FULHAM v ARSENAL 12:45, Craven Cottage (Saturday)
Fulham will have been buoyed by a rare away win last weekend and with new signings Darren Bent, Scott Parker and Adel Taarabt pushing for starting places the Cottagers will have reason for further optimism ahead of Saturday’s match. Martin Jol will be without first choice goalkeeper Martin Stekelenburg following the Dutchman’s shoulder injury sustained against Sunderland, so David Stockdale is likely to deputise. Fulham have only lost one of their last five league matches against Arsenal and after the Gunners dismal performance against Aston Villa last weekend, the Cottagers will feel victory is possible.
Arsenal bounced back from their embarrassing 3-1 home defeat to Aston Villa last weekend with an impressive 3-0 victory over Fenerbache on Wednesday. Arsene Wenger has come under huge criticism at his side’s lack of signings this summer and knows he cannot afford to lose ground on the likes of Spurs and Liverpool who both won last weekend. If Arsenal are to finish in the top four this season, this is a game they should win, but a London derby away from home will be a difficult task given the amount of pressure they are currently under.
What to watch out for: Darren Bent could make his Fulham debut on Saturday and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the former Spurs and boyhood Arsenal fan got off the mark.
Fulham – Stockdale; Reither, Hughes, Hangeland, Briggs, Taarabt, Sidwell, Boateng, Duff; Ruiz; Berbatov
Arsenal – Szczesny; Jenkinson, Sagna, Mertesacker, Gibbs; Cazorla, Ramsey, Wilshere; Walcott, Giroud; Rosicky
EVERTON v WEST BROMWICH ALBION 15:00, Goodison Park
Everton’s main injury concern is Sylvain Distin after the Frenchman picked up a knock against Norwich last weekend. Darron Gibson is rated as ’50-50’ by manager Roberto Martinez as he battles with a knee injury so Ross Barkley is set to continue after his stunning performance at Carrow Road.
West Brom’s new summer arrivals Diego Lugano and Matej Vydra are in line to make their full debuts and the Baggies are also looking to finalise a loan move for out-of-favour Manchester City winger Scott Sinclair. West Brom finished a very reputable eighth last season but with the loss of top-scorer Romelu Lukaku, the Baggies may struggle for goals last season as was shown last weekend against Southampton where they had just one shot on target.
What to watch out for: In last season’s corresponding fixture Everton recorded a 2-1 victory and a repeat result would be plausible.
Everton – Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Barkley, Osman, Fellaini; Mirallas, Jelavic, Pienaar
West Brom – Foster; Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell; Morrison; Yacob, Mulumbu; Dorrans, Long, Anelka
HULL CITYv NORWICH CITY 15:00, KC Stadium
Hull couldn’t have asked for a much tougher opening day fixture than a trip to Stamford Bridge, but a 2-0 defeat is far from embarrassing. The Tigers were outclassed in the first-half but held their own after the interval with substitutes Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore impressing on their debuts. Steve Bruce’s only real injury concern remains Stephen Quinn, with the former Spurs midfielders likely to make up the starting XI.
Norwich’s record signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel rescued a point for Norwich against Everton and Chris Hughton will hope the Dutchman can end the Canaries poor record in front of goal. There is also more positive news for Norwich as they could welcome back both Sebastian Bassong and Robert Snodgrass after they missed the opening day draw with Everton and new signing Leroy Fer is available after suspension.
What to watch out for: These sides will be looking for their first victory of the season and both will feel it is a game they can win which should make for an entertaining contest.
Norwich – Ruddy; Martin, Turner, Bassong, Garrido; Snodgrass, Fer, Johnson, Redmond; Hoolahan; Van Wolfswinkel
Hull – McGregor, Elmohamady, Chester, Davies, Figueroa, Huddlestone, Koren, Livermore, Aluko, Graham, Brady
NEWCASTLE UNITED v WEST HAM UNITED 15:00; St.James’ Park
Newcastle suffered a humiliating 4-0 defeat to Manchester City on Monday night in what was an awful day for manager Alan Pardew. Only hours before kick-off Newcastle received what Pardew referred to as a ‘derisory’ offer for midfielder Yohan Cabaye which resulted in the Frenhcman’s exclusion from the team and disrupted the Magpies preparations. Steven Taylor’s dismissal during the match means Paul Dummett should fill in at left-back as Davide Santon is a doubt with a hip problem.
