PL Friendly Roundup: Bojan makes Stoke return, Norwich City gets win in Germany
The start of the 2015-16 Premier League season is just two weeks away as clubs continue to do some fine-tuning in preseason friendlies across the globe.
Stoke City may have lost 2-0 to Brentford FC, but the Potters got some great news as Bojan made his return to the pitch after knee surgery. The former Barcelona man had been in great form in his first season at Stoke City before suffering a torn ACL in January, ending his season prematurely. Bojan played the second half for Mark Hughes’ side, and will be a key man for the Potters as they look to improve on their ninth place finish in the Premier League last season.
Watford earned a 1-0 victory over Scottish side Dundee United as the Hornets prepare for their first season in the Premier League since 2007. Troy Deeney scored the match’s only goal, and Watford will be relying on their skipper to continue scoring all season long. Deeney has tallied at least 20 goals in each of the past three seasons for the Hornets.
Fellow Premier League newcomers Norwich City took a 2-1 win against German side FC Augsburg, an excellent result for the Canaries. Augsburg finished fifth in the Bundesliga last season, earning qualification into the Europa League. After falling behind 1-0, Youssouf Mulumbu leveled for Norwich before an 89th minute strike from Lewis Grabban sealed the win.
Leicester City managed a 1-1 draw against Mansfield Town, a team that finished 21st on the table in England’s fourth-division. David Nugent scored for the Foxes just ten minutes in, but Mansfield leveled from the penalty spot before the half hour mark. New manager Claudio Ranieri wasn’t worried about the result as he is more focused on getting his players match-fit for the Premier League.
Aston Villa lost top scorer Christian Benteke to Liverpool, and without the big Belgian, Tim Sherwood’s side could have some major troubles finding the back of the net. Benteke’s absence was felt today as Villa drew with League One side Walsall FC 1-1. 20-year-old Callum Preston scored his first goal for Aston Villa after spending last season on loan at Preston North End, giving the Villans a lead 22 minutes in. But Walsall would draw level with a bit of luck right before the half, as Anthony Forde’s free kick took a deflection leaving goalkeeper Jed Steer helpless. One positive for Villa was the play of summer signing Idrissa Gueye, who seems to be fitting in nicely with his new club.
West Bromwich Albion got a big 4-1 win over Swindon Town, with James Morrison scoring twice in the Baggies first win after coming back from their American tour. Victor Anichebe also scored for West Brom as they led just 2-1 until the final five minutes, when Tony Pulis’ side scored two late goals to end the match with a 4-1 win.
Swansea City drew 1-1 with Nottingham Forest, with new signing Andre Ayew picking up the Swans’ only goal. Ayew came over from French side Marseille as Garry Monk continues to build his team after finishing 8th in the Premier League last season. Monk denied reports that striker Bafetimbi Gomis would leave after he was linked with a move to Dubai club Al Ahli, but Gomis did not feature in the friendly today.
West Ham was held to a scoreless draw with Charlton Athletic as Slaven Bilic prepares himself for his first season as a manager in the Premier League.