Belgium boss Roberto Martinez urged Romelu Lukaku to leave Manchester United ahead of the new Premier League season to get his career back on track.

Lukaku fell out of favour at Old Trafford under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the second half of the 2018-19 campaign with Marcus Rashford being preferred.

Reported Inter target Lukaku has acknowledged he would be interested in a move to Italy and hinted last week he may be on his way out of Old Trafford.

The 26-year-old scored 15 goals in 45 appearances for United in all competitions last term and Martinez stressed the importance of Belgium's leading man finding a new club.

"It is clear that he has to leave Manchester United," Martinez told Belgian outlet Het Laatste Nieuws.

"It  would be a good thing for both parties. It is now important that Romelu finds the right club."

Belgium's record scorer Lukaku, reportedly valued at £80million by United, scored three goals for Martinez's men across two Euro 2020 qualifiers earlier this month.

Paul Pogba's tempestuous second stint at Manchester United will end this close season if the France midfielder has his way.

Speaking over the weekend, Pogba stated it was time for a "new challenge", having been linked with a big-money move away from Old Trafford for several months.

The 26-year-old was the most expensive player in football history when he re-joined United from Juventus for £89.3million in 2016.

Despite scoring 31 goals in all competitions over the course of three seasons, Pogba's failure to consistently hit top form for a sustained period has invited regular criticism, while the collapse of his relationship with Jose Mourinho was an unseemly factor towards the end of the Portuguese's ill-fated reign as manager.

Nevertheless, United are reportedly in no hurry to sell and a £150m price tag means only a small selection of the game's elite can consider a move for Pogba. We look at where the 2018 World Cup winner might end up next.

Real Madrid

The Santiago Bernabeu has long been mooted as Pogba's next destination and the appeal of him linking up with France great and Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane is an obvious one. Following an underwhelming campaign, club president Florentino Perez has bankrolled a considerable overhaul for Zidane, with Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Ferland Mendy, Eder Militao and Rodrygo all arriving at considerable expense. The coffers are not bottomless and the question is whether Pogba, after his mixed recent seasons, remains the most appealing use of Madrid's remaining funds.

Paris Saint-Germain

Indeed, glances have probably been turned from the Spanish capital and towards the French one by Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi saying star forwards Neymar and Kylian Mbappe – along with the rest of the squad – must "work more", adding: "I no longer want to have superstar behaviour," in an interview with France Football. Pogba's detractors would argue such a policy change might rule him out, but PSG are light in central midfield and Al-Khelaifi will be aware of the commercial bounty to be made from bringing one of Les Bleus' 2018 heroes back to his home city. Links between PSG and Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt also suggest the lines of communication between the club and Pogba's agent Mino Raiola are open.

Juventus

Pogba's standing in the eyes of the United faithful has dwindled over recent months and he must long for the esteem in which he was once held in Turin. Four Scudetti in as many seasons preceded his second act in Manchester, although those did come in a talent-stacked midfield alongside the likes of Arturo Vidal, Andrea Pirlo and Claudio Marchisio. Juve are approaching a new era under Maurizio Sarri and Pogba would be a statement signing to bolster their Champions League ambitions alongside the evergreen Cristiano Ronaldo.

Barcelona

Pogba was widely considered to be on Barcelona's radar in the aftermath of Russia 2018, however that ship appears to have sailed. Arthur adapted impressively to life in LaLiga last term and Frenkie de Jong will arrive on the crest of an Ajax wave. On the other hand, recent speculation linking United with an interest in Barca duo Ivan Rakitic and Philippe Coutinho means a lucrative game of musical chairs might not be out of the equation entirely.

Rio Ferdinand claims he has spoken to Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward about the sporting director position the club are trying to fill.

United have long been keen on a structural change that would see the club hire someone to oversee football operations, allowing Woodward to focus on the commercial side.

Initially the club were thought to be hopeful of making an appointment ahead of the close-season transfer window, allowing the new hire to instigate necessary changes to the playing staff.

Despite plenty of speculation linking people with the role, things have gone cold in recent months and a recent report claimed the club have stalled on hiring someone, with Woodward set to remain in charge of transfers for the time being.

However, former United star Ferdinand has not been shy in declaring his desire for the position and says he has discussed the job with Woodward.

"I've always spoken to Ed since I left, anyway. I had that type of relationship with him," Ferdinand told BBC Sportsweek.

"I've not seen him at a game, so all the chats I've had with him have been on the phone or I go and see him when I'm in London.

