Premier League preview: Everton v Manchester United

18 August 2012 00:55

Manchester United begin the 2012/13 English Premier League season with a revenge mission away to Everton on Monday.

A dramatic 4-4 draw at home to Everton on April 22 was a major blow to United’s title challenge, as rivals Manchester City ultimately claimed the championship on goal difference.

United have added Japanese attacking midfielder Shinji Kagawa and teenager Nick Powell from Crewe Alexandra over the close-season transfer window.

Kagawa scored the match winner in United’s 4-3 friendly win over German club Hannover on August 11.

In the same match United star Wayne Rooney continued an encouraging pre-season with a two-goal performance, converting both a free kick and penalty attempt.

The game showed off a new-look attacking combination for the 2012/13 season, with Rooney playing a deeper role beside Kagawa and Tom Cleverley.

Cleverley participated in the London Olympics for Great Britain and has said the experience will benefit him for the forthcoming season.

For Everton, Steven Naismith and Steven Pienaar have been brought in by manager David Moyes.

Pienaar returns to Everton after playing for the club from 2008 until 2011, returning on loan from Tottenham Hotspur in 2012, before sealing a permanent transfer back to Goodison Park.

Naismith’s addition to the side has already proved fruitful, with the former Glasgow Rangers striker scoring a hat-trick against AEK Athens in a friendly on August 8.

Yet perhaps more significant were the players which left Everton over the close season.

Long-time servant Tim Cahill and promising midfielder Jack Rodwell have both left, with Cahill moving to the New York Red Bulls and Rodwell signed by Manchester City.

In their absence, Everton will look to Croatia international Nikica Jelavic to shine.

The striker netted 11 goals in 13 league starts following a January move from Rangers last season.

Ligue 1: Lille 1 Nancy 1

18 August 2012 00:24

Salomon Kalou salvaged a point for Lille as their first Ligue 1 game in their new stadium ended in a 1-1 draw against Nancy on Friday night.

Djamel Bakar opened the scoring for the visitors in the 35th minute but the lead lasted less than 10 minutes as Kalou was on hand to equalise just before the half-time interval.

Nancy’s Benjamin Moukandjo was sent off late but they held on to remain unbeaten in the league after their opening-round win over Brest.

Bakar had the honour of scoring the first goal at the new 50,000-seat Grand Stade Lille Metropole when he rounded Lille defender Rio Mavuba and struck a sublime curling shot that flew past keeper Mickael Landrea.

Kalou’s effort to level the scores was equally as good, however.

The former Chelsea player flew highest to meet an excellent cross from another signing, Marvin Martin, and saw his header find the back of the net – much to the delight of the home crowd.

Neither side could break the deadlock in the second half, as Nancy were forced to play the last 10 minutes a man down after Moukandjo was dismissed for a second yellow card.

Dimitri Payet received a free-kick late but his effort was off target as both teams settled for a draw.

Championship: Cardiff 1 Huddersfield Town 0

18 August 2012 00:03

Cardiff captain Mark Hudson struck an injury-time winner to open the Championship season with a 1-0 victory over Huddersfield Town.

It was a tough result on promoted Huddersfield, who deserved a point after holding out the home side at Cardiff City Stadium for all but 91 minutes of the clash.

Despite the return of hometown hero Craig Bellamy after his switch from Liverpool over the summer, it was Huddersfield who created the better of the chances at goal, most notably by Oliver Norwood and Scott Arfield, but they were ultimately denied by the smart work of Cardiff keeper David Marshall.

After a goalless first half, it was left to Hudson to claim all three points for Cardiff late as they seek a return to the Premier League next season.

Kevin McNaughton provided a long ball forward that was headed down by substitute Joe Mason, with defender Hudson on hand to slide in the winner – his first goal since his cracker against Derby last season.

Swansea sign PrestonĀ“s Proctor

17 August 2012 23:39

Jamie Proctor has joined Swansea City from Preston for an undisclosed fee.

The striker, who scored four goals in 40 appearances for his home town club over two years, has penned a two-year deal with Michael Laudrup’s side.

Starting out as a key member of the Preston squad last season, injury beset his progress before he expressed a desire to play at a higher level.

“I’m delighted to join Swansea,” he told the club’s official website.

“The club has enjoyed a lot of success over the last few years and their style of football has really caught the eye.

“I’m looking forward to being a part of things and trying to impress the new manager enough to force my way into his plans.”

Chairman Huw Jenkins confirmed that Proctor will continue his development in the Swans’ Under-21 squad, adding that the striker highlights the club’s desire to look to the future.

“We see it as an important and vital part of the club’s long-term future,” he said.

“Our aim is to establish a promising group of youngsters under the Under-21 banner who can develop and progress into Michael Laudrup’s first-team plans.

“It’s important to think about the present, but it’s even more important to think about the future.”