Knee injury worries Arnautovic

Marko Arnautovic admits the knee injury he picked up during West Ham United's 3-1 win against Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday is concerning him.

The Austria international had been in sparkling form as the Hammers clinched their first three-point haul of the campaign following four consecutive defeats.

Arnautovic set up Andriy Yarmolenko to open the scoring before grabbing West Ham's third goal. However, he had to be substituted shortly after netting with an injury to his left knee.

He said afterwards: "I don't know, we need to check now. It's not my calf, it's my knee. It hurts a lot. We will need to check this week."

However, the former Stoke City star was delighted to emerge victorious on Merseyside, adding: "It was important for us to come back and put in a performance, because we didn't win any of the first four games.

"It wasn't just the forwards. It starts from the goalkeeper and I think everybody did an unbelievable job. The midfield were everywhere and then it's down to us [as forwards] to score the goals to win games."

West Ham, 9/4 to finish in the top half of the Premier League this season, are 6/1 to win their next match on Sunday against Chelsea, while they are available at 7/1 to keep a clean sheet in the encounter.

Hughes seeks end to poor run

Southampton manager Mark Hughes sees no reason why his players should be apprehensive about playing at St Mary's.

Saints have been poor at home for over a year, winning just four Premier League matches on their own patch in the last 26 attempts.

This season they have drawn with rock-bottom Burnley and lost to Leicester City on home soil, with their only top-flight victory coming a fortnight ago at Selhurst Park.

Saints host Brighton on Monday and are 21/20 to record a rare home triumph and 11/2 to edge to a 1-0 victory.

Hughes said: "I think it has been (a mental block) but I sense there is a bit more freedom about our play at home.

"There is a good energy in the stadium now in terms of fans seeing a real difference in our play in terms of our attitude to the game and what we're trying to do.

"Certainly it seemed when I first came into the building that there was a bit of a straitjacket in terms of apprehension before home games. I think that's gone.

"Our home form needs to be addressed and that's what we've been talking about."

Southampton have not won back-to-back league games since April 2017 but they are 9/4 to finish in the top half of the Premier League table this term and 6/1 to score a penalty against the Seagulls.

Watford maintain perfect start

Watford are one of three teams still on maximum points in the Premier League after they came back from a goal down to beat Tottenham 2-1.

Both sides went into the match at Vicarage Road with 100% records so something had to give and, after a goalless first half it was Spurs who struck first, courtesy of an Abdoulaye Doucoure own goal.

However, with about 20 minutes remaining the Hornets were level, Troy Deeney equalising from a corner.

It was another Watford corner that led to the winner, Craig Cathcart getting on the end of it and powering past Michel Vorm in the Spurs goal.

That was the final score and Watford join Liverpool and Chelsea at the top of the table with a maximum 12 points from the four games so far.

They go into the international break in good heart, their next action at home to Manchester United on 15th September.

They are 3/1 for another win with Jose Mourinho's side 10/11 and the draw 5/2.

United were also in action on Sunday and, after two successive defeats, put their troubles aside to beat Burnley 2-0 at Turf Moor.

Romelu Lukaku scored both goals for the visitors, giving United the lead just before the half-four when heading home an Alexis Sanchez cross.

He made it 2-0 just before half-time, poking home after the ball found him in the box.

United had the chance to make the game safe in the second half, Paul Pogba missing a penalty.

Soon after that United were down to 10 men, Marcus Rashford seeing red but United held out and, after recriminations following defeats to Brighton and Tottenham, they go into the international break hopeful of getting their campaign back on track.

United are 6/4 to finish in the top four at the end of the season with Watford 16/1 to achieve a top six finish.

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Duo step away from England

Jamie Vardy and Gary Cahill have effectively retired from international football after talks with England boss Gareth Southgate.

The Leicester City striker said he would make himself available in an emergency but feels the time is right given his age (he is 32) and the desire to spend more time with his family as well as wanting to focus more on his club career. Cahill meanwhile has made the same decision.

Vardy has been a part of every England squad since May 2015 and was in Southgate's 23 that reached the semi-final of the World Cup 2018, though he played a limited role in Russia.

He came on as a substitute against Panama, Colombia and Croatia and started against Belgium in their final group game when Southgate made wholesale changes with the team having already qualified for the knockout stages.

