining up in a 4-2-3-1 with Jay Bothroyd leading the line, Neil Warnock handed Danny Gabbidon his first start since the player joined up this summer. Another new boy, Kieran Dyer, looked lively when he came on in the second-half and set up a couple of chances, including one for Adel Taarabt, but the Moroccan failed to take advantage.
Rangers began the Trofeo Bartolotti three-team tournament with a 1-0 win over Europa League finalists Braga – Jay Bothroyd earning his first goal in the hoops from a Bradley Orr assist. Neil Warnock selected a strong lineup for the first game of the tournament, pairing Dyer and Faulin in midfield with Taarabt, Ephraim and Smith providing the attacking support for Bothroyd up front. Rangers later went on to win the tournament after drawing 0-0 with Atalanta, claiming the trophy 3-2 on spot-kicks. Warnock again kept the 4-2-3-1 formation for the second game, this time shifting Dyer to left-back, bringing Derry in alongside Faulin with Buzsaky brought in to replace Ephraim who suffered a facial injury against Braga.
Back on home soil, QPR continued their winning ways with a 4-2 triumph at Crawley. Heidar Helguson was given a start as the lone front man in the side’s usual 4-2-3-1 and grabbed his chance to impress, bagging a double for the visitors after Kaspars Gorkss had given them the lead. Sub Lee Cook also notched a goal, while Akos Buzsaky was the chief creator for Neil Warnock’s side, picking up two assists.
DJ Campbell scored on his debut but QPR ended the match as 3-1 losers at Luton. The ex-Blackpool man found the net after just 29 seconds from a Adel Taarabt cross and Neil Warnock’s side went in one-up at the interval. The visitors then made nine changes for the second forty-five, a move that allowed Luton to gain the initiative and fire three goals past what was, essentially, a second-choice XI, barring one or two exceptions.
Most Recent Lineup vs Luton Town: Kenny (Cerny 46), Dyer (Doughty 72), Hill (Andrade 82), Derry (Ephraim 46), Hall (Orr 46), Gabbidon (Trialist), Taarabt (Vaagan-Moen 46), Smith (Connolly 46), Campbell (Helguson 46) (Hewitt 82), Bothroyd (Agyemang 46), Faurlin (Buzsaky 46).
Form Players Ephraim
|July 16 vs Newport Country 1-1 – Jones|
|July 17 vs Newport YMCA 6-1 – Marshall (2), Lund, Arismendi (2), Delap|
|July 20 vs Newcastle Town6-0 – Stambolziev, Jones (2), Pennant, Whelan, Walters|
|July 22 vs Brentford 0-1|
|July 23 vs Aldershot Town 0-1|
|July 28 vs Hajduk Split (Europa League qualifying) 1-0 – Walters|
|July 30 vs Sheffield Wednesday 0-0|
|August 4 vs Hajduk (Europa League qualifying) 1-0 Shotton)|
A Kenwyne Jones strike was enough to earn Stoke a draw in their first of two friendly matches in Tony Pulis’ home town of Newport. Jones also had a second goal chalked off as Stoke struggled to overcome their Blue Square Premier League opponents. Pulis put out a notably strong lineup – all eleven were involved in the FA Cup final victory back in May with the workrate of Jon Walters and the delivery of Jermaine Pennant standing out in Stoke’s friendly clash.
The Stoke second string stayed in Newport and played another of their sides a day later and headed home with a comfortable 6-1 under their belts.
Another six goals were scored as Stoke took their first team squad to nearby side Newcastle town and played out two different teams in each half – the second of those, with the much stronger squad, proved more fruitful as five of the six goals were scored. Kenwyne Jones picked up from his last game by adding another brace onto his pre-season tally. Not ones to let their lead striker hog all the limelight, the likes of Jermaine Pennant, Glenn Whelan and Jon Walters made sure their names appeared on the scores-heet too.
Stoke suffered their first pre-season defeat by a goal to nil against Brentford as they try to get their gears in motion ahead of their upcoming inaugural European fixtures against Hajduk Split. Tony Pulis named what was arguably his strongest side for the game so the result, as well as Jermaine Pennant and Jon Walters having to be substituted with injuries to add further concern. Twenty four hours later, Stoke slipped up again. The lineup at Aldershot was far less experienced but nonetheless saw Jonathan Woodgate make his debut at the back – he lasted just over an hour before being replaced by Robert Huth.
