Saturday 8/29/15 (4:45 AM PT)
Newcastle United vs. Arsenal (2)
For the second straight week, Newcastle goes up against a top four side in the early time slot, and they’ll again be looking to nab a point. Steve McLaren’s men have lacked bite going forward in the past two weeks, but that won’t matter if they can keep Arsenal off the scoreboard. The Gunners will be favorites heading into St. James’ Park, but both have struggled offensively, scoring twice in the first three games. This game could easily turn into a dull stalemate, and it isn’t worth the wake up it requires.
(7:00 AM PT)
Aston Villa vs. Sunderland (1)
This fixture has provided too many nil-nil draws in recent years to be worth recommending. Both sides have had mediocre starts to the season, with Sunderland looking like favorites to go down at this point. Three of the past four seasons, these sides have played to scoreless draws at Villa Park, with the other result during that span a 6-1 win for the Villains. Another boring draw or easy Villa win is the most likely result, and there are better options in the time-slot.
Bournemouth vs. Leicester (3)
Coming off a fantastic first Premier League win over West Ham a week ago, Bournemouth will look to make it two straight when they host in-form Leicester City. The Cherries have yet to put together a full team performance, with good defensive showings in two contests and a powerful offensive display in one. They’ll need to put it together against the Foxes, who have scored seven goals in three games and possess the most dangerous man in England at the moment, Riyad Mahrez. With Bournemouth’s open style, this one could be a shootout.
Chelsea vs. Crystal Palace (4)
Palace have impressed while climbing into fifth place in the opening weeks of the season, while Chelsea have looked a bit off the pace. But after the acquisition ofPedro last week and the Spaniard’s sparkling debut, Jose Mourinho’s side have their attacking swagger back. That will likely manifest itself in either a typical dominant Chelsea performance or — if the Blues’ back line struggles again — a wide-open bonanza of attacking football, one that features talent on both sides. Either way, it should be fun to watch.
Liverpool vs. West Ham (3)
Since their huge opening-day win over Arsenal, West Ham have stumbled twice and haven’t shown the defensive solidity they did against the Gunners. They face a tall task this week against a Liverpool side just
Manchester City vs. Watford (2)
Newly promoted Watford have fought valiantly in their first three fixtures, taking a point in each, including two goalless draws against quality sides. But Manchester City look far and away the best side in the league and have a much more potent offenses than Watford has seen thus far. The Hornets will need to defend with numbers and attack via the counter to have any chance in this fixture.
Stoke vs. West Brom (2)
Both of these sides desperately need a kick start to their season, as the two have combined for three draws and three losses so far this year. Xherdan Shaqiri added a touch of class and creativity to the Potters a week ago, and they will need to continue to build around their record signing. Conversely, there still hasn’t been a resolution to the Saido Berahino saga, and that distraction has caused a sluggish start in the West Midlands, which Stoke can capitalize on at home this weekend.
(9:30 AM PT)
Tottenham vs. Everton (4)
So far, this pair of teams have flip-flopped roles from last year, as Everton look to be solid enough to challenge for a UCL spot while Spurs have underachieved and must fight for every point. Tottenham has a golden opportunity at home this weekend to break out of their rut and perform against an improved Everton side. The Toffees exploded for three against Southampton two weeks ago, and though they lost 2-0 to Manchester City last week, Everton put in a very positive 90 minutes against the early favorites. They may have their eye on snagging three points at White Hart Lane.
Sunday 8/30/15 (5:30 AM PT)
Southampton vs. Norwich (1)
(8:00 AM PT)
Swansea vs. Manchester United (5)
Bafetimbi Gomis looks to have found the finishing touch that Swansea needs to challenge the top contenders, but the whole squad will have to perform behind him this weekend as United roll into town. Although they haven’t hit form domestically yet, the Red Devils are coming off a 4-0 Champions League playoff round thrashing of Club Brugge on Wednesday and look to be clicking for the first time this year. However, Swansea’s revamped side could well take the game to United, who have looked flat so far in the BPL, at home. This fixture has all the makings of a classy match, and, with Swansea’s early form, it's tough to pass up.
Bonus European game of the week: Roma vs. Juventus, Sunday 8/30/15, 9:00 AM PT
In the second week of the Serie A season, the top two dogs do battle in the capital as Roma take on the four-time defending champions. While the Giallorossi didn’t look great in a 1-1 draw last week, they were far more impressive than Juventus, who fell at home to Udinese. Both of these teams are expecting to battle it out at the top of the table this season, so each will be eager to put memories of poor opening fixtures behind them. Plus, after this week’s Champions League draw, they need to get into form in a hurry with huge matches coming up in just two and a half weeks. This is as good a matchup as comes up each season in Italy, and with each team trying to move past underwhelming results, it should provide quite a few fireworks.