Saturday 11/7/15 (4:45 AM PT)
Bournemouth vs. Newcastle (1)
This matchup might earn a high rating at the end of the season, but as the early game on a November Saturday, it’s an easy pass. These teams sit in 17th and 18th in the table, and they will be in the relegation fight all season. Both will feel like they need to win these kinds of contests to stay up, and that could create for something of a frantic fixture, but that doesn’t mean the quality will be high. With the start time and the teams involved, stay in bed and skip this one.
(7:00 AM PT)
West Ham vs. Everton (3)
Both of these teams have been good in the early going, but neither is all that tight defensively, which could create an intriguing contest at Upton Park. The
Leicester vs. Watford (2)
Two of the league’s surprise teams meet at the King Power Stadium, but, unlike in the above matchup, this one certainly has a favorite. Leicester have been as good as anybody going forward, with 23 goals scored, second-most in the league, and Jamie Vardy is the hottest striker in the country at the moment. While Watford bring in some momentum on the heels of back-to-back 2-0 wins, they’ll have a tough time getting something from this game. However, there will be plenty of quality on display in Leicester.
Norwich vs. Swansea (1)
After starting the season well, Norwich find themselves in a miserable rut, with four straight losses, and they’ll look at Saturday’s contest as a great opportunity to end that run. Swansea have won just once since August, against last place Aston Villa, and they’ve scored only 12 BPL goals, fewer than all but four teams. They’ll be the favorites at Carrow Road against a struggling Canaries side, but neither team has enough going for them at the moment to make this one any better than either of the two contests above.
Sunderland vs. Southampton (2)
This much can be said about Sunderland: at least the ball hits the back of the net when the Black Cats play. Granted, that hasn’t resulted in a lot of good things yet, and Sam Allardyce is trying to change it, but his last game saw eight goals scored. Southampton put up eight against Sunderland last October, and while that’s not likely to repeat itself, they’ll head north as favorites. It won’t necessarily be an easy game, as the Black Cats have looked much better with Allardyce in charge, but the Saints will have every opportunity to extend their unbeaten run to seven games in all competitions.
Manchester United vs. West Brom (1)
Although United haven’t exactly lit the world on fire, they’ll be heavy favorites at home against a mediocre West Brom side that threw away a lead last weekend against Leicester. The Baggies are a decent enough defensive team, and they’ll likely head to Old Trafford with a tight game plan and expectations of solidity at the back, but that most likely won’t be enough to get points off the Red Devils. While Louis van Gaal has seen his side play very methodically in recent weeks, he’s also seen just three goals total in his last five games in all competitions, so there will certainly be some pressure on United to impress with the way they play. That might lead to an attack-minded United, but, given what we’ve seen of late, that’s not a guarantee, and it means there are better options available.
(9:30 AM PT)
Stoke vs. Chelsea (4)
These sides produces quite a show last week in the Capital One Cup, with Stoke advancing on penalties, and there’s every reason to think they’ll do so again. Granted, this game won’t have the added intrigue of Jose Mourinho on the sidelines, as he will be serving a one-game stadium ban, but everything happening with Chelsea is fascinating at the moment. This is an
Sunday 11/8/15 (5:30 AM PT)
Aston Villa vs. Manchester City (3)
Nobody knows what to expect from Villa, who will play their first game under Frenchman Remi Garde on Sunday, but they have nothing to lose against City. It can only get better for the cellar-dwelling Villains, who have lost seven straight BPL games. But with a City side that’s won seven of its last eight in all comps coming to Villa Park, that losing streak could easily continue. Still, with all of the unknowns surrounding Villa at the moment — and with the talent City has all over the pitch — this should be an interesting game for the early risers.
(8:00 AM PT)
Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace (3)
These teams always seem to play interesting matches, with Palace getting the better of Liverpool in both league games between the two last season, and this one could keep that trend going. It’s an Anfield, which certainly favors the Reds, who are rounding into form under Jurgen Klopp with three consecutive wins, but Palace have provided quite a few highlights of their own this season, although they’ve gone four games without a win. With the recent history between the sides and their current places in the table — Liverpool are just one point ahead of Palace — there should be a lot of emotion around the stadium Sunday. Unfortunately, this game gets upstaged somewhat by the other one during the same time slot...
Arsenal vs. Tottenham (5)
… as Arsenal hosts Tottenham in the first BPL North London derby of the season. These teams and supporters absolutely hate each other, and Spurs are eager for revenge after suffering a 2-1 loss to the Gunners in the Capital One Cup in September. Additionally, a Tottenham win would solidify Spurs — who haven’t lost in the BPL since the opening day of the season — as a favorite to nab fourth place, and as an outside candidate for a title challenge. However, Arsenal have won five straight league games, and they look like the biggest threat to Manchester City at this moment. With two of the BPL’s hottest clubs meeting in arguably the league’s fiercest rivalry, this is without a doubt can’t-miss football.
Bonus European Game of the Week: Feyenoord vs. Ajax, Sunday 11/8/15, 5:30 AM PT