Mikel Arteta explains how close Arsenal came to losing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta admits he was unconvinced that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would sign a new contract when he first took charge at the Emirates Stadium.

Aubameyang signed a new three-year deal last week to end months of speculation over his future, with his previous contract due to expire next summer.

The 31-year-old has hit 72 goals in 111 appearances for the Gunners, including a brace in the 2-1 FA Cup final win over Chelsea last month.

Now the Arsenal captain has committed to the club for another three years despite rumoured late interest from the likes of Barcelona.

Arteta often had to bat away questions surrounding the status of contract talks with Aubameyang but became increasingly positive the Gabon striker would stay.

However, ahead of Saturday’s Premier League visit of West Ham, Arteta conceded he was not quite as sure of Aubameyang’s future when he was appointed as Unai Emery’s successor back in December.

The Gunners boss spoke to Auba about his future, saying he can 'have a legacy' in north London – a word that sat well with the forward
Mikel Arteta and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

“To be fair at the start when I joined, I wasn’t as positive as I was in the last few weeks,” he said.

“Obviously, financially we were in a position that it was difficult to get where we wanted to get. I think Auba had his doubts as well at the time but things evolved in a natural way.

“I had the feeling that the club wanted to move forward, I had the feeling that Auba wanted to stay here and we were just trying to apply those things together and that sometimes takes time.

“But the outcome is what we both wanted so we are happy.”

While Aubameyang has stayed put, Arsenal sold goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez to Aston Villa on Wednesday.

Martinez had enjoyed a fine end to last season as he replaced the injured Bernd Leno for the closing weeks of the campaign but was dropped in favour of the Germany international for last week’s opening day win at Fulham.

Mikel Arteta’s Gunners have been starved of title glory for a while now – but things could be changing as a new-look Arsenal side plot a course to success.

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New signings Willian and Gabriel Magalhaes both hit the ground running against Fulham but Mikel Arteta is still on the lookout for new signings. Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar and Brentford keeper David Raya are two of the names on their radar.

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Villa paid a reported £20million for Martinez as Arteta said the sale could help fund new signings.

“We have to find some balance between what we want to achieve with the squad and our finances, and it gets to a point where you have to make a decision whether to achieve certain things you have to sacrifice others,” he said.

“But time will tell whether we are weaker or not. Obviously the recruitment we are planning to do to try to get our second goalkeeper hopefully will bring us a really good performance level.”

Arteta also suggested a change in expectations from Martinez, given he had finally made it into the Arsenal side having joined 10 years ago, led to a situation where neither he nor Leno would be happy to warm the bench.

“I was very clear with both of them that it wasn’t a one and a two, they had to compete for their place like any other position in the team,” he said.

Aubameyang scored against Fulham

“To be fair, Bernd was superb before he got injured at Brighton and Emi was absolutely excellent with all the games he played and how much he helped us win the trophies.

“But at the end of the day that created a big competition, some big expectations from both of them and we had to deal with that.

“We were really open and trying to have those discussions, in the end Emi had a really good offer and it was very suited for what he wants to achieve long-term and short-term and we allowed him to leave the club.”

The PA news agency understands a deal to sign Dijon goalkeeper Runar Alex Runarsson is close, while Brentford’s first-choice David Raya also continues to be linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium.



Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits Man Utd's transfer window is not going as planned

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United are “working hard” to bring in new faces as their season gets under way amid a backdrop of discontent.

After a promising first full campaign as Old Trafford manager, the chances of improving on last season’s third-placed Premier League finish and three cup semi-final appearances look set to be hampered by a lack of business.

Solskjaer knows better than most what it takes to win trophies at United, who have come under criticism for only bringing in Donny van de Beek as their well-document pursuit of Jadon Sancho stalls.

Borussia Dortmund’s €120million (£108m) asking price is a key issue and Solskjaer refused to speak about the England international, saying “you know I can’t say anything about other clubs’ players out of respect to them”.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with new signing Donny van de Beek

The United boss’ refusal to speculate did, though, come with understanding about growing fan frustration and an appreciation of supporters’ passion as they wait for the club to act before the October 5 deadline.

