Confirmed: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain pens new long-term Liverpool deal

Premier League giants Liverpool have this evening confirmed that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has put pen-to-paper on a new contract.

Reds stint

English international Chamberlain has been on the books of Liverpool for two years now, having made the move to Anfield from Arsenal in the summer of 2017.

The Ox’s spell on Merseyside, though, has since proven far from straightforward.

After being shifted in and out of Jurgen Klopp’s starting XI over the course of his debut campaign, a Cruciate ligament rupture picked up by the 26-year-old during a Champions League clash in April of 2018 eventually resulted in Chamberlain spending almost a full year on the sidelines.

The midfielder has since only recently returned to full fitness, leading to a pair of starts in Liverpool’s last two outings, versus Chelsea and Southampton.

Chamberlain’s impressive showing in the middle of the park versus the latter, meanwhile, resulted in widespread excitement amongst the Reds’ faithful, regarding the different dimension added to their side’s midfield when the Southampton youth product is fit and firing.

Southampton’s Malian midfielder Moussa Djenepo (L) vies with Liverpool’s English midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (R) during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on August 17, 2019.

Ox staying put

Liverpool’s supporters, though, are evidently not the only ones eagerly anticipating the contribution of a fit-again Chamberlain.

As confirmed across the club’s social media platforms and official website a short time ago, the Anfield giants have today moved to tie the Ox down to fresh terms.

The versatile Englishman has penned a new long-term deal on Merseyside, reportedly set to carry through until 2023:

Speaking after committing his future to Liverpool, Chamberlain explained:

‘It’s really exciting for me to be able to sign. Hopefully I can put in some good performances to make amends for not being around last year.’

‘You’ve got to count your blessings every time you get an opportunity like this. I am really excited to be able to extend my time here.’

‘I can promise the supporters that I’ll give them absolutely everything moving forward.’

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Marco Silva provides Digne, Iwobi & Delph updates ahead of Everton’s trip to Aston Villa

Everton manager Marco Silva has this evening provided fitness updates on a number of his side’s stars.

Aston Villa vs Everton

The Toffees are set to travel to Villa Park tomorrow night, for their 3rd outing of the new season.

Everton currently sit in 9th-place in the Premier League table, having picked up 4 points from their opening two fixtures.

After being held to a 0-0 stalemate by Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park two weeks ago, the Merseysiders subsequently secured their first win of the campaign last time out, versus Watford.

Bernard’s first-half strike eventually proved the difference between the sides, in a tight affair at Goodison Park.

Digne boost, Delph misses out

Key to Everton’s solid start to the season, as evidenced by the scorelines from their two clashes to this point, has been the club’s sturdy backline.

Michael Keane and Yerry Mina look to be forming a solid partnership at the heart of the Toffees’ defence, with Seamus Coleman as reliable as ever down the club’s right flank.

Everton’s star stopper, and perhaps star performer full stop as things stand, though, is Lucas Digne.

As such, it came as a major blow when the French international was forced off with an injury concern during the club’s win over Watford last time out.

Digne’s potential involvement this weekend had since remained up in the air, with fans of the Merseyside outfit having no doubt been sweating over the fitness of the former Barcelona man.

Marco Silva, though, has this evening moved to alleviate such fears.

Speaking in a press conference in anticipation of his side’s trip to Villa Park, the Everton boss confirmed that Digne is fit to feature from the off.

Fabian Delph, though, is set to miss out:

On the potential involvements of summer signings Djibril Sidibe and Alex Iwobi, meanwhile, Silva added:

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Arsenal boss Unai Emery on possibility of Nicolas Pepe starting vs Liverpool

Unai Emery has this evening provided an update on Nicolas Pepe’s chances of earning a first competitive start for the club.

Liverpool vs Arsenal

The Gunners are set to travel to Anfield this weekend, for a top-of-the-table Premier League clash.

With two rounds gone in the new season, Arsenal and Liverpool are the only sides with perfect records still intact.

Jurgen Klopp’s Reds currently occupy top spot on goal difference, following wins over Norwich and Southampton.

Arsenal, meanwhile, have put Newcastle and Burnley to the sword over the course of the last two weeks.

