The Barclays Premier League comes of age as Season 21 kicks off.
The Barclays Premier League in England is one of the most high-profile domestic competitions in the world, and though their latest move is a fair one in protecting their own interests, it will be seen as one with a huge feeling of self-importance by the league, as they work with outside companies to confirm the shutdown of 30,000 sites illegally streaming games from the competition.
Confirming that the 30,000 were blocked off in the duration of last season (2011-12), the Premier League claims that it managed to stop an average of 75 streams of each fixture played (with the 20 teams playing against each other twice, this amounts to 28,500 streams blocked from 380 games).
The 2012–13 Premier League (known as the Barclays Premier League for sponsorship reasons) will be the 21st season of the Premier League since its establishment in 1992. The fixture schedule was released on 18 June 2012. The season is scheduled to begin on 18 August 2012 and end on 19 May 2013.
Manchester City are the defending champions, having won the previous 2011–12 Premier League season. The season will feature 17 teams from the 2011–12 Premier League and three new teams promoted from the 2011–12 Football League Championship: Reading, Southampton and West Ham United who replace relegated Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Barckays Permier League News: The Teams Latest News Prewiew
SATURDAY 18 AUGUST
Arsenal v Sunderland
Arsenal will assess England forward Theo Walcott (thigh) ahead their Premier League opener against Sunderland.
Midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (ankle) and defender Laurent Koscielny (calf) will both miss out having withdrawn from the midweek internationals.
Summer signing Santi Cazorla will be monitored after his trip to Puerto Rico with Spain, while Lukas Podolski is expected to lead the attack following the sale of Robin van Persie to Manchester United.
Midfielder Jack Wilshere (ankle) continues his rehabilitation from an ankle injury as does defender Bacary Sagna (broken leg).
Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill could hand a start to new striker Louis Saha.
Saha joined on a one-year deal this week after he was released by Tottenham and is likely to feature with striker Stephane Sessegnon an injury doubt (ankle).
Wes Brown (knee ligaments), Phil Bardsley (ankle) and David Vaughan (surgery) are all set to miss out.
Arsenal squad: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Vermaelen, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Song, Arteta, Cazorla, Gervinho, Podolski, Walcott, Fabianski, Santos, Diaby, Rosicky, Ramsey, Coquelin, Arshavin, Giroud.
Sunderland squad: Westwood, Mignolet, Cattermole, Larsson, Gardner, Campbell, Wickham, Richardson, Kilgallon, Colback, O’Shea, Ji, Meyler, Bramble, McClean, Elmohamady, Saha, Cuellar
Fulham v Norwich City
Norwich are hopeful midfielders Wes Hoolahan (Achilles) and Anthony Pilkington (hamstring) will be in the squad for the trip to London
Summer signings Steven Whittaker (ankle) and Jacob Butterfield (knee) will miss out, but Robert Snodgrass and Michael Turner should feature.
Javier Garrido is awaiting international clearance on his season loan from Lazio, so may not be available.
Midfielder David Fox (knee) and defender Elliott Ward (leg) continue their rehabilitation.
Squad: Ruddy, Tierney, R Bennett, Turner, Martin, Pilkington, Johnson, Howson, E Bennett, Holt, Morison, Rudd, Barnett, Hoolahan, Lappin, Surman, Jackson, Snodgrass, Vaughan, Garrido
Qpr v Swansea
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup is to make a late decision on the availability of Scott Sinclair.
Sinclair has told the club he will not sign a new contract at the Liberty Stadium and is set to be sold, but Laudrup is keen to select the winger if he feels mentally ready to feature.
New signings Michu, Chico Flores, Jonathan de Guzman and Itay Shechter are all set to make their debuts while Kyle Bartley is also available after joining from Arsenal on Thursday.
Defender Garry Monk is set to miss out with a back problem.
Swansea squad: Vorm, Taylor, Flores, Tate, Williams, Britton, Orlandi, Michu, Graham, Sinclair, Dyer, Routledge, Shechter, Lita, Moore, De Guzman, Rangel, Tremmel, Agustien, Gower, Richards, Bartley, Davies.
Reading v Stoke City
Robert Huth could play for Stoke despite spending most of last week in hospital with viral meningitis.
The central defender is keen to be involved, but the Potters will assess him and winger Jermaine Pennant, who is struggling with a thigh strain, ahead of the clash at the Madejski Stadium.
New signings Michael Kightly and Jamie Ness could make their debuts but defender Geoff Cameron will not rejoin the squad until next week after having to stay in the US to sort out his visa.
Stoke squad: Begovic, Sorensen, Huth, Shawcross, Upson, Higginbotham, Wilkinson, Shotton, Wilson, Whelan, Whitehead, Etherington, Pennant, Delap, Palacios, Jones, Jerome, Crouch, Walters, Sidibe, Ness, Kightly
West Bromwich Albion v Liverpool
West Brom manager Steve Clarke could be left counting the cost of the midweek international friendlies ahead of the visit of Liverpool.
Scotland’s James Morrison (ankle) and Sweden defender Jonas Olsson (minor knock) both returned from playing for their countries with slight injuries and are being assessed ahead of the weekend’s match.
New signing Markus Rosenberg is unlikely to be fit in time while midfielder Graeme Dorrans remains on leave with his daughter in hospital due to meningitis. Striker Shane Long is available despite missing the Republic of Ireland’s match with Serbia.
Liverpool’s new signings Fabio Borini and Joe Allen could both be given a debut against the midlanders.