The long awaited return of Stoke City to the European competitions saw them walk away with a slender 1-0 home victory as they rue opportunities missed ahead of their second leg in Croatia. It took Jon Walters a mere three minutes to head the Potters into the lead from a Matty Etherington cross – but all that followed was frustrating toil. Robert Huth and Kenwyne Jones each missed a number of chances as the game progressed which will leave Tony Pulis’ just a short margin to protect in the reverse fixture.
Jonathan Woodgate started for Stoke, meaning Robert Huth moved to left-back. With the club having played in the Europa League qualifying stages only two days before, Tony Pulis fielded a different XI in each half. The game lacked any continuity and fizzled out in a goalless stalemate.
Robert Huth moved to right-back for the second leg of Stoke’s Europa League qualifier, as Andy Wilkinson dropped out with a toe injury. Jonathan Woodgate partnered Ryan Shawcross in the heart of defence and Matt Etherington recovered from a rib problem to start for Tony Pulis’ side. A late goal from Ryan Shotton sealed Stoke’s progress into the next round.
Most Recent Lineup vs Hajduk Split: Begovic, Huth, Wilson, Shawcross, Woodgate, Pennant, Whelan, Whitehead, Etherington, Jones, Walters. Subs: Sorensen, Collins, Pugh, Diao, Tonge, Shotton, Arismendi.
Form Players: Jones
|July 13 vs York City 2-1 – Bardsley, Tounkara|
|July 17 vs Arminia Bielefeld 1-1 – Sessegnon|
|July 20 vs Hannover 96 1-3 – Sessegnon|
|July 23 vs Borussia Monchengladbach 0-0|
|July 27 vs Kilmarnock 2-1 Sessegnon, Wickham|
|July 30 vs Burnley 0-1|
|August 2 vs Hartlepool United 3-1 Gyan, Larsson, Colback|
|August 3 vs Darlington 3-0 Cook, Gardner, Dong-Won|
|August 6 vs Hibernian 0-0|
Phil Bardsley continued his unexpected goalscoring form of 2010/11 into pre-season as he opened the scoring in Sunderland’s first preparatory game. French striker Oumane Tounkara (on loan at Oldham last season) doubled the lead from a Lee Cattermole ball but manager Steve Bruce was as happy with the fitness of his players returning from injury as the actual victory gained.
Sunderland began a tour of Germany with a draw in a game against Arminia Bielefeld as six of their summer signings -five making their debut appearance- got to bed in with the squad, the only downside being the early withdrawal of new captain John O’Shea – a precautionary measure. The Wearsiders goal of the game came from attractive midfield prospect Stephane Sessegnon latching onto a nodded on Sebastian Larsson corner.
Stephane Sessegnon remained the only player to have scored for Sunderland since they left for Germany but the support striker at least added to his tally in a 3-1 defeat – his manager was happy enough to single him out for praise for his work behind the front man. Key first-choice centre-backs were rested for this game so the goals conceded and end result are not ones to be taken on board too heavily as Anton Ferdinand and youngster Louis Laing aren’t likely to be near the starting XI come gameweek one.
Three days later the Black Cats claimed a 0-0 draw with Borussia Monchengladbach, despite dropping to 10 men after just 19 minutes after Titus Bramble was dismissed. A strong Sunderland lineup from Bruce paired Ji Dong-Won and Conor Wickam up front, while the midfield boasted new signings Larsson, Gardner and Vaughan.
Kieron Westwood and Wes Brown were both handed debuts by Steve Bruce in Sunderland’s 2-1 win. Stephane Sessegnon grabbed his third goal in four matches and new signing Connor Wickham found the net for the first time in a Black Cats shirt. Phil Bardsley started at right-back but was withdrawn after 35 mins with an adductor muscle problem, though Bruce later told the club’s website the player should be back training within a couple of days.
Steve Bruce started the game with Connor Wickham partnering Asamoah Gyan up front. Kieran Westwood made his second start for the Black Cats since his summer move from Coventry, with eight summer signing taking some part in the match. Nothing more than a continuation of Sunderland’s fitness build-up, the match was played at half pace due to the heat and Titus Bramble gave away the only goal, handing Jay Rodriguez the chance to score from the spot after felling the Burnley striker in the box.
