OptiNews - Friday 15 to Thursday 21 September 2017

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Optimus trousers posted this 21 September 2017

Sourced from London Evening Standard article

Southampton vs Man Utd: Preview, prediction, TV/live stream, odds

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Manchester United begin a run of six away tests from seven games as Jose Mourinho's squad is tested home and abroad.

Saturday's journey to Southampton is followed by flights to Moscow and Lisbon in the Champions League, then across the country for Premier League and League Cup commitments.

Mourinho is expected to use the run to test the depth of his squad before welcoming Tottenham to Old Trafford in five weeks' time.

Southampton could be boosted by a first start of the season for wantaway captain Virgil van Dijk in arguably the club's first real test of the campaign.

Southampton host Manchester United at St. Mary's with kick-off scheduled for 3pm on Saturday, September 23.

The match will be not be televised live on TV in the UK. Alternatively, you can follow all the build-up and action from 2pm with Standard Sport’s London Football live blog.

Manuel Pellegrino is weighing up giving Virgil van Dijk his first start of the season.

The manager told reporters: "We'll decide [on Friday] but every single week, Virgil is important because he is getting better."

Otherwise, Southampton have no fresh injury concerns for their toughest test of the season so far as

Anthony Martial will be hoping to keep his place in the starting XI after being named man of the match against Burton, though Marcus Rashford also impressed.

Luke Shaw also featured but is unlikely to face his former team, while the likes of Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo remain sidelined.

Click here to place a bet. Odds correct as of September 21 at 3.30pm.

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Optimus trousers posted this 21 September 2017

Sourced from A tweet by SouthamptonFC tweet

@SouthamptonFC - Southampton FC

Here's a look at what's inside our latest edition of SAINTS for the visit of #MUFC to St Mary's! #saintsfc http://sfcne.ws/SAINTSMUFC

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Optimus trousers posted this 21 September 2017

Sourced from Mirror.co.uk article

Van Dijk set to return from Southampton exile - and it's bad news for Man United

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Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino is considering thrusting Virgil van Dijk into his starting line-up in an attempt to shackle free-scoring Manchester United.

Holland defender Van Dijk has not started a game for eight months after suffering a serious foot injury in January and then handing in a transfer request during the summer.

The 26-year-old made his first-team return as a substitute in the 1-0 victory at Crystal Palace last weekend and could now be called upon on Saturday to help nullify a United side which has hit 16 goals in their opening five Premier League games.

"We'll decide tomorrow (Friday)," said Pellegrino when asked if Van Dijk will line-up against Jose Mourinho's men.

"But every single week, Virgil is important because he is getting better.

"After a long period of time without playing a game, now he is training well again and it's good news for us because we need Virgil, like every single player in our squad.

"I think every single week he will improve but at the same time he needs to train, he needs to play because the best training session for me is to play games."

Wantaway centre-back Van Dijk - who was linked with Liverpool and Chelsea before the closure of the transfer window - featured in another game for Saints' Under-23 side this week.

His manager said the former Celtic player will continue to be available for second-string fixtures in order to regain fitness.

"Some of them, yes," Pellegrino added. "I would like to introduce him little by little.

"The other day he played 50 minutes, but it is something.

"I was watching the video of the game and all of the senior players were really well, and it's an opportunity to be there on the pitch and be physically fit 100 per cent."

Saints sit ninth in the early-season table following the win at struggling Palace. Their weekend opponents are second after an unbeaten start which has brought 13 points from a possible 15.

Former Liverpool defender Pellegrino described United as the "biggest team in the world" and believes they will provide the sternest test of his short tenure at St Mary's.

"For me it's a nice opportunity, I see this game as a huge opportunity for us because we realise how we are against a top team," the 45-year-old Argentinian said.

"When we play against the biggest team in the world, it allows us to draw some conclusions about how we are. This is for me the nice challenge and we have to strive for this.

"Playing against Manchester United is one of the most beautiful things. I will live this opportunity, I will live this game, and now we have to try to enjoy this game."

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Optimus trousers posted this 21 September 2017

Sourced from Daily Mail article

Pellegrino prepared to chuck Van Dijk in from the start against United

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Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino is considering thrusting Virgil van Dijk into his starting line-up in an attempt to shackle free-scoring Manchester United.

Holland defender Van Dijk has not started a game for eight months after suffering a serious foot injury in January and then handing in a transfer request during the summer.

The 26-year-old made his first-team return as a substitute in the 1-0 victory at Crystal Palace last weekend and could now be called upon on Saturday to help nullify a United side which has hit 16 goals in their opening five Premier League games.

'We'll decide tomorrow (Friday),' said Pellegrino when asked if Van Dijk will line-up against Jose Mourinho's men. But every single week, Virgil is important because he is getting better.

'After a long period of time without playing a game, now he is training well again and it's good news for us because we need Virgil, like every single player in our squad.

'I think every single week he will improve but at the same time he needs to train, he needs to play because the best training session for me is to play games.'

Wantaway centre-back Van Dijk - who was linked with Liverpool and Chelsea before the closure of the transfer window - featured in another game for Saints' Under-23 side this week.