"I'm not the type to dilly-dally around. I've seen the stuff in the papers. 'What's that role about?' I've asked that question – so yes, I have spoken to him.

"I'm very honest and Ed's open and honest with me. Manchester United and the powers that be will decide as and when they are going to put someone into that role.

"If I am the person on that list and the person they are going to talk to, then that time will come.

"It's nice to be on a list in such a responsible role at such a prestigious club. If the call comes I will say, 'thank you very much for that', but if that call doesn't come, I'll not lose sleep over it."

Neymar appears to be on thin ice at Paris Saint-Germain.

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi warned he will not tolerate any "celebrity behaviour" from players.

And the Brazil star could be set to pay the price for his lavish ways in the French capital.

 

TOP STORY – PSG PREPARED TO PART WITH NEYMAR

If you can stump up €222million or more, Neymar could be yours.

According to L'Equipe, Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain are willing to sell their world-record signing.

Neymar – who is recovering from an ankle injury that forced him out of Brazil's Copa America campaign – arrived from Barcelona for a world-record fee in 2017.

And the 27-year-old continues to be linked with a return to LaLiga with former club Barcelona or their great rivals Real Madrid.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Standard says Paul Pogba has been told he will not be sold by Manchester United, despite the Frenchman publicly stating his desire to seek a challenge elsewhere. Pogba has been linked to Real Madrid and a return to Juventus.

- Juventus have not given up on signing in-demand Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt, according to Tuttosport. PSG are believed to be favourites but Juve vice-president Pavel Nedved is set to meet with agent Mino Raiola.

- Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal reportedly has an offer from the Chinese Super League, according to soccerlink.fr. The arrival of Frenkie de Jong from Ajax could spell the end of the Chilean's career at Camp Nou.

- L'Equipe says Arsenal have moved closer to signing 18-year-old Saint-Etienne defender William Saliba. The Teenager has reportedly agreed a five-year contract in London.

- Ligue 1 side Lyon have opened talks to sign Filipe Luis from Atletico Madrid, according to L'Equipe. The Brazil international full-back's contract expires at the end of June and he has been linked to Barcelona.

- With Maurizio Sarri confirmed as Juventus head coach, the Italian champions are set to target Inter outcast Mauro Icardi and Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Paul Pogba finally confirmed his desire to leave Manchester United for a "new challenge" on Sunday, a revelation that will likely split the club's supporters.

While few would doubt Pogba's ability, the last three seasons since his return from Juventus have been anything but smooth.

Pogba has struggled for consistency in a United team that has so often been crying out for his creativity, while the soap opera around his turbulent relationship with Jose Mourinho before the Portuguese manager's December sacking became a distracting sideshow.

Although Pogba's form did initially improve after Mourinho left, the dominant performances soon dried up again – a haul of 13 goals (seven from the spot) and nine assists in the Premier League exaggerating his influence.

Sunday's comments about desiring a move will not have surprised many given the speculation surrounding him, but offloading Pogba might prove a blessing in disguise for a United side in need of a rebuild. We have identified some potential replacements.

 

Sean Longstaff - Newcastle United

Magpies midfielder Longstaff has only made nine Premier League appearances, but he impressed to such a degree he is being linked with a £25million move to United. Poised in possession with a maturity that belies his 21 years, Longstaff looks to have a very bright future but it would be asking a lot of him to replace one of the best midfielders in the world.

Tanguy Ndombele - Lyon

Ndombele is reportedly a target for Tottenham, who he has described as "a great team, a great club", though he could be a good fit at Old Trafford too. The France midfielder impressed in the Champions League last term but Lyon's outspoken president Jean-Michel Aulas is known among the hardest negotiators in the game. The Ligue 1 side are said to be demanding £70m for the 22-year-old.

Bruno Fernandes - Sporting CP

Nations League winner Fernandes is expected to leave Sporting this year, but United would surely face a battle for his signature, as Manchester City, Inter, Tottenham, Liverpool and Juventus are all said to be keen. Fernandes hit 20 league goals for Sporting, who missed out on Champions League qualification and will likely have to cash in on the versatile 24-year-old as a result. He is reportedly valued at £70m. 

Youri Tielemans - Monaco

Tielemans impressed on loan at Leicester City last term and, although the Foxes may wish to do a deal with Monaco to sign him permanently, they could be blown out of the water by offers from richer sides. Tielemans, said to be valued at £40m by the Ligue 1 club, has been linked with United, but speculation has also suggested they have moved on to other targets.