Former Newcastle striker Andy Carroll will miss a return to St. James’ Park as he is still side-lined with a heel problem. West Ham recorded a comfortable victory over Cardiff on the opening day and will be boosted by Newcastle’s on and off the field problems. Stewart Downing is pushing to make his first start for the club while Sam Allardyce will have to choose between Joey O’Brien or Razvan Rat as to who starts at left-back.
What to watch out for: Sam Allardyce and Alan Pardew have both managed their respective opponents which should give the fixture an added edge and lead to a feisty contest.
Newcastle – Krul; Debuchy, Coloccini, Yanga-Mbiwa, Dummett, Ben Arfa, Tiote, Anita, Gouffran, Sissoko, Cisse
West Ham – Jaaskelainen; Demel, Reid, Tomkins, O’Brien, Noble, Nolan, Morrison, J Cole, Maiga, Jarvis
SOUTHAMPTON v SUNDERLAND 15:00, St. Mary’s Stadium
Southampton have again broken their transfer record this summer with the signing of Pablo Osvaldo from Roma for a fee of around £15m. The 27-year-old Italy international became the Saints most expensive acquisition after surpassing the £12.5 million paid to Celtic for Vincent Wanyama. Southampton started off the campaign with a hard-fought victory against West Brom and will be confident of another three points against a Sunderland side who struggled last weekend.
Sunderland signed 10 new players over the summer and it will take time for Paulo Di Canio to work out his strongest XI, but time is not something you have much of in the Premier League. The Black Cats had a poor goal-scoring tally last season and with star striker Stephen Fletcher out injured they are relying on summer arrival Jozy Altidore to fill his boots.
What to watch out for: Southampton new boy Pablo Osvaldo scored 16 goals in Serie A last season and will be looking to get off the mark in what should be his home debut.
Southampton – Boruc; Clyne, Yoshida, Lovren, Shaw; Rodriguez; Schneiderlin, Wanyama; Lallana, Ramirez, Lambert
Sunderland – Westwood; Celustka, O’Shea, Roberge, Colback, Giaccherini, Larsson, Cabral, Johnson, Sessegnon, Altidore
STOKE CITY v CRYSTAL PALACE 15:00, Britannia Stadium
Stoke and Crystal Palace will each be out to clinch their first points of the season at The Britannia Stadium on Saturday after both suffered defeats on the opening weekend. Stoke will feel unfortunate to have left Anfield without a point after Simon Mignolet’s brilliant penalty save denied the Potters an equaliser. Mark Hughes is trying to change the way Stoke play by keeping possession better and his side passed the ball around well at Anfield but they will have to be more attacking if they are to gain victory over Palace.
Crystal Palace were written off at the start of the season as a side certain for relegation and one which could be turned over easily, but after their dogged display against Tottenham they cannot be underestimated. The Eagles lost the game to a penalty kick and can be pleased with their performance in which they came very close to getting a result. Ian Holloway may opt to start with new signings such as Maroane Chamakh and Jason Puncheon, which should give them more emphasis going forward as well as vital Premier League experience.
What to watch out for: The Britiannia Stadium became a fortress under Tony Pulis with the Potters only losing of five occasions at home last season. Mark Hughes will to carry on this tradition and knows victory against a promoted side is imperative.
Stoke – Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Pieters; Walters, Whelan, Nzonzi, Etherington; Adam, Crouch
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward, Gabbidon, Delaney, Moxey, Dobbie, Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Williams, Gayle, Chamakh
ASTON VILLA v LIVERPOOL 17:30, Villa Park
Aston Villa have put the woes of last season behind them with two fantastic performances away to difficult opposition. Villa deserved their victory over Arsenal and were unlucky not to take something from the game with Chelsea after some debatable refereeing decisions. The fixture list has been extremely cruel to the Midlands side but if they can come out of it with only one defeat in three games it will be a massive morale boost for the season.
Liverpool narrowly overcame Stoke but were not undeserving in their victory as they played some brilliant football, capped off by a wonderful strike by Daniel Sturridge. In the absence of Suarez, Sturridge has lead the frontline well and will be a key player for them this season.
What to watch out for: Villa produced one of their finest performances of the campaign when they beat Liverpool at Anfield last term but The Reds gained revenge when they overcame Paul Lamberts men at Villa Park. Both sides have started the season in good form and you would expect this to be an exciting game.
