GUARDIAN – Premier League 2015-16 fixture list: Liverpool face daunting early away run

Liverpool start at Stoke City in repeat of last season’s closerChelsea begin their title defence at home to Swansea CityManchester United open up against Tottenham at Old TraffordBrendan Rodgers will have to demonstrate immediate improvement at Liverpool, as his team will kick off their next Premier League campaign at Stoke City, who walloped them 6-1 at the Britannia Stadium at the end of last season. Related: Premier League 2015-16 fixtures: week-by-week list for the season Related: Premier League and Football League fixtures revealed for 2015-16 – live! Continue reading…

GUARDIAN – Premier League clockwatch – as it happened

Chelsea earned a narrow win over West Ham to keep their lead as Man City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs all won, while Everton’s troubles deepened as they lost 2-0 to Stoke 9.50pm GMT Liverpool stay fifth, Burnley stay 19th. 9.46pm GMT Ricky Lambert is coming on for Sterling. He has approximately 100 seconds to make a mark. 9.45pm GMT The only match still in progress is at Anfield, where Liverpool are 2-0 up against Burnley and could be playing in lambskin dressing gowns, so comfortable do they seem. 9.42pm GMT West Ham 0-1 ChelseaCeltic 0-1 St Johnstone 9.41pm GMT Drogba booked for time-wasting as Chelsea try to creep over the line at Upton Park… 9.41pm GMT What a ave by Lloris! The Frenchman claws Fernandez’s header out … and then the ref blows the final whistle. Lloris’ saves clinched victory for the home side: Spurs 3-2 SwanseaAlso, Birmingham 1-0 Blackpool 9.38pm GMT Leeds 2-1 Ipswich QPR 1-2 Arsenal 9.37pm GMT Manchester City 2-0 Leicester (Silva, Milner)Newcastle 0-1 Manchester United (Young) 9.35pm GMT GOAL! Spurs 3-2 Swansea Sigurdsson strokes the ball into the net after being played through by Montero. 9.32pm GMT GOAL! Man City 2-0 Leicester James Milner makes it safe at last for City. 9.31pm GMT GOAL! Newcastle 0-1 Man Utd One minute from time, Krul and Coloccini, under pressure from Rooney, combine to send the ball straight to Young, who gratefully wallops it into the net from eight yards! Van Gaal’s team aren’t going to crawl all the way to the Champions League are they? 9.29pm GMT Sol Bamba has had a recurrence of his weekend form: he’s given away a penalty by handling the ball. But Silvestri saves Murphy’s spotkick! 9.27pm GMT GOAL! Stoke 2-0 Everton Everton defenders collapse to the ground in dismay – providing a neat summary of their season so far for any quick-thinking photographer – as Diouf delivers victory to Stoke with an opportunistic finish after Arnautovic’s shot came back off a post. 9.26pm GMT GOAL! QPR 1-2 Arsenal Bang! That’s a super goal from Austin: he took two touches to control the ball at the edge of the area, then swivelled and powered a ferocious shot into the net. No blame attached to Ospinna there! Suddenely Arsene Wenger is looking uncomfortable in his enormous sleeping bag coat. 9.22pm GMT For those Everton fans too afraid to ask for an update from the match at the Britannia, all I can tell you is that every time I look at it, Stoke have the ball, usually in the opposing half. 9.21pm GMT GOAL! Leeds 2-1 Ipswich OK, maybe Ipswich will accept now that they shouldn’t be challenging for promotion. That, at least, is the point that Leeds are trying to stress, as Billy Sharp volleys into the net from 12 yards following fine work down the right. Might Leeds be challenging for promotion next season? Actually, no sense trying to answer that as absolutely anything could happen at Elland Road between now and then. 9.19pm GMT GOAL! Leeds 1-1 Ipswich Freddie Sears has equalised for Mick McCarthy’s men, who just won’t accept that they shouldn’t be challenging for promotion. 9.18pm GMT Leicester are threatening an equaliser at the Etihahd, where man City are characteristically sluggish. Mahrez has just struck a fine effort against the post or, as Paul Merson has put it on Sky, using expert rhyming slag, “Mahrez has just hit the beans on toast!” 