With just three weeks until the kick off of the Premier League season, the league’s biggest title contenders are warming up with some essential charity matches. This year’s transfer season has seen some huge changes, from the sale of Luis Suárez to Barcelona to the complete revamp of Southampton, but a few preliminary matches will ensure that the teams can gel together to ensure a successful season.

One match that’s got bookmakers talking is the forthcoming Community Shield, taking place on 10th August, which will see Manchester City take on Arsenal. The event, formerly known as the Charity Shield, has been taking place since 1908 and places the winners of the FA Cup (Arsenal) against the winners of the Premier League (Manchester City.)

This year will be particularly interesting, if the current odds are anything to go by. With odds of 9/4, Arsenal are an amazing value bet, particularly given the recent signing of Chilean superstar Alexis Sanchez. Though Wenger had been cautious of making any drastic moves too early on in the transfer window, he’s now made two essential purchases, Mathieu Debuchy and Alexis Sanchez, that will surely serve him well in the Premier League and indeed in the forthcoming charity match.

Punters who want to have a flutter on Arsenal in the Premier League need only look at Sanchez’s performance in the World Cup for proof of how much he can help the team. After scoring against Australia and former favourites Brazil, the 25-year-old has shown amazing potential, and this preview match could be a sign of things to come for the Premier League title race.

Meanwhile, Manchester City, who have taken the Community Shield title recently in 2012, should use this opportunity to stretch the legs of their new defence and goalkeeper. While some may argue that manager Manuel Pellegrini is fixing a formula that isn’t broken, he could be viewed as a cautious manager who’s taken care to have a back up where it counts. With odds of 5/4, The Blues are hot favourites to win this year’s event, and they have recent titles on their side. With a 2012 Community Shield win and a Premier League win, they’re highly preferable against a team who, prior to the last FA Cup, hadn’t won a title for nine years.

It could be argued however that the disparity in the odds is somewhat misleading: while experience tells us that Manchester City should win, a charity match is hardly a pairing that will see either team taking any risks. Just six days prior to the start of the Premier League season, both teams could see their managers starting their second team in a bid to keep peak fitness for the league.

For Arsenal however, a title win would be welcomed after their former nine-year drought, so we could just see the bookies proved wrong.

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Tattoos are a big deal in sports and it has been a staple in football culture among players and fans. Its rise in popularity can be credited to footballers showing off some skin on the pitch and displaying numerous body ink markings. It is indeed rare to find athletes without tattoos. It can be painful but it displays a statement of machismo or of something significant for the player. Clubs have allowed players to have tattoos. As long as it does not harm them, they can have as many as they desire.

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The transfer merry-go-round is in full swing. With Samir Nasri the latest player to be linked with a move away from Arsenal top blogger Andrew Winn looks at the idea of Samir Nasri staying at the Emirates for another season.

Much like new kits and pre-season tours, the summer would not be the same without an annual transfer debacle. With increasing reliability, players will announce intentions to leave or join a club, listing numerous explanations, the majority of which will irritate the more suspicious supporters of his once beloved current employers.

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Ligue 1’s final match-day saw seven teams including Caen on the verge of relegation. Hoping to avoid defeat they would play host to 2nd place Marseille in what was always going to be a tough end to the season.

Against the odds it was Franck Dumas’ side that took a surprise early lead through Yohan Mollo’s 7th minute strike. With half time approaching the home fans were hoping to go into the break with their slender lead intact.

Midfield maestro Benjamin Nivet received the ball inside the centre circle and with a lovely ball out wide he found 16-year old striker M’Baye Niang racing through on goal. The youngster charged into the box and then with the composure of a veteran finisher he calmly stroked the ball past Steve Mandanda giving his team an unlikely 2-0 lead. Marseille would come back to level the game late on, but Caen were safe and there was no doubt in anyone’s mind, M’Baye Niang was the real deal.

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When Samir Nasri moved from Marseille to Arsenal people knowing that I had a penchant for Ligue 1 and all things French came to me asking how good he was, obviously following his time at Marseille I had only good things to say about Samir.

