SWANSEA CITY v WEST HAM UNITED 12:45, The Liberty Stadium (Saturday)
A goal-crazy winning start to life in what’s supposedly the toughest league in the world has given Michael Laudrup a great platform from which to launch Swansea’s home campaign. The style of passing football indoctrinated into the Welsh side is of a kind West Ham fans, if not manager Sam Allardyce, can at the moment only envy and aspire to. Nevertheless if the Hammers manage to secure a second successive win via a long ball bundled into the net by Carlton Cole the fans won’t be complaining.
What to watch out for: Swansea’s Spaniards. Michu took all the headlines for his dream debut double against QPR last weekend, but defender Chico Flores was equally influential in building the side’s attacks from the back.
Swansea – Vorm; Rangel, Williams, Chico Flores, Taylor; De Guzman, Britton, Michu; Dyer, Graham, Routledge
West Ham – Jaaskelainen; Demel, Reid, Collins, McCartney; Noble, Diame, Nolan; Vaz Te, Cole, Taylor
Recent form (League): Swansea – WDDLWW; West Ham – WWWWWW
ASTON VILLA v EVERTON 15:00, Villa Park
As a result of that magnificent win over Manchester United on Monday, pundits are queuing up to predict Everton will actually enjoy a strong opening few months of the season that might propel them to a top five finish at its climax. That would certainly buck the trend of recent years, but whatever, they at least appear a more settled side than Villa at the moment. Villa boss Paul Lambert would love to open his home account with a win though and with the Villa Park crowd actually behind their manager it could be achieved.
What to watch out for: A draw: six of the last seven meetings between the sides have produced a stalemate and Everton have not beaten Villa in 12 games.
Villa – Given; Lowton, Clark, Vlaar, Baker; Holman, Delph, El Ahmadi, N’Zogbia; Ireland; Bent
Everton– Howard; Hibbert, Distin, Jagielka, Baines; Osman, Gibson, Neville, Pienaar; Fellaini; Jelavic
Recent form: Villa – DLDDLL; Everton – DWDDWW
MANCHESTER UNITED v FULHAM 15:00, Old Trafford
Due to a hefty injury list United are again likely to have to field a makeshift back four and Fulham, fresh from their opening day thrashing of Norwich will look to take advantage. Robin van Persie however will sense this is a good opportunity to get off the mark for his new club and in the process win them their first points of the season.
What to watch out for: In his first start at Old Trafford it has to be van Persie and, in particular, any signs of a partnership developing with Rooney.
Man Utd – De Gea; Valencia, Carrick, Vidic, Evra; Nani, Scholes, Cleverley, Kagawa; Rooney, van Persie
Fulham – Schwarzer; Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise; Duff, Dembele, Diarra, Kacaniklic; Ruiz; Petric
Recent form: Man Utd – WDLWWL; Fulham – WLWWLW
NORWICH CITY V QUEENS PARK RANGERS 15:00, Carrow Road
The two sides currently level at the bottom of the table following opening day humiliations will each look to get back on track in their meeting at Carrow Road. Both will want to set aside fears that second season syndrome is about to strike them this campaign. Given the level of expenditure Mark Hughes has enjoyed since taking over at QPR, he should be aiming for three points in this match, especially while Chris Hughton is still feeling his way in at Norwich.
What to watch out for: Bad defending! Predictable maybe after the 5-0 drubbings endured by these sides last weekend, but QPR could’ve lost by many more they were so porous. Hopefully good attacking will balance it out.
Norwich – Ruddy; Martin, R Bennett, Turner,Tierney; E Bennett, Howson, Johnson, Pilkington; Snodgrass; Holt
QPR – Green; Onuoha, Ferdinand, Hill, Fabio; Mackie, Diakite, Park, Hoilett; Taarabt; Cisse
Recent form: Norwich – LLLDWL; QPR – LWLWLL
SOUTHAMPTON v WIGAN ATHLETIC 15:00, St Mary’s Stadium
St Mary’s is sure to be at full capacity as it gets its rebirth as a Premier League venue. After coming so close at Man City on Sunday, optimism will be overflowing amongst the supporters of a win that could potentially be against a side they’ll be competing to stay in the division with come May. The two sides have never met in the top flight before and Wigan will hope to use their seven consecutive years’ experience to their advantage and pick up a win.
What to watch out for: Promising Saints youngsters. Nigel Adkins will be expecting the likes of Jay Rodriguez, Nathaniel Clyne and Adam Lallana to step up to the challenge this season and prove they are Premier League players. Home games against the likes of Wigan present a great opportunity.
Southampton – Davis; Clyne, Fonte, Hooiveld, Fox; Ward-Prowse, Schneiderlin, Lallana; Puncheon, Lambert, Rodriguez
Wigan – Al Habsi; Ramis, Caldwell, Figueroa; Boyce, McArthur, McCarthy, Beausejour; Moses, Kone, Maloney
Recent form: Southampton – WLWLWL; Wigan – WLWWWL
SUNDERLAND v READING 15:00, The Stadium of Light
Martin O’Neill will probably give a full debut to Louis Saha and with Steven Fletcher almost certain to join in the next few days Sunderland’s forward options look much better all of a sudden. They’ll need to be sharp up front if they’re to beat Reading, who acquitted themselves well at Chelsea on Wednesday night and narrowly missed out on a draw.