Adrien Rabiot - PSG

A risk-reward signing if ever there was one, Rabiot is available on a free transfer as his contract is expiring this year at Paris Saint-Germain. But the 24-year-old has a reputation as a difficult character, having been shunted aside at PSG over a contract dispute, while he rejected the invitation to be on the standby list for Didier Deschamps' France squad at the 2018 World Cup. The undoubtedly talented Rabiot is said to be in huge demand, with Juventus rumoured to be interested in a player Gianluigi Buffon has described as a combination of Pogba, Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio.

Giovani Lo Celso - Real Betis 

Versatility makes Giovani Lo Celso an appealing option, with the Argentina midfielder able to operate in front of defence or in a more attacking role. He scored nine LaLiga goals for Real Betis last season and the club can expect to make a significant profit on a player they signed from PSG for €25m only two months ago. Should Lo Celso impress at the Copa America, demand in a player linked with Tottenham could increase.

Paul Pogba has hinted he is ready to leave Manchester United after revealing his desire for a "new challenge somewhere else".

The midfielder's future at Old Trafford has been in doubt after an indifferent 2018-19 season, with Real Madrid reportedly interested.

Former club Juventus have also been linked with Pogba, who returned for a second spell at Old Trafford when United paid a then-record fee of £89million in August 2016.

Speaking in Tokyo, the 26-year-old - a World Cup winner at Russia 2018 - admitted the time could be right to move on.

"There has been a lot of talking, a lot of thinking as well. I've been here for three years in Manchester, it has been going great," he told reporters.

"There have been some good moments and some bad moments, like everywhere else. But after this season, after everything that happened with my season, it was my best season as well, I think for me it can be a good time to have a new challenge somewhere else.

"I'm thinking of this – to have a new challenge somewhere else."

Paul Pogba should stay at Manchester United as he has unfinished business with the Premier League club, according to Robert Pires.

Midfielder Pogba returned to United in August 2016, signing from Juventus for a then-record fee of £89million, but has flattered to deceive since, leading to speculation over his future.

The 26-year-old has won the EFL Cup and Europa League in his second spell at Old Trafford, while he also played a starring role in France's successful World Cup campaign in Russia.

Yet while the inconsistent Pogba has been linked with Real Madrid, Pires has urged his compatriot to stay put in the transfer window and prove his worth at United.

"My view about Paul Pogba is that he’s a great player, but I also know that last season especially was very difficult for him," Pires told the Mirror.

"A lot of people just talk about the transfer because Manchester United spent a lot of money.

"So maybe that was difficult for him to handle, particularly at the beginning. But for me, the most important thing is for him to continue at United.

"It is one of the best and biggest clubs in the world and he has unfinished business. The reason United spent such a huge amount of money on him is that they believed a lot in Paul because he can be a real leader for their team.

"When the club spend a lot of money like this for you, it’s because they have faith in you. That’s why it’s very important to have this point in your head. I know Paul is very intelligent about this.

"They have invested a lot in him, so I believe it’s very important that he stays at United and delivers what they know he can produce."

Pires' former international team-mate Zinedine Zidane is overseeing a squad overhaul in Madrid, with Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic and Ferland Mendy among the new recruits at the LaLiga club.

"I know Madrid and Zidane want Paul and that may be hard for him to resist," Pires added.

"United will play in the Europa League next season and every player wants to play in the Champions League. Maybe Paul wants to win this competition with Madrid.

"But I think he has football to play in the Premier League."

From Madrid to Munich? Gareth Bale could be set for a new challenge.

Out of favour at Real Madrid, Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich are reportedly eyeing the Wales star.

With Madrid looking to trim their wage bill and raise some funds, Bale appears headed for the exit door…

 

TOP STORY – BAYERN WANT BALE

According to The Sun, Bayern Munich are ready to offer Gareth Bale an escape from Real Madrid.

Having already signed Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Ferland Mendy, Eder Militao and Rodrygo Goes, Madrid are looking to sell as Zinedine Zidane continues his overhaul in the Spanish capital.

And with Niko Kovac's Bayern keen to bolster their attacking options on the flank following the departures of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, the German giants are reportedly prepared to take Bale on loan.

 

 

ROUND-UP

- Radio CRC in Italy reports that Napoli have moved closer to signing James Rodriguez from Real Madrid, which would reunite the Colombia star with Carlo Ancelotti after he was lured to Bayern Munich on a two-year loan deal in 2017.

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba will submit a transfer request in an attempt to force through a move to Real Madrid, according to ABC. Meanwhile, the Mirror claims the French World Cup winner is prepared to go on strike.