His partnership with Ribery was fantastic, he wasn’t a goal scorer and he didn’t really get many direct assists but anyone that had watched Marseille for the three years he was in the team could see that Nasri was a quality player.

His first season at the Emirates went relatively well six goals a couple of assists the people that I had given my guarantee of quality were pretty pleased with the Frenchman, the difficult second season followed, five assists but only two goals and it seemed questions were being asked.

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With less than 24 hours now until the transfer window closes agent and managers phones will be ringing off the hook as teams try and complete their squad before the clock reaches zero.

Tomorrow we can look for endless rumours of players in taxi’s and in airports, rumours of the world’s best moving teams only for Stoke’s 3rd choice keeper to move on loan to a team that won’t challenge, however we all love the Transfer Deadline Day and wouldn’t have it any other way.

I have picked five players that are likely to either move or just spend the whole day being linked with various teams, by coincidence most of them have moved on deadline day in the past so they know what it’s all about.

EIDUR GUDJOHSEN – AS MONACO

Teams Linked – Stoke City, Tottenham, Liverpool

Unable to find a place in Monaco’s starting line-up again the Icelandic striker is looking for a move away from the principality, last year he move on loan to Spurs scoring 2 goals in 13 games, since his move away from Chelsea he has played for 3 clubs most successfully at Barcelona.

Questions remain over the quality the Bolton legend still has left in his legs, he has only managed 11 games for Monaco, Prince Albert’s team don’t exactly have a wealth of striking talent so for Eidur not being able to force his way in, might explain the ability he has left.

Would he fit into Stoke’s physical style, Roy Hodgson might see his versatility as an asset and an adequate substitute for Fernando Torres, or maybe Harry Redknapp will come back in and take him back to White Heart Lane.

CHANCE OF A MOVE 8/10

SHAY GIVEN – MANCHESTER CITY

Team Interested – Arsenal, Fulham, Celtic

Shay came out today and announced he would stay and fight for his place at City, Joe Hart’s form means Shay is poised to spend most of the season on the bench unless Hart drops a clanger or gets injured.

Man City have said that they would not sell to their rivals so Arsenal might be out of the running however do they really see Fulham as a rival, the addition of Given would not make them top 4 contenders, so a move to Fulham could be a very viable option, whether this would suit Shay or not is another question, with Stockdale out injured and Schwarzer looking likely to move on, a bid for Shay could be right up Mark Hughes street.

The other option on the table could be a return to his boyhood club Celtic, City would be keen meaning Shay would not return to haunt them in the Premier League and Shay would be guaranteed first team football, however the SPL is a drop in class, and without European football this season would he really enjoy life back in Glasgow.

CHANCE OF A MOVE 6/10

ROBINHO – MANCHESTER CITY

Teams Interested – AC Milan, Barcelona, Fenerbahce

Not in Mancini’s plans Robinho is allowed to leave City, however they need to find a club with the money available to prize the once marquee signing away from Eastlands.

Last week AC Milan had no money and needed Genoa to buy Kevin-Prince Boateng for them, now they have completed a deal for Zlatan Ibrahimovich, a player in a similar situation to Robinho, the Swede had moved on loan, Milan agreed to pay 24 million Euros next season, maybe a similar deal could be made with City, would new coach Allegri really want Ibra, Robinho, Ronaldinho and Pato in the same team.

Rumours have surfaced again that Barcelona may be interested in a cut price deal, but with the recent documented money problems and the togetherness of the squad Robinho could disrupt the harmony at the Nou Camp.

Fenerbahce made an offer it, sources say it was accepted however Robinho refused the deal, maybe he is holding out for something bigger, as the deadline approaches if no deals are forthcoming would he settle for life in Istanbul

CHANCES OF A MOVE 7/10

ROBBIE KEANE – TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

Teams Interested – Celtic, West Ham, Newcastle

Robbie moved to Celtic on the last deadline day in January money is on him moving again this deadline day, it seems his move is all down to if Redknapp brings in a striker, then Keane would be allowed to move.

