Saturday 10/24/15 (7:00 AM PT)
West Ham vs. Chelsea (3)
Coming off a valuable Champions League draw with Dynamo Kyiv, Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea side travel across London to take on a West Ham that earned an impressive win at Crystal Palace last weekend. However, the Hammers are a totally different side at home, having earned just four points in four games at Upton Park, as opposed to 13 in five on their travels. They’ll have their hands full against the
Stoke vs. Watford (1)
With three straight wins under their belts, Stoke will head into this fixture confident they can continue to rise in the table. The Potters have kept consecutive clean sheets in the league, and Watford has scored a league-low six times thus far, so goals may well be hard to come by. Considering how likely the game above and below this are to see multiple balls hit the back of the net, this is an easy choice to skip.
Leicester vs. Crystal Palace (3)
Two of the league’s early-season surprises meet at the King Power Stadium separated by just one point and one place in the table. Leicester sit in fifth on 16 points and have found a niche as the Premier League’s comeback kids, while Palace have established a reputation as the best counter-attacking side in England while starting with 15 points from their first nine games. It’s an interesting contrast of styles, and with two sides filled with talent and in-form players, it should create quite a fixture in Leicester, even if there aren’t necessarily a ton of goals.
Aston Villa vs. Swansea (2)
Pressure is mounting on Aston Villa and manager Tim Sherwood, as the side has failed to win a BPL game since the season’s opening day. Villa have just one home point thus far and have lost five straight, so, naturally, rumors are swirling that Sherwood is on a very short leash. He’ll have as good a chance as any against a struggling Swansea squad that has just two points in its last five games to relieve some of the tension surrounding his job status. This is a great opportunity for both sides to pull themselves out of their slumps, which could make for some desperate football and a lot of chances at Villa Park.
Norwich vs. West Brom (1)
Both of these teams would do well to avoid a relegation fight this season, and this is the kind of game that both will feel they should win if they plan to do that. West Brom enter in better form, having defeated Sunderland last weekend, but they’ve scored fewer goals than anyone other than Watford thus far. Conversely, Norwich have lost two in a row after a surprisingly strong start, and they’ve allowed a league-high 20 goals. Something has to give, but the battle between a miserable offense and a porous defense isn’t exactly must-see viewing.
(9:30 AM PT)
Arsenal vs. Everton (5)
This gets a bump thanks to the late kickoff, but it’s a good matchup no matter what time it kicks off. Despite a lackluster performance against Manchester United last weekend, Everton have looked far more like the team from two years ago that finished fifth than the one that suffered through a challenging
Sunday 10/25/15 (5:00 AM PT)
Sunderland vs. Newcastle (4)
With both teams languishing in the relegation zone, this weekend’s edition of the Tyne-Wear derby gains an extra level of importance. There may not be a ton of great football on display, but there is sure to be a ton of emotion on the pitch and in the stands at the Stadium of Light early Sunday. Sunderland are the only BPL team yet to win this season, but Sam Allardyce will hope to extend the Black Cats’ run of victories over their local rivals to six in his second game in charge. Newcastle finally managed a win last weekend against Norwich, but they need to build on it to climb out of the bottom three. These games always contain a ton of fire from both sides, and, with both teams struggling massively, this one has even more meaning than usual, which makes it a terrific early Sunday watch, even if it won’t be as good as…
(7:05 AM PT)
Manchester United vs. Manchester City (5)
… the Manchester derby that follows it. Both City and United have played very well early this season, with City winning its last two BPL games by a combined 11-2 margin and United taking down Everton in ruthless fashion a week ago. A United win at Old Trafford would see them pass their rivals in the table, while a City victory would put some distance between the two. Vincent Kompany could
Bournemouth vs. Tottenham (1)
It’s a shame this contest will be played at the same time as the one above, but, frankly, it’s not all that compelling of a matchup. Bournemouth are extremely injured, which will make the task significantly more difficult, but they haven’t lost at home since the opening day. Spurs have been excellent in the BPL thus far, especially defensively, but they’ll also be without a handful of influential players. This contest has all the makings of a low-scoring draw, and with the Manchester derby on at the same time, it’s certainly not the best choice.
(9:15 AM PT)
Liverpool vs. Southampton (4)
Jurgen Klopp’s first home game in the BPL comes against a Southampton team that’s found its footing over the past few weeks, with seven points in its last three games. Liverpool showed a bit of improvement in Klopp’s first games in charge, a pair of draws against Spurs and Rubin Kazan in the Europa League this week, but Reds fans want to see wins going up on the board sooner rather than later. The task ahead won’t be easy against a Saints squad that’s scored 10 times in its past four league games. Klopp will get time to groom his team, but this weekend’s contest will be an important one as the German manager looks for further signs of progress early in his Anfield tenure.
Bonus European Game of the Week: Fiorentina vs. Roma, Sunday 10/25/15 (10 AM PT)
There are quite a few enticing matchups across Europe on Sunday, including an Istanbul battle featuring Galatasaray and Fenerbahce and a top of the table clash in La Liga between Real Madrid and the surprising Celta Vigo, but this contest from Italy tops the lot. Despite a loss last weekend to Napoli, Fiorentina sit in first in the Serie A, a point ahead of this weekend’s opponents and Inter Milan, and a win against the Romans would go a long way toward confirming that La Viola can remain in the race until season’s end. This game pits the league’s best defensive team in Fiorentina (six goals allowed, tied for fewest with Inter) and the best attacking one in Roma (20 goals scored, two more than Napoli), and first place is on the line. There will be plenty of quality on display in Florence, and it should be a fascinating affair for the neutrals.