Premier League Preview: Arsenal vs. Leicester City

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  • Lacazette expected to debut for Gunners up top
  • Arsenal must cope with various injuries (Alexis, Ozil, Ramsey)
  • Arsenal leads all-time series 64-44-29
  • Foxes last defeated Gunners in league play in 1983

It’s the day we’ve been waiting for! Premier League action is back on Friday as Arsenal hosts Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium to kick off the 2017/18 campaign. (Watch live at 2:45 p.m. ET Friday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The biggest news for both sides heading into the opener is injuries, and Arsenal’s long list of absentees could play into Leicester’s favor on opening night.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey are just three of Arsene Wenger‘s tabbed starters that will likely miss the clash against the Foxes due to respective injuries, while Leicester’s biggest loss is midfielder Danny Drinkwater.

Meanwhile, Laurent Koscielny is suspended for the PL’s first match of the season.

What they’re saying

Arsenal Wenger on Alexis’ injury“He had a scan two days ago and he’s out for a while – we don’t know if it is two weeks or one more week, but he will not be available. For us, Alexis Sanchez is a loss, of course. But we have all the other players prepared in pre-season and they are all ready. It can happen in pre-season and anyway, I don’t think I would have included him on Friday night. I don’t think I would have started him.

“He is focused. Of course when you have treatment on a medical bench, it’s not easy.”

Craig Shakespeare speaks about importance of a potentially historic win“The Premier League is the most competitive league in the world and Arsenal are one of the best clubs in it, year after year they’ve shown their consistency. We haven’t been able to beat them yet but there’s always a first time and it would be nice to think it would be Friday night. The players are champing at the bit to get started.

“It will be difficult, with the quality of their players, their fan base and the money that they can spend, but that’s the Premier League.”

Prediction

Teams aren’t at their best when the season starts, and with Arsenal missing so many key figures in their lineup it may be difficult to stop Jamie Vardy and Co. in the Leicester attack. We’ll pick the upset here to start the PL season off right. Arsenal 1-2 Leicester

Liga MX wrap: Xolos beats Chivas as Apertura begins

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Liga MX’s Apertura season is off and running with all 18 clubs partaking in a match this weekend.

[ MORE: Marketing Pulisic with BVB ]

Club Tijuana 2-1 Chivas Guadalajara

Scoreless at the half, the weekend’s marquee match sprang to life in the final 45. Juan Martin Lucero gave TJ a 54th minute lead before Jose Van Rankin knotted it up five minutes later.

Lucero assisted Jose Rivero’s 75th minute winner, which was helped in its status when Michael Perez took a red card in the 80th.

Cruz Azul 3-0 Puebla

Elias Hernandez scored a goal and added an assist, and Milton Caraglio put one of his five shots on goal into the net. Andres Renteria also scored in the win.

Tigres 2-0 Leon

Andre-Pierre Gignac scored, and Lucas Zelarayan marked a goal and an assist in the win.

Elsewhere
Necaxa 2-1 Club America
Toluca 2-0 Morelia
Santos Laguna 2-1 Lobos BUAP
Pachuca 0-1 Monterrey
Veracruz 0-2 Pumas UNAM
Atlas 0-0 Queretaro

Report: Colorado acquires USMNT mid Acosta for Badji

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The West’s first place team is switching it up in a big way.

FC Dallas is sending Homegrown Player and USMNT midfielder Kellyn Acosta to Western foes Colorado Rapids in exchange for striker Dominique Badji, according to a report by The Dallas Morning News.

[ MORE: Pulisic rips up Liverpool ]

Acosta, 22, has 17 caps and a goal for the U.S., and is primarily a defensive midfielder. He’s also played right and left back.

He’s appeared 139 times for Dallas, scoring 13 times with nine assists, but had fallen out with head coach Oscar Pareja. He’s also struggled mightily on the field, according to WhoScored.

Badji, 25, has seven goals and three assists in 16 matches for the Rapids this season, building on an eight-goal, five-assist campaign last season.

FCD has gotten six goals out of forward Maxi Urruti, and there’s been little production from anyone else. Cristian Colman is out with an ankle injury and managed just a pair of goals in 399 minutes.

The risk of trading Acosta is mitigated by the continued speculation that he may test the waters of European soccer. Badji’s a quality player, but Colorado may’ve gotten a bargain in its push to escape the dregs of the West.

Quintero, Loons pick LAFC apart in five-star win (video)

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Minnesota United throttled LAFC on Sunday, using a Christian Ramirez brace to batter the hot expansion team 5-1 in Minnesota.

Darwin Quintero had a goal and two assists for the Loons, who took advantage of LAFC’s decision not to start dominant forward Adama Diomande and center back Walker Zimmerman.

[ MORE: Marketing Pulisic with BVB ]

Quintero ripped off seven shots, putting five on goal. He now has 10 goals and five assists since joining the Loons after scoring two and eight in 29 matches for Club America last year.

Miguel Ibarra recorded a goal and an assist, while Rasmus Schuller also scored. LAFC’s goal came courtesy Benny Feilhaber.

Minnesota’s Bobby Shuttleworth and LA’s Tyler Miller each made six saves in their goals.

LAFC fails in a bid to make up points on Western Conference first seed FC Dallas, while the Loons now can eye a playoff spot in the West.

Already-thin Liverpool center back corps loses Matip to quad injury

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Liverpool’s 3-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund featured an injury to a position with very little depth.

The Reds lost Joel Matip to what Jurgen Klopp said could possibly be a “small tear” in one of his quads.

[ MORE: Marketing Pulisic with BVB ]

If Matip, 26, needs any significant time to heal up, he’ll put a major question mark into Liverpool’s opening day center back pairing.

Virgil Van Dijk, who scored against BVB on Sunday, already won’t have Dejan Lovren as a partner thanks to a post-World Cup vacation.

That leaves Joe Gomez and Ragnar Klavan as options next to Van Dijk.

Matches at Crystal Palace and home to Brighton and Hove Albion follow the Aug. 12 visit from West Ham.