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  1. Livermore to start at CB for injury-hit Hull
  2. Pogba suspended for Premier League opener
  3. Januzaj goes on loan to Sunderland
  4. #bbcsportsday: Premier League predictions

Live Reporting

By Emlyn Begley

All times stated are UK

An ode to 2016-17

Alistair Mann

MOTD commentator

So much has altered everywhere

As all the squads try to prepare

For the battle long and testing

Upon their laurels no-one’s resting.

New incumbents north and south

Words of comfort from each mouth

All are here to reach their goals

Backed by loyal hopeful souls.

Many feel the city of rain,

Has the best chance to attain

No-one quite sure red or blue

Pep’s a winner but Jose’s too.

The capital’s the place to be

For there’s so much expectancy

The young Spurs boys, could they go far

Or Arsene’s final great hurrah?

And what of those who still believe

That titles are theirs to achieve

Could Anfield now rise to the top

With Jurgen’s baying, hopeful Kop?

And what of they whose crown was snatched

A plot their owner has now hatched

To leave the smarting blue battalion

In the hands of a suave Italian.

Then there is the chasing pack,

Those established to attack

Pardew, Koeman, Bilic, Hughes,

All to gain and nought to lose.

The Saints again are in transition

Guidolin knows well his mission

While David’s back in Wearside

Trying to restore some pride.

And what of those whose aims are humble

Who now know Howe they shouldn’t crumble.

Tony’s done it for years and years

While for Walter this holds few fears.

To they who’ve battled to return

From painful memories all must learn

From the Humber to the Tees

There are no Claret guarantees.

And last but certainly not least

To those who now on pizza, feast.

Retain their title, don’t be silly,

Is that E.T. in Piccadilly?

Expectations, so much hope

But who, with pressure, will now cope?

The final question in the air

Will Gary present in his underwear?

We'll end here for the week. Have a go on our Premier League Predictor if you haven't already.

But let us leave you with this epic poem previewing the new season, which starts tomorrow...

'Leicester not as far off as people think'

Eniola Aluko

BBC Sport columnist and Chelsea striker

I think Tottenham will finish above Arsenal and it will be the first year under Arsene Wenger that Arsenal do not make the top four. 

Spurs have goals in Harry Kane if he has another golden boot season like last season. Arsenal on the other hand yet again have not signed a striker who will score 20+ goals and need to replace Per Mertesacker at the back. 

I think Leicester will finish between fifth and eighth. I don't think they are as far off as some may think. 

The Leicester players will want to prove they are consistently capable of competing in the top half of the league. I know from personal experience that once you win the title you don't want to lose it without a fight.

See Eni's predictions here.

'Hazard could be like new signing'

Guy Mowbray

BBC Match of the Day commentator, MOTD2 Extra

It was a toss-up between the Manchester clubs for a while for me, but I'm not sure that even Jose Mourinho can improve things at Old Trafford quite enough to finish above everyone else. Things will improve though.

After that I have Chelsea finishing third, I have a feeling that Antonio Conte will have the Blues being hard to beat again. There's one big season left in John Terry, and if Eden Hazard plays like he should - and did for Belgium at the Euros - he'll be like a new signing after last season's pale imitation of himself.

In fourth I'm saying Arsenal because they always find a way really - and have been impressive with their warm-up results and performances. 

Eden Hazard
Getty Images

Blues sign Dundee forward

Birmingham City have signed Dundee forward Greg Stewart on a three-year deal for a fee believed to be about £500,000.

He had rejected a move to Blues on Wednesday but has now agreed personal terms and passed his medical.

6 - Pep Guardiola has won the league title in six of his seven seasons as a top-flight club manager. King #PLKickoff

6 - Pep Guardiola has won the league title in six of his seven seasons as a top-flight club manager. King #PLKickoff

'Mourinho will bring in new mentality'

Rachel Brown-Finnis

Former England goalkeeper

It’s not really because of Paul Pogba arriving that I have gone for Manchester United to win the title, even though lots of their fans are excited about him joining. 

He was decent at Euro 2016 but you did not have do much to stand out there. It is more down to Jose Mourinho and the mentality he is bringing in.

Will he stay more than his usual two or three years at a club? I doubt it, but if he gets his usual success too then that won’t matter, or how much he has spent.

The biggest thing for the United fans will be having a bit of excitement going to matches. I went to watch them last season against my team Burnley and they were so boring to watch.

See Rachel's predictions here.

'Arsenal will miss out on Champions League'

Alistair Bruce-Ball

BBC Radio 5 live sports commentator

Bruce-Ball should know what he's talking about as he won the BBC's Euro 2016 predictor league.