9.16pm GMT Harry Kane, who is surely the captain of everyone’s fantasy league team this week, has just missed two presentable chances. As has Sakho at Upton Park, where Chelsea are clinging to their lead. 9.14pm GMT GOAL! Leeds 1-0 Ipswich Mowatt sends a splendid freekick into the net. 9.13pm GMT GOAL! QPR 0-2 Arsenal Sanchez collects the ball on the left-hand side of the box, then dodges two defenders and fires in at the near post. That’s curtains for Rangers. 9.10pm GMT Sanchez, who played a key role in the go-ahead goal, wrecks havoc in the Rangers’ defence. again, but Green pulls off a top save. 9.09pm GMT GOAL! QPR 0-1 Arsenal Giroud continues his atonement for hat ridiculous display against Monaco, tapping into the net from two yards after Gibbs’ shot is blocked. 9.08pm GMT GOAL! Liverpool 2-0 Burnley Henderson is the creator this time, and Sturridge finishes with a neat header. 9.08pm GMT GOAL! Spurs 3-1 Swansea Remember Andros Townsend? Well he’s only gone and rammed the ball into the net from distance to give Spurs an insurmountable lead. 9.07pm GMT Here’s a lovely moment: Jonas Gutierrez has come on for Newcastle, having recovered from cancer. Everyone in the ground applauds warmly. 9.06pm GMT Simon Mignolet may not be much cop with his feet, but he’s just shown that he’s a mean header: he charged out of his box to nut the ball clear as Barnes tried to collect a throughball. 9.04pm GMT Boom! Matt Phillips unleashes a blaster that flies through the air from 25 yards, leaving flames in its wake. Ospinna hurls himself across goal but can’t to it … so is mightily relieved to see it fly 5.2 inches past the post. Does anyone know anything that’s 5.2 inches long so that I could put that in context? 9.01pm GMT Oh, that could have been so beautiful! Chelsea sliced open West Ham with a wonderful move that culminated with Hazard teeing up Ramires, whose deft low shot bounces out off the butt of the post! 8.59pm GMT Schwarzer makes an wonderful save to prevent City from aggravating the score. Courtois then does likewise to preserve Chelsea’s lead at West ham. meanwhile, a sensation in Scotland: Danny Swanson has put St Johnstone 1-0 up at Celtic with a rocket into the top corner from 25 yards. 8.58pm GMT GOAL! Spurs 2-1 Swansea Eriksen makes the goal with a lovely dribble, the Mason applies the finish by spanking the ball into the net when it squirts out to him. 8.57pm GMT Half the crowd at Upton Park thought Sakho had equalised! But instead his shot hurtled into the sidenetting, so it remains West Ham 0-1 Chelsea. 8.56pm GMT Tim Krul is making a strong case for man of the match at St James’ Park. he’s just produced a fine save to deny Fellaini and he then jumped to his feet to block Young’s rebound. 8.53pm GMT Bony has just missed another sitter for Man City! At least that’s what the folks who saw it are saying. 8.52pm GMT UPDATE: We can confirm that @BafGomis is in a stable condition following the earlier incident at White Hart Lane tonight. #TOTSWA 8.51pm GMT The action has resumed at the Britannia but it’s the same old story for Everton, as Lukaku blasts wide with a decent chance. 8.49pm GMT 8.47pm GMT It’s half-time at Anfield, where Liverpool remain 1-0 in front thanks to Henderson’s screamer and a top save just before the break by Mignolet from Inges. 8.45pm GMT Barcelona, by the way, are breezing into the final of the Coppa del Rey. Neymar has scored twice and Suarez once to give them a 3-1 lead in the second leg against 10-man Villarreal. That’s 6-2 on aggregate. 8.43pm GMT Sturridge scampers through clear on goal … he’s capable of doing anything here, from dinking it over the advancing keeper to trying a triple pirouette and backheel finish … but he opts for an attempted sidefoot curler … but the keeper somehow read his intentions and saved with his feet. 8.38pm GMT A perfectly timed tackle by Skrtel on Barnes – and it had to be, otherwise that was a surefire penalty for Burnley. 