Premier League: Focus on Kane as new season begins

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London, Aug 13 (IANS) The Premier League kicks off this weekend and wastes no time in giving fans a match which will no doubt capture the headlines as reigning champions Manchester City visit Tottenham Hotspur and although Spurs captain Harry Kane is unlikely to be on the pitch, he will be the centre of attention.

Manchester City’s interest in signing Kane (who last May said he wanted to leave Spurs) is thought to be the main reason the striker was a week late reporting back for training — only appearing at the training ground last Saturday. Kane trained alone until Thursday and has only two days working alongside his teammates before the match.

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New Tottenham coach Nuno Espiritu Santo has said the striker will be available for Sunday’s game, but it’s hard to imagine Kane being fit enough to start against the team he wants to join, reports Xinhua.

Nuno needs a positive start to his career at Tottenham, while City, with Jack Grealish in their squad, will aim to carry on where they left off last year, but whatever happens on the pitch, Kane will be the main story.

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Saturday’s big game sees archrivals Manchester United and Leeds United face off in a game that promises to deliver end-to-end thrills.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have new arrivals Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho in his side, while Junior Firpo should make his Leeds debut as Marcelo Bielsa’s men look to build on their impressive ninth-place finish last time around.

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Liverpool are also in action on Saturday with Jurgen Klopp’s men starting their season with a visit to Norwich City, who return to the Premier League hoping to avoid relegation for a historic sixth time.

Ibrahima Konate could make his Liverpool debut as central defenders Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez put the finishing touches to their returns from knee ligament injuries, but Andy Robertson is out with an ankle problem that will sideline him until September.

Record signing Romelu Lukaku is in line to make his return for Chelsea as the newly crowned European Super Cup winners entertain Crystal Palace, who have Patrick Viera in charge.

Leicester City are at home to Wolves and Bruno Lage makes his debut in the visitors’ dugout. The interest will be to see if Wolves can defend using Lage’s preferred high line against a Leicester side with players such as Jamie Vardy, Harvey Barnes and newly signed Patson Daka in the attack.

Rafael Benitez will be the focus of attention when Everton welcome Southampton to Goodison Park. The former Liverpool boss hasn’t exactly been welcomed with open arms by Everton fans and three points would be the best way to start winning hearts and minds.

Southampton kick off the season without striker Danny Ings, who has joined Aston Villa and his new club start their ‘post-Grealish’ era with a visit to newly-promoted Watford, while Burnley and Brighton should provide a contrast in styles with Burnley’s rugged approach pitted against Brighton’s passing game.

Finally, Newcastle United entertain West Ham in what will be a litmus test for the unloved Steve Bruce, who remains unpopular despite leading a thin squad to safety for consecutive seasons.

–IANS

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