It has to be said that Manchester City have underachieved in the Premier League for the last two seasons considering the players they have had at their disposal but I think that will change under Pep Guardiola and they will win back the title they last won in 2014.

Behind them it is very difficult to call between Manchester United, who've invested heavily for Jose Mourinho, and Tottenham, who should improve again under Mauricio Pochettino.

But I think Liverpool's absence from Europe this season will help Jurgen Klopp get them back into the top four and that means that Arsenal will miss out on the Champions League.

See Alistair's predictions here.

'Fingers crossed' for Butland

Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland has tweeted about the injury which has ruled him out tomorrow at Middlesbrough.

"Horrific timing after feeling so strong and sharp in pre-season, waiting on the scan results, fingers crossed just a minor setback!   

"But the season starts tomorrow and I'm as excited as ever, believe in the lads and can't wait to get back out there soon!"   

'I can see Arsenal having a run at the title'

John Murray

BBC Radio 5 live commentator

I am going for Manchester United to win the league because I am backing Jose Mourinho to make the greater immediate impact of the two new Manchester managers. That's as much for his knowledge of the Premier League as anything else.

I am backing Antonio Conte to be one of the managerial stars of the season.

And I can see Arsenal having a run at the title, particularly if they can make a couple of high quality signings... then again, I seem to say that every year.

It promises so much, this season..I just hope it delivers.

'Leicester to finish eighth'

Steve Bower

Match of the Day commentator

It’s a far from straightforward call for this season’s champions but I think United might just win the battle in Manchester. 

Jose Mourinho is refreshed, has been the course before and has a point to prove after the way he left Chelsea. Plus he’s significantly strengthened the squad from last season.

It will be fascinating to see how Pep Guardiola adapts to the Premier League, Manchester City won’t be far away but may have to wait till next season to be crowned champions.

Leicester won’t be a surprise package this season, plus they have to cope with the demands of Champions League football. They were fortunate with injuries and suspensions on their way to their incredible title success last season, however they still have the core of the squad together and I think they will finish eighth.

See Steve's predictions here.

Jose Mourinho
Getty Images

Fabio completes Boro move

Middlesbrough have signed former Manchester United defender Fabio.

The 26-year-old Brazilian's Bluebirds' contract included a release clause understood to be about £2m.

Meanwhile, City have signed Wigan's Wales midfielder Emyr Huws.

'Pogba still has room for improvement'

Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri has been talking about Paul Pogba.

“Pogba’s transfer to Manchester United is obviously an enormous deal in financial terms. I wish him all the best and, who knows, maybe our paths will cross again somewhere down the line.

“Paul played an important role in previous seasons, developing his game considerably and he’s still got room for improvement in the future."

'Welcome back, Paul'

Mikel John Obi

The Chelsea midfielder tweeted this with a video of him backheeling the ball through Paul Pogba's legs while playing for Nigeria against France.

Get Involved - your Premier League predictions

MOTD Facebook page

Daniel Worthy: Like many others I was over the moon with Leicester winning the league but in my opinion they won't finish top half this season. Hope I'm wrong though

Phil Blewitt: I am certain that fifth is achievable for the Foxes and that we will play Europa footy next year!

Comparisons between Mourinho and Zlatan

Steve Wilson

BBC MOTD commentator

Last season might have restored the football romantics’ belief that fairytales can sometimes come true; but 2016-17 will, I believe, be the year that the usual suspects reassert that dominance which their financial clout should always afford.

This season the Premier League will arguably have a higher quota of the world’s top managers than it does the world’s top players, and Antonio Conte is an intriguing addition to the fold.

What of Jose Mourinho and at Manchester United? It’s the job he has long coveted, and which some at Old Trafford seemed reluctant to give him. 

Rather like Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s remaining career, it should be exciting, incendiary and spectacular with the possibility that it ends more quickly than some imagine. Zlatan doesn’t do auditions and Mourinho doesn’t do dynasties.


Butland to miss season opener

Stoke City goakeeper Jack Butland will miss tomorrow's game with Middlesbrough after jarring his ankle in training this morning.

Could it open the door to 40-year-old Shay Given? Jakob Haugaard is the most likely other option.

'United have showed their intent'

Ian Dennis

BBC Radio 5 live senior football reporter

Based on their signings so far I'm opting for Manchester United to win the title. 

Jose Mourinho talks about a "balance" to his squad and he's added quality to every department with his summer additions. 

Ed Woodward has been criticised in the past for dawdling in the transfer market but United have showed their intent by landing their four primary targets before the big KO. 

Of the promoted sides, Middlesbrough been the most proactive and stand the best chance of survival. 

