Friday 9/15/17 (Noon PT)
Bournemouth vs. Brighton (2)
Brighton got their first win of the season last week in impressive fashion, taking down a solid West Brom side 3-1. The Seagulls will have a solid chance to build on that performance, too, as they visit neighbors Bournemouth, who have yet to get a point this season while scoring just a single goal. The Cherries really need to do something to get off the blocks, and Brighton similarly present a good opportunity to do so.
Saturday 9/16/17 (4:30 AM PT)
Crystal Palace vs. Southampton (2)
The only team worse than Bournemouth this season has been Crystal Palace. The Eagles have yet to score and have already sacked Frank de Boer, replacing him with Roy Hodgson in the midweek. There’s no doubt that Palace have talent, and Hodgson has plenty of time to right the ship, but the Eagles have yet to put in the effort and grit that is required at the Premier League level. Saints, meanwhile, are levelling out, with a win, two draws and a loss on the year, and while they are certainly favorites, with Palace trying to impress a new manager at home, anything is liable to happen.
(7:00 AM PT)
West Brom vs. West Ham (2)
The Baggies will feel disappointed with their loss to Brighton last week, but Tony Pulis’ men will still be happy with the way they have started the season, with seven points so far. The Hammers are in the exact opposite situation, happy about their win over Huddersfield last week but disheartened that those were their first points of the season, and Slaven Bilic needs to get more out of his squad. West Ham have the ability to play with some of the top teams in the division, but the Dimitri Payet saga last year completely derailed the side’s momentum, and it hasn’t recovered. Despite last week’s results, the Baggies are still pipped to take the points here at the Hawthorns.
Liverpool vs. Burnley (3)
Burnley have put in two dogged performances against the top six this year, beating Chelsea and drawing Spurs, and they will need a similar showing this week against Liverpool. The Clarets have the defensive know-how to lock down the back, but their defenders will have to be on their A-game to keep the Reds’ rampant attack out. It is well known that Liverpool struggle with the counter, so Burnley — who get them on a Champions League week when their legs are tired — could be able to capitalize on that. Still, though, Jurgen Klopp should be able to get three points at home.
Newcastle vs. Stoke City (2)
After a couple of tough losses to start the campaign, Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle have displayed the quality that many thought would allow them to stay up without too much fuss. Stoke also started slow with a loss to Everton, but win against Arsenal and a draw with United last week have the Potters looking up the table. Mark Hughes has positioned his side well, and given the managerial acumen on both sides in this one, a tactical battle looks to be in the offing. It’s tough to pick a winner here, with the Magpies hosting a deeper side that has lacked consistency in the past.
Watford vs. Manchester City (3)
Watford have started the season very strong, with two home draws and two away wins, but they’ll get their biggest test yet this weekend. Pep Guardiola’s City side is heating up, winning their last two games 5-0 (against Liverpool) and 4-0 (at Feyenoord in the Champions League). The Citizens are scoring freely and defending strongly, and they’re a talented and deep enough group to like their chances in every game they
Huddersfield vs. Leicester (2)
Each of these teams enters on the heels of a loss, but this game still could be a fascinating one. The Terriers couldn’t quite hang on for a draw Monday against West Ham, conceding twice in the final 20 minutes for their first Premier League loss. Meanwhile, Leicester went toe-to-toe with Chelsea for much of their contest before ultimately falling 2-1. The contrasting styles of these teams could make for an interesting clash; both will rely on their high-energy, but very different, systems to try and sneak out a win in what should be a fairly even clash at John Smith’s Stadium.
(9:30 AM PT)
Tottenham vs. Swansea (2)
In truth, this is the biggest mismatch of the weekend. Spurs are entering with a ton of confidence; they smashed Everton 3-0 at Goodison Park last weekend and followed that up with a dynamic performance in a 3-1 UCL win over Borussia Dortmund at Wembley. On the other end of the spectrum, Swansea have scored just twice all season and fell 1-0 at home to Newcastle last weekend in what already looks like a relegation six-pointer. Spurs battered the Swans last season at White Hart Lane and came away with a memorable comeback win in Wales; it’s hard to see anything other than another Spurs win this weekend.
Sunday 9/17/17 (5:30 AM PT)
Chelsea vs. Arsenal (5)
These teams have played some testy affairs over the past few years, and while it’s no longer a Wenger-versus-Mourinho battle, there’s no reason to expect anything different. The Gunners got themselves back to winning ways last weekend against Bournemouth, but Chelsea are a whole different beast for Arsene Wenger’s side. The Blues have won three league games
(8:00 AM PT)
Manchester United vs. Everton (5)
Super Sunday indeed. Following what’s certain to be a fervent London derby, the Premier League gives us a doozy to finish out the weekend as Wayne Rooney makes his return to Old Trafford. Rooney is a Manchester United legend — anyone who says any different is just plain wrong — and he’ll be eager to lift his boyhood club to a shock win over the early season PL leaders. However, to do so, the Everton defense must contend with a familiar face as well, with the red-hot Romelu Lukaku looking to continue his blistering start to the campaign against his old teammates. The Red Devils are the easy favorites, but the Toffees have already pulled off a few good results; as they look to put a pair of 3-0 losses (to Spurs and Atalanta in the Europa League) behind them, expect Ronald Koeman’s side to come out with a ton of intensity at the Theater of Dreams.
Bonus European game of the week: PSG vs. Lyon, Sunday 9/17/17 (Noon PT)
With five wins in as many games domestically and a plus-16 goal differential so far, PSG look likely to run away with the French title. The only shot any of the other top sides has to keep pace with them is to nip a point or three when they match up and stay nearly perfect otherwise, a difficult task, to say the least. Of the country’s major contenders, Lyon has the first shot to steal a result this weekend at the Parc de Princes. The 2000s French powerhouse has rebuilt since falling off at the start of this decade and currently sits in third place, having not yet lost this season. Both are coming off of short weeks with European competition, so some reserves or tired legs could leave openings for either side. It is early-season matches like this in which PSG will either stamp their intentions on the title or be reeled back into the pack.