Steve Bruce gave his starting XI the full 90 minute run-out in the Ritchie Humphreys testimonial. Wes Brown started at left-back and Phil Bardsley on the right, with Elmohamady ahead of Bardsley on the wing. Nobby Solano put Hartlepool ahead after just 6 minutes but the visitors, inspired by Stephane Sessegnon and Seb Larsson, soon took control. Asamoah Gyan levelled the scores and looked a danger throughout. Jack Colback put the visitors ahead just after half-time and Larsson sealed it nine minutes later with his first goal for his new club wraping up an impressive individual display.
With Steve Bruce having split the squad into two for matches played over consecutive days, Eric Black oversaw a XI make light of neighbours Darlington. Jordan Cook put the Black Cats ahead before two new completed the scoring. Craig Gardner slammed home a 20 yeard free-kick before Ji Dong-Won -playing up front in a 4-4-2 alongside Connor Wickham- grabbed the third on 65 minutes.
Despite their dominance, Sunderland left Easter Road with a goalless draw. Stephane Sessegnon was once again the game’s dominant attacking force, both as a creative and goal threat. Seb Larsson also came close for the visitors as Steve Bruce’s side failed to make their chances pay. Phil Bardsley started at right-back with Wes Brown at centre-half but an injury to Kieron Richardson saw Bardsley move to the left and Elmohamady take up the space vacated.
Most Recent Lineup vs Hibernian: Mignolet, Bardsley, Richardson (Elmohamady, 56), Ferdinand, Brown, Colback, Larsson, Cattermole (Turner, 64), Gardner (Vaughan, 64), Gyan (Dong-Won, 64), Sessegnon (Wickham, 72).
Form Players: Sessegnon, Larsson
|July 16 vs Neath 0-1|
|July 16 vs Port Talbot 3-1 Beattie, Rangel, Cornell|
|July 23 vs Afan Lido 2-0 Beattie, Lucas|
|July 27 vs Inter Baku 3-1 Sinclair, Dyer, Moore|
|August 3 vs Celtic 2-0 Rangel, Dobbie|
|August 6 vs Real Betis 1-0 Graham|
Brendan Rodgers split his squad for two friendlies in Wales to get Swansea’s pre-season rolling. A 1-0 defeat to Neath supplied few talking points other than debuts for Swans new boys Danny Graham and Steven Caulker. The 3-1 win over Port Talbot meanwhile saw Ferrie Bodde make a return to the Swans lineup after a long absence with a knee injury. Bodde later suffered a hamstring twinge and was substituted as a precaution. Goals form Craig Beattie, Angel Rangel and David Cornell sealed the victory.
The Swans continued their pre-season with a comfortable 2-0 win over Afan Lido on the eve of their trip to Austria. Craig Beattie got on the scoresheet once again, while youngster Lee Lucas notched the second goal as Brendan Rodgers opted to mix youth and experience in this game. The second-half lineup looked strong with the defence in particular close to a likely starting lineup come the opening game of the season – Spurs Loanee Steven Caulker lining up alongside Ashley Williams as Garry Monk missed out through injury.
Brendan Rodgers named a strong line-up for the match against Inter Baku. Angel Rangel provided plenty menace from full-back and his crossing fed new signing Danny Graham with a couple of real chance, though the striker was perhaps unlucky to hit the woodwork. Scott Sinclair opened the scoring in the second half and Nathan Dyer added a second before Rodgers made nine changes on the hour mark. Swansea’s move to three at the back allowed their opponents to pull one back before Luke Moore clinched the game soon after.
Swansea controlled the majority of the game against Celtic. Many of Brendan Rodgers’ summer signings made their Liberty Stadium bow, with Danny Graham unlucky not to pen his home account. Scott Sinclair also went close a couple of times before Angel Rangel score a rebound from the winger’s direct free-kick. Scott Dobbie, a late sub, grabbed the second to seal an impressive home performance.
Most Recent Lineup vs Real Betis: Moreira (Tremmel 45), Rangel (Alfei, 90+1), Tate, Williams, Taylor, Britton (Allen 45), Agustien (Orlandi 86), Dobbie (Routledge 45), Dyer (Gower, 71), Sinclair (Moore, 71), Graham (Lita, 71)
|July 16 vs Kaizer Chiefs 0-1|
|July 19 vs Orlando Pirates 1-1 – Van der Vaart|
|July 23 vs Orlando Pirates 3-0 Van der Vaart (2), Defoe|
|July 26 vs MK Dons 5-3 Pavlyuchenko (2), Kane (2), Krancjar|
|July 29 vs Leyton Orient 4-1 Crouch (2), Cuthbert (og), Kranjcar|
|July 30 vs Brighton 3-2 Kaboul, Corluka, Livermore|
|August 6 vs Athletic Bilbao 3-2 Crouch, Defoe|
Spurs suffered defeat in their first encounter of their South African tour, falling foul of a dramatic Kaiser Chiefs winner with 3 minutes left on the clock. The Spurs starting lineup gave opportunities for fringe players to impress with David Bently, Niko Kranjcar, Alan Hutton and Jermaine Jenas all in the eleven. The likes of Rafael Van der Vaart, Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon all appeared for the second-half with Bale in particularly looking influential. His efforts could not prevent a shock late winner for the hosts however.