“Of course I want players in the building that we want to work with and who want to be a part of it, and who want to be here,” Solskjaer said ahead of Saturday’s clash at home to Crystal Palace.

“You need the quality on the pitch. You also need the personal qualities but you also really want to be here, and you need to show that you want to be here.

“That’s really important for us as a group, that we move forward.

“It’s not as big a pool (as potential options) as for other clubs because being part of Man United and being good enough for Man United is one thing, then you’ve got another club who probably want to keep that type of player of that quality.

“My focus is us, of course. You see other clubs, what they do. They put a challenge up for us. Our response has to be results. That’s the response.

“We can be best at the things that don’t cost anything – the culture here, the training, the coaching, getting fitter.

Manchester United are looking to plot their path back to the top. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has already brought in Donny van de Beek but Jadon Sancho remains Manchester United’s number one target.

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“But, yeah, we’re looking at a small pool of players that can add to the quality of our team and let’s see what we can do. The club are working hard and I understand that they are working hard.”

Asked if the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic has had an impact, Solskjaer said: “I think you can’t ignore the impact of the coronavirus.

“I think that’s really changed the market. It happened more or less in that period where maybe negotiations would happen.

“Of course the financial uncertainty of that has added on the difficulty of predicting where we’re at.

“You want always to have as long as possible with players.

“I think last season, though, shows that good players can adapt and get into a group quickly.

“Harry (Maguire) came in very late in the transfer window and he had a great impact on the performances in the team.”

Bruno Fernandes is another that hit the ground running after arriving late in a transfer window last season, but Solskjaer has also previously made clear that he would like business done as quickly as possible.

“Well, you know, when we sit down and we discuss and we have plans, sometimes it doesn’t happen as planned,” Solskjaer said. “Life isn’t a straight line here. Sometimes things happen.

United want to sign Jadon Sancho

“I’ve always said, these players…I’m very happy to work with them.

“Of course, I’m not going to take anything away from them either because we have to go into this season confident with how we did towards the end of the season.

“We need that consistency, of course, to start with. That’s key. And transfers, there’s still a few weeks left of the transfer window. It might happen that we get someone in.

“I’ve worked with the club and they know what I feel this team and the squad needs. Let’s see if we can add to what we have.

“But the ones who are here have really taken a step forward and done themselves favours to be in the squad, moving forward.”



Andy Robertson plays down Chelsea's chances despite £200m overhaul

Chelsea may have made a splash in the transfer market this summer, but it will not shake the confidence of Liverpool ’s title defence.

That is the message from defender Andrew Robertson, as the two sides go head to head tomorrow, in the first clash of the titans of what promises to be an epic battle this season.

Until they struck a deal with Bayern Munich for Thiago Alcantara, the Anfield club were the picture of caution in the window.

Chelsea ’s indifference to economic logic during the Covid crisis has turned the transfer market upside down, prompting their rivals to respond.

The Reds are still eclipsed by the £200m-plus spending of tomorrow’s rivals, but according to Robertson, Liverpool’s belief in the talent within their squad means they will fear no one.

“You can surround yourself with how other clubs are run and how other clubs are doing business but it does not matter what other clubs are doing if we are focused on Liverpool.

Kai Havertz is among those to have signed for Chelsea

“We have shown over the last two or three years our squad depth is good and when called up everyone steps up. If we do that again and avoid injuries we will be competitive.

“We will do our business on the pitch. Maybe over the years Liverpool fans would have been desperate for a squad like this – one that can compete for trophies, and we have done it for three years.

“Now it is about doing it for many more years. Whether we fall short or we win is to be seen, but we will give 100 percent effort with 100 percent quality. It is up to us to do it again.”

Liverpool are keen to repeat last season’s success – and you don’t want to miss a thing, surely?

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Liverpool got their title defence off to a shaky start as they edged out a seven-goal thriller against Leeds.