Newcastle and West Ham would be head of the queue, both give different options, West Ham would mean he would stay in London where he is based, a move to the North East would make him an instant Geordie hero, and of course it’s another one of Keane’s boyhood clubs, whether either team has the money to buy Keane is another question.

Celtic would love to have Keane back, Lennon is thought to be on the lookout for a striker, a fee and medical done for Hibs Anthony Stokes, and surely he wouldn’t pass down the chance again to have Robbie Keane lead the line.

CHANCES OF A MOVE 5/10

KLAAS JAN HUNTELAAR – AC MILAN

Teams Interested – Schalke, Tottenham

At Ajax he had the World at his feet, with 76 goals in his 4 years at the Amsterdam club, since leaving them he has played to two of the giants in football, Real Madrid and AC Milan, it has not worked at either, with a decent scoring record at both clubs, it seems he is just not the big name signing both sets of fans ever wanted, and with that Klaas has found himself on the bench more often that not.

Felix Magath has been searching for a striker all summer, and finally looks to have found his man, however with Luis Fabiano signing a new deal with Sevilla today, Redknapp’s targets have shifted and could be in line to try and steal the Dutchman from the Germans.

Both clubs would be ideal for Huntelaar now at 27 he needs to pick the right move, the wrong club again could be disastrous for his career.

CHANCE OF A MOVE 9/10

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You’ve read BBC, consulted TeamTalk listened to the Journalists on twitter, but of course it’s the opinion of me “gibfootballshow” that you’ve been waiting for, Yeah I know this is the 107th Premier League preview you’ve read however where would I be as a blogger if I didn’t recognise one of the biggest leagues in the world starting it’s season, going to try and do it a little different so you don’t lose interest quickly, but I can’t promise miracles.

Instead of just picking the winners, I will list all 20 Premier League clubs and little reasons why as we go on, also at the end there will be 5 players to watch out for this season. So without further ado here we go English Premier League 2010/11 starts now.

 1.Chelsea
2.Manchester United
3.Manchester City

4.Arsenal

I have picked Chelsea as my eventual winners of the league, good manager a very strong squad, if Essien stays fit he is like a new signing for them, Ramires for me is a pivotal move, very strong energetic midfielder, loves to go box to box, great technique, workhorse engine, I think will take to the Premier League like a duck to water, Lampard and Drogba will score 20 goals each as always, Daniel Sturridge will have a good year, I don’t think any of the other teams in the league are as strong or have as much depth.

Manchester United will be strong, Hernandez looks like being the steal of the year, need to see whether he can play with Rooney first, Scholes, Giggs and Van der Sar are another year older, lots of expectation on Nani and Valencia, Sir Alex will need to summon all his managerial expertise to overcome Chelsea this season, not far behind them will be Manchester City, some excellent signings geared more towards building a team than just buying big name players, Kolarov will come to be a very important move, great left back, desire to get forward, cultured left foot, there is also not lots of pressure on him to perform, David Silva and Mario Balotelli are two fantastic signings “Super Mario” is the most exciting signing this summer for me, one of the best young players in the World, £24 million may sound like too much money however in two years he will be worth double, the move to the Premier League gets him away from the pressure of the Italian media that highlight everything he does simply because he is a black Italian man, in this country the things that he does are no different to any footballer, Bellamy, Cole and Terry make him look like an alter boy. Mancini will have a hard job keeping the 25 players picked for the squad happy; this could be City’s downfall.

Year after year we say “Arsenal need a goalkeeper, a centre back and a central midfielder” Well they signed a centre back, but he lacks experience I have no doubt Koscielny will be one of the top defenders in 3 or 4 years, but not this season, with an experienced goalkeeper behind a young defence they would concede fewer goals and have a chance at the title, the first team are Championship material, and on their day capable of beating any team in the league, however once the injuries and suspensions kick in, the players replacing them will struggle, I’m sure Bookies have suspended betting on a van Persie injury occurring at some point.