Vardy, who has won 26 caps for his country, scoring seven goals, said the decision to step away from international football had been on his mind for some time.

He told the Guardian: "I'm not getting any younger and you can see, to be fair to the gaffer, he wants to make it more youthful, which obviously had its benefits during the World Cup – we got to the semi-finals and finished fourth, which is equal to the furthest we have ever been on foreign soil.

"So I just said to Gareth that I think it's probably best from now on, especially with the way he wants to go, to bring youngsters in who he thinks have got the ability and start nurturing them into international football."

Vardy would have been expected to have been named in Southgate's squad for the forthcoming games, a Nations League game against Spain next month which is followed by a friendly against Switzerland.

England are 8/5 to beat Spain who are 13/8 with the draw 23/10.

Leicester meanwhile are 4/7 to finish the Premier League season in the top half and they are 8/1 to be in the top six.

Gary Cahill has joined Vardy in calling time on his England career too, though he also said he would make himself available again if the squad was badly affected by injury withdrawals.

Cahill made the last of his 61 appearances for his country in the World Cup 2018 in Russia, also playing in the Belgium group game.

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Hodgson explains Tomkins’ absence

Roy Hodgson has revealed that a calf injury forced James Tomkins to withdraw from the Crystal Palace line-up just before Sunday's match against Watford kicked off.

Martin Kelly started instead of the former West Ham United defender alongside Mamadou Sakho.

All the goals arrived in the second half at Vicarage Road, with Roberto Pereyra and Jose Holebas scoring for the Hornets, who have now won their first three matches of the campaign, before Wilfried Zaha halved the deficit.

Hodgson said after the match: "He [Tomkins] felt his calf. He said he'd felt a slight tightness in training during the week but he didn't think it was important.

"He thought he could play through it without any problems, but when we went to the warm-up, he realised it was probably a bit more serious than he imagined.

"Now we have to have a scan and wait and see what the result of that is. Obviously there is some sort of strain there, the question is how big of one.

"We'll know how long in the early part of the week when he has his scan, so we'll wait and see on that one."

Palace are 19/20 to win their next game against Southampton on Saturday while Hodgson's team are 13/10 to finish in the top half of the Premier League table this season.

Gracia praises players’ belief

Watford boss Javi Gracia said their third win on the bounce was just reward for the players' hard work and belief.

The Hornets maintained their perfect start to the new Premier League season with a 2-1 home win over Crystal Palace and they join Liverpool at the top of the table with a maximum nine points from three games.

Roberto Pereyra scored his third goal of the season, opening the scoring early in the second half with a curling effort and Jose Holebas doubled their lead with 20 minutes remaining.

Watford keeper Ben Foster was kept busy at the other end and Roy Hodgson's team did get back into the game, Wilfried Zaha pulling a goal back on 78 minutes.

However, they couldn't find the equaliser and Watford boss Gracia was happy to reflect on a perfect start to the new season from his team.

He said afterwards: "I'm very happy because it is always difficult to get a result in the Premier League. We have three wins and it is amazing. The players have been rewarded because they have worked very hard.

"They believe we can do things. At this moment we have played really well the last few games but we know it is very early and only three steps.

"I feel the same as I felt from the first day – I'm very proud to be Watford coach."

Watford victories so far have come against Brighton, Burnley and now Palace. The next two league fixtures are, on paper, somewhat tougher with a home game against Tottenham followed by Manchester United after the international break.

The Hornets are 4/1 to beat Spurs with Mauricio Pochettino's side 8/13 and the draw 3/1.

Their next fixture though is in midweek in the second round of the EFL Cup when they play away at Championship side Reading.

Watford are 50/1 to win the trophy this season.

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Hodgson hopes to keep squad intact

Roy Hodgson said that he is reluctant to let any Crystal Palace players leave on loan in the coming week.

Though the summer transfer window closed early for Premier League clubs, clubs in the Championship as well as Leagues One and Two have another week in which to sign players on loan.

Many of those will be on the books of clubs in the top flight but Eagles boss Hodgson said his squad wasn't big enough to cope with any departures.