In terms of transfers the Reds have completed the signing of Thiago Alcantara, while Wolves’ Diogo Jota is next on their radar. Youngster Ki-Jana Hoever is set to head to Wolves in a £10million deal, while Gini Wijnaldum continues to be linked with Barcelona. There’s a lot to keep track of.

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Robertson has written a book about last season’s incredible journey. All proceeds from sales of ‘Robbo: Now You’re Gonna Believe Us’ will go towards the Scotland captain’s newly formed charity, AR26, which aims to give underprivileged kids a chance in life.

“That is one of the main reasons I did it. To know I can make a difference and help kids who are not as fortunate as others. Hopefully the money raised can make a big difference,” he explained.

But he is not convinced Chelsea’s money will make a difference this season.

Liverpool have signed Thiago Alcantara

“I think every season we’ve been questioned. When we lost the Champions League final everyone thought ‘will they be back’.

“We went into the next season winning the Champions League and just falling short in the Premier League but even then people said ‘if they didn’t beat them this season, they’re never going to beat Man City’.

“The following season we went and proved it. We’ve got doubters again. If we are the so-called underdogs again then we enjoy being underdogs.

“From 17/18 or even when the gaffer first came in before that, he had his own plan, his own journey, and we have gone on that. It is not finished.”

*Robbo: Now You’re Gonna Believe Us is on sale now in hardback and ebook. Audiobook coming soon



Timo Werner opens up on decision to sign for Chelsea over Liverpool

Timo Werner has admitted he held talks with Liverpool over a potential transfer but opted for Chelsea as they were “a better fit”.

The German striker completed his £53million switch to Stamford Bridge back in June after months of speculation over his future.

Liverpool were the reported favourites for his signature for much of the period of uncertainty until Chelsea swooped in and stumped their rivals.

The cost of the deal is believed to have forced Liverpool out of the running, but Werner insists his preference was to join Chelsea anyway.

“In another world, it could have happened,” he told The Athletic . “If LFC call, you have to listen and think about it.

Timo Werner admitted he held talks with Liverpool but chose Chelsea instead
Timo Werner admitted he held talks with Liverpool but chose Chelsea instead

“They are one of the best teams on the world, with a super coach — a German coach to boot.

“Of course you think about that. But in the end, my decision went Chelsea’s way.

“Not because there was anything wrong with Liverpool. But at Chelsea, the whole package was a better fit for me.”

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Werner is now set to face off against Liverpool in only his second competitive appearance for Chelsea on Sunday.

The 24-year-old made his debut in the 3-1 win over Brighton last week, winning his side a penalty to open the scoring.

There were concerns over whether he would be fit in time for the clash with Liverpool after picking up a suspected dead leg in the collision with Brighton keeper Matt Ryan, but Werner is expected to start the encounter.

How will Werner fare against Liverpool? Have your say below.

Werner will now face Liverpool on Sunday after making his debut against Brighton
Werner will now face Liverpool on Sunday after making his debut against Brighton

He dismissed any suggestion he would be looking to show Liverpool what they missed out on when the two sides meet though, stating that would be the “wrong approach”.

Liverpool have since moved on and look to have found a suitable alternative for Werner in Wolves star Diogo Jota.

The forward is expected to complete a permanent transfer to Liverpool imminently in a deal worth around £45million.

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Man Utd switch attentions to Liverpool transfer target as Sancho alternative

Manchester United are reportedly turning their attentions to Watford’s Ismaila Sarr after Liverpool opted against signing the forward.

Sarr was a target for the Premier League champions but Watford’s valuation forced Liverpool to move for Wolves ‘ Diogo Jota instead.

The Hornets were demanding £40million for their star man – a similar fee to the one taking Jota to Anfield, though Liverpool are paying just a fraction of it up front.

Their ability to land Jota for a small initial financial outlay has left Sarr on the market with United now looking to pounce.

According to The Independent , United representatives have already made contact with over a potential deal.