His manager said the former Celtic player will continue to be available for second-string fixtures in order to regain fitness.

'Some of them, yes,' Pellegrino added. 'I would like to introduce him little by little.

'The other day he played 50 minutes, but it is something.

'I was watching the video of the game and all of the senior players were really well, and it's an opportunity to be there on the pitch and be physically fit 100 per cent.'

Saints sit ninth in the early-season table following the win at struggling Palace. Their weekend opponents are second after an unbeaten start which has brought 13 points from a possible 15.

Former Liverpool defender Pellegrino described United as the 'biggest team in the world' and believes they will provide the sternest test of his short tenure at St Mary's.

'For me it's a nice opportunity, I see this game as a huge opportunity for us because we realise how we are against a top team,' the 45-year-old Argentinian said.

'When we play against the biggest team in the world, it allows us to draw some conclusions about how we are. This is for me the nice challenge and we have to strive for this.

'Playing against Manchester United is one of the most beautiful things. I will live this opportunity, I will live this game, and now we have to try to enjoy this game.'

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Optimus trousers posted this 21 September 2017

Sourced from A tweet by SouthamptonFC tweet

@SouthamptonFC - Southampton FC

The hard work continues...💪 #saintsfc

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Optimus trousers posted this 21 September 2017

Sourced from A tweet by SouthamptonFC tweet

@SouthamptonFC - Southampton FC

Sprints, smiles and shooting in Staplewood as #SaintsFC gear up for #MUFC! 👊

📸➡️ http://sfcne.ws/2xks0ET

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Optimus trousers posted this 21 September 2017

Sourced from BBC article

Premier League predictions: Lawro v Kingsman actor & Arsenal fan Mark Strong

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We are five games into the new Premier League season and Crystal Palace are yet to score a league goal, let alone register a point.

Will that change when they travel to joint-leaders Manchester City on Saturday, or is that game a dead-cert for a home win?

BBC Sport's football expert Mark Lawrenson is going for a City victory, although he does have some positive news for beleaguered Eagles fans.

"Although City are full of goals and I think they will win convincingly, I don't see this turning into a battering," Lawro said. "Palace boss Roy Hodgson is not the sort of manager to allow that to happen."

Do you agree? You can make your own predictions now - take on Lawro and other fans, create your own league and try to make it to the top of the table by playing the new-look BBC Sport Predictor game.

Lawro picked up 40 points in week five, leaving him in 10,040th place out of a total of more than 205,000 users.

He will be making a prediction for all 380 top-flight games this season, against a variety of guests.

Lawro's opponent for this weekend's fixtures is actor Mark Strong, star of 'Kingsman: The Golden Circle'.

Strong, 54, is an Arsenal season ticket holder, starred in 'Fever Pitch', and says he did not have much choice when it came to becoming a Gunners fan.

He told BBC Sport: "I was born in Islington and grew up in Islington so Arsenal was all around me and supporting them was kind of unavoidable.

"The first season I started going to watch them was when we did the Double in 1971, so my first heroes were Charlie George, Ray Kennedy and John Radford.

"But since then I have loved watching Dennis Bergkamp, Robert Pires and Thierry Henry - and these days Alexis Sanchez is always the best player on the pitch.

"When I go to games and watch him, there is something about the electricity he generates when he is on the ball that is just fascinating."

You can hear more of Strong's thoughts on Arsenal on Football Focus on BBC One and the BBC Sport website at 12:00 BST on Saturday.

A correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth 10 points. The exact score earns 40 points.

Remember you can try to beat Lawro yourself by playing the BBC Sport Predictor game.

All kick-offs 15:00 BST unless otherwise stated.

Tottenham slipped up again at home last week, when they had to settle for a draw against Swansea, and results like that are not going to stop people talking about them struggling at Wembley.

Spurs do not have to worry about that for a few weeks now, though, because this the first of three away games in a row for them in the Premier League and Champions League, but I don't think things will get any easier for them at the weekend.

After they made such a poor start to the season, West Ham's form has picked up in the last couple of weeks.

Slaven Bilic's side have taken four points from their past two matches and I think they will get something from this game too.

Strong's prediction: I am going for a Spurs win - unfortunately. 1-2

This is the beginning of an important period for Huddersfield after their impressive start to the season.

It is important that the Terriers keep on picking up points, like they did with their draw at home to Leicester last week, and their approach in away games is going to be interesting.

Huddersfield did not offer very much going forward in their defeat at West Ham on their last away trip, and that has to change.

Burnley's best results this season have come away - at Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham - and they have struggled for goals a bit at Turf Moor.

But you always know what you are going to get from Sean Dyche's Burnley team, which is hard work and organisation, and I think the Clarets might just edge this one.

I was at Goodison Park on Wednesday night to see Everton beat Sunderland 3-0 in the Carabao Cup and it ended up being a comfortable win for them.

But with the score at 0-0, the former Toffees striker James Vaughan missed a great chance for Sunderland because of a poor touch, and Everton were ordinary until then.

