With the transfer window closing tonight, team line-ups are be hazardous to guess. Will Arsenal add fire power as they look for their first win and first goals of the season in a tricky trip to Anfield? Big spending Sunderland up next for Swansea, and Man City take on QPR aiming to serve up more of last seasons drama.
WEST HAM UNITED v FULHAM 12:45, Upton Park (Saturday)
The first London derby of the season should be an evenly-contested affair bearing in mind recent meetings between the sides. Both teams followed an opening day victory with a defeat last weekend but both also had positives to take from the latter. Fulham ran Manchester United very close at Old Trafford, while Matt Jarvis was dangerous on his West Ham debut. The away side will no doubt miss the creativity of Tottenham-bound Moussa Dembele however.
What to watch out for: The last six meetings between West Ham and Fulham have seen both teams score so a closely-fought match with a few goals is a likely prospect.
West Ham – Jaaskelainen; Demel, Reid, Collins, McCartney; Noble, Diame, Nolan; Vaz Te, Cole, Jarvis
Fulham – Schwarzer; Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise; Duff, Sidwell, Diarra, Kacaniklic; Ruiz; Petric
Recent form (League): West Ham – WWWWWL; Fulham – LWWLWL
SWANSEA CITY v SUNDERLAND 15:00, The Liberty Stadium
Michael Laudrup’s start to life as Swansea manager couldn’t have gone better; eight goals without reply in his first two games is fairytale stuff. Even the shadow side he put out against Barnsley in the midweek Capital One Cup managed to score three. Sunderland should present the Swans with their toughest challenge yet though. Having already nullified the pretty passing style of Arsenal at the Emirates, Martin O’Neil will be confident of doing the same in South Wales.
What to watch out for: Sunderland on the break. With their flurry of signings in the last two weeks the Black Cats look a lot better placed up front. Adam Johnson and Stephane Sessegnon will run at Swansea’s backline and should provide chances for new strikers Steven Fletcher and Louis Saha.
Swansea – Vorm; Rangel, Williams, Chico Flores, Taylor; Dyer, De Guzman, Britton, Routledge; Michu; Graham
Sunderland – Mignolet; Gardner, Cuellar, O’Shea, Richardson; Larsson, Colback, McClean, Johnson; Sessegnon; Fletcher
Recent form: Swansea – DDLWWW; Sunderland – DDDLLD
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR v NORWICH CITY 15:00, White Hart Lane
Andre Villas Boas remained calm despite his Tottenham side conceding at the death at home to West Brom last Saturday. Another failure to pick up a first win, in another home game against a supposedly inferior team and the stress might start to show on the young Portuguese manager. Norwich are a work in progress under Chris Hughton and although they were improved last week at home to QPR from their 5-0 opening weekend defeat at Fulham, they shouldn’t pose a major threat.
What to watch out for: Any signs of a change in Tottenham’s tactics from last season. AVB seems to be going about disassembling Harry Redknapp’s team and building a side in his own image. The question is will Spurs’ players adapt to his plans better than Chelsea’s did?
Tottenham – Friedel; Walker, Vertonghen, Gallas, Assou-Ekotto; Sandro, Sigurdsson, Livermore; Lennon, Defoe, Bale
Norwich – Ruddy; R Martin, Bassong, Barnett, Garrido; Snodgrass, Howson, Johnson, Pilkington; Jackson, Holt
Recent form: Spurs – WWDWLD; Norwich – LLDWLD
WEST BROMWICH ALBION V EVERTON 15:00, The Hawthorns
West Brom boss Steve Clarke gave a good illustration of his squad’s strength in depth in Tuesday’s 4-2 League Cup win at Yeovil by fielding an almost entirely different team to that which drew at Tottenham on Saturday. Everton have looked unstoppable so far, so the two teams ought to provide a good test for each other.
What to watch out for: West Brom’s front three. Romelu Lukaku has looked a handful when coming off the bench for Albion so far and may get a start alongside fellow strikers Odemwingie and Long. If they all work well alongside each other the team from the West Midlands could get a lot of goals this season.
West Brom– Foster; Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell; Morrison, Yacob, Mulumbu; Odemwingie, Lukaku, Long
Everton– Howard; Hibbert, Distin, Jagielka, Baines; Osman, Gibson, Neville, Pienaar; Fellaini; Jelavic
Recent form: West Brom – WDDLWD; Everton – WDDWWW
WIGAN ATHLETIC v STOKE CITY 15:00, The DW Stadium
Wigan’s win at Southampton last Saturday surprised a few people and indicated that they will not be the pushovers many have predicted them to be this season. Consistency will be key for Roberto Martinez’s men and playing their best every week is their challenge. Stoke have been as consistent as anyone in their last six league matches, but unfortunately drawing has become their speciality and away wins not forthcoming.