Villa – Guzan; Lowton, Baker, Vlaar, Luna, Westwood, El Ahmadi, Delph, Weimann, Benteke, Agbonlahor
Liverpool – Mignolet; Johnson, Agger, Toure, Jose Enrique; Lucas, Henderson, Gerrard, Coutinho; Sturridge, Aspas
CARDIFF CITY v MANCHSETER CITY 16:00, Cardiff City Stadium (Sunday)
Cardiff are seen to be the strongest of the promotes sides after a summer of big spending but their performance against West Ham was lacklustre as they failed to get a shot on target. Malky Mackay will hope that £8 million Danish striker Andreas Cornelius is fit to play as the Bluebird failed to trouble the Hammers in their previous game.
Manchester City will be without influential captain Vincent Kompany, after he limped off against Newcastle with a groin injury. It leaves Manuel Pelligrini short of centre-backs with Matija Nastasic and Micah Richards already ruled out, meaning Javi Garcia is likely to deputise in Kompany’s stead. The Sky Blues looked impressive against Newcastle and will be looking to make up ground on title rivals Chelsea and Manchester United who play each other on Monday night.
What to watch out for: There should be a superb atmosphere in Cardiff for their first home game in the Premier League which should make the fixture a more even contest. Man City struggled in Wales when they played against Swansea last season and with former City player Craig Bellamy on the opposing side, Pelligrini’s men could be in for a tough time.
Cardiff – Marshall, Connolly, Caulker, Turner, Taylor, Gunnarsson, Mutch, Kim Bo-Kyung, Whittingham, Campbell, Bellamy
Man City – Hart; Zabaleta, Lescott, Javi Garcia, Clichy; Navas, Y Toure, Fernandinho, Silva, Dzeko, Aguero
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR v SWANSEA CITY 16:00; White Hart Lane
Tottenham have dominated the back pages this week with the imminent departure of Gareth Bale but more excitingly for Spurs fans a host new faces who should be joining the club. If reports are to be believed then Tottenham could be signing midfielder Willian and striker Erik Lamela in the next few days which could take their summer spending to over £100 million. Spurs were impressive against Crystal Palace last weekend but only managed to find the net through a penalty kick and maybe currently lacking the creativity that players such as Bale and Modric have given them over recent seasons.
Swansea were outgunned by Manchester United last weekend in a game many thought would be much closer considering their excellent home record last season. Nonetheless, Michael Laudrup has built a good team at the Liberty Stadium and the arrival of Wilfred Bony who scored 31 times in the Dutch top-flight last season is only going to strengthen them further.
What to watch out for: Roberto Soldado scored twice in the Europa League on Thursday night and the Spain forward will be hungry to open his account at White Hart Lane.
Tottenham – Lloris; Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Rose; Lennon, Dembele, Paulinho, Chadli; Sigurdsson, Soldado
Swansea – Vorm, Rangel, Chico, Williams, Davies; Routledge, Britton, Shelvey, Hernandez; Michu, Bony
MANCHESTER UNITED v CHELSEA 20:00; Old Trafford (Monday)
This is an extremely difficult fixture for David Moyes’ first game at Old Trafford but one he cannot afford to lose. United have had a poor record against Chelsea over the last 20 years and there would be no better way for Moyes to set his mark at United than beating one of their closest rivals. The Red Devils were superb in their 4-1 victory over Swansea and will be confident going into the game after Chelsea’s close shave with Villa on Wednesday night.
The Blues were lucky to take home three points against Paul Lamberts side but nonetheless go into the game with a 100% start to the season. Jose Mourinho won on his last visit to Old Trafford as Real Madrid boss which could give the game added spice as many United players will have thought it was an unjust result that night.
Mourinho must decide who to start in attack after switching between Fernando Torres and Demba Ba for the first two games although neither managed to find the net. Romelu Lukaku who enjoyed a fine spell at West Brom last season could be a surprise inclusion in the Chelsea attack.
What to watch out for: Chelsea have had two bid rejected for striker Wayne Rooney and the script could just be written for him to come on and score the winner on Monday.
Man Utd – De Gea; Jones, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra; Valencia, Cleverley, Carrick, Giggs; Welbeck, Van Persie
Chelsea – Cech; Ivanovic, Terry, Cole; Lampard, Ramires, Oscar, Mata, Hazard; Lukaku