5.Liverpool
6.Tottenham
7.Everton
8.Aston Villa
9.Birmingham City

Anfield is buzzing again, Roy Hodgson has got some smiles back on the faces of Liverpool fans already, mostly because he has “convinced” Gerrard and Torres to stay at the Merseyside club, Joe Cole is a decent signing maybe not for £6 million signing on fee and £90,000 a week but that will all be forgotten once he scores the winner against a big club, Problems still exist however, the defence is not watertight, Carragher is aging and cracks are starting to appear, whether you can count on Agger and Skrtel together worries me, Glen Johnson proves times after time he can’t defend, and Fabio Aurelio is Liverpool’s best left back, the midfield is strong Christian Poulsen will be a success at Anfield, either along side Lucas or Gerrard with Jovanovic and Cole supporting, I can see Liverpool playing better football than last year but in the end coming up short.

There will not be much between Spurs, Everton and Villa, with O’Neill gone and Milner surely to follow Villa will struggle, there are still quality players there, Ashley Young and Agbonlahor are cornerstones to build the team around, if the new manager spends the Milner money wisely (if he gets any at all) then they could push for top six, Tottenham will need to find a way to balance the league matches with the Champions League, favourites to qualify over Young Boys, Arry Redknapp needs to strengthen his squad to have any chance of competing on two fronts, defensively there are problems, King and Woodgate will not play 20 games between them, Dawson needs a stable partner to be able to excel, Keane, Defoe, Crouch and Pavlyuchenko are all good players but lack that extra little touch of quality all the big teams have.

David Moyes has been quite quiet so far, Jermaine Beckford arrives with high hopes, able to score in League One for fun, questions over whether he can make the big step up, Pre-season form in promising, Bilyaletdinov, Cahill and Saha are important pieces of the Goodison Park jigsaw, Jagielka and Heitinga are the safety net keeping it all together, all the pieces there for a good season, depth could be an issue. Nikola Zigic and Ben Foster no doubtly make Birmingham a better team, I worry on how Zigic will adapt to the EPL style and the laws of averages would say it would take a miracle for the performances seen at St.Andrews to be repeated, there is time still left for Alex McLeish to strengthen the squad, does the club have that extra ambition though.

10. Wigan
11. West Ham
12. Fulham
13. Sunderland
14.Stoke City
15.Wolves
16.Blackburn Rovers

7 teams that could all either finish top half of the table or near the relegation battle, worse case scenario they could end up with both, the league is tight enough that a victory either way could mean 9th or 16th, which I suppose is the appeal of the EPL. Wigan and Martinez need to adapt and play a passing but defensively tough strategy, Boselli is an exciting signing, added to Rodallega, N’Zogbia, McCarthy and Alcaraz they are a young exciting team, with an equally exciting manager. West Ham have a chance to redeem themselves from an awful season last year, good signings in Winston Reid and Pablo Barrea, dealt a blow with Hitzlsperger’s injury, they have the tools to finish safely away from relegation.

Fulham are a bit of an unknown force with Mark Hughes in charge, not quite sure how they will line up, If they complete the deal for Moussa Dembele he will be an excellent recruit, as of right now I think the team is weak in parts, with Schwarzer, Hangeland, Murphy and Zamora it is a strong spine. I worry for Sunderland at times, they sign good players Riveros, Mensah and Wellbeck, but they suffer from players not being able to settle or injuries the North-East is a place where the fans are always expectant and this pressure sometimes becomes too much for players, they rely heavily on Bent’s goals and I’m not sure they have the players to be creative for him.

Stoke and Wolves are two similar teams, both now have a big money striker, Fletcher and Jones, both play a strong physical game, and both in their first season in the Premier punched way above their weight, this year will be another tough year, the worst thing a team can do is think they are “established” and rest on their laurels, which is why both teams have went out and spent money on making the team better, I’d prefer Tony Pulis to Mick McCarthy as a manager, not the prettiest football to watch but it produces results, another team under the same ilk are “Big” Same Allardyce’s Blackburn Rovers, only one signing so far in Mame-Biram Diouf on loan from Manchester United, not the worst team but they are not going to strike much fear in the other teams, could get drawn into a relegation battle, but should have enough to survive.

