Premier League – Team news: Nasri debuts
New signing Samir Nasri has been rushed back into the Arsenal squad as the Gunners kick off the Premier League season on Saturday.
All matches 15:00 UK time unless stated. Click the links on the right for full previews and predicted line-ups.
Arsenal v West Bromwich (12.45)
Nasri and Kolo Toure make a swift return after missing the midweek trip to face FC Twente. Cesc Fabregas, Abou Diaby and Tomas Rosicky are crocked, while striker Eduardo Da Silva and defender Philippe Senderos are also out. Scott Carson is in line for his competitive West Brom debut, as are Marek Cech and Abdoulaye Meite. Gianni Zuiverloon is at the Olympics.
Middlesbrough v Tottenham
Young Rhys Williams may start at right-back while Boro tie up the loose ends of Justin Hoyte‘s signing from Arsenal. Didier Digard makes his debut in central midfield with Julio Arca and Gary O’Neil out, and Mido is unlikely to face his former club because of injury. Luka Modric and David Bentley debut for Spurs, while Dimitar Berbatov could be left out.
Bolton v Stoke City
There are no injury or suspension worries for the Trotters, who will give Riga Mustapha, Johan Elmander and Fabrice Muamba debuts. Seyi Olofinjana, Thomas Sorensen, Amdy Faye and Dave Kitson should get their first taste of Premier League football in a Stoke shirt. The Potters have no-one missing either.
Everton have bought no-one and lost Andy Johnson, Lee Carsley and Thomas Gravesen. Tim Cahill, Steven Pienaar, Tony Hibbert and James Vaughan are all injured, so youngsters Dan Gosling and Jack Rodwell could start. Blackburn’s Carlos Villanueva and Roque Santa Cruz are doubtful. Paul Robinson will get his competitive debut.
Hull are only missing Caleb Folan and will give debuts to Bernard Mendy, Anthony Gardner, George Boating, Peter Halmosi, Geovanni and Marlon King. The Cottagers have just one major absentee in record signing Andrew Johnson and will showcase Bobby Zamora, Fredrik Stoor, Mark Schwarzer and either Andranik Teymourian or Zoltan Gera.
West Ham v Wigan Athletic
The Hammers already have a massive injury list featuring Craig Bellamy, Danny Collison, James Collins, Jonathan Spector, Kieron Dyer, Nigel Quashie, Danny Gabbidon and George McCartney. Not a good start. Lee Cattermole comes straight into the Wigan midfield as injury rules out Jason Koumas, Paul Scharner and Ryan Taylor.
A clutch of new signings are set to make their Sunderland debut, including bad-boy El-Hadji Diouf and ex-Spurs trio Steed Malbranque, Teemu Tainio and Pascal Chimbonda. Michael Chopra is suspended. Steven Gerrard is back for Liverpool after missing the midweek Champions League qualifier but Rafa Benitez could name an otherwise unchaged side.
Chelsea v Portsmouth (Sunday 13:30)
Injuries to Didier Drogba and Andriy Shevchenko leave Nicolas Anelka ploughing a lone furrow up front, while Luiz Felipe Scolari will try to shoehorn four central midfielders – Frank Lampard, Michael Ballack, Michael Essien and Deco – into his side. Jose Bosingwa is also expected to miss out injured. Portsmouth’s John Utaka comes in for Pedro Mendes, now of Rangers.
Villa only have Wilfried Bouma out injured, with new signing Nicky Shorey filling in, while Carlos Cuellar is in the squad after his move from Rangers. City are short up front with Darius Vassell and Benjani Mwaruwari injured and Jo in China. Felipe Caicedo and Daniel Sturridge played in the UEFA Cup on Thursday. Richard Dunne is suspended.
Wayne Rooney expects to start for the hosts after shaking off a virus, but Owen Hargreaves misses out. Nani is suspended and Anderson is at the Olympics, while Gary Neville makes his first league appearance for 17 months. Darren Fletcher will fill the Ronaldo-shaped hole on the right. Jonas Gutierrez could go straight into the Newcastle side, but Michael Owen is injured.