8.36pm GMT It’s half-time every where, except at Anfield. Here are the scores so far: Stoke 1-0 Everton 8.34pm GMT Remember James Tomkins’ laughable dive after being gently pushed by Kevin Mirallas when Everton played West ham earlier this season? For some reason that came to mind when the West Ham centreback went down just now in the vicinity of Diego Costa. The ref didn’t buy it. 8.32pm GMT GOAL! Man City 1-0 Leicester. Bony’s attempt to score his first goal for his new club was thwarted when his shot from a Kolarvov cross was blocked. But it fell to Silva, whose first short as also blocked but he followed up to slot into the net from close range. At last City have their breakthrough. 8.31pm GMT Begovic makes a solid save from a drive by Aaron Lennon. moments later Charlie adam squanders a freekick from a promising position. 8.29pm GMT GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Burnley Jordan Henderson can’t stop scoring! A Countinho effort rebounded to him at the edge of the box and he blasted it first time into the net from 20 yards! 8.28pm GMT GOAL! Birmingham 1-0 Blackpool Andrew Shinne kicks it in. 8.27pm GMT Since Mark Hughes has been in charge, the Potters have won 15, drawn 5, lost 1 when they have scored the first goal at the Britannia Stadium 8.27pm GMT Silva flashes some wizardry to supply Bony with a magical pass … but the striker fails to reward it with a goal, botching his finish badly. 8.25pm GMT Gabriel appears to have suffered some sort of injury at Loftus Road, so Laurent Koscileny has come on in his place. Liverpool, meanwhile, are struggling to prise Burnley apart, with Sterling not as influential as he could be from right wingback. Having said that, Heaton has just had to make a fine sae to deny Henderson. 8.21pm GMT Carl Jenkinson’s timing is so good he could be the next James Bond: he has just made a wonderful last-ditch tackle to stop Diego Costa from inflicting more damage on West Ham. 8.17pm GMT GOAL! Stoke 1-0 Everton Everton appear determined to test the theory that they are too big to go down: they’ve fallen behind to a brilliant header from Moses, who guided a Bardsley cross into the net from 12 yards. 8.16pm GMT Rooney has missed a second clear chance for Manchester United. He was put through by Di Maria, who has otherwise had a bad game so far – a fact that Van Gaal has noted, as the Dutchman has got up to bawl at the Argentinian for giving the ball away. 8.15pm GMT Gibbs looks amazed at not being given a freekick as he nods the ball behind for a corner after – he claims – being shoved by Zamora. QPR ignore his complaints and deliver the corner, which Gibbs heads clear. Arsenal then hurtle down the other end and pose a rare threat, which Rosciky wastes with a wayward shank from 18 yards. 8.12pm GMT QPR have made a confident start against Arsenal and look the more vibrant and slicker side. Arsenal are in one of their down moods. 8.10pm GMT Mahrez – who is one Leicester player who should definitely stay in the Premier League if the club goes down (as in, someone better should buy him), plays a delightful pass through to Kramaric, whose attempt to give Leicester a surprising lead is foiled by Joe Hart. 8.09pm GMT Manchester City threatened to blow Leicester away early on but the underdogs are now rebelling and, indeed, they could have had a penalty just now after Schlupp went down in the area under a clumsy challenge from Bony. The ref saw nothing awry, however. 8.08pm GMT GOAL! West ham 0-1 Chelsea Fabregas to Ramires to Hazard, who scores with a, um, trademark header! 8.07pm GMT Many of you have written in to remind us that Gomis has fainted previously, twice, when playing for Lyon. 8.06pm GMT GOAL! Sheffield Wednesday 0-1 Blackburn Jordan Rhodes is making it a bad Wednesday for Wednesday 8.05pm GMT GOAL! Spurs 1-1 Swansea Spurs thought they had escaped when Sigurdsson’s excellent freekick came back out off the post, but Swansea quickly put the pressure back on and Ki equalised with a deft finish! 