NORWICH CITY v WEST HAM UNITED 12:45, Carrow Road (Saturday)
After such an influential debut performance from Andy Carroll against Fulham, it’s a severe blow for him and West Ham that he’s now sidelined for up to five weeks. Chris Hughton will be feeling more comfortable about the job he’s undertaken at Norwich after their draw at Tottenham in their last match and should expect to pick up his first three points in this match.
What to watch out for: An even match: five of the last six meetings between the sides have been drawn. The extra incentive for Norwich to record their first win might see them just edge it.
Norwich – Ruddy; R Martin, Bassong, Barnett, Garrido; Snodgrass, Howson, Johnson, Pilkington; Jackson, Holt
West Ham – Jaaskelainen; Demel, Reid, Collins, O’Brien; Noble, Diame, Nolan; Vaz Te, Cole, Jarvis
Recent form (League): Norwich – LDWLDD; West Ham – WWWWLW
ARSENAL v SOUTHAMPTON 15:00, The Emirates
A victory, and an excellent one at that, at Anfield in their last match, has finally put a smile on the face of Arsene Wenger. In Santi Cazorla they look like they have a player who can fill the void left by Cesc Fabregas’s departure at least. Southampton have been a bit unlucky so far; scoring twice against both Manchester clubs but losing the games. Unfortunately their baptism of fire in the Premier League doesn’t get much easier and they could be staring at four defeats out of four come the final whistle.
What to watch out for: Goals! Arsenal will be looking to make up for the two 0-0 draws they started the season with by racking a few against a Saints side that’s conceded eight in their first three games.
Arsenal – Szczesny; Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Gervinho, Diaby, Arteta, Podolski; Cazorla; Giroud
Southampton – Davis; Clyne, Fonte, Hooiveld, Fox; Puncheon, Ward-Prowse, Schneiderlin, S Davis; Lallana; Lambert
Recent form: Arsenal – DDWDDW; Southampton – WLWLLL
ASTON VILLA v SWANSEA CITY 15:00, Villa Park
A creditable draw at Newcastle last time out lifted some of the gloom at Villa Park following two drab opening defeats. Conversely, Swansea’s fortunes took a turn for the worst when they were last in action at home to Sunderland, with only a draw achieved. However, Swansea under Michael Laudrup appear to be easily as strong as last season and are sure to create problems for a young Villa side who are still adjusting to Paul Lambert’s methods.
What to watch out for: The prospective return of Gabby Agbonlahor from injury should make Villa considerably more potent in attack, but at the other end free-scoring Swansea will cause trouble for an inexperienced defence.
Villa – Given; Lowton, Clark, Vlaar, Lichaj; Holman, Bannan, El Ahmadi; Ireland; Agbonlahor, Bent
Swansea – Vorm; Rangel, Tate, Williams, Davies; Dyer, De Guzman, Britton, Routledge; Michu; Graham
Recent form: Villa – DDLLLD; Swansea – DLWWWD
FULHAM v WEST BROMWICH ALBION 15:00, Craven Cottage
West Brom have confounded the critics who predicted a struggle ahead for them, by taking seven points from their difficult first three fixtures. It could be when the pressure is lessened that they come unstuck though, as is so often the case and especially when they come up against a striker with a point to prove, e.g. Dimitar Berbatov. Fulham are strong at home and should test out the defensive nous Steve Clarke is routinely credited with.
What to watch out for: While most pundits will fancy the Baggies to continue their superb start to the season, they’ve really struggled at Craven Cottage in recent years and a certain lugubrious Bulgarian will be keen to make an instant impact for the home side.
Fulham – Schwarzer; Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise; Duff, Sidwell, Diarra, Richardson; Berbatov, Petric
West Brom– Foster; Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell; Morrison, Yacob, Mulumbu; Odemwingie, Long, Fortune
Recent form: Fulham – WWLWLL; West Brom – DDLWDW
MANCHESTER UNITED v WIGAN ATHLETIC 15:00, Old Trafford
Robin van Persie’s sensational exploits at Southampton suggest United will barely miss the injured Wayne Rooney during his spell on the treatment table. It’s at the other end where United look more vulnerable and Wigan showed towards the end of last season they’re capable of exploiting weaknesses in even the most formidable opponents. That said, factor in United’s central defenders seemingly all returning and Wigan now bereft of the creativity of Victor Moses and a shock seems less likely.
What to watch out for: Robin van Persie seems to have settled in rather well at Old Trafford, with four goals already for his new employers. I expect him to get at least one here with United exploiting Wigan’s lack of full-backs.
Man Utd – De Gea; Rafael, Vidic, Evans, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Scholes, Nani; Welbeck, van Persie
Wigan – Al Habsi; Ramis, Caldwell, Figueroa; Boyce, McArthur, McCarthy, Beausejour; Kone, Di Santo, Maloney
Recent form: Man Utd – LWWLWW; Wigan – WWWLWD
QUEENS PARK RANGERS v CHELSEA 15:00, Loftus Road
John Terry is likely to avoid what would inevitably be a hostile reception from the home crowd at Loftus Road, thanks to the injury sustained in England’s match in Moldova last Friday. Roberto Di Matteo may have decided to rest his captain, along with the likes of Frank Lampard, in any case with the opening of Chelsea’s Champions League defence coming on Wednesday against Juventus.