United have made enquiries over the potential signing of Sarr
United have made enquiries over the potential signing of Sarr

Sarr was the standout performer in Watford’s team last season, with his two-goal display against Liverpool the perfect showcase of his talents.

The 22-year-old’s ability to play on either flank appeals to United, who were desperate to land Sancho for the same reason.

Despite United’s efforts the Sancho deal looks to be off the table with Borussia Dortmund increasingly confident they will keep him for at least another season.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has urged the club’s fans to be patient and judge their summer business at the end of the window, but conceded things had not worked out as hoped.

Who do you think United will sign before the transfer deadline? Have your say below.

Porto's Alex Telles is said to have agreed a five-year deal with United
Porto’s Alex Telles is said to have agreed a five-year deal with United

“Sometimes it doesn’t happen as planned,” Solskjaer told a press conference on Friday. “Life isn’t a straight line here. Sometimes things happen. There’s still a few weeks left on the transfer window.

“It might happen that we get someone in. I work with a club and they know what I feel this team and the squad needs. Let’s see if we can add to what we have.”

United also missed out on the signing of Sergio Reguilon who is poised to join Tottenham.

Porto’s Alex Telles has been identified as a suitable alternative, with United already said to have agreed terms over a five-year deal with the left-back.

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Where Liverpool's 9 central midfielders stand under Klopp after Thiago transfer

Liverpool’s transfer saga of the summer is now over, but where does that leave them?

The Reds’ signing of Thiago Alcantara is one that had been anticipated for some time, and now the deal has been done then the Premier League champions have some quite staggering depth in midfield.

Jurgen Klopp has as many as nine players he could call upon to start a game in there, but just who are they and how likely are they to get a spot in the team under the German?

With the notable omissions of the more attacking Takumi Minamino, Xherdan Shaqiri and Harry Wilson – Minamino and Shaqiri are usually used off the left and right respectivly, while Wilson will probably leave – here’s the state of play for Liverpool’s midfielders.

The shiny new one: Thiago Alcantara

He walks among us

After weeks and weeks of refreshing every web page they could find with even the slightest bit of Reds information on it, plenty of Liverpool fans finally got the news they were waiting for on Thursday.

Klopp has been infamously patient with new signings in the past so it will be interesting to see when Thiago slots into the team, but the excitement around the deal is real and it is justified.

He might be treated carefully when he comes in, but once he’s up to speed he could be incredible to watch.

The one that shines: Fabinho

Fabinho impressed when he came on against Leeds

The man dubbed Liverpool’s ‘lighthouse’ by Pep Lijnders hasn’t always been too illuminating of late, but when he’s on his game there are very few better players in the world at doing what he does.

A surprise omission from the starting line-up against Leeds – likely a punishment for below-par pre-season – Fabinho did nonetheless come on and win the decisive penalty.

He’ll start more games for Klopp than he doesn’t, starting with Chelsea on Sunday.

The one you’re a bit puzzled by: Gini Wijnaldum

Wijnaldum is still likely to have a prominent role to play this season

When a footballer is doing well for a club they get rewarded with a new contract, right? And if a contract isn’t offered then that player has to leave, don’t they? Not necessarily.

Things would change if Barcelona came to the table with a serious offer, but as it stands there are no issues between Klopp and Wijnaldum, who is still an important player for the team.

It is a fluid situation, but right now there’s every possibility that the Dutchman stays, sees out the final year of his contract and all parties shake hands next summer.

The one you’re waiting for: Naby Keita

Keita started the Leeds game before being replaced in the second half

Pre-Thiago it was the Keita transfer saga of 2017 which was getting Reds fans hot under the collar, only for the Guinean to sign a pre-contract and turn up a year later to find a Reds team that had changed the way they play.

That coupled with injuries have made for a stop-start career which has looked very promising when in the start mode, only to quickly stall.

Thiago’s signing could be viewed as bad news for him but it probably shouldn’t, and he’ll have ample opportunities to play either in a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1.

