2017-18 Premier League preseason

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Final preseason games arrive, big questions remain

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There are 10 days to go until the new 2017-18 Premier League season. 10 freaking days.

[ MORE: How much has each PL club spent?

Even though the summer has dragged on, PL clubs have been working hard since May to make sure they’re in the right spot heading into the new campaign.

Below is a look at the final preseason games for each PL club, plus we ponder the main question surrounding each club.


Arsenal – Easy: will Sanchez and Ozil sign a new deal?
Aug. 6 v Chelsea (Community Shield)

Bournemouth – Can Jermain Defoe score 20 goals this season?
Aug. 2 v Yeovil Town
Aug. 6 v Napoli

Brighton & Hove Albion Is Anthony Knockaert capable of doing ‘a Mahrez’ for the Seagulls?
Aug. 1 v Girona
Aug. 6 v Atletico Madrid

BurnleyCan they cope with Michael Keane‘s departure in defense?
Aug. 1 v Celta Vigo
Aug. 6 v Hannover 96

Chelsea – Is Alvaro Morata able to carry Chelsea’s title hopes?
Aug. 6 v Arsenal (Community Shield)

Crystal Palace – Can a creaking defense survive without Mamadou Sakho?
Aug. 5 v Schalke

EvertonWhere will Wayne Rooney slot into the attack?
Aug. 3 v MFK Ruzomberok (Europa League third-qualifying round, second leg)
Aug. 6 v Sevilla

Huddersfield TownCan Wagner gel 10 new players into a team?
Aug. 1 v Torino
Aug. 4 v Stuttgart

Leicester City – If Riyad Mahrez leaves, who holds the keys to Leicester’s offense?
Aug. 1 v Burton Albion
Aug. 4 v Borussia Monchengladbach

Liverpool – Can the triangle of Lovren, Matip and Mignolet stay mistake free?
Aug. 1 v Bayern Munich
Aug. 2 v Atletico Madrid of Napoli
Aug. 5 v Athletic Bilbao

Manchester City – Will Walker, Mendy provide the defensive balance City have long-needed? (Bonus: Gabriel to start over Aguero?)
Aug. 4 v West Ham United

Manchester United – Where is the best position for Paul Pogba?
Aug. 2 v Sampdoria
Aug. 8 v Real Madrid (UEFA Super Cup final)

Newcastle United – Can Dwight Gayle score the goals to push the Magpies into midtable?
Aug. 2 v Wolfsburg
Aug. 6 v Hellas Verona

Southampton – Can Saints cope without Virgil Van Dijk?
Aug. 2 v FC Augsburg
Aug. 5 v Sevilla

Stoke City – Where will the goals come from after Arnautovic’s departure?
Aug. 1 v St Pauli
Aug. 5 v RB Leipzig

Swansea City – How can the Swans replace Sigurdsson?
Aug. 5 v Sampdoria

Tottenham Hotspur Are Spurs ready for the mental challenge of playing home games at Wembley?
Aug. 5 v Juventus

Watford Can youngsters Chaloboah and Hughes flourish in midfield?
Aug. 5 v Real Sociedad

West Bromwich Albion Will Jay Rodriguez stay fit?
Aug. 1 v Port Vale
Aug. 5 v Deportivo La Coruna

West Ham United Is experience the answer with Chicharito, Zabaleta, Hart and Arnautovic on board?
Aug. 1 v Altona 93
Aug. 4 v Manchester City

Manchester United beats City 2-0 in preseason Derby

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Manchester is Red, at least for the preseason.

Manchester United used quickfire first-half goals from Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford to topple Manchester City 2-0 in Houston as part of the International Champions Cup.

The first half-hour saw plenty of action, but nothing in terms of goals. New Manchester City full-back Kyle Walker made a great run to cut down Rashford before he could shoot, while goalkeeper Ederson was required to keep out Paul Pogba.

On the other end, Chris Smalling was active often, nearly conceding a penalty with a pull on the shirt of Patrick Roberts, while also cleaning up after a high City press caught United in their own defensive third.

[ MORE: West Ham signs Chicharito ]

Just before halftime, United went in front thanks to their prized new striker. Pogba launched an absolutely brilliant long-ball, and Lukaku streaked to meet it, heading past a charging Ederson before cutting from a tight angle into the empty net before defenders could recover.

Immediately after, Rashford put United 2-0 up on a cool finish from the right with space after a ball from Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The score is Rashford’s third goal of the United States tour.

After a host of changes at halftime that saw City keep just four players on the field, it didn’t help as United kept on the pressure. Rashford almost scored an accidental long-range chip as his long-ball to the far post nearly went in, but Ederson tipped it over. Moments later, Lukaku thundered a howitzer into the crossbar.

United made a host of changes past the hour mark, and they nearly had another if not for the offside flag raising on Phil Jones after a double-save by Ederson. City had a big chance in the final 10 minutes, as a great ball from Samir Nasri found Gabriel Jesus, but the Brazilian put it well over.

Ederson had a solid game in net for Manchester City despite the loss, while Kyle Walker and 17-year-old City youth product Brahim Diaz also stood out. For United, Henrikh Mkhitaryan was bright as were Paul Pogba and goalscorer Marcus Rashford.

