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Report: Nasri set to reunite with Pellegrini at West Ham

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Samir Nasri could be back playing in the Premier League as soon as January.

According to a report from England, Nasri is undergoing a medical this week ahead of signing a six-month, $2.7 million contract at West Ham United, where he’ll reunited with former manager Manuel Pellegrini and former teammates Pablo Zabaleta and Jack Wilshere. Nasri spent three years at Arsenal after joining more than a decade ago followed by six seasons at Manchester City, where he won two Premier League titles.

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Nasri is free to return to training after serving a partially-suspended 18-month doping ban, after taking a nutrient-rich IV of fluids above the amount set by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Nasri in part got in trouble after the IV due to posting a photo on social media with the co-owner of the company that provided the package. It happened while Nasri was on vacation in December 2016 in Los Angeles.

Although it feels like Nasri has been around forever, he’s still just 31-years old, and with no soccer played in the past 12 months, he’ll be fresh and ready to go if he does sign for West Ham. The Frenchman provides Pellegrini with another winger to replace Andriy Yarmolenko, who is likely done for the season after rupturing his Achilles tendon in October.

It remains to be seen what Nasri can offer. He was declared surplus to requirements at Manchester City in 2016 and bounced around between Sevilla and Antalyaspor in Turkey before leaving them in January, 2018. If he can produce at least some of his old form, it would be a big boost to the Irons. West Ham remains firmly in midtable after 12 games, with 12 points gained, but the club is just four points above the drop zone. Providing more service to Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Felipe Anderson and Marko Arnautovic could lead to more goals and more wins.

Wilshere warns Arsenal not to lose “future captain” Ramsey

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West Ham United man Jack Wilshere knows a thing or two about working out contracts with Arsenal, and has issued a stern warning to the Gunners when it comes to Aaron Ramsey.

Wilshere says Ramsey should be a “future captain” for Unai Emery, and that allowing the Welsh player to leave — for free, no less — is a head-scratcher.

[ MORE: Spurs injury update ]

Given the players’ long-term friendship, it’s fair to say Wilshere knows his stuff when he intimates that Ramsey would appreciate more time in North London, and he poses this question.

From The Islington Gazette:

“I think you’ve got to look at the situation and ask: ‘How many top teams in the Premier League and elsewhere could he get in?’ And you’d have to say them all – and that speaks volumes about the type of player he is.”

This is pretty true, aside from Man City. And you’d have to give Ramsey a shot of making his presence felt there as well.

Emery is trying to forge a new identity for Arsenal, and Ramsey’s had his fair share of injury issues, but allowing Ramsey to walk does seem a bit silly.

PL Preview: Arsenal vs. West Ham

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  • Last time Arsenal lost its first 3 league games was 1954
  • West Ham has beat Arsenal once in its last 22 meetings
  • Arsenal is unbeaten in last 9 home London derbies

Arsenal has its best chance yet to gain its first points under Unai Emery as they host West Ham at the Emirates on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. ET on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

The Gunners are without a point after losses to Chelsea and Manchester City, and the team has struggled to show improvement under Emery to this point. Should they falter again, pressure could build with the built-in excuse of a difficult first two fixtures now passed.

[ LIVE STREAM: Arsenal vs. West Ham ]

Emery has no new injury problems to deal with, as other than Carl Jenkinson, Sead Kolasinac, Laurent Koscielny and Ainsley Maitland-Niles all out long-term, everyone is fit. West Ham, meanwhile, will be missing captain Mark Noble who picked up a back injury, while Andy Carroll, Manuel Lanzini and Winston Reid all remain out.

The Hammers sit 19th in the table with zero points and a -5 goal differential after losses to Liverpool and Bournemouth. They squandered a lead last time out, wasting a 1-0 lead to the Cherries to fall 2-1. They have just four wins since January 20th. Midfielder Jack Wilshere is set to play his former club and lead the midfield in Noble’s absence.