Striker Borini is pushing for a start having impressed in pre-season since arriving from Roma last month, although midfielder Allen may have to settle for a place on the bench having only joined from Swansea a week ago.
Midfielder Joe Cole has recovered from a hamstring injury sustained in the Europa League qualifier against FC Gomel in Belarus earlier this month.
West Brom squad: Foster, Myhill, Reid, Olsson, Yacob, Ridgewell, Morrison, Long, El Ghanassy, Brunt, Thomas, Allan, Jara, Lukaku, Mulumbu, Gera, McAuley, Odemwingie, Dawson, Jones, Tamas, Fortune.
Liverpool squad: Reina, Johnson, Agger, Skrtel, Enrique, Gerrard, Lucas, Allen, Downing, Suarez, Borini, Jones, Doni, Kelly, Carragher, Coates, Henderson, Shelvey, Spearing, Adam, Sterling, Carroll, Cole.
West Ham United v Aston Villa
Jack Collison will miss West Ham’s Premier League opener against his former club..
The 23-year-old Collison played a key part in the Hammers’ promotion via the play-offs but aggravated an existing knee injury in the process, which has seen him miss pre-season.
Fellow Wales international Collins is fit again after a groin injury, while manager Sam Allardyce revealed his summer signings from overseas, Alou Diarra and Modibo Maiga, will not start.
Aston Villa summer signing Brett Holman has shaken off a knee problem and the midfielder is included in the squad.
Other newcomers, central defender Ron Vlaar, right-back Matthew Lowton and midfielder Karim El Ahmadi, are also in contention to play at Upton Park.
However, striker Gabriel Agbonlahor (knee), defender Richard Dunne (groin) and winger Marc Albrighton (foot) are still sidelined for manager Paul Lambert’s first competitive match in charge.
West Ham quad: Jaaskelainen, Henderson, Demel, Tomkins, Collins, Reid, McCartney, O’Brien, Potts, Spence, Diarra, Diame, Noble, Taylor, O’Neil, Nolan, Vaz Te, Maiga, Maynard, Cole.
Aston Villa squad: Given, Guzan, Lowton, Lichaj, Stevens, Vlaar, Clark, Baker, N’Zogbia, Bannan, Holman, El Ahmadi, Ireland, Herd, Gardner, Delph, Bent, Weimann, Delfouneso, Warnock, Hutton
Newcastle United v Tottenham
Wantaway playmaker Luka Modric is expected to be left out of Tottenham’s squad for Andre Villas-Boas’ first match in charge
The Croatian, who is close to sealing a transfer to Real Madrid, has not played all summer after refusing to go on the club’s pre-season tour of the United States and Spurs will not risk him getting injured in tomorrow’s game.
Jan Vertonghen and Gylfi Sigurdsson are likely to make their debuts, but Scott Parker is out with an Achilles problem.
Tottenham quad: Friedel, Gomes, Cudicini, Kaboul, Gallas, Dawson, Walker, Assou-Ekotto, Bassong, Vertonghen, Caulker, Naughton, Bale, Huddlestone, Lennon, Van der Vaart, Rose, Livermore, Sandro, Bentley, Jenas, Sigurdsson, Carroll, Townsend, Dos Santos, Defoe, Kane.
SUNDAY 19 AUGUST
Wigan Atletic v Chelsea
New signing Ivan Ramis is Wigan’s leading fitness doubt ahead of their season-opener with Chelsea on Sunday.
The Spanish centre-half, a £4million summer arrival from Real Mallorca, has a hamstring strain and heads two concerns for manager Roberto Martinez, with the other being James McCarthy (back).
Striker Victor Moses is in the squad despite interest from Chelsea, while Fraser Fyvie, Arouna Kone and Ryo Miyaichi are all in line for debuts.
Wigan squad: Al Habsi, Alcaraz, Caldwell, Crusat, Watson, Di Santo, Maloney, Moses, Pollitt, Gomez, McManaman, McArthur, McCarthy, Boyce, Sammon, Jones, Boselli, Fyvie, Ramis, Beausejour, Stam, Lopez, Golobart, Kiernan, Dicko, Miyaichi.
Manchester City v Southampton
City manager Roberto Mancini will run the rule over Jack Rodwell in training before deciding the extent of the midfielder’s potential iagainst Southampton at the Etihad Stadium.
Rodwell, troubled by hamstring problems in recent times, could make his City debut in the clash with the Saints, a week on from the confirmation of his move from Everton.
Mancini will also assess the fitness of goalkeeper Joe Hart, who could return after missing the 3-2 Community Shield victory over Chelsea due to a back complaint, while defender Micah Richards (ankle) and midfielder Gareth Barry (abdominal problem) are definitely ruled out.
Manchester City squad: Hart, Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Kompany, K Toure, Lescott, Savic, Clichy, Kolarov, Milner, De Jong, Johnson, Nasri, Y Toure, Silva, Dzeko, Aguero, Tevez, Balotelli, Rodwell
MONDAY 20 AUGUST
Everton v Manchester United
Howard, Hibbert, Heitinga, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Neville, Gibson, Pienaar, Barkley, Fellaini, Osman, Naismith, Jelavic, Mucha, Francisco, Gueye, Vellios, Anichebe, Duffy, McAleny, Coleman.
Everton squad: Green, Cerny, Fabio, Ferdinand, Hill, Onuoha, Nelsen, Connolly, Derry, Park, Taarabt, Hoilett, Diakite, Dyer, Wright-Phillips, Johnson, Zamora, Ephraim, Cisse, Mackie