- The Mirror also says Mohamed Salah will weigh up his Liverpool future at the end of the 2019-20 season, despite reported interest from Juventus and Real Madrid.

- According to Sky Sports News, Manchester United are interested in West Ham defender Issa Diop. The Red Devils are reportedly willing to pay £45million plus a player. It comes as United struggle in their pursuit of a centre-back as they continue to be linked to Leicester City's Harry Maguire and Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is also reportedly persevering in his efforts to prise Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace.

- Premier League champions Manchester City have moved ahead of rivals Manchester United and Atletico Madrid in the race to sign Benfica sensation Joao Felix. That is according to the Daily Mail, which claims City's willingness to loan the 19-year-old – who has a £105million release clause – back to the Portuguese champions has tilted the transfer battle in their favour.

- The Daily Star reports Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann will reject Manchester United's advances to team up with Lionel Messi at LaLiga champions Barcelona.

- According to Sky Germany, Mats Hummels is close to re-joining Borussia Dortmund from Bayern Munich. The 30-year-old defender left Dortmund in 2016.

Brazil and Gremio forward Everton has talked up a move to Manchester United by suggesting his playing style may suit the Premier League.

The 23-year-old scored a late stunner to seal Brazil's 3-0 win over Bolivia in Friday's Copa America opener, adding to Philippe Coutinho's brace.

Everton made his nine minutes on the field count at Estadio do Morumbi to further enhance his reputation as he cut inside from the left and sent the ball flying past Carlos Lampe.

And after opening his account for the Brazil senior side, Everton eyed up a move to a big European club, with Old Trafford a possible destination.

"I'm a player that's always trying to get on top [of the opposition]," he told the Daily Mail.

"Cutting in from the left with dribbles and good finishes - clubs in Europe have this style of play. Maybe I can fit in at Manchester United and others."

Everton, capped seven times by Brazil, has scored three goals for Gremio in the Copa Libertadores this season and seven times in the domestic league.

He has also been linked with a move to Manchester City and AC Milan in recent months.

David Beckham is keen to make a splash when Inter Miami FC enter MLS in 2020.

And he has reportedly identified former Inter captain Mauro Icardi as a player to lead the club's attack in the United States.

Icardi is out of favour in Milan and could be set for a switch to the sunny beaches of south Florida.

 

TOP STORY – BECKHAM EYES ICARDI

Inter outcast Mauro Icardi has received an offer from David Beckham's Inter Miami, according to Argentine news agency Telam.

Icardi was stripped of the Inter captaincy in 2018-19 and new head coach Antonio Conte is reportedly determined to sell the striker.

With Icardi's future in Milan uncertain amid apparent interest from Serie A champions Juventus, a move to Miami for the 2020 season could tempt the 26-year-old and his family.

 

ROUND-UP

- Inter's determination to part with Mauro Icardi is so they can reportedly free up funds to sign Romelu Lukaku from Manchester United. However, Corriere dello Sport claims the Italian club have rejected the possibility of a player exchange as the Red Devils look to include centre-back Milan Skriniar in a potential swap deal.

- The Sun reports Arsenal are ramping up their efforts to raise funds by selling maligned playmaker Mesut Ozil. The Gunners failed to qualify for the Champions League again and Unai Emery is looking to continue his rebuild.

- LaLiga champions Barcelona are willing to offer €25million to sign Borussia Dortmund left-back Raphael Guerreiro, according to Sport. Barca want to provide competition for Jordi Alba.

- According to le10sport, Ligue 1 holders Paris Saint-Germain are interested in Ajax and Brazil star David Neres, who is on international duty at the Copa America. PSG have also reportedly made an enquiry for Napoli captain Lorenzo Insigne, La Gazzetta dello Sport claims.

- The Daily Mail reports Tottenham are not looking to sign Sporting CP midfielder Bruno Fernandes, who is believed to be a target for Manchester United.

Manchester United and Tottenham are Gareth Bale's only realistic options for a move back to the Premier League, says Ian Rush.

Bale looks to be out of favour at Real Madrid, having failed to establish himself in Los Blancos' side since Zinedine Zidane made his return to the club.

The Wales forward was an unused substitute in Madrid's final-day defeat to Real Betis, with Zidane claiming afterwards he would not have brought the 29-year-old on even if he had more changes available.

Madrid have since spent big money on bringing in Eden Hazard to fill the void left by Cristiano Ronaldo, with Luka Jovic also joining from Eintracht Frankfurt to further bolster their attacking options.

