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Which players are you anxious to see this EPL season?

By Sports Desk August 08, 2019
Harry Maguire Harry Maguire

The English Premier League begins on Friday and the Zone team has weighed in on who they are looking forward to seeing. Who do you want to see?

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  • Sarri insists Juve will remain focused with Inter on the horizon Sarri insists Juve will remain focused with Inter on the horizon

    Maurizio Sarri has vowed his Juventus team will not let their focus be affected by the prospect of next week's top-of-the-table clash with Inter.

    Saturday sees Juventus travel to face SPAL, who sit at the bottom of Serie A with just four wins from 24 games, and coming away with three points is imperative for Sarri's side.

    Juventus are locked in a three-way title battle with Inter and Lazio, and they also resume their Champions League mission next Wednesday with a trip to Lyon.

    The Inter tussle follows four days later, so it would hardly be surprising if Juventus supporters were already looking beyond the SPAL game.

    That approach is not for Sarri, though, as he explained in Friday's pre-match news conference, stating: "We're coming into the game ready, both mentally and physically in what is an important stage of the season.

    "We're not worrying about players picking up suspensions ahead of Inter, we're just focusing on tomorrow's game.

    "We're not thinking about the Scudetto race, just tomorrow's game in Ferrara because this is not yet a decisive period."

    Sarri is continually exploring formation options and, quoted on the Juventus website, he added: "We're taking it game by game. A 4-3-3 depends on the players that we have available, on a defensive level not much changes.

    "SPAL are different on a tactical level with [Luigi] Di Biagio at the helm. It will be a difficult game as they are playing to stay in the division."

    Cristiano Ronaldo was rested by Juventus last weekend, when Sarri's men won 2-0 at home against Brescia, but can be expected to return.

    Veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini returned from injury as a substitute in the Brescia game but according to Sarri is "just lacking the last step", an apparent indication it will be a while before he is ready to start a game.

    If veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon plays, a 648th Serie A appearance would take him ahead of Milan great Paolo Maldini and into the outright lead in the most games played by anyone in Italy's top flight.

    Sarri could include Federico Bernardeschi, who has returned to training after a short lay-off, but warned the Italy attacking midfielder is not yet ready to play a full 90 minutes.

  • Zidane admires Sterling but won't discuss potential move for Man City star Zidane admires Sterling but won't discuss potential move for Man City star

    Zinedine Zidane thinks Raheem Sterling is a quality player but is not interested in discussing a possible Real Madrid bid for the Manchester City star.

    In an interview with Madrid publication AS, Sterling described Los Blancos as "a fantastic club" and suggested he could be interested in playing at the Santiago Bernabeu, although he made it clear he is happy at City.

    With Pep Guardiola's side facing a ban from European competition pending the outcome of a planned appeal, the future of Sterling is likely to intensify over the coming weeks, particularly with Madrid and City meeting in the last 16 of the Champions League.

    Madrid head coach Zidane is undoubtedly an admirer of Sterling, but he seems disinclined to encourage speculation.

    "I can't talk about a player who isn't mine," he told reporters on Friday. "He's a very good player, no doubt about that."

    Madrid face Levante in LaLiga on Saturday before their attentions turn to City next week.

    One player hoping to impress is Rodrygo, who has not made a league appearance since January 26.

    "He hasn't been in the last three squads, but we know he's an important player for us and when everyone is there, you have to select a squad," Zidane said of the Brazilian.

    "That's all it is, because we're happy with him. He's shown he's very good."

    Madrid captain Sergio Ramos is said to be at an impasse in talks over a new contract, with Madrid reportedly unwilling to match their captain's request for a two-year extension.

    Zidane, though, expects a new deal to be agreed without too much complication and is even backing the defender in his desire to represent Spain at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

    "Sergio's renewal looks easy to me. I want Sergio with me. He's our captain, our leader and an example as a player," he said.

    "He's very important for all Madridistas, for the players...

    "He should go, of course [to the Olympics]. I will support him. It's very beautiful to play for your country."

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