Luka Modric was given the armband by Harry Redknapp in a much-changed lineup as Spurs earned a 1-1 draw in their clash with Orlando Pirates. It was Rafael Van der Vaart who reminded of his quality in this one – his stunning 25-yard deadball strike gave Spurs the lead before they were pegged back to see out a second-half littered with changes from both sides.
Harry Redknapp’s side gained their first win of the pre-season and the Vodacom Challenge title in the process as they met Orlando Pirates for a second time, earning a 3-0 win. Van der Vaart was again the protagonist for Spurs with a brace either side of half-time; Jermain Defoe finding also finding the net as the South African’s failed to take their chances and to make a game of it.
Steven Pienaar, Kyle Walker, Peter Crouch and Heurelho Gomes all made their first appearances of the summer in this one as Redknapp again shuffled things, making a host of changes at half-time and in the second period.
Back on home shores, Spurs win at MK Dons was most notable for the performance of Niko Krancjar. Playing in central midfield, the Croatian made three assists and scored a superb 35 yard volley in his team’s victory. Roman Pavlyuchenko also showed good form, grabbing Tottenham’s opening two goals. Kranjcar was to continue his strong form in the 4-1 win over Leyton Orient that followed – the Croatian finding the net again to accompany a brace from Peter Crouch and an Orient own-goal.
Redknapp’s side then had the honour of opening Brighton’s new Amex Stadium, spoiling the party by clawing back an early deficit to claim a 3-2 win. Goals from Younes Kaboul, Vedran Corluka and Jake Livermore won the day for Spurs, but a first-half injury to Rafael Van der Vaart was a worrying sidenote. As yet, there’s no details on the exent of the injury from the Tottenham camp – presumably the Dutchman was withdrawn as a precaution.
Spurs came back from a goal down to defeat Atletico Bilbao. Harry Redknapp started with a 4-1-4-1, stationing Tom Huddlestone in front of the back-four. Steven Pienaar limped off just before the end of the first forty-five, replaced by Luka Modric in central midfield. The hosts ended the first half a goal down and Redknapp resultantly rang the changes after half time. Six players were replaced as Tottenham reverted to a 4-4-2 and within eight minutes, they were ahead- Peter Crouch netted from a Gareth Bale cross on 50 minutes and just 3 minutes later, Jermaine Defoe fired home after being set up by Aaron Lennon. Niko Krancjar missed a penalty midway through the second half and both Bale and Lennon were unlucky not to add to the hosts’ tally.
Most Recent Lineup vs Atletico Bilbao: Gomes (Friedel, 46); Corluka (Walker, 46), Dawson, Bassong (Kaboul, 46), Assou-Ekotto; Huddlestone (Bale, 46); Lennon (Livermore, 80), Jenas (Defoe, 46), Pienaar (Modric, 24), Kranjcar; Pavlyuchenko (Crouch, 46)
Form Players Van der Vaart, Krancjar
|July 12 vs San Jose Earthquakes 1-2 – Thomas|
|July 17 vs Ventura County Fusion 4-2 – Dorrans, Cox, Brunt, Bednar|
|July 20 vs Portland Timbers 3-2 – Morrison, Tchoyi, Tamas|
|July 26 vs Rochdale 0-3|
|July 27 vs Southampton 2-2 – Cox (2)|
|July 30 vs Bristol City 1-0 Dawson|
|August 4 vs Olympiakos 2-2 Dorrans, Thomas|
|August 7 vs Parma 1-1 Tchoyi|
West Brom’s pre-season stuttered out of the blocks as they lost 2-1 to San Jose Earthquakes on the first game of their American tour – compounded only by the 90-yard goal scored by the home keeper inside three minutes. Bo Myhill’s hopes of nabbing the keeper’s jersey following the departure of Scott Carson took a dip then with Roy Hodgson continuing his search for a new stopper. West Brom had the greater chances and can feel unfortunate to only walk away with the early second half Jerome Thomas goal as recompense for their efforts.