17. Newcastle United
18.Bolton Wanderers
19.West Brom
20.Blackpool

So on to the bottom of the Premier League, I think everyone has Blackpool going down, it would be a massive shock if they stayed up, a bit like Arles of Ligue 1 in their story and their signings, lots of journeymen onboard, a good manager, but it will be a long old season for the seasiders. I see West Brom joining them in the drop zone, I like Roberto Di Matteo as a manager has done a great job however they just don’t have a strong enough team to stay up, another yo-yo year for the Baggies. The big battle for me will be the last relegation place, which will be between Newcastle United and Bolton, no offence to Owen Coyle but his team I think will struggle, Elmander has just not turned up in the EPL yet, Klasnic is good, the loss of Weiss and Wilshere will effect them, Petrov isn’t getting any younger, and they could lose some good players in January at the latest, Chris Houghton is probably the most inexperience manager in the league and with Newcastle not splashing the cash they could find it tough on their return to the top flight, Collocini and Gutierrez, Nolan and Steve Harper are of Premier League quality, and could be the little bit of class that keeps them up……just.

5 PLAYERS TO WATCH IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE

#1 – RAMIRES – Chelsea

Just signed today for Ancelotti’s team, I have like the player since I first saw him in last years Confederations Cup, he started next to Kaka in midfield and was breathtaking to watch, Brazil played with a fast counter attacking style and Ramires was the catalyst being the pace and the power, a player that never stops running, will defend and attack all game, good on the ball, does the simple things well, just an all round good player and a very exciting signing for Chelsea fans to watch.

#2 – WINSTON REID – West Ham United

Signed from FC Midtyjland this New Zealand international was one of the brightest prospects in Scandinavian football, after a great World Cup for the only undefeated team at the tournament he looked very good, Strong, good in the air, seem to have a good positional sense, has pace to stay with the speed merchants, I think he will add an extra layer of protection in front of Robert Green, and could become the leader of the Upton Park backline.

#3 – JERMAINE BECKFORD – Everton

A free signing for David Moyes, everyone is questioning whether he can make the step up in class, there is no doubt Jermaine has the ability, his mentality might be under question, failed to turn up at times when Leeds needed him most, this could be the best situation for the striker, no pressure to score loads of goals, Everton don’t have a World Class forward in the squad so there could be plenty of chance for Beckford to step in, as a player he knows where the goal is, has pace to trouble defences, a true predator.

#4 – GIOVANNI DOS SANTOS – Tottenham Hotspur

Now by the time the transfer window closes, dos Santos could have left Spurs, I really hope he stays, he seems to have grown up a little, maybe even matured, after a fantastic World Cup where from the first minute he looked in the mood to terrorise defences, he was one of the reasons Mexico drew plaudits and made it through their group stage, I watched Spurs play in pre-season and again he looked in the mood, a lovely back heel to Bale for the only goal against Benfica, he seems to have played his way in Redknapp’s squad, I would love to see him given a chance at White Hart Lane, this could be the year he fulfils his potential.

#5 – STUART HOLDEN – Bolton Wanderers

If Coyle’s men are to stay up they will need to exciting play of the only Scotsman to play at the World Cup, born in Aberdeen, Stuart has been a star of the MLS and is due to break into the US Men’s National Team very soon, had his season disrupted by injury during a friendly in the Netherlands with the National Team, Bolton fans were just starting to appreciate his talents, a tricky winger who can play in a fantastic cross, he will be a star for his country leading up to the 2014 World Cup, and I expect him to be a star for the Lancashire club this season.

There we go, predictions done, teams put into order and players to watch, now tomorrow of course they will all either not play, get injured or lose.

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