Steve Gibson has backed Aitor Karanka and their recruitment has been shrewd. Keep an eye on Viktor Fischer, their signing from Ajax. 

See Ian's predictions here.

Viktor Fischer
"Until his career was seriously hampered by injury two years ago, the elite of Europe were monitoring the young Danish International," says Dennis

'We don't have to sell Sissoko'

Newcastle United "do not need to sell" midfielder Moussa Sissoko and will only agree to a deal if it suits all parties, says manager Rafa Benitez.

Sissoko, 26, told BBC World Football this week he wanted to move to a "big club" with Champions League prospects.

He has been linked to Real Madrid, Benitez's former team.

"If someone thinks if they will wait until 31 August it will be easier, I can guarantee them it will be more difficult," Benitez told BBC Newcastle.

"If someone wants to come, they have to come now with the right offer and we will analyse that. If not, he is still our player and he carries on working hard."

'I am a better football than a plumber'

New Colchester signing Lewis Kinsella has revealed he started working as a plumber in the summer in case he did not find a new club after his release by Aston Villa.

The 21-year-old told BBC Essex: "I am so happy I've got everything sorted now. I'm a better footballer than a plumber.

"I was working part-time to earn a bit of cash over the summer in case nothing happened."

Lewis Kinsella

'Five teams to finish in top four!'

Conor McNamara

BBC Radio 5 live commentator

This year is incredibly difficult to predict, can Leicester's lightning strike again? I don't think so, mainly because they have lost N'Golo Kante who made everything tick last season.

While deliberating my top four predictions, I came up with the conundrum of five teams who will all "definitely" make the top four! There are arguably seven teams who will all expect to. 

Liverpool will undoubtedly be improved under Klopp, but I'm not sure who will slip away to make room for them in the top four.

I couldn't believe how Tottenham fell apart at the end of last season, and that is the reason I am removing them from the top four, but significant signings between now and September could change all that.

See Conor's predictions here.

'Messi about to return for Argentina'

Breaking news: Leo Messi is expected to be named in Argentina squad this afternoon after chat with new coach Edgardo Bauza. More to follow.

Lionel Messi quit international football in June after the Copa America.

Turan's account was 'hacked'

Barcelona midfielder Arda Turan says his account was hacked after liking a picture of a Real Madrid shirt with a badge celebrating their 11th European Cup win.

The Turkey international tweeted today: "Two days ago my account was hacked for a brief period. During that period 1 RT was made and 2 photos were 'liked' without my knowledge.

"I would like my statement regarding this issue to be taken into consideration. Best."

Arda Turan
Getty Images

'Normal service will resume'

Jason Mohammad

Final Score

I think the top four will be Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur.

Spurs will make the top four just ahead of Liverpool, West Ham United and Arsenal.

Leicester City will find the Champions League and Premier League balance tough but they will win some of the big head-to-head matches. It's very hard to see them being anywhere as consistent this season.

Normal service will resume.

As for the promoted clubs, Burnley will stand the best chance of staying up. They have a great manager and I'm looking forward to seeing how Middlesbrough adapt to life in the Premier League.

See Jason's predictions here.

Lawro's predictions is back

Tom Ogden of Blossoms
Rex Features

Another season, another back of Lawro's predictions.

BBC football expert Mark Lawrenson takes on indie band Blossoms here.

Who's finishing where?

BBC Sport got 33 pundits to give their opinions on the champions and top four this season, which you can read here.

Over the next couple of hours, we'll give you some of their thoughts that aren't mentioned in that piece. It's like the director's cut.

Get Involved - Premier League predictions

MOTD Facebook page

Harvey Mcane: Don't ever predict Tottenham winning the league. It just won't ever happen. Ever.

Craig Forster: Man Utd fans think they will win the league because of Pogba and Zlatan. Wake up, your defence is still terrible - finish fourth or fifth.

Michael Eastman: I think Man City will win the league this season but it's going to go down to the last game with three or four teams still in it. Would love Arsenal to win it though. (Arsenal fan)

What's new in the Premier League?

Premier League badge

What's new in the Premier League this season? Well a new badge as you can see above, but there's more...

Friday night games, a new stadium, some new managers, new rules. Read about it all here.

Blackburn tweet

How Blackburn Rovers did not quite hit the mark when they gave fans a five-minute warning that they were about to announce a new signing.

Read more

Greek clubs could quit Super League

Three top Greek clubs have threatened to pull out of this season's Super League in a dispute over referees.

Panathinaikos, AEK Athens and PAOK Salonika say the will refuse to take part because the Greek FA (EPO) compiled a list of referees for the season without consulting them or the league. 