8.02pm GMT Liverpool have just kicked off at Anfield … and they very nearly took the lead within 20 seconds. Sterling and Sturridge combined mischievously before the latter forced a fine save from Heaton. 8.00pm GMT GOAL! Norwich 0-1 Wigan. Well this is a turn-up ‘ Kim Bo-Kyung has struck early to ruin the feelgood factor at Carrow Road. Meanwhile at Upton Park, John Terry has been booked for bringing down Valencia. And the inevitable has happened at the britannia: Barry has got that booking we all saw coming. 7.59pm GMT Gomis has been taken off the pitch on a stretcher and concerns for his well-being seem to have abated a little. Olivera is introduced as a substitute in his place. 7.58pm GMT Gomis continues to receive treatment, but he is moving and appears to be alert. 7.55pm GMT A disturbing development at White Hart Lane. Bafetimbi Gomis has collapsed and seems to be in distress. All the players look very concerned. A group of medical personnel are attending to the player. Hopefully this does not turn out to be as serious as it looks at the moment. 7.51pm GMT GOAL! Spurs 1-0 Swansea Nacer Chadli opens the scoring with a superb volley from a Danny Rose cross! 7.51pm GMT Cambiasso has just prevented Bony from claiming his first goal for Manchester City, clearing off the line. Meanwhile, Patrick McCabe has another idea for the type of mask that Coquelin could sport. “He should have to wear a mask with the face of whoever he has to mark, that would really freak them out!” Excellent idea. Mind you, Sandro seems the sort of trickster who’d enjoy that. 7.49pm GMT Kick-off at Whit Hart Lane was preceded by a minute’s applause for the late, great Dave Mackay. 7.48pm GMT All matches are go – except Liverpool v Burnley, which kicks off in 15 minutes. Everton have made a bright start at Stoke, but that comes to an end when Barry chops down Adam: that’s unlikely to be the last time those two tangle tonight – it’ll be a major shock if both finish the game without a yellow card, at least. 7.44pm GMT “Can you keep an eye out on the Arsenal game and let us know what sort of mask Coquelin is wearing?” pleads Charles Antaki. “Hopefully it won’t be one of those dull minimalist ones. The full Guy Fawkes, as popularised by Occupy-type protesters, would be good. Otherwise one of those Venetian ones with the beak.” How about a Patrick Vieira mask, in another attempt to dupe Gooners into believing Arsenal have sorted their midfield problems? 7.37pm GMT Sol Bamba endured a ghastly performance against Watford at the weekend but, so far as I’ve seen, rescuing him from unemployment has really paid off for Leeds so far: you don’t want him trying to stride out of defence with the ball, but otherwise he’s really generally brought real steel and authority to Leeds’ backline. So it’s good to see he’s kept his place for the visit of Ipswich, whose strikers will have to be subdued if Leeds’ relatively decent recent run is to continue. Leeds: Silvestri, Wootton, Bamba, Bellusci, Cooper, Murphy, Cook, Byram, Mowatt, Charlie Taylor, Sharp. Subs: Cani, Berardi, Stuart Taylor, Morison, Doukara, Sloth, Antenucci. Ipswich: Bialkowski, Chambers, Smith, Berra, Mings, Anderson, Skuse, Tabb, Parr, Varney, Wood. Subs: Gerken, Murphy, Chaplow, Bru, Sears, Connolly, Clarke. Referee: Mark Brown (East Yorkshire) 7.30pm GMT So as you can see from the team news below, Per Mertesacker has been brought back into the Arsenal defence: is that a sign of complacency from Arsene Wenger? QPR certainly don’t have the pace to trouble the static German, but they’ve brought in Bobby Zamora with a view to bullying him, no doubt. And with Charlie Austin sniffing around, I foresee at least one home goal at Loftus Road … but also an Arsenal victory. Just can’t see QPR getting out of the relegation zone. 7.08pm GMT Stoke: Begovic, Bardsley, Wollscheid, Wilson, Pieters, Whelan, Nzonzi, Walters, Adam, Moses, Crouch. Subs: Arnautovic, Diouf,Cameron, Sidwell, Butland, Teixeira, Shenton.Everton: Howard, Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Garbutt, McCarthy, Gibson, Barry, Lennon, Lukaku, Naismith. Subs: Robles, Kone, Mirallas, Besic, Barkley, Osman, Alcaraz. 