The latter of these wins, meanwhile, saw a number of the north Londoners’ new signings take centre stage. Chief among these was Dani Ceballos, with the Real Madrid loanee having dominated proceedings in the middle of the park throughout Arsenal’s victory over the Clarets.

David Luiz, meanwhile, also largely-impressed in his first start since arriving from Chelsea.

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 17: Joe Willock of Arsenal celebrates his teams first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Burnley FC at Emirates Stadium on August 17, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images)

‘Ready to have more minutes’

Arsenal’s most prominent summer addition, however, in the form of Nicolas Pepe, was forced to make do with being introduced off the bench for the 2nd week straight.

The Ivorian attacker showed glimpses of his explosive qualities during his 45 minute spell on the pitch versus Burnley, with calls since beginning to mount for Pepe to be handed his starting debut.

As such, speaking in a press conference this evening, Unai Emery was inevitably questioned on the possibility of the club-record signing featuring from the off at Anfield on Saturday evening.

And, though he stopped short of confirming as much, the Arsenal boss hinted that Pepe is indeed inching towards a first start:

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Mohamed Salah slams VAR & confirms his role in the Liverpool XI before Arsenal

Watford confirm Troy Deeney surgery before West Ham

Watford have this evening confirmed that captain Troy Deeney is set to be sidelined over the coming weeks, after being forced to undergo a knee operation.

Watford vs West Ham

Javi Gracia’s men are set to welcome West Ham to Vicarage Road this weekend, as the Hornets look to put a dismal beginning to the campaign behind them.

As things stand, Watford sit rock bottom of the Premier League table.

After falling to a shock 3-0 defeat at home to Brighton on opening day, the Hertfordshire outfit were then put to the sword by Everton last weekend.

As such, a win against fellow strugglers West Ham (picked up a solitary point from their opening two outings) on Saturday afternoon would come as a timely boost in getting Watford’s European aspirations back on track.

Deeney crocked

If the Hornets are to get off the mark in two days’ time, though, they will have to do so without the services of their captain.

In an official statement on the club’s website a short time ago, Watford confirmed that Troy Deeney underwent minor knee surgery earlier today, with the hitman now set for ‘several weeks on the sidelines’:

‘The operation, conducted by surgeon Sam Church, was successful and everyone at Watford FC wishes Troy well for a speedy recovery.’

Speaking on the back of Deeney’s successful operation, Javi Gracia explained:

‘We will miss Troy because he is a very important player for us. But I know he will be supporting us in the next games. I am looking forward to seeing him back as soon as possible.’

West Ham team news vs Watford: Winston Reid out, Jack Wilshere is fit

Arsenal team news vs Liverpool: Mesut Ozil & Granit Xhaka may return, 5 players out injured

Sheffield United team news vs Leicester: John Fleck a doubt & a George Baldock update

Sheffield United vs Leicester

After two matches in the Premier League, Sheffield United are unbeaten and up into eighth.

The Blades kicked off their season drawing 1-1 draw at Bournemouth.

Last weekend Sheffield United picked up their first win of the season against Crystal Palace.

As for Leicester, it’s been a slower start with two draws against Wolves and Chelsea.

John Fleck a doubt, Callum Robinson looks OK

Chris Wilder has confirmed that midfielder John Fleck is a major a doubt for the Leicester game.

27-year-old Fleck sustained a hamstring injury against Crystal Palace. Wilder told the press:

We’ve got a doubt about John Fleck for the weekend… We’ll give John as much time as possible.

Callum Robinson was also subbed out of the Palace game with a knock.

However the Sheffield United boss confirmed that Robinson has trained all week and look “OK” for Leicester.

A word on George Baldock

As some Fantasy Premier League managers may know, there’s a mini buzz right now around George Baldock.

Baldock is labelled as a defender in FPL, however he’s been playing further up the pitch this season.

On Baldock’s role in the Blades setup, Wilder said:

George is a player who has worked extremely hard away from the lights and credit goes to the staff too.

But the player has to have that attitude too, and George has that. I thought Sunday was his best performance for the football club.