AEK poetically described the situation as "a criminal theatre of the absurd surrounding Greek football". 

On this day


2012: Anthony Joshua brought a thrilling end to the Olympic boxing tournament with a countback victory over Roberto Cammarelle to win gold     

Anthony Joshua

Gayle delighted to wear number nine

Newcastle striker Dwight Gayle says "I don’t think the number nine will scare me" after being handed the iconic shirt number.

The 25-year-old moved from Crystal Palace for a reported £10m this summer.

He told BBC Newcastle being handed the shirt number was a "massive achievement. I’m fully grateful". 

"Hopefully I can perform and get some goals. It’s great to be alongside those names but you’re not really thinking about that in a game."

Dwight Gayle
Rex Features

Traore signs new deal and goes on loan

Chelsea have now confirmed that striker Bertrand Traore, 21, will spend 2016-17 on loan with Ajax, and revealed that he has signed a new three-year contract with the Blues.

They have loaned 19-year-old midfielder Danilo Pantic to another Dutch side, Excelsior.

Bertrand Traore
Getty Images
Burkina Faso international Bertrand Traore has featured for Chelsea in pre-season

Will Sturridge and Milner be fit?

Arsenal v Liverpool (Sunday, 16:00 BST)

Liverpool have doubts over striker Daniel Sturridge and midfielder James Milner but could they play against Arsenal? 

"With Millie it is not too serious," said Reds boss Jurgen Klopp. "Millie on crutches is something you cannot bring together because, how we would say in Germany, he would walk with one leg under his arms.

"It is better and better and better. It's a bruise in the heel. We have to wait for the moment. It's possible he can be involved at the weekend but we are not sure. 

"Sturridge could be involved today in team training but he came back late and has missed a lot of sessions in pre-season training. We have to make a decision on him."

Mourinho's mind games under way

Bournemouth v Man Utd (Sun, 13:30 BST)

Simon Stone

BBC Sport


There is something amusing about the way Jose Mourinho undermines people without seeming to try.

Asked about Adnan Januzaj, who has joined Sunderland on loan for the season, Mourinho was at pains to stress he saw the Belgian as a long-term part of his plans.

To emphasise the point, he spoke about why Sunderland was a wise place for Januzaj to go and where the 21-year-old could have ended up if he wasn't interesting.

It seemed almost random that he came up with Borussia Dortmund.

Yet that was the place Mourinho's predecessor Louis van Gaal sent him last season.

Januzaj, 21, did not start a single Bundesliga game.

Jose Mourinho

'We didn't think a second about this'

Arsenal v Liverpool (Sunday, 16: 00 BST)

Arsenal have some worries in central defence but Jurgen Klopp does not want his Liverpool side to think about any issues the Gunners may have.  

"If we want to make our first main mistake we will think about their defensive problems if they have them," said the German.

"We didn't think a second about this. We think about our play and our game."

That's the end of the Premier League news conferences for today. Of course I'm sure we'll still be hearing snippets from the managers throughout the rest of the afternoon.

We'll also be bringing you pundits' predictions, as well as your own for the new season.

Also, have a go on our Premier League scores predictor here.

Guardiola to sleep on starting XI

Man City v Sunderland (17:30 BST)

The final word from Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who is not yet certain of his first Premier League starting line-up.

“I know 80/90% who’s going to play tomorrow but I’ll sleep on it," he said. "It’s almost done – not quite 100%, I need my dreams to make the right decision.”

'We will want Januzaj back'

Bournemouth v Man Utd (Sun, 13:30 BST)

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho was asked about winger Adnan Januzaj, who has gone on loan to Sunderland.

Last summer Louis van Gaal sent him to Borussia Dortmund but he returned in January after failing to make an impact. 

"He fits in my plans. That is why he is on loan at a Premier League club. If he doesn't fit in my plans, I don't care where he is going, I just send him to Borussia Dortmund where he didn't play one match. 

"He is talented. But in the same squad as Martial, Memphis, Young etc, it could mean not many matches. We cannot be selfish. 

"We have to think about the player. Let him play well. See him every week in this country. He is with a manager who likes him a lot but we want him back."

Bournemouth v Man Utd (Sun, 13:30 BST)

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho says he is not afraid to announce his side's title intentions.

"Many more think the same way but they are afraid to say it. They prefer to play a defensive game in words. They prefer to hide and play defensively with the words. That is not our way.

"It is not Man Utd. Man Utd has to say from day one we want to win title. Maybe we don't win. Maybe at the end of the season we are happy to finish in the top four. But in this moment, when i speak to you, and when I do that I speak to my players too, I cannot speak differently."