7.07pm GMT Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Walker, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose, Bentaleb, Mason, Townsend, Eriksen, Chadli, Kane. Subs: Chiriches, Paulinho, Soldado, Lamela, Vorm, Dembele, Davies. Swansea: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Williams, Taylor, Ki, Cork, Sigurdsson, Shelvey, Routledge, Gomis. Subs: Amat, Britton, Emnes, Nelson Oliveira, Montero, Rangel, Tremmel. Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland) 7.07pm GMT Man City: Hart, Sagna, Demichelis, Mangala, Kolarov, Jesus Navas, Fernando, Toure, Silva, Bony, Aguero. Subs: Kompany, Zabaleta, Milner, Dzeko, Caballero, Lampard, Clichy. Leicester: Schwarzer, Simpson, Upson, Huth, Morgan, Konchesky, Mahrez, James, Cambiasso, Schlupp, Kramaric. Subs: Drinkwater, Vardy, King, Hamer, Ulloa, Wasilewski, Nugent. Referee: Robert Madley (West Yorkshire) 7.06pm GMT West Ham: Adrian, Jenkinson, Reid, Tomkins, Cresswell, Kouyate, Noble, Nolan, Downing, Sakho, Valencia. Subs: Jarvis, Nene, O’Brien, Collins, Demel, Jaaskelainen, Song. Chelsea: Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Ramires, Zouma, Fabregas, Oscar, Costa, Hazard. Subs: Cech, Luis, Drogba, Remy, Willian, Cuadrado, Loftus-Cheek. Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire) 7.05pm GMT QPR: Green, Furlong, Onuoha, Caulker, Yun, Phillips, Henry, Sandro, Hoilett, Austin, Zamora. Subs: Hill, Wright-Phillips, McCarthy, Isla, Kranjcar, Vargas, Zarate. Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Gabriel, Gibbs, Coquelin, Cazorla, Rosicky, Ozil, Sanchez, Giroud. Subs: Koscielny, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Chambers, Welbeck, Martinez. Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire) 7.05pm GMT Newcastle: Krul, Janmaat, Williamson, Coloccini, Ryan Taylor, Obertan, Abeid, Sissoko, Ameobi, Cisse, Riviere. Subs: Anita, Gouffran, Perez, Gutierrez, Armstrong, Satka, Woodman. Man Utd: De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Evans, Rojo, Ander Herrera, Blind, Di Maria, Rooney, Young, Fellaini. Subs: Jones, Mata, Falcao, Januzaj, Lindegaard, Carrick, McNair. Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire) 7.02pm GMT Burnley: Heaton; Trippier, Keane, Shackell, Mee; Kightly, Jones, Arfield, Boyd; Barnes, Ings.Liverpool: Mignolet; Can, Skrtel, Lovren; Henderson, Allen, Moreno, Lallana, Sterling; Coutinho; Sturridge. 6.30pm GMT Hello and welcome to another edition of Clockwatch, the feature that is forever grateful for the letter l. The action on this occasion will will focus on no fewer (and, in fairness, no more) than seven Premier League matches, and the big news is that Vincent Kompany will not start any of them. That’s right, the Manchester City skipper has been jilted from his team’s line-up, presumably as punishment for a slew of sub-par recent performances. Deimichelis and Mangala will instead be tasked with keeping Leicester City out and if they manage that, then doing the same against Barcelona in a few weeks will obviously be a doddle. Elsewhere, QPR will attempt to respond to Aston Villa’s victory last night by upsetting Arsenal, while Louis Van Gaal’s Manchester United project will enter its latest phase at Newcastle United, and no one truly knows what to expect from that encounter. Stoke will attempt to fuel their improbable bid for a Europa League spot by inflicting another negative for Roberto Martinez to find positives in; Chelsea will seek to follow up their League Cup victory with a win at West Ham; Spurs will attempt to follow up their League Cup defeat with a victory over Swansea; and Liverpool and Burnley will do battle with the former trying to enter the Champions League zone and the latter aiming to clamber clear of the danger zone. Continue reading…