The one you want to keep around the place: James Milner

Milner is Liverpool’s vice-captain

Milner has made fewer and fewer appearances for the Reds in each of his last three seasons, and it might be a stretch to see him top 2019/20’s 37 games this time around.

But his place in the squad is still a hugely worthy one.

Klopp wants to keep the 34-year-old – who has a contract until 2022 – around the squad as he helps set the standards, and you can expect some more cameos from him across the season, even if it was a surprise that he didn’t come on against Leeds.

The legendary one: Jordan Henderson

Henderson came straight back into the team against Leeds

A Champions League and Premier League winning captain is certainly a thing to be, and it was no surprise to see Henderson put straight into the Liverpool team for the Leeds game despite having no pre-season to speak of.

The Reds have sometimes faltered in his absence, and it is his tempo-setting prowess which is so vital to the side, and ensures that he will always be one of the first names on Klopp’s teamsheet, certainly for the bigger matches.

The one you can move: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Oxlade-Chamberlain would like to play in the centre but may be needed out wide

No-one remembers it now but Oxlade-Chamberlain turned in a wonderful performance in midfield in the Champions League last-16 defeat at home to Atletico Madrid, but he might just find that that was one of his final chances in a position he has often said he wants to play in.

He’s since featured more in the front three, and with a possible right-sided role in the 4-2-3-1 formation up for grabs then he might find himself out there more often than not.

That’s when he’s on the pitch of course, as his fitness and availability issues still linger.

The one who should have gone by now: Marko Grujic

Grujic once scored for the Reds in front of a full house against Barcelona at Wembley… in a friendly

You get the sense that the real effect of coronavirus on the transfer market can be seen in players like Grujic, who all of a sudden it is difficult to price up in these times.

The Reds want £20million for him as Hertha Berlin weigh up signing him on a permanent deal after two loan stints, but surely a compromise fee will be reached and he’ll be moved on.

The one you’ll see a lot of: Curtis Jones

Jones was turned to from the bench in the Leeds game

The status of Jones within the first-team group was underlined when he came on against Leeds, and he’s sure to get plenty of game-time this season across the four competitions Liverpool are in.

The staff have seen something in the local lad, and he looks like being an important player for Klopp.

He offers something different and it is genuinely exciting to watch him develop right now.

There should be so much more to come.



Leeds vs Fulham kick-off time, TV and live stream information

Leeds’ first Premier League game for 16 years was a humdinger, as Marcelo Bielsa’s side equalised three times against champions Liverpool before eventually slipping to a 4-3 defeat.

Now, they play their first match at Elland Road this season, their first top flight game at home since a 3-3 draw with Charlton in May 2004.

Their opponents are another newly-promoted side, Fulham.

Scott Parker’s men are also without a point after the opening day, being soundly beaten 3-0 by Arsenal at Craven Cottage on the opening day of the season.

What time is Leeds vs Fulham?

Jack Harrison shoots and scores for Leeds against Liverpool
Jack Harrison scored Leeds’ first Premier League goal since 2004 when he fired home the first equaliser against Liverpool

Four Premier League games will be played on Saturday, and Elland Road will host the second of those games at 3pm.

Beforehand, the third side to have come up from the Championship over the summer, West Brom, go to Everton for the day’s 12.30pm kick-off.

Afterwards, Man Utd host Crystal Palace at 5.30pm before Arsenal entertain West Ham at 8pm.

Leeds vs Fulham TV channel and live stream

Fulham manager Scott Parker walks off the pitch after his side's 3-0 defeat to Arsenal
Fulham manager Scott Parker will be wanting his team to bounce back away at Leeds

Leeds’ first Premier League match at Elland Road for 16 years will be shown on BT Sport.

The broadcaster will be showing the match on BT Sport 1 and Ultimate, straight after Everton vs West Brom at 12.30pm.

BT Sport matches are not shown on free-to-air TV, so fans will need to pay.

Subscribers will also be able to stream the match through the BT Sport app.