LINEUPS

Manchester United: De Gea (Romero 45′); Valencia (Fosu-Mensah 77′), Lindelöf (Bailly 45′), Smalling (Jones 45′), Blind (Darmian 45′); Herrera (Fellaini 62′), Pogba; Rashford (Martial 62′), Mkhitaryan (Carrick 62′), Lingard (Pereira 78′); Lukaku.

Manchester City: Ederson; Adarabioyo (Otamendi 45′), Kompany (Mangala 45′), Fernandinho, Yaya Toure (Sane 45′), Walker, Foden (Zinchenko 74′), De Bruyne (Diaz 45′), Sterling (Jesus 45′), Aguero (Stones 45′), Roberts (Nasri 45′).

Arsenal beat Bayern Munich on PKs in Shanghai

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Arsenal equalized late on to draw 1-1 against Bayern Munich and then beat the German champions on penalty kicks in an International Champions Cup preseason friendly in Shanghai on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Liverpool win in Hong Kong

Robert Lewandowski gave Bayern an early lead from the penalty spot but Alex Iwobi headed home in the final minute of stoppage time to take the game to PKs where Emilio Martinez saved two spot kicks with Arsenal winning 3-2.

Arsene Wenger‘s men have a 100 percent record in preseason, winning their two games in Australia against Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers, but all eyes will be on Alexis Sanchez when the Gunners return from the Far East.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles was adjudged to have nudged over Juan Bernat after nine minutes and Lewandowski put Bayern ahead, with Alexandre Lacazette starting his second game in a row (he was denied in the first half after racing clear) with support from Danny Welbeck and Mesut Ozil in attack.

Mohamed Elneny started at center back with Per Mertesacker withdrawing from the game due to illness just before kick off, as Wenger started with three at the back but then switched to a flat back four in the second half.

Petr Cech denied James Rodriguez in each half, while Bayern out-shot Arsenal 20-6 with the German giants also having a goal incorrectly ruled out for offside in the first half. Arsenal hung in there with both teams making plenty of substitutions and Iwobi nodded home Aaron Ramsey‘s cross in the fourth minute of stoppage time to set up a penalty shootout.

The Gunners will now head to Beijing for one more friendly game, as they face reigning Premier League champions Chelsea on Saturday before returning to London to host the Emirates Cup at their home stadium with Benfica, RB Leipzig and Sevilla their opponents on July 29-30.

Liverpool beat Palace with Solanke, Origi on target (Video)

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Liverpool beat Crystal Palace 2-0 in Hong Kong on Wednesday with Jurgen Klopp‘s men reaching the final of the Premier League Asia Trophy, much to the delight of many of the local fans.

[ LIVE: Stream PL Asia Trophy here ]  

Goals in the second half from Dominic Solanke and Divock Origi did the damage as the Reds were the more dangerous team throughout against Frank De Boer‘s new-look Palace side.

Liverpool will now face Leicester, who beat West Brom on penalty kicks earlier on Wednesday, in the final of the tournament on Saturday (8:30 a.m. ET), while Palace will play West Brom (6 a.m. ET) in the third-place match.

Klopp’s side went close in the first half  through Mohamed Salah, Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge, while Simon Mignolet denied Keshi Anderson as Crystal Palace looked dangerous on the break.

After a host of changes at half time Liverpool pushed hard for the opener and it arrived via substitute Solanke, his first goal for his new club.

Divock Origi’s clever flick found the Englishman and the former Chelsea forward struck a superb low effort into the far corner to put the Reds 1-0 up.

Marko Grujic smashed an effort wide after also being booked for a nasty challenge on the impressive Wilfried Zaha, as Liverpool eased to victory in the humid conditions with Origi finishing off from close range after Philippe Coutinho‘s effort from James Milner‘s cross was blocked.

2-0 to the Reds, much to the delight of the majority of the crowd in Hong Kong.

Leicester beat West Brom on PKs in PL Asia Trophy opener (Video)

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Leicester City prevailed 7-6 on penalty kicks against West Bromwich Albion in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

[ LIVE: Stream PL Asia Trophy here ]  

The Foxes and Baggies opened up the Premier League Asia Trophy with Jay Rodriguez and Riyad Mahrez both scoring stunners in the first half of the semifinal.

A winner could not be found in normal time so it went to penalty kicks and the new “ABBA” system was trialed for the first time in a game involving Premier League teams.

Leicester prevailed and will now face one of Liverpool or Crystal Palace in the final on Saturday, while West Brom will take on the loser of that game in a third-place match, also on Saturday.

The Baggies got off to a flying start as Rodriguez, who earlier had a good chance from Matty Phillips’ cross, got a yard of space and smashed home a shot from 25-yards out. A fine strike for West Brom’s new striker who joined from Southampton earlier this summer. 1-0 to the Baggies.

Leicester improved after going behind and Mahrez looked lively throughout the first half. It was the Algerian international who leveled things up for the Foxes as he pounced on a loose pass, ran towards goal and finished clinically into the far corner. 1-1.

The game was an even encounter for the rest of the match with plenty of substitutes made and one of those, Christian Fuchs, delivering some dangerous ball from the left.

James McClean saw a smart turn and shot fly just wide as West Brom pushed to go ahead, while at the other Jamie Vardy flashed an effort wide after racing clear from a long ball over the top.

As the second half wore on chances were few and far between and the game went to penalty kicks.

The new system was trialed and the first 12 penalty kicks were scored but then Sam Field had his PK stopped by Ben Hamer, then Marc Albrighton stepped up to send Leicester into Saturday’s final in Hong Kong.