Graham Dorrans made the perfect recovery from injury by doing what he does best – flighting a free kick into the net after only a few minutes. The Baggies then fell behind before the half was over and the swathe of second half substitutes were entrusted to get the score back on their side. Chris Brunt and Simon Cox did this in prompt fashion before Roman Bednar made it four and done.
Somen Tchoyi put his best foot forward by playing up front for the Baggies and causing all sorts of questions to be asked in the West Brom camp as to whether his future may in fact lie at the fore of affairs – if he keeps up appearances, we may see an FPL out of position bargain at 5.5. We’ll have our eyes on that as West Brom return home for their remaining pre-season games.
As for the game in question, West Brom found themselves down but not out – despite being two goals down after over and hour and then missing a penalty. James Morrison made up for his poor spot kick duties before the aforementioned Tchoyi put the game at even stevens. The pair continued to pepper to Timbers goal but it was Gabriel Tamas firing home a 30 yard belter in injury time putting a full stop on the West Brom tour of America.
Having fielded a team of youngsters and reserves the previous night at Rochdale, Roy Hodgson sent out a stronger starting line-up at St Mary’s. The likes of Graham Dorrans and Simon Cox were joined by new signing Billy Jones for the Baggies and it was Cox who stole the show, grabbing both his side’s goals in a worthwhile run out.
Ben Foster played his first game for the Baggies since his loan move from Birmingham. Foster had an immediate impact, helping the side record their first clean sheet of pre-season. Somen Tchoyi continues to be played further forward by Roy Hodgson, fielded just behind Peter Odemwingie in a 4-4-1-1. Sub Craig Dawson headed home the game’s only goal with 2 minutes remaining.
Roy Hodgson made eight changes from the previous game for the trip to Olympiakos. The Baggies fared well in the sweltering heat and despite twice going behind, came back through Graham Dorrans and Jerome Thomas. Interestingly, Gonzalo Jara was employed in a right midfield role, though West Brom were missing many regulars.
The Baggies went into their final pre-season game without Odemwingie who was still struggling with an ankle knock. Reid and Thomas were also sidelined, along with new signing Zoltan Gera. Roy Hodgson was hopeful that all four would be available for the season opener, although Gera faces a suspension for the first three matches. The match itself saw West Brom snatch a draw with Somen Tchoyi, once again employed up front, providing the goal of what has been an impressive pre-season.
Most Recent Lineup vs Parma: Foster (Fulop 67); Jara Reyes, Tamas, Olsson, Shorey (Mattock 45); Morrison (Fortune 71), Mulumbu, Scharner (Thorne 45), Dorrans (Cox 54); Brunt; Tchoyi.
Form Players: Tchoyi, Thomas, Cox
|July 15 vs Ostersunds FK 2-1 – Moses, Boselli|
|July 24 vs Al Ain 0-0|
|July 26 vs Barrow 1-2|
|July 27 vs Al Ahli 2-0 – Moses (2)|
|July 31 vs Preston North End 3-1 McCarthy, Moses, Boyce|
|August 7 vs Villarreal 1-0 Moses|
Mauro Boselli got up to his old tricks again – producing the goods in pre-season. Haivng returned from a six-month loan spell with Genoa, the Argentinian produced a fine solo goal to wrap up a 2-1 win over Ostersunds in the Latics’ first pre-season friendly. Victor Moses had earlier given Roberto Martinez’ side the lead.
The Latics finally got their pre-season proper underway with a 0-0 stalemate against AL Ain from the United Arab Emirates, the side “who have just won the Middle East equivalent of the Champions League” according to Wigan’s official site. Roberto Martinez put out a starting XI that significantly did not include Charles N’Zogbia who has not travelled to Austria for their pre-season tour. Victor Moses was handed the left-wing berth in his absence and was the one bright spark from an otherwise tepid Wigan performance.
Wigan’s 2-1 loss at Barrow saw Roberto Martinez field a young and inexperienced team as the Latics continued their pre-season build-up. With no first-team players particiapting, little should be looked into the result.
With Charles N’Zogbia nearing towards the exit door, Victor Moses demonstrated just what an able replacement he will prove to be. Moses grabbed both his side’s goals in a hard-fought victory and has now scored three in pre-season.