Jose Bosingwa is in line for a quick reunion with his old teammates as Mark Hughes goes looking for his first win of the season. A repeat of last season’s 1-0 scoreline in this fixture would do him just fine.
What to watch out for: Victor Moses, who will surely make his debut for the club with a sub appearance at least. Playing alongside world class players, the Nigerian has the chance to become a big star at Chelsea and deliver more of the exciting form he showed at the back-end of last season.
QPR – Green; Bosingwa, Ferdinand, Nelson, Fabio; Wright-Phillips, Granero, Faurlin, Park; Johnson, Zamora
Chelsea – Cech; Azpilicueta, Cahill, David Luiz, Bertrand; Obi Mikel, Ramires; Moses, Mata, Hazard; Torres
Recent form: QPR – LWLLDL; Chelsea – LLWWWW
STOKE CITY v MANCHESTER CITY 15:00, The Britannia Stadium
It’s now nine successive games without a win for Stoke and they’ll do well to end that run against the weekend’s opponents. City are unbeaten in their last nine matches and have scored at least twice in all but one of them. Roberto Mancini’s title holders are one of the few sides who can match Stoke for muscle, so Tony Pulis may want to make more use of the newly acquired guile of Charlie Adam and Michael Kightly.
What to watch out for: With the huge Champions League encounter with Real Madrid coming on Wednesday, Mancini may decide to ring the changes in this match. That could include starts for Scott Sinclair, the Brazilian Maicon, and Spaniard Javi Garcia.
Stoke – Begovic; Wilkinson, Shawcross, Huth, Wilson; Whelan, Adam, Cameron, Kightly; Walters, Crouch
Man City – Hart; Maicon, Lescott, Kompany, Kolarov; Silva, Y Toure, Rodwell, Sinclair; Balotelli, Tevez
Recent form: Stoke – DLDDDD; Man City – WWWWDW
SUNDERLAND v LIVERPOOL 17:30, The Stadium of Light
New signings Adam Johnson and Steven Fletcher both enjoyed excellent debuts for Sunderland at Swansea last time out, with the latter notching twice. Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers would love a prolific striker of his own with Fabio Borini firing blanks so far and Luis Suarez missing sitters. The Northern Irishman could do with a win against his countryman Martin O’Neill to relieve the mounting pressure on him, but a draw at Sunderland should be deemed acceptable.
What to watch out for: Johnson and Fletcher. The recently-signed duo can form, in combination with Stephane Sessegnon, an exciting triumvirate in attack for Sunderland.
Sunderland – Mignolet; Gardner, Cuellar, O’Shea, Colback; Johnson, Larsson, Cattermole, McClean; Sessegnon, Fletcher
Liverpool – Reina; Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Jose Enrique; Sahin, Gerrard, Allen; Sterling, Suarez, Borini
Recent form: Sunderland – DDLLDD; Liverpool – LWLLDL
READING v TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 16:00, The Madejski Stadium (Sunday)
Following two disappointing home draws, the pressure is ramped up on Spurs boss Andre Villas Boas against another team they’re expected to beat. Moussa Dembele was the plus point of their Norwich draw, with a debut goal from the subs bench and Spurs may need similar individual inspiration to enable them to pick up points until they get used to AVB’s methodology. Reading fans have had to wait a long time for their team to play their third match, but a shock win here would make up for it.
What to watch out for: Jobi McAnuff was a real nuisance to Chelsea with his jinking runs when Reading played there last month and can be the same to Spurs’s full-backs who are both happier going forward than back.
Reading – Federici; Gunter, Gorkss, Pearce, Harte; McCleary, Karacan, Leigertwood, McAnuff; Guthrie; Pogrebnyak
Tottenham – Friedel; Walker, Vertonghen, Gallas, Assou-Ekotto; Sandro, Sigurdsson, Dembele; Lennon, Defoe, Bale
Recent form: Reading – WWDLDL; Spurs – WDWLDD
EVERTON v NEWCASTLE UNITED 20:00, Goodison Park (Monday)
Everton’s start to the season started to take more of its usual shape with the defeat at West Brom in their last match. David Moyes will be expecting a better performance from his charges then he received there against a Newcastle side whose top five finish last season he will seek to emulate. The Magpies, on the evidence thus far, look unlikely to match those heroics this campaign and in recent matches have clearly missed the bite of the injured Cheikh Tiote in midfield.
What to watch out for: Promises to be a lively, attack-minded game, with both managers favouring a positive approach. A lot will depend on how Newcastle handle Fellaini.
Everton– Howard; Hibbert, Distin, Jagielka, Baines; Naismith, Gibson, Neville, Pienaar; Fellaini; Jelavic
Newcastle – Krul; Simpson, Coloccini, S Taylor, Santon; Ben Arfa, Anita, Cabaye, Gutierrez; Cisse, Ba
Recent form: Everton – DDWWWL; Newcastle – WLLWLD
Tags: Andre Villas Boas, arsenal, Barclays Premier League, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Premier League, Spurs