Bale's future at the club looks firmly in doubt, though his agent has suggested that the ex-Tottenham winger, who scored eight LaLiga goals in 2018-19, is fully committed to seeing out his Madrid contract.

Wales icon Rush, however, is hopeful Bale will return to the Premier League, but suggested Spurs and United may be the only sides that would make a move for his compatriot.

"Apart from that, where else are you looking at?" former Liverpool and Juventus striker Rush told BBC Sport.

"Looking at Manchester United last season, I think he'd walk into that side now. 

"When a club wants to get rid of you and he wants to stay, it's very difficult and I feel for him because like I've said before, Real Madrid supporters should be applauding him.

"You get to a stage now where different managers have different ways. You just hope that Gareth gets back, hopefully, in the Premier League because everyone wants to see him play.

"In the last two Wales games he hasn't been the player he is, but sometimes even the greatest players have to have a couple of bad games.

"He's still got a few years left in him and it depends which club wants to take him."

Adrien Rabiot has revealed he is in talks with Juventus over a possible move away from Paris Saint-Germain, with Manchester United also in the hunt for his signature. 

The France midfielder has been frozen out at PSG since mid-December after failing to agree a new contract with the Ligue 1 champions, with his deal expiring this month. 

A host of clubs are thought to be interested in securing his services but Juve – who are primed to hire Maurizio Sarri as their next head coach – appear to have stolen a march on their rivals.

"Yes, Juventus have been looking for me. We are talking," he said while on holiday in Italy in quotes reported by Corriere dello Sport.

"We are considering, we cannot say anything. I do not know. Juventus are a great club where every good player wants to go. 

"Manchester United? It's the same. I have to decide, for now I'm on vacation."

Rabiot has become an increasingly isolated figure at the Parc des Princes and in March his mother told L'Equipe her son was a "prisoner" of PSG.

The 24-year-old has won five league titles with Les Parisiens and made six appearances for France, though he missed out on a place in their triumphant 2018 World Cup squad. 

Mohamed Salah out and Nicolas Pepe in at Liverpool?

Liverpool are reportedly willing to sell star forward Salah in order to bring Lille's Pepe to Anfield.

Salah is coming off a memorable Champions League triumph with the Reds but could be heading out the door.

 

TOP STORY – SALAH COULD MAKE WAY FOR PEPE

According to le10sport, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is prepared to sacrifice Salah to sign Lille forward Pepe.

Pepe took Ligue 1 by storm with 22 goals as Lille qualified for the Champions League and Liverpool are believed to be among the Ivory Coast international's admirers.

The Reds are so keen apparently that they are prepared to sell top scorer Salah, who reportedly has a complicated relationship with Klopp.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Maurizio Sarri saga appears to be reaching its conclusion, with Sky Italy reporting Chelsea and Juventus have reached a deal to allow the Italian to move to the Serie A champions. The former Napoli coach's return to Italy is set to pave the way for ex-Chelsea star and Derby County manager Frank Lampard to take over at Stamford Bridge.

- According to AS, LaLiga champions Barcelona are making back-up plans should they miss out on Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt, who is the subject of interest from Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and Juve.

- Premier League title-holders Manchester City have been put off by a £90million price tag on Leicester City defender Harry Maguire, according to The Daily Mail. Pep Guardiola is reportedly eyeing the England international as a replacement for Vincent Kompany, while neighbours United are also interested.

- Liverpool are not interested in making another move for Lyon captain Nabil Fekir, The Independent reports. The Champions League winners came close to signing the France international last year but pulled out amid reported concerns over his knee.

- Carlo Ancelotti is still determined to bring Real Madrid midfielder James Rodriguez to Napoli, says AS. James' future is up in the air after Bayern Munich opted against signing the Colombia international permanently following a two-year loan spell.

- Cadena SER claims Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde is ready to sell Ivan Rakitic amid reported interest from United. The same station also says Marco Asensio is among the players on the market at Madrid following the arrivals of Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Ferland Mendy, Eder Militao and Rodrygo Goes.

- United and rumoured Madrid target Paul Pogba has no intention of remaining at Old Trafford in 2019-20, according to L'Equipe.

Eden Hazard hailed Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba as two of the world's best players as the pair continue to be linked with Real Madrid.

Hazard was presented by Madrid on Thursday after making the move from Chelsea for a fee which could reportedly rise to £130million.