Wilder also expanded on the versatility in his squad:

Luke [Freeman] plays a number of positions, Ben Osborn plays a number of positions, [Chris] Basham does, [John] Lundstram does. That gives us the ability to cover injuries, suspensions and loss of form.

Also see: Arsenal team news vs Liverpool: Mesut Ozil & Granit Xhaka may return, 5 players out injured.

Alisson & Naby Keita: Liverpool’s early team news vs Arsenal.

West Ham team news vs Watford: Winston Reid out, Jack Wilshere is fit

Watford vs West Ham

Both Watford and West Ham came into the season with high hopes.

However, after two rounds of the campaign, West Ham are 16th and Watford are bottom.

The Hammers picked up a point at Brighton after a 5-0 loss to Man City.

Watford have fallen to Brighton and Everton, and the Hornets haven’t scored yet this season.

Winston Reid remains sidelined

In a positive update from Manuel Pellegrini in his press conference on Thursday, he confirmed that everyone in the squad is fit save for Winston Reid.

Reid has been sidelined for 17-months with a knee problem.

While he’s returned to training, West Ham are easing him back into the fold without taking any risks.

Will Jack Wilshere feature against Watford?

While Pellegrini said that the rest of his squad is fit, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are match fit.

On Jack Wilshere, for example, the West Ham manager said:

Jack Wilshere is coming back from a long injury and his minutes will be managed.

Pellegrini also noted that the same is true for Carlos Sanchez and Andriy Yarmolenko.

We hope, with every game, [they] will improve.

Felipe Anderson, Sebastien Haller & Mark Noble

Regarding other possible changes to West Ham’s XI against Watford, Felipe Anderson, Sebastien Haller and Mark Noble are back in contention.

The trio were all absent last weekend against Brighton.

However, Haller would need to dislodge Chicharito after he scored against the Seagulls.

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Our 🦊 in the 📦 👌

A post shared by West Ham United (@westham) on Aug 17, 2019 at 2:27pm PDT

Also see: Norwich vs Chelsea betting tips: Premier League match preview & predictions.

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Man United’s early team news vs Crystal Palace: Mason Greenwood may start amongst other changes

Manchester United vs Crystal Palace

Last season Crystal Palace drew 0-0 at Man United in the Premier League.

However, ahead of Saturday’s clash at Old Trafford, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side seem to be strong favourites for the win.

It’s been a poor start to the season for the Eagles, who have yet to score in the league.

A 0-0 draw against Everton was followed by a 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United.

Man United opened their season beating Chelsea 4-0. On Monday, United drew 1-1 at Wolves.

Man United’s early team news

Ahead of the match against Crystal Palace, Man United have released team news on their website on Thursday.

Arguably the headline news for the Red Devils is that there are no fresh injury concerns in the squad.

Eric Bailly and Timothy Fosu-Mensah are both sidelined with knee problems. Fans are told:

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will hopefully go into Manchester United’s Premier League home game at Old Trafford against Crystal Palace on Saturday with no new injury concerns.

Could Man United rotate their XI vs Crystal Palace?

Several hints are dropped in the Man United update about possible changes to the XI this weekend.

Regarding midfielder Andreas Pereira, it’s written he “could return to the line-up”.

Anthony Martial started in attack against Wolves, however United could alter their forward-line too:

Juan Mata and Mason Greenwood, who have come on as substitutes in both of our games so far, will hope to make a case to start.

Will Alexis Sanchez be involved?

Rumours are flying about linking Alexis Sanchez with a possible move to Inter Milan.

Yet, from Man United’s point of view, Sanchez should be focused on the Eagles:

Alexis Sanchez, who arrived back late after spearheading Chile’s charge to the Copa America semi-finals, may also stake a claim for a place in our matchday squad, despite Solskjaer having to fend off speculation linking him with a move.

Also see: Why Paul Pogba won’t be Man United’s penalty-taker vs Crystal Palace.

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Oleksandr Zinchenko faces competition as Man City’s Benjamin Mendy set for Bournemouth return

Bournemouth vs Manchester City

On Sunday at the Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth take on reigning Premier League champs Man City.

Bournemouth are seventh in the standings after two matches.

After a 1-1 draw against Sheffield United, the Cherries won 2-1 at Aston Villa last time out.