What they’re saying

Arsenal playmaker Henrikh Mhkitaryan on the team’s struggles: “We don’t feel any pressure. We are not thinking that something is going wrong because we are moving in the right way even if we lost two games. I don’t know why people are criticizing so much. I’m not paying attention because I know if I’ve played bad or well.”

West Ham attacker Marko Arnautovic on Arsenal: “They have a new coach and a new team and they are trying to achieve big things because they are a top club. But there is no reason why we can’t take points there because they are also human beings.”

Prediction

West Ham is struggling to find its way, and the Gunners need a win desperately, and Arsenal will channel that motivation to a 2-0 road victory.

Watch Live: Liverpool-West Ham, Saints-Burnley

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Two Sunday morning games kick start the Premier League season’s third day, leading into the 11 a.m. meeting between Manchester City and Arsenal.

The more attractive of the two sees star-packed Liverpool hosting Manuel Pellegrini‘s reinforced West Ham United (Watch live, 8:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Naby Keita and Alisson debut for Liverpool, while West Ham has new boys Jack Wilshere, Felipe Anderson, and Ryan Fredericks in the Starting XI.

[ STREAM: Liverpool vs. West Ham live ]

LINEUPS

Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Gomez, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Milner, Keita, Salah, Firmino, Mane. Subs: Karius, Clyne, Fabinho, Henderson, Sturridge, Lallana, Shaqiri.

West Ham: Fabianski, Rice, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Fredericks, Anderson, Noble, Wilshere, Masuaku, Antonio, Arnautovic. Subs: Adrian, Zabaleta, Snodgrass, Obiang, Hernandez, Yarmolenko, Diop.


Saints and Burnley are squaring off at St. Mary’s, with new Southampton men Jannik Vestergaard and Stuart Armstrong debuting against a Clarets side which played Thursday in the Europa League (Watch live, 8:30 a.m. ET online via NBC Sports Gold).

[ STREAM: Southampton vs. Burnley live ]

LINEUPS

Southampton: McCarthy, Cedric, Stephens, Vestergaard, Hoedt, Bertrand, Romeu, Lemina, Armstrong, Redmond, Austin. Subs: Gunn, Bednarek, Hojbjerg, Ward-Prowse, Elyounoussi, Ings, Gabbiadini.

BurnleyHart, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Ward, Lennon, Cork, Hendrick, Westwood, Gudmundsson, Wood. Subs: Heaton, Taylor, Vokes, Barnes, Gibson, Walters, Bardsley

Five X-factor Premier League summer signings

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They’ll make differences in their teams for very different reasons.

If the following five players have big seasons, they are talented enough to push their teams multiple spots up the table.

Some could be focal points, while others valuable substitutes but one thing is for sure: their signings slid under the radar given their respective abilities (or in one Fulham man’s case, the lateness of the hour).

[ MORE: 2018-19 PL season preview hub ]  

5. Max Meyer, Crystal Palace — The 22-year-old’s progression has been infuriating at Schalke, and Palace getting him on a free transfer is a fine risk. Is he the player who scored six Bundesliga goals in 1800 minutes as a teenager, and posted 5G-6A in 2015-16, or the one whose most starts in a single season is 27?

4. Ben Gibson, Burnley — Gibson was very impressive for Middlesbrough in their relegation campaign, and he only shined his stock under defensive wizard Tony Pulis in the Championship. If Burnley makes the Europa League group stage, Gibson will be huge for Dyche.

3. Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Fulham — Buying Jean Michael Seri was a coup for the midfield, but bringing in a fellow Frenchman to balance out the center of the park? Wow. The 22-year-old is a hard tackling, opportunistic machine who will disrupt the opposition and connect the defense to the forwards. Huge.

2. Xherdan Shaqiri, Liverpool — The ability to sub out a winger or midfielder with a player who, on his day, is as lethal as any shooter in the world? Not too bad, Mr. Klopp.

  1. Jack Wilshere, West Ham United — There’s no debating how important Wilshere was to Arsenal when heathy, and his cross-London move could make all the difference in the world as West Ham tries to get the ball to its finishers.