GUARDIAN – Brendan Rodgers praises Daniel Sturridge after Liverpool comeback

• Sturridge scores after five months out injured• Rodgers admits he had to be very patient with striker• Match report: Liverpool 2-0 West Ham Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool manager, insists expectations still need to be handled carefully regarding Daniel Sturridge but he was delighted that the striker is back and scoring.The England international ended a five-month injury absence by coming off the bench to score Liverpool’s second in their 2-0 win against West Ham at Anfield after Raheem Sterling had opened the scoring early in the second half. Continue reading…

GUARDIAN – West Ham’s Sam Allardyce shrugs off Diafra Sakho’s Africa Cup of Nations ban – video

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce says he is not worried Diafra Sakho might face a ban, after the Senegalese striker withdrew from the Africa Cup of Nations with an injury, but scored in the English side’s FA Cup match last weekend. Talking before Saturday’s Premier League match at Anfield, Allardyce says Liverpool are at their best and he expects it to be a difficult game. He says that, as West Ham have beaten Liverpool at home this season, they hope to repeat the feat Continue reading…

ESPN – #FCtalkingpoints: Lampard, Rodgers, transfers, Real Madrid, West Ham

ESPN FC analyst Craig Burley breaks down all the drama at Anfield, which culminated with Martin Skrtel's stoppage-time equaliser that earned Liverpool a draw against Arsenal. Football always inspires debate, and this weekend was no exception. Here are five burning questions on the ESPN FC radar following the weekend. Vote and comment below or on Twitter using the hashtag #FCtalkingpoints. Brendan Rodgers is no stranger to off-the-wall comments, but his latest following Liverpool's 2-2 draw with Arsenal is borderline insane. “Our performance today was better than when we won here 5-1 last year,” said Rodgers. Agree Disagree That is insane 11% Agree 23% Disagree 66% That is insane $('.article-module.poll[data-poll-id=”4637414″]').each(function(i) { var pollId = $(this).data('poll-id'); FC.Poll.polls[pollId] = new FC.Poll().init($(this), pollId); }); Transfer season is almost upon us again and there has been no shortage of tasty rumours floating through ESPN FC's Transfer Talk blog of late….

ESPN – Andy Carroll has West Ham dreaming of Europe after towering display

Sam Allardyce said before the match he couldn't have signed Wilfried Bony as he had committed to landing Andy Carroll and the former Liverpool striker turned the match around with two headers. LONDON — A trio of thoughts as Andy Carroll inspired West Ham to a 3-1 win over Swansea to move up to third in the Premier League for the time being. West Ham fans dreaming of Europe A few minutes after a resurgent Andy Carroll had claimed his second goal of the game and Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski had been sent off to pretty much secure an eventual 3-1 West Ham United win, Upton Park erupted in an ear-catching chant. “Barcelona,” the entire ground roared, “we're coming for you!” West Ham United Swansea City 3 1 FT Game Details GameCast Lineups and Stats It's…

GUARDIAN – Champions League: who will finish behind Chelsea and Manchester City? | Andy Hunter

With Chelsea and the champions set for top two slots in the Premier League, nine clubs are chasing the other two Champions League places• Match report: Sunderland 0-0 Chelsea• Match report: Southampton 0-3 Manchester CityThose expecting an end to Southampton’s remarkable response to the summer exodus from the club, and a repeat of last season’s decline once a daunting run of fixtures arrived, should not feel too smug just yet. Sunday’s comprehensive defeat by Manchester City followed the loss of the influential Morgan Schneiderlin at half-time and Ronald Koeman’s team still have the best defensive record in the Premier League. They remain a team with genuine European prospects. Continue reading…