What to watch out for: Stoke’s wingers getting at the Wigan back three. Kightly and probably either Pennant or Etherington will try to get behind the Wigan midfield and exploit the lack of full backs, leaving more space for Peter Crouch in the middle.
Wigan – Al Habsi; Ramis, Caldwell, Figueroa; Boyce, McArthur, McCarthy, Beausejour; Kone, Di Santo, Maloney
Stoke – Begovic; Wilkinson, Shawcross, Huth, Wilson; Pennant, Whelan, Palacios, Kightly; Walters, Crouch
Recent form: Wigan – LWWWLW; Stoke – DDLDDD
MANCHESTER CITY v QUEENS PARK RANGERS 17:30, The Etihad Stadium
The league’s big spenders will be looking for victory after only drawing last weekend, but it won’t be easy for QPR! Mark Hughes was so close to exacting revenge for his dismissal as City manager by almost denying them the title with a 2-2 draw on the last day of last season and it will probably take a similar performance, albeit by a virtually unrecognisable side, to push the champions so far this time.
What to watch out for: A somewhat volatile City front pair! How long before one accuses the other of not passing to him? A bust-up between Tevez and super Mario could be more entertaining than the match itself.
Man City – Hart; Zabaleta, Lescott, Kompany, Clichy; Silva, Y Toure, Rodwell, Nasri; Balotelli, Tevez
QPR – Green; Bosingwa, Ferdinand, Onuoha, Fabio; Mackie, Diakite, Park, Hoilett; Taarabt; Cisse
Recent form: Man City – WWWWWD; QPR – WLWLLD
LIVERPOOL v ARSENAL 13:30, Anfield (Sunday)
Liverpool looked a strong outfit against Manchester City last Sunday and would’ve won but for a dreadful backpass by Martin Skrtel. Arsenal are not only without a win, but also a goal which seems to underline their dependency on van Persie last season. Indeed it’s hard to imagine the Gunners pulling off a repeat of their 2-1 win at Anfield last season when both their goals were notched by a certain Dutch striker.
What to watch out for: The assortment of new attacking players on view. Liverpool have bought in Borini and Joe Allen, while youngster Rahim Sterling caught the eye last weekend and Nuri Sahin should get a debut here. Arsenal are similarly reliant on new offensive talent in the shape of Cazorla, Giroud and Podolski.
Liverpool – Reina; Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Jose Enrique; Sahin, Gerrard, Allen; Sterling, Suarez, Borini
Arsenal – Szczesny; Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Gervinho, Diaby, Arteta, Podolski; Cazorla; Giroud
Recent form: Liverpool – WLWLLD; Arsenal – DDDWDD
NEWCASTLE UNITED v ASTON VILLA 16:00, The Sports Direct Arena
Aston Villa are already looking in dire straits and it’s little to do with new manager Paul Lambert and more a reflection of the squad he has to work with. A comfortable 3-0 League Cup win over Tranmere on Tuesday will have helped to relieve a little tension, but against a team possessing a major leap in quality such as Newcastle, they’re again likely to have problems. The Magpies were themselves very much second best at Chelsea last week and so will be extra keen to get back to winning ways.
What to watch out for: Papiss Cisse to get back to goalscoring ways. The Senegalese was a revelation in the second half of last season after joining Newcastle in January, but has been subdued so far this. A game in which the Geordies will be expecting victory like this presents a good opportunity to get off the mark.
Newcastle – Krul; Simpson, Coloccini, S Taylor, Santon; Ben Arfa, Tiote, Cabaye, Gutierrez; Cisse, Ba
Villa – Given; Lowton, Clark, Vlaar, Baker; Holman, Delph, El Ahmadi, N’Zogbia; Delfouneso, Bent
Recent form: Newcastle – LWLLWL; Villa – LDDLLL
SOUTHAMPTON v MANCHESTER UNITED 16:00, St Mary’s Stadium
Unless they’ve shored up their defence considerably since last weekend’s defeat against Wigan, Southampton can expect to complete successive home defeats by Sunday evening. United were hardly looking inpenetrable themselves in their win over Fulham, but are stronger than ever up front with a firing van Persie and fellow new recruit Kagawa also impressing. They’ll need Wayne Rooney against some teams, but Saints aren’t one of them.
What to watch out for: Shinji Kagawa. For all the deserved attention the likes of Hazard and Michu, as well as van Persie have received thus far, it could be the 23-year-old Japanese international who turns out to be the signing of the season if United go on to do well.
Southampton – Davis; Clyne, Fonte, Hooiveld, Fox; Ward-Prowse, Schneiderlin, Lallana; Do Prado, Lambert, Rodriguez
Man Utd – De Gea; Rafael, Carrick, Vidic, Evra; Valencia, Scholes, Cleverley, Nani; Kagawa; van Persie
Recent form: Southampton – LWLWLL; Man Utd – DLWWLW
Tags: arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle United, Premier League, Swansea