Man City, meanwhile, dropped two points against Tottenham in a 2-2 last weekend.

The Sky Blues beat West Ham 5-0 in week one.

Benjamin Mendy set for Bournemouth return

As reported in the Times on Thursday, Benjamin Mendy could make a surprise return for Man City on the south coast:

Benjamin Mendy could make his return from injury on Sunday when Manchester City play away to Bournemouth.

Mendy, the 25-year-old left back, took part in his first full training session with Pep Guardiola’s squad in more than four months yesterday.

Mendy has struggled with injuries for the majority of his career in Manchester.

Most recently, the French defender has been sidelined since April with a knee problem.

 

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Gettin’ that werk ⁣ ⁣ #mancity

A post shared by Manchester City (@mancity) on Aug 21, 2019 at 9:48am PDT

What does Mendy’s return mean for Oleksandr Zinchenko?

Oleksandr Zinchenko is currently selected by 11.5% of all teams playing Fantasy Premier League.

However, news of Mendy’s possible return to action could mean that Zinchenko may soon drop out of Man City’s XI.

Zinchenko has been filling in at left-back, and it’s unclear which player Pep Guardiola would favour if both are fully fit and available.

Last week, Guardiola revealed what Mendy has to do to dislodge Zinchenko out the XI:

What I want is for Benajmin to be fit, to be ready for training sessions in a week, or the week after.

And afterwards his specific qualities will help us. When he has played, he has played good.

But he needs to play – he has been almost two years out, came back, and after out, and we need him for our movement, our rhythm for many things we want to do.

The first target is be fit rather than to play. To train regularly for a month then he has a chance to play.

Is Zinchenko injured?

In the final stages of last weekend’s match against Tottenham, Zinchenko required medical treatment on the pitch.

After the match Zinchenko confirmed he was suffering from cramp against Spurs.

The assumption is that Zinchenko should be fully recovered for the Bournemouth match.

Also see: Antonio Conte takes Chelsea to court again as Inter Milan struggle to sign Man United’s Alexis Sanchez.

Romelu Lukaku suggests he was one of three scapegoats at Man United.

Solskjaer to be allowed full £75m from Lukaku sale to spend in January – Sun

Lukaku departs

Romelu Lukaku spent two seasons at Manchester United after his big-money move from Everton.

Lukaku had a somewhat up and down time in Manchester with his 2018/19 campaign particularly disappointing.

In 45 games across all competitions last season, the forward scored just 15 goals.

Whilst it’s not a terrible return, it wasn’t really good enough for a striker playing in a top-six side.

After struggling for form at United, particularly under OGS, Lukaku left the club in the summer transfer window.

Sky Sports News reported that Lukaku signed a five-year deal with Inter with the Italian outfit said to be paying around £73m for the Belgian’s services.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 02: Romelu Lukaku of Manchester United reacts after the Group H match of the UEFA Champions League between Manchester United and Valencia at Old Trafford on October 2, 2018 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Solskjaer’s January funds

Now, the Sun is reporting that the money United earned from Lukaku, which the Sun put at £75m, will be available to Solskjaer in January if he needs to bolster a top-four challenge.

According to the report from the Sun, Solskjaer is still said to be keen to bring in a creative midfielder and he will asses the situation in the winter window.

While it is not mentioned by the Sun, United could perhaps consider bringing in an out and out right-winger in January.

Daniel James and Jesse Lingard are capable of playing in said spot and Marcus Rashford has also done so on a few occasions. But United don’t really have a true right-winger.

 

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So much sauce Which of #Martial’s 50 #MUFC goals is your favourite? 🤩

A post shared by Manchester United (@manchesterunited) on Aug 21, 2019 at 7:34am PDT

Related: Man United played Sheffield United in a behind closed doors game on Tuesday. Here’s what happened

Why Paul Pogba won’t be Man United’s penalty-taker vs Crystal Palace

Fantasy Premier League 2019/20 Gameweek 3: Three in, three out

Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 3 kicks off on Friday the 23rd of August at 8:00 pm UK time when newly-promoted Aston Villa host Everton.

Gameweek 3 will end on Sunday the 25th of August with Tottenham hosting Newcastle and Wolves hosting Burnley.