Palace play away to Watford on Sunday and at a press conference ahead of the game, Hodgson said: "We don't have that many players and if we let go of those players we might struggle to get a team out.

"We have got a small squad here. We have added three and lost five from last season so I am not anxious to loan players.

"We are going to have to look at the situation and ask can we afford to let this player to go? Much as they might not be first choice and they would relish to get more regular game time they are contracted to us."

Palace are 2/1 to win at Watford on Sunday with the Hornets 8/5 and the draw 9/4.

Christian Benteke has failed to score for Palace so far this season and has only been on the mark twice for the club so far this year. Hodgson though backed his striker, adding: "There is nothing we can do to help other than show our confidence in him and hope that the break will come for him one day and it will lead to a flood of goals."

Benteke is 9/4 to score against Watford.

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Ndidi inks long-term Foxes deal

Wilfred Ndidi hopes he will be able to enjoy many more fantastic moments with Leicester City after penning a six-year contract with the Foxes.

The 21-year-old Nigeria international has signed a new deal with Claude Puel's team, who beat Wolves 2-0 on Saturday, that will keep him at the King Power Stadium until June 2024.

Ndidi moved to Leicester from Genk in January 2017 and has scored two goals in 52 Premier League appearances for the club.

He has been named the club's Young Player of the Year in each of the last two campaigns and has become a regular in Puel's midfield as well as featuring in all three of his country's games at World Cup 2018.

Ndidi said: "I am very happy to sign this contract with Leicester City. I have enjoyed every moment of my time with the club, so I am thrilled to be here for six more years.

"Together with my team-mates and our wonderful supporters, I hope we can look forward to many more fantastic moments."

Leicester, 4/6 to finish in the top half of the Premier League this season, can be backed at 11/5 to beat Southampton on Saturday and at 10/1 to win the St Mary's clash from behind.

Puel hails battling Foxes

Leicester City boss Claude Puel was pleased with his team's fighting spirit as they clinched their first victory of the season by beating Wolves 2-0.

The visitors started well at the King Power Stadium, with Raul Jimenez and Joao Moutinho both hitting the woodwork.

However, the Foxes rode their luck and a Matt Doherty own goal gave them the lead before James Maddison doubled their advantage.

Leicester secured their first three-point haul of the campaign despite having Jamie Vardy sent off in the second half.

A delighted Puel said afterwards: "It was a tough game against a good team. They played well and they have a system in their play. It's difficult to defend against this team and, in the first 20 minutes, we were not in a good position.

"But I am happy about our fighting spirit. We scored two times and we had other chances to score. I am happy about our solidity and fighting spirit because, without this mentality, it was not possible to win this game."

Leicester, 8/13 to finish in the top half of the Premier League table this season, can be backed at 15/8 to win their next game of the campaign against Southampton.

Etheridge saves point for Cardiff

Cardiff goalkeeper Neil Etheridge was the hero for his team, saving a 96th minute penalty to secure Cardiff's first point of the season.

They drew 0-0 at home to Newcastle but were prepared for defeat when the referee pointed to the spot deep into stoppage time after Sean Morrison had handled in the area.

Kenedy stepped up to take the penalty for Newcastle but Etheridge went the right way, keeping it out and the final whistle sounded immediately afterwards to leave the game goalless.

Both sides lost their opening game so got off the mark with a point and Etheridge took the positives after the game, telling Sky Sports: "We could have won it, but with a penalty in the last minute I will take a point and be happy to move onto next week.

"We don't want that to become a regular occurrence [conceding and saving a penalty], but we deserved at least a point. We knew we would have a chance at home and needed to get points on the board.

"It is not easy to step up in the 90th minute and take a penalty, but today I came out victorious."

Newcastle, though regretting the penalty miss, had the consolation of getting a point after having had to play much of the second half with 10 men, Isaac Hayden seeing red for a challenge on Josh Murphy.

Cardiff went close through Kenneth Zohore who had a header cleared off the line but failed to make their extra man advantage pay, though they were grateful the late penalty drama at least enabled them to escape with a point.

Cardiff will seek a first win of the season away at Huddersfield next Saturday. They are 5/2 to get the three points with the Terriers 6/5 and the draw 21/10.

Cardiff are 17/2 to win the game 1-0.

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