What to watch out for: Wide men. Reading posed a threat to Chelsea on Wednesday mainly through the running and crossing ability of wingers Jobi McAnuff and Garath McCleary, while Sunderland also possess superb crossers in Sebastian Larsson and James McClean.
Sunderland – Mignolet; Gardner, Cuellar, O’Shea, Richardson; Larsson, Cattermole, Colback, McClean; Sessegnon; Saha
Reading – Federici; Gunter, Gorkss, Pearce, Harte; McCleary, Guthrie, Leigertwood, McAnuff; Pogrebnyak, Le Fondre
Recent form: Sunderland – DDDLLD; Reading – WWDLDL
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR v WEST BROMWICH ALBION 15:00, White Hart Lane
After getting the better of Brendan Rodgers last week, Steve Clarke this weekend comes up against another erstwhile Chelsea colleague in the shape of Andre Villas-Boas. The latter seems to have already gone about stamping his authority on the Spurs team and just as in West London last season, it hasn’t gone down positively in all quarters. To avert any talk of dressing room disquiet following defeat last week, Tottenham will be desperate for a win.
What to watch out for: West Brom’s strategy. They were free-flowing and attack-minded against Liverpool last Saturday, but Clarke is above-all noted for his defensive nous and this area is likely to be his primary focus here, with the Baggies looking to nullify Tottenham.
Tottenham – Friedel; Walker, Kaboul, Gallas, Assou-Ekotto; Sandro, Sigurdsson, Livermore; Lennon, Defoe, Bale
West Brom– Foster; Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell; Morrison, Yacob, Mulumbu; Odemwingie, Long, Gera
Recent form: Spurs – LWWDWL; West Brom – WWDDLW
CHELSEA v NEWCASTLE UNITED 17:30, Stamford Bridge
An incredible Papisse Cisse double saw Newcastle record an excellent 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge at the back end of last season that effectively ensured they finished above the Blues in the table. However this time the Blues are not facing the prospect of an imminent Champions League final and with the bit between their teeth from two wins out of two already, another win for Alan Pardew’s men would be even more impressive.
What to watch out for: A midfield tussle. Newcastle’s quartet were as strong as virtually anybody’s last season and the middle two of Tiote and Cabaye will be a match for whichever pair Roberto Di Matteo chooses as his holding duo behind the creative triumvirate that includes Mata and the exciting Hazard.
Chelsea – Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole; Obi Mikel, Meireles; Ramires, Mata, Hazard; Torres
Newcastle – Krul; Simpson, Coloccini, S Taylor, Santon; Ben Arfa, Tiote, Cabaye, Gutierrez; Cisse, Ba
Recent form: Chelsea – WLLWWW; Newcastle – WLWLLW
STOKE CITY v ARSENAL 13:30, The Britannia Stadium (Sunday)
Two contrasting outfits who for contrasting reasons were disappointed with only drawing last weekend will both go in search of a win in the Potteries. Stoke will be hoping for a first league win since 7 April and tend to relish playing Arsene Wenger’s rather less robust Gunners. With it looking like Arsenal will be heavily reliant on their new attacking trio, they’ll be optimistic at least one can get their first Premier League goal here.
What to watch out for: Michael Kightly- scorer of a rather fortunate goal at Reading last Saturday, but the summer signing from Wolves was also Stoke’s brightest performer and certainly capable of giving Arsenal a headache with his dribbling skills.
Stoke – Begovic; Wilkinson, Shawcross, Huth Wilson; Kightly, Whelan, Whitehead, Etherington; Walters, Crouch
Arsenal – Szczesny; Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Diaby, Arteta; Walcott, Cazorla, Podolski; Giroud
Recent form: Stoke – LDDLDD; Arsenal – LDDDWD
LIVERPOOL v MANCHESTER CITY 16:30, Anfield
Brendan Rodgers couldn’t ask for a tougher fixture to help restore faith that he is the right man to take Liverpool forward after last weekend’s heavy defeat at West Brom. He’ll be confident that if a newly promoted side like Southampton can score twice against City then his team can do the same, but he’ll probably need Luis Suarez to have found his shooting boots.
What to watch out for: City will look to take advantage of Daniel Agger’s absence, or, more pointedly, exploit the lack of pace of ageing Jamie Carragher. It’s hard not to see the visitors creating numerous chances, even without injured Sergio Aguero.
Liverpool – Reina; Johnson, Skrtel, Carragher, Jose Enrique; Gerrard, Lucas, Allen; Downing, Suarez, Borini
Man City – Hart; Zabaleta, Lescott, Kompany, Clichy; Silva, Y Toure, Rodwell, Nasri; Dzeko, Tevez
Recent form: Liverpool – LWLWLL; Man City – WWWWWW
Tags: Barclays Premier League, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Premier League