Leeds vs Fulham odds

Leeds players celebrate after scoring against Liverpool
Leeds will be after their first Premier League victory since April 2004

Leeds won friends, admirers and tributes galore last weekend at Anfield – but still lost the match.

But the bookies make them big favourites to pick up all three points against fellow Premier League new boys Fulham.

Leeds are 8/13 with thepools.com while Fulham look over-priced at 17/4, although Scott Parker’s side was lucky to get in in last weekend’s opener against Arsenal.

Leeds won last season’s corresponding fixture 3-0 and Leeds half-time Leeds full-time looks appealing at 6/4.

Odds collected from thepools.com and are subject to change.



Arsenal vs West Ham kick-off time, TV and live stream information

There were contrasting fortunes for Arsenal and West Ham on the opening day of the Premier League season.

The Gunners brushed aside newly-promoted Fulham 3-0, while David Moyes’ side slipped to a 2-0 defeat at home to Newcastle.

Now it’s a second London derby in two matches for Arsenal as they welcome the Hammers to the Emirates.

Willian impressed on his Arsenal debut last weekend, setting up two goals; one for fellow new boy Gabriel and another for captain and talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The visitors will be wanting to put last weekend’s disappointment behind them, though it’ll be a tough ask against a Gunners side full of confidence.

What time is Arsenal vs West Ham?

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta issuing instructions to his players
Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side got off to the perfect start to the season last weekend

The London derby between Arsenal and West Ham is the fourth and final Premier League game being played on Saturday.

Kick-off is at 8pm, straight after Manchester United vs Crystal Palace which gets underway at 5.30pm.

Earlier in the day, Everton host West Brom at 12.30pm, before Leeds take on Fulham at Elland Road at 3pm.

Arsenal vs West Ham TV channel and live stream

Arsenal's Gabriel, second left, celebrates with teammates after scoring on his debut for the club
Will we see Arsenal celebrating again on Saturday evening?

Sky Sports ’ Main Event and Premier League channel will be showing Arsenal vs West Ham, and follows on from Sky’s coverage from the 5.30pm kick-off at Old Trafford.

The match will not be on free-to-air TV, so fans will need to pay to watch the game.

Those with Sky Sports or Now TV subscriptions can stream the game through Sky Go or Now TV apps.

Arsenal vs West Ham odds

West Ham's Declan Rice looks dejected during his side's defeat to Newcastle
It was a tough night for West Ham against Newcastle last weekend

Arsenal won well on the opening day, West Ham lost woefully – so thepools.com odds of 8/15 for a Gunners win and 5/1 for The Hammers are understandable.

West Ham couldn’t trouble the Newcastle rearguard in their opening match so Arsenal to win to nil at a generous 6/4 with thepools.com looks tempting.

In the previous five meetings at the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal have scored 12 goals, and we feel they will run riot while keeping a clean sheet on Saturday evening. And bank on early goal.

The opener was netted by the 21st minute on average at the Emirates last season, the earliest such stadium average in the PL. In fact only twice was the first match goal scored after half-time. Arsenal half-time Arsenal full-time is 5/4.

Odds collected from thepools.com and are subject to change.



Man Utd vs Crystal Palace kick-off time, TV and live stream information

Manchester United’s Premier League season finally gets underway on Saturday, a week after everybody else.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were given an extra week off due to their run to the Europa League semi-finals last month.

Midfielder Donny van de Beek could make his Man Utd debut, following his £40million move from Ajax earlier this month, in a midfield packed with attacking talent.

Visitors Crystal Palace arrive at Old Trafford off the back of a 1-0 win over Southampton on the opening day of the season, thanks to a goal from former Utd winger Wilfried Zaha.

What time is Man Utd vs Crystal Palace?

Donny van de Beek could make his Man Utd debut after signing from Ajax
Donny van de Beek could make his Man Utd debut after signing from Ajax

Kick-off at Old Trafford is at 5.30pm on Saturday.

It’s the third of four Premier League games being played on Saturday, following on from Everton vs West Brom (12.30pm) and Leeds vs Fulham (3pm) earlier in the day.