Victor Moses once again took centre stage for Wigan, setting up an opener for James McCarthy within sixty seconds against Preston. The youngster put the Latics two ahead after only eight minutes and despite their hosts pulling one back, Moses set up Emmerson Boyce for the third on the half hour mark. Roberto Martinez used a total of nineteen players for the run-out, but there’s no doubt who the star man was, as Moses continued his scintillating pre-season form. Priced at 5.0 in Fantasy Premier League (FPL), the winger is putting himself firmly in the frame as a real low-price midfield option.
Moses was again Wigan’s key man as they ended their pre-season with an impressive 1-0 win over Villareal in their final pre-season clash. Moses converted a Di Santo pass to earn the Latics the win and looked lively throughout. Roberto Martinez did come out of the game with one signficant injury concern ahead of the opener with Norwich – he suffered an ankle knock.
Most Recent Lineup vs Preston: Al Habsi (Kirkland 45), Boyce (Stam 72), Lopez, Figueroa, Caldwell, Watson (Thomas 62), McCarthy, Gomez (Dicko 84), Moses, Diame (Jones 62), Di Santo (Sammon 45)
Form Players Moses
|July 16 vs Crewe Alexandra 1-2 – Doyle|
|July 19 vs Walsall 3-2 – Kightly, Griffiths, Berra|
|July 23 vs Notts County 1-1 – Jarvis|
|July 27 vs Celtic 2-0 – O’Hara, Twardzik (og)|
|July 30 vs Ipswich Town 2-1 Hunt, Ebanks-Blake|
|August 6 vs Real Zaragoza 2-1 Elokobi, Fletcher|
Roger Johnson made his Wolves debut in their opening summer encounter with Crewe but suffered defeat on his debut. Two late goals in either half got the better of Mick McCarthy’s men, despite a superb Kevin Doyle goal in between which looked likely to earn them a share of the spoils. The Wolves boss choose to include Johnson in the same linup as Christophe Berra – perhaps a hint at the likely centre-back pairing come the start of the season; this is very much undecided however and we will hopefully get a stronger picture of McCarthy’s thinking as the pre-season progresses.
Michael Kightly celebrated a new one-year deal at Molineux by opening the scoring for Wolves in their 3-2 win at Walsall. Kightly was given a start on the flank with Stephen Hunt patrolling the other flank as Mick McCarthy again mixed his starting XI. Leigh Griffiths and Christophe Berra were the other scorers for the Premier League side.
Wolves suffered at the hands of a late equaliser as they had to be content with a 1-1 draw at Notts County in their next friendly encounter. Matt Jarvis had earlier given Mick McCarthy’s side the lead form a Jamie O’Hara assist. The former Spurs man caught the eye in his first pre-season showing – Ronald Zubar and Steven Fletcher also made their first appearances of the summer in this one as Wolves failed to turn their superiority in to goals, only to pay the price late on.
Mick McCarthy selected a strong Wolves side for the visit to Parkhead. Summer signings Roger Johnson and Jamie O’Hara were the most impressive performers, with the former a rock in the heart of defence. O’Hara showed his set-piece capabilities when firing the visitors ahead on 27 minutes and with Johnson marshalling the back-four, Celtic could not find a way through. An own goal late on sealed victory for the Midlands outfit.
Mick McCarthy rang the changes from Wolves away win over Celtic, with Stephen Hunt captaining the side and Dorus De Vries replacing Wayne Hennessey in goal. Big Mick went on to make nine changes on the hour and despite going 1 down, Wolves fought back through Hunt and a penalty from Sylvain Ebanks-Blake to keep up their winning ways.
Wolves ended their pre-season with a 2-0 win over Real Zaragoza. The Molineux victory is their third on the trot and Mick McCarthy’s side will head to Blackburn next week with plenty confidence. Big Mick sent out a 4-4-2 with Kevin Doyle partnering Steven Fletcher up top and with Jamie O’Hara integral to their play in central midfield, they eventually made their goal threat pay. George Elokobi gave the home side the lead just before the hour mark before Fletcher added the second just six minutes later in what was a thoroughly impressive performance for the Midlands side
Most Recent Lineup vs Real Zaragoza: Hennessey (De Vries 80), Zubar (Doherty 88), Ward (Elokobi 45), Henry (Davis 88), Stearman (Berra 45), Johnson (capt) (Craddock 66), Jarvis (Forde 72), O’Hara (Milijaś 62), Doyle (Maierhofer 54), Fletcher (Keogh 72), Hunt (Hammill 58).
Form Players Doyle, O’Hara, Johnson