Paris Saint-Germain star Mbappe and Manchester United midfielder Pogba are also linked with Madrid, where Zinedine Zidane's rebuild is gathering steam.

While Hazard had little interest in talking about transfers, the attacker said the duo were among the world's best.

"I'm not here to discuss transfers. I came to play with the best," he told a news conference.

"There are new players already and we'll have some time to adapt.

"It's true that we want to play with the best and the guys you've mentioned are two of those, but I don't decide these things."

Madrid have already signed Hazard, Luka Jovic, Eder Militao, Ferland Mendy and Rodrygo Goes ahead of the 2019-20 season.

Sergio Aguero could set a new Premier League record for goals on the opening weekend of a season in 2019-20.

Manchester City start their title defence at West Ham, where a hat-trick would make the Argentina attacker the most prolific opening-weekend goalscorer in the competition's history.

City's bid for a third consecutive title will likely be challenged strongly by European champions Liverpool again and Jurgen Klopp's side open their season at home to Norwich City, a favourite victim of the Reds.

Here, with the help of Opta, we look at two key facts for each of the opening-day fixtures.

 

Liverpool v Norwich City

- This will be the first time that Liverpool and Norwich have met since a nine-goal thriller at Carrow Road in January 2016, in which the Reds prevailed 5-4.

- Norwich City have only lost more Premier League games against Manchester United (12) than they have against Liverpool (11), but they have conceded more goals in the Premier League against the Reds than any other side (45).

Bournemouth v Sheffield United

- Sheffield United have won each of their past eight competitive meetings with Bournemouth.

- On the only previous occasion that Bournemouth and Sheffield United played one another on the opening matchday of a league season, the Blades were relegated from the second tier that campaign (1987-88).

Burnley v Southampton

- This is the second successive Premier League season that Burnley and Southampton have met one another on the opening matchday. Southampton hosted Burnley last season on the opening weekend and they drew 0-0.

- The last five Premier League meetings between Burnley and Southampton have produced just six goals (four for Burnley, two for Southampton).

Crystal Palace v Everton

- Everton are unbeaten in their most recent nine Premier League meetings with Crystal Palace, winning four and drawing five. 

- On the only previous occasion that Crystal Palace and Everton played each other on the opening matchday of a league season, Crystal Palace won 2-1 at Goodison Park but ended the season bottom of the league (Premier League 1997-98).

Leicester City v Wolves

- Leicester City's first home game and Wolves' first away game in the Premier League last season was in this fixture at the King Power Stadium on matchday two. The Foxes won 2-0.

- In their 4-3 victory over Leicester in January, Diogo Jota became the first Wolves player to score a top-flight hat-trick since John Richards in October 1977 (also against Leicester City). He also became the second Portuguese player to score a Premier League hat-trick, after Cristiano Ronaldo.

Tottenham v Aston Villa

- Spurs will start a league season at home for the first time since 2010, following eight successive seasons with an away match to start their league campaign.

- Harry Kane has scored four goals in five Premier League appearances against Aston Villa, including two goals in their last such meeting: a 2-0 win for Spurs at Villa Park in March 2016.

Watford v Brighton and Hove Albion

- This is the second successive season Watford have hosted Brighton on matchday one. Last term, Watford beat the Seagulls 2-0 at Vicarage Road last August thanks to a Roberto Pereyra double.

- Brighton have won just one of their opening league fixtures to a top-flight season; this was in 1980-81, against Wolves.

West Ham v Manchester City

- Manchester City have won their past seven competitive matches against West Ham with a combined score line of 23-3 in their favour.

- Sergio Aguero has scored six goals on matchday one of previous Premier League seasons, more than any player still playing in the competition. Players with more matchday-one goals in Premier League history are Wayne Rooney, Alan Shearer, Frank Lampard (all eight) and Teddy Sheringham (seven).

Newcastle United v Arsenal 

- Newcastle have not won their opening league game of a season since 2012-13, when the Magpies recorded a 2-1 victory at home to Tottenham.

- Arsenal have won 12 of their most recent 13 competitive fixtures against Newcastle, losing only once in this run: 2-1 at St James' Park in April 2018.

Manchester United v Chelsea

- This will be the first meeting between these Manchester United and Chelsea on matchday one of a league season since 2004-05, when Jose Mourinho took charge of his first Premier League match. Chelsea won 1-0 thanks to an Eidur Gudjohnsen goal and went on to win the league title that season.

- Manchester United have lost more Premier League games (18) and conceded more Premier League goals (71) against Chelsea than they have against any other team.

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