Premier League returns: team news and more in our weekend football countdown – live!

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Morning everyone. Yes, the great Premier League juggernaut is back, and though observations that the football season seems to start earlier each year – like those about police officers and football managers looking younger these days – have begun to seem weary and cliched, this season really has ambushed us early (EFL games in July, I ask you!).

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England has at least had a week to bask in the unfamiliar sensation of Euro 2022 glory, before the more familiar sensations of the top flight’s big kick-off are upon us. And it starts, as last year’s did, with Arsenal facing a testing away game in London against opponents who can raise their game against them. Selhurst Park should be lively tonight as Patrick Vieira seeks to inflict another bruising defeat on his old club, who nonetheless go in to the new season with optimism (cautiously) higher than it has been for a while.

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The defending champions, Manchester City, face a testing start at West Ham in one of the more intriguing fixtures of the weekend, while their closest challengers in 2021-22, Liverpool visit a Fulham side hoping to step off the alternating promotion/relegation merry-go-round.

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We’ll have all the latest team news, media conference tidbits and random gossip and comment through the day. And to start us all off, here’s 10 things to look out for this weekend:

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Key events

Newcastle haven’t been as free-spending in this transfer window as many predicted, but their search for new recruits continues. But Eddie Howe has insisted the club will operate under spending restrictions for “years” despite all that Saudi cash behind them.

“Financial Fair Play will impact us, will continue to impact us, I think, for a number of years,” said the Newastle manager. “We haven’t got the free rein, the free hand that maybe has been perceived in the media, that we can go and sign whoever we want and pay extortionate fees and wages.

“We’re not in that position and I don’t think we will be for some period of time. We’re having to be creative and smart and try to make the right additions with the financial restraints that we have.”

Chelsea are on the verge of securing the signing of Marc Cucurella from Brighton, according to Sky Sports News. The full-back, one of the most impressive players in the top flight last season, has of course been gossiped about as a Manchester City target all summer.

In the WSL, champions Chelsea have signed the Sweden winger Johanna Rytting Kaneryd on a three-year deal.

Manchester City may have recruited a stunningly gifted and efficient robo-striker in Erling Haaland but might they be about to lose the artistic talents of Bernardo Silva? “What happens will happen,” said Pep Guardiola, “and if he stays it is perfect and in the end if he has to leave it is because football is like this; the player has a desire. I will not be a person to stop a desire for the people. When you are a football player it is so short, you don’t realise and it is nearly over. The player will have to talk to the club and I have never ever been involved in that.”

Jamie Jackson has the story:

And here’s a spot more eve-of-season reading, from Barney Ronay on the strangeness of a season to be abruptly interrupted by the most controversial of World Cups:

And here’s David Hills on some other things we’ll have to get used to, such as five subs, a new official ball and some out-there new kits:

Updated at 10.20 BST

Preamble

Morning everyone. Yes, the great Premier League juggernaut is back, and though observations that the football season seems to start earlier each year – like those about police officers and football managers looking younger these days – have begun to seem weary and cliched, this season really has ambushed us early (EFL games in July, I ask you!).

England has at least had a week to bask in the unfamiliar sensation of Euro 2022 glory, before the more familiar sensations of the top flight’s big kick-off are upon us. And it starts, as last year’s did, with Arsenal facing a testing away game in London against opponents who can raise their game against them. Selhurst Park should be lively tonight as Patrick Vieira seeks to inflict another bruising defeat on his old club, who nonetheless go in to the new season with optimism (cautiously) higher than it has been for a while.

The defending champions, Manchester City, face a testing start at West Ham in one of the more intriguing fixtures of the weekend, while their closest challengers in 2021-22, Liverpool visit a Fulham side hoping to step off the alternating promotion/relegation merry-go-round.

We’ll have all the latest team news, media conference tidbits and random gossip and comment through the day. And to start us all off, here’s 10 things to look out for this weekend:

The Guardian

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