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“A conveyor belt has become a cliff,” said Manchester United ledge Gary Neville when Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic were allowed to leave at the same time. The commanding central defender so many people said they badly needed over the summer never arrived and they face further problems at the back today after Phil Jones was ruled out for four weeks. Will Louis van Gaal stick with 3-5-2?
It’s not all about the Manchester United debutants today, mind - an old boy is back in town. After 12 years, 455 appearances and 14 trophies for United, Rio Ferdinand returns to Old Trafford this afternoon for the first time since his contract came to an end in the summer. He told the BBC this week: “I never got to say goodbye when I left, which was unfortunate, so it will be a nice opportunity to say bye to a lot of people who supported me and helped me.”
In fact, why don’t you tell us? As ever, we can’t LIVE if LIVEing is without you, so get your thoughts and predictions over to us via the links at the top of this page. New signings or not, Manchester United surely can’t slip up again, can they?
Deadline-day signings Radamel Falcao and Daley Blind are in line to make their first appearances for Manchester United, while Marcos Rojo is FINALLY available after being granted a visa. Luke Shaw, the most expensive full-back in Premier League history, is also expected to debut. Can they avoid a slip-up today?
Not only a first competitive win, but can they inspire the club to a third-placed finish? United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward revealed this week that the club have budgeted to finish third in the Premier League this season. That’s despite finishing seventh last year and no win in four games so far this campaign. The new boys had better gel quickly...
But that’s enough about Alex McCarthy and Sandro. WAHEY! Just kidding. With the greatest of respect to Messrs McCarthy and Raniere Guimaraes Cordeiro, today is all about Manchester United and whether their four potential debutants - Radamel Falcao, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw - can guide the club to a first competitive win under Louis van Gaal.
Hello there and welcome back to the LIVE matchday blog. No early fixture in the Premier League today gives us the opportunity to focus fully on Manchester United v QPR and the big-money signings set to make their debuts a little later on. We’ve been forced to wait two weeks to see these guys in action but the day is finally upon us. Exciting times...
And that, my friends, is that. The Premier League is back after a two-week break and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Join us again from 12:00 BST on Sunday for build-up to Manchester United v QPR and reaction to today’s games. For now, we’ll leave you with the rest of the action from the Madrid derby. Thanks for following. Adios!
LIVE: Real Madrid 1-1 Atletico Madrid
Before we head off, a reminder of all the results from around the Premier League today - you can click the links for reports and ratings from whichever game you fancy...
Arsenal 2-2 Man City
Chelsea 4-2 Swansea
Crystal Palace 0-0 Burnley
Southampton 4-0 Newcastle
Stoke 0-1 Leicester
Sunderland 2-2 Tottenham
West Brom 0-2 Everton
Liverpool 0-1 Aston Villa
Alan Pardew. No doubt about it. The Newcastle manager faces an uncertain future after a 4-0 battering at Southampton. His side are yet to win this season and are rooted to the bottom of the table. He didn't even hold a post-match press conference...
Four games, seven goals... today's Top of the Day goes to Diego Costa. He was a doubt for the game against Swansea with another hamstring injury but was passed fit to not only start but score a hat-trick in a 4-2 win at Stamford Bridge. Has anyone adapted to the Premier League as quickly as this? Frightening!
Four matches gone and it's Chelsea who boast a 100 per cent record and lead the way at the top. Aston Villa, with nine points from a possible 12, are in second, and Swansea drop to third and Southampton rise to fourth. Chelsea, Villa and Arsenal are the only teams yet to lose this season, while six are yet to taste victory.
In full: Premier League table
No Daniel Sturridge, no Raheem Sterling (from the start, at least), so how did their replacements fare today? Clue: NOT GOOD. Check out how all the players at Anfield fared in our player ratings.
Player Ratings: Liverpool 0-1 Aston Villa
Cameras caught Philippe Senderos clearly kicking out at Mario Balotelli and sending him flying to the ground in an off-the-ball incident in the first half. The referee didn’t see it, but could the defender face retrospective action? Here’s what he told Sky Sports: “That’s not my say. I try to do my job. Everyone is running towards each other, kicking each other, and it’s give and take.”
GOAL: Real are level! Cristiano Ronaldo runs at Guilherme Siqueira, stepping over the ball before knocking it the other way past the defender. He sticks a boot out and catches the Portuguese so the referee points to the spot and shows the left-back a yellow card. Ronaldo then slots home comfortably from 12 yards, sending the keeper the wrong way and getting the ball just inside the post. A well-aimed penalty! We're all level!
LIVE: Follow play-by-play updates
More from Peter Staunton: “For Aston Villa, they executed their game plan perfectly. One would expect they might have taken the draw before kick-off but they were well worth the win to extend their unbeaten start to four matches.”
6 - Aston Villa have more points (10) than shots on target this season. Efficient.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 13, 2014