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English Football

Arsenal complete Olivier Giroud signing

It has been on the cards for weeks, and finally Arsenal Football Club have officially announced that Olivier Giroud is a Gunner. While no official announcement has been made on how much Arsenal have paid Montpellier for the services of the French striker, it is widely believed that the Gunners have come very close to the £12.8 million figure quoted in the player's release clause.

Giroud is an old fashioned type center-forward. Strong and physical when on the ball, effective in the air and with a powerful finish to boot. Interestingly, he has played for a season with Arsenal's French center-back Laurent Koscielny at Tours, and Arsene Wenger no doubt quizzed Koscielny about the player's work ethic before making the purchase.

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Chelsea begin campaign at Wigan Athletic, crowded fixture list a worry for the European Champions

After a dream run last season ended with Chelsea being crowned Champions of Europe after a thrilling finale in Munich, the Blues will now divert their attention to the more pressing issue of returning to prominence in the Premier League, where they finished in a dismal 6th position last season. With the Italian Roberto Di Matteo being promoted from his interim status with a two-year deal from Russian owner Roman Abramovich, fans will be eager to see how much success the former player is able to achieve at Stamford Bridge.

The club began the previous summer with similar optimism after the owner bankrolled the arrival of Andre Villas-Boas. But the young Portuguese manager struggled against the might of the Chelsea dressing room and was eventually booted out in March. Di Matteo was promoted to the helm and he responded brilliantly by capturing the FA Cup and the club’s maiden Champions League crown in sensational style.

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New Liverpool regime begins at West Brom, intimidating start awaits the Reds

The Reds had a highly disappointing season under Kenny Daglish last season, finishing a distant 8th, which led to the sacking of the legendary Scot. New Manager Brendan Rodgers would have to make sure that they hit the ground running as they entertain last season’s top three at Anfield in their first three home games.

Liverpool travel to the Hawthorns to open up their campaign, and three points from that fixture seems a must considering the games against top clubs to follow. Manchester City and Arsenal then travel to Merseyside in successive weeks as Anfield gears up for blockbuster ties just a few weeks into the new campaign.  A trip to the Stadium of light follows before arch-rivals Manchester United come to town, against whom the Reds usually do well at home. A trip to Carrow road to face Norwich concludes the month of September.

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Man City begin title defence at home to Southampton, daunting winter in store for the Champions

Manchester City ended a 44-year hoodoo for the Premier League title last season and things will only get harder for Roberto Mancini’s men this year as they aim to retain the championship. The moneybags from Eastlands have been conspicuous by their absence in the transfer market so far but they are expected to dip into their vast reserves for new recruits as they also have a Champions League campaign to look forward to. City secured the title by the thinnest of margins last season and they will come under increasing threat from cross-town rivals Manchester United and a new-look Chelsea outfit.

The Champions have a relatively straight forward fixture list to begin with as they entertain newcomers Southampton at the Etihad on 18th August. The opening weekend fixture is followed by a trip to Anfield as Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool lie in wait. A home game against Arsenal is the highlight of September, where they also face QPR, Stoke and Fulham.

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Arsenal start 2012 season at home against Sunderland, Tough September to follow

Arsenal's 7-year itch to end their barren trophy run will see them needing to overcome two rather challenging months in September and January as was indicative in the Premier League fixture list that was released earlier today. The Gunners play the tricky trio of new league champions Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool in both sets of months, which could well have a massive bearing on the outcome of their 2012-13 season.

The Gunners start off against a decent Sunderland side at home on the opening day, 18th August. That is followed by a dangerous trip to the Britannia stadium to face Stoke, who are sure to put up a battle always. A tough September starts with Arsenal's visit to Anfield. The FA kept up the tradition of making sure the two teams meet up early in a season, having faced each other in the second fixture last year and on the opening day the year before. A relatively easy home fixture against newcomers Southampton is the only consolation as difficult back to back games follow, which starts with a trip to the Premier League Champions to be followed by London rival Chelsea's visit.

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Man United start 2012 season at Goodison Park, get bum deal on matches following Champions League fixtures

wayne_rooney_4Manchester United have transformed over the years to one of football's leading brands under the leadership of the highly dependable Sir Alex Ferguson. The Scottish manager who has become the face of the club has built the club's reputation steadily, making them the most successful English club with their 19th triumph in the 2010-11 season. The fact that Ferguson has personally overseen the capture 12 of these titles, truly deserves a commendation.

With health concerns surrounding the future of the Scot, United will be keen on giving their iconic manager another reason to cheer with a record 20th title in the top flight. The fixtures for the 2012-13 season starting in August this year have been released and Ferguson has certainly been a busy man this summer already having confirmed the transfers of Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell while continuing to track other high profile players.

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2012-13 Premier League Fixtures Released: Man City host the Saints, Man United travel to Everton

sir_alex_fergusonThe 2012/13 Premier League season might still be a full two months away and the world of football might be glued to the European Championships in Poland-Ukraine, but the build up to the new season has already begun after the fixture list was announced earlier today. The season kick starts in earnest on 18th August as the most exciting league in the world once again prepares to enthral millions of fans around the world. All eyes were undoubtedly on defending Champions Manchester City, who are handed an opening weekend fixture against newly promoted Southampton. Their arch-rivals Manchester United face a tricky opening game at Goodison Park as they clash with Everton while Chelsea are also on the road, travelling to Wigan Athletic.

Arsenal on the other hand enjoy a home game against Sunderland while their rivals for the Champions League spots last season, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur clash in a blockbuster tie at the Sports Direct Arena. The other two new-comers, West Ham United and Reading have the advantage of playing at home as they entertain Aston Villa and Stoke City respectively. Elsewhere in the middle of the pack Liverpool travel to West Bromwich Albion, Fulham play Norwich and QPR have a home game against Swansea City.

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