So, all of your transfers for GW3 need to be done by 7:00 pm UK time on Friday.

But if you are struggling to choose who to sign and who to sell this week, here are some tips.

Three in including Tottenham forward

Harry Kane (11.0)

Harry Kane has, in the past, struggled for form in the August of Premier League seasons.

However, the Englishman hit the ground running in his opening game, bagging a brace vs Aston Villa.

Granted, Kane did not score or assist last weekend but in Kane’s defence, he was away to Manchester City.

This week though, Kane is at home to Newcastle United.

The Magpies were smashed 3-1 by newly-promoted Norwich last weekend and if they are in similar form on Sunday, Kane could have a field day.

Raheem Sterling (12.1)

Raheem Sterling is already staking a claim to be the best player on FPL in 2019/20.

The Manchester City standout has already bagged four goals in his opening two league games.

One of those goals came against Tottenham, showing Sterling is capable of delivering in big games as well.

The attacker will face Bournemouth at their ground in game week 3.

Bournemouth have not had a great start to their new season.

Eddie Howe’s side drew their opening game vs Sheffield United and only just saw off Aston Villa this past weekend.

Man City also have a superb record against Bournemouth.

Since they won promotion back to the Premier League, Bournemouth have lost all eight of their league outings against the Sky Blues.

As a result, it is likely Sterling will once again be among the goals this weekend.

It is also probably worth considering Sterling as your captain this week.

Antony Martial (7.6)

With Romelu Lukaku now at Inter Milan, the task of providing the goals for Manchester United looks to have fallen to Anthony Martial.

The Frenchman has been given the number nine shirt this season and has started their opening two PL fixtures through the middle.

Martial has so far delivered for United, scoring against both Chelsea and Wolves.

However, while United are playing Martial as a strike, FPL have him down as a midfielder.

As a result, you are getting the points of a midfielder but he is playing up top.

A midfielder gets one extra point for every goal they score, five compared to the four given to a striker.

The Red Devils also have a fairly easy game this week. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side host a Crystal Palace side who are without a win in the league in 2019/20.

Three out including Liverpool defender

Virgil van Dijk (6.5)

Given Virgil van Dijk is one of the top centre-backs in the Premier League and maybe the world, selling him may seem a bit odd.

However, including the Community Shield and European Super Cup, Liverpool are yet to keep a clean sheet in their first four games of the new season.

Jurgen Klopp’s side came close vs Southampton but Adrian gifted the Saints a goal with a silly error.

Adrian could start again this weekend when Liverpool face Arsenal.

Given Unai Emery’s side have the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette at their disposal, a Liverpool clean sheet doesn’t look that likely.

If you have Andy Robertson or Trent Alexander-Arnold in your side you may want to hold on to them as they are also good at getting points from assists. But VVD looks less appealing with Liverpool yet to keep a clean sheet this season.

 

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3 points! #YNWA 😁

A post shared by Virgil van Dijk (@virgilvandijk) on Aug 17, 2019 at 10:33am PDT

Josh King (6.5)

Bournemouth were a dream club for FPL fans last season.

Josh King, Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser were all great cheap options throughout 2018/19.

While King is still cheap, Bournemouth haven’t been in great form so far this season and their next game is a much tougher test than their previous two.

The Cherries host Man City and as mentioned above, Bournemouth haven’t beaten City since they were last promoted to the PL.

 

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3 points in the bag✅ A BIG thanx to the travelling fans yesterday

A post shared by Joshua King Jr. (@iamjoshuaking) on Aug 18, 2019 at 2:19am PDT

Ayoze Perez (6.5)

Like Martial, Ayoze Perez looked an appealing pick at the start of the season as he was a midfielder on FPL but looked set to be deployed further up the pitch.

While Perez has been playing pretty high up for Leicester, he has yet to get off the mark for the Foxes.

Perez was subbed off in Leicester’s last game for Marc Albrighton and Brendan Rodger’s side looked much better after that change.

As a result, Perez could well find himself dropped to the bench in GW3.

See also: Manchester United FPL mini-league revealed: Chris Smalling is top, Daniel James is last

Nuno Santo gives Wolves squad update ahead of Torino