Everton's problem is probably the opposite of Bournemouth - while Ronald Koeman's side are struggling to score goals, the Cherries' problem is stopping them.

Because of that, I am going to go for a draw.

This game is the start of a really difficult run for Palace, who follow it up by playing Manchester United (away) and Chelsea (home).

It does not really get much tougher than that but new Eagles boss Roy Hodgson will learn a lot about his players and, however many or few points they pick up, he will be left with 30 games to keep them up.

City are in fantastic form and nobody is expecting Palace to get anything on Saturday, so you would not say they are under pressure either. If they do, it will be a bonus.

Strong's prediction: I was going to say 4-0 but come on, let's help Palace to get a goal. 4-1

Quietly and - in terms of the number of goals they have scored - unspectacularly, Southampton are doing alright, with two wins and two draws from their first five games.

Saints do not give much away but it is hard to keep this Manchester United side quiet.

I am expecting United to dominate this game and create lots of chances. Eventually they will find a way through.

Stoke boss Mark Hughes was absolutely fuming after Tuesday's Carabao Cup defeat by Championship side Bristol City and he will get a reaction from his side.

The Potters will set it out to make it difficult for Chelsea, and they showed against Manchester United earlier in the month what they are capable of against the top teams.

Chelsea are no pushovers, though, and will be ready for a battle.

Swansea picked up an excellent point against Tottenham at Wembley last weekend, while Watford got thumped by Man City.

The Welsh side's home form has been not been great so far - they have lost both their league matches at the Liberty Stadium - but that is something they can put right this weekend.

I don't think Watford will worry too much about what happened against City last week, because of the calibre of the opposition, but I am still not really sure what to make of the Hornets.

They made an excellent start to the season but they are what I would call a 10-game team, because it is going to take that long to work out what they are about and how good they actually are.

Liverpool should really have been clear by half-time when they went to the King Power Stadium in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday, but ended up losing 2-0.

But I would be less concerned by them failing to take their chances, and more worried about how they are falling apart at the back.

Because every time the Reds have come under pressure defensively, they concede.

The bottom line with that is, whatever the personnel and whatever the formation, it is the same old mistakes that are happening. That tells me that those players aren't able to cope with what they are being asked to do.

What will help Liverpool a lot on Saturday is if Leicester striker Jamie Vardy misses the game with his groin injury.

The Reds have really struggled against Vardy in the past - he has scored twice in each of their last two visits here in the league - so if he is absent or not 100% fit, then their defence will have a much easier time of things.

Newcastle won at the Amex Stadium in February, when both of these clubs were in the Championship.

The Magpies' run of form, with three straight wins, would suggest they are going to do same when they return to the south coast on Sunday, but I am actually backing Brighton here.

The Seagulls have not done anything spectacular so far but that is not a problem, and their manager Chris Hughton is not the type of manager to panic.

What Hughton will be doing is planning his side's route through the entire campaign, with the aim of finishing at least one point above the bottom three.

I hate the phrase 'must-win', especially at this stage, but Hughton will know this is a game that his side really need to get something out of if they are going to stay in the top flight.

A lack of goals in West Brom's big problem - there is never anything wrong with them defensively.

But this is a game that Arsenal will win because they are at home and they will have absolutely loads of possession.

The Gunners have also got lots of players who can make a difference in games like this and, even if they have to be patient, they will find a way to get past the Baggies in the end.

Strong is an Arsenal season ticket holder but is he part of the 'Wenger out' brigade at the Emirates Stadium?

"I am 'Wenger out', but slowly I think," he told BBC Sport.

"Or maybe even 'Wenger out, eventually'. He is a great manager, who reinvigorated the English game and loves the club. I have always been a fan, and still am.

"It is so tragic that every loss brings a reaction of either 'Wenger in' or 'Wenger out' when it is just a hook to hang stories on every weekend,

"The mood of Arsenal fans is kind of split at the moment.

"I think those Wenger supporters are really frustrated by the banner wavers and I have no doubt that the banner wavers, and the people who are adamant that Wenger should leave, are frustrated at the inability of the people who support him to see that maybe it is time for him to go.

"There is a kind of schism between the supporters and I think it is a real shame, but when you have had a manager at a club for more than 20 years it is never going to finish easily."

Last week, Lawro got four correct results, with no perfect scores, from 10 matches, for a total of 40 points.

He lost out to former world champion triathlete Non Stanford, who got three results correct but with one perfect scores, for a total of 60 points.

*Foster and Cram both provided predictions on week one, but only Foster's score contributes to the guest total.

Lawro's best score: 120 points (week one v Foster and Cram)

Lawro's worst score: 40 points (week four v Umenyiora and Bell, and week five v Non Stanford)

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Optimus trousers posted this 21 September 2017

Sourced from Premier League - Official Site article

DEFAULTVideo: Three key points: Southampton v Man Utd

Optimus trousers posted this 21 September 2017

Sourced from A tweet by SouthamptonFC tweet

@SouthamptonFC - Southampton FC

#SaintsFC boss Mauricio Pellegrino spoke with newspaper journalists today, ahead of #MUFC. Watch here: http://sfcne.ws/MUFCPress2

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