Saturday’s Premier League action is rounded off by West Ham ’s trip across London to Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal for a match that gets underway at 8pm.

Man Utd vs Crystal Palace TV channel and live stream

Former Man Utd winger Wilfried Zaha, right, celebrates scoring Palace's only goal with teammates in their 1-0 win over Southampton on the opening day
Former Man Utd winger Wilfried Zaha, right, scored Palace’s only goal in their 1-0 win over Southampton on the opening day

Man Utd fans can watch their side’s first fixture of the 2020/21 season on Sky Sports.

The 5.30pm match will be shown on the Main Event and Premier League channels, with coverage starting half an hour before kick-off.

Fans will need to pay as the game isn’t on free-to-air TV.

Those who do pay can then stream the match, either through Sky Go or Now TV apps.

Man Utd vs Crystal Palace odds

Marcus Rashford in action for Manchester United
Marcus Rashford will be looking to score another 20+ goals for Man Utd this season

According to the bookies United only need to turn up to win, priced at a prohibitive 1/3 with thepools.com while Palace, who let’s not forget won their opening fixture against Southampton, are a huge 17/2.

The bookies probably aren’t far wrong with this one – but don’t forget United haven’t kicked a competitive ball since August 16.

But Palace will need more than ring rustiness to help them. They relied heavily on goalkeeper Vicente Guaita against The Saints, while United have won their opening game in each of the last five seasons.

Three of those victories have been to nil and United at Evens via that route is the recommended bet.

Odds collected from thepools.com and are subject to change.



Liverpool's Diogo Jota transfer will have long-term implications for Klopp

Liverpool are in for the long haul when it comes to paying for Diogo Jota.

The Reds snapped up the Portugal international in a shock transfer that seemed to happen in the matter of hours.

On a whirlwind of a Friday at Anfield, Thiago Alcantara was signed from Bayern Munich.

Many had expected this eventually but the Reds ramped up their efforts this week after submitting a bid and agreeing personal terms.

But if that took people by surprise, shortly after it emerged that Wolves had sold Jota for £45m to Liverpool.

The deal makes him the fourth most-expensive player the Premier League champions have ever signed.

Diogo Jota has joined Liverpool

Only Virgil van Dijk, Alisson and Naby Keita cost more – but Liverpool managed to get themselves a good deal in today’s market.

According to The Athletic, Wolves have allowed the Reds to pay just 10 per cent of the guaranteed fee over the next 12 months.

And most of that has already been paid off by the fact they signed young Ki-Jana Hoever on the same day from Liverpool.

The rest of the money will be paid over the next few transfer windows and this has been crucial for negotiations.

Jurgen Klopp had made a move for Watford star Ismaila Sarr but they would not budge from their lump sum demand of £40m.

However, Wolves were happy to come to the bargaining table and were keen on selling Jota, The Athletic further report.

Liverpool have forked out just 10 per cent of the £45m fee

The former Atletico Madrid star was not part of the squad that beat Stoke 1-0 in the Carabao Cup.

For all of Liverpool’s apparent haste, the 23-year-old has actually long been on the club’s radar.

Scouts first took notice two years ago and had been making reports since.

Liverpool are keen to repeat last season’s success – and you don’t want to miss a thing, surely?

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Liverpool got their title defence off to a shaky start as they edged out a seven-goal thriller against Leeds.

In terms of transfers the Reds have completed the signing of Thiago Alcantara, while Wolves’ Diogo Jota is next on their radar. Youngster Ki-Jana Hoever is set to head to Wolves in a £10million deal, while Gini Wijnaldum continues to be linked with Barcelona. There’s a lot to keep track of.

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And close contact has been held with Jota’s agency, who are the same as Fabinho’s – who was signed in 2018.

Klopp is a big fan of the attacker for a number of reasons including his work-rate, ability to press, versatility along the frontline and his clinical nature in front of goal.

Prior to his move to Merseyside, Jota scored 44 times in 131 appearances for Wolves.