Saturday 9/10/16 (4:30 AM PT)
Manchester United vs. Manchester City (5)
Few early season Premier League games are even capable of garnering as much hype as the first 2016-17 edition of the Manchester Derby has. Thanks to the international break, the public has had two weeks to break down each side’s perfect start, and with the frosty relationship between new bosses Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho — as well as the local rivalry aspect — there’s no question that there will be some fireworks at Old Traffor. Both sides have
(7:00 AM PT)
Burnley vs. Hull City (1)
Yes, Hull City have started the season in excellent form. Yes, Burnley have a great early season win over Liverpool on their resume. However, these are two promoted sides meeting in the first month of the campaign, and they remain two of the likeliest clubs to suffer the perils of relegation. Both made some nice additions at the transfer deadline that should make them more formidable, but so early in the season and with other good games in the same time slot, this contest is an easy pass.
Bournemouth vs. West Brom (2)
This is only slightly better than the above contest as two squads that survived the drop a season ago meet early in their quests for another survival. Each made big moves at the deadline, with Bournemouth adding Jack Wilshere on loan in their biggest-ever signing and West Brom breaking their transfer record to grab Nacer Chadli from Spurs. Tony Pulis and Eddie Howe will both feel confident they can achieve their goals this season, but each — particularly Howe — needs a win to kickstart the campaign.
West Ham vs. Watford (2)
Neither of these sides have started the season well, but both have the quality to erase a poor start in a hurry. West Ham have lost to two big sides, Chelsea and Manchester City, while beating Bournemouth in a game they didn’t shine in. Meanwhile, Watford are languishing in the relegation zone after picking up one point from their first three fixtures, and they’ll need to find a way to get going quickly with a visit from Manchester United set to follow their trip to the London Stadium. This isn’t the most appealing of contests, but both sides will be desperate for a win, which could lead to a fascinating affair.
Middlesbrough vs. Crystal Palace (2)
Through three matchdays, these two sides have allowed a combined total of five goals, but only one is on the right track so far. Boro have a win and two draws since returning to the top flight, and they’ll be confident of continuing that unbeaten run at the Riverside Stadium against a Palace side that has just one point so far. For the Eagles, the problem has been goals, although the addition of Christian Benteke, who should be fit to go this weekend, will help that. This game will certainly be of the utmost importance for Palace to get a result from, although Middlesbrough will need to collect home points if they are to do what Watford did last season and avoid a relegation battle after their promotion.
Arsenal vs. Southampton (3)
There’s no doubt that Arsenal come in big favorites with the Saints still winless on the season, but over the last few years, the Gunners have struggled against Southampton. In their last three matchups, Southampton has two wins and a draw and have not conceded a goal, and the scales were heavily tipped
Stoke City vs. Tottenham (3)
The last-place Potters really need to get something going this weekend, but it won’t come easy in a visit from Spurs. Tottenham have five points so far this campaign, but they have yet to truly get their legs under them, scoring just three times in their first three fixtures. Meanwhile, Stoke have been held to just two tallies, so offense could be limited at the bet365 Stadium. On a positive side, both teams have already played a tough Everton side, while Stoke have played City and Spurs faced Liverpool, so it's safe to say the competition has made it a bit difficult for either to spread their wings in the early going. Spurs look good for the points, but like the former, this one could really go either way.
(9:30 AM PT)
Liverpool vs. Leicester (4)
This weekend, we might just find out if either of these sides are really going to put forth a quality effort to (again) break into the top niche. At 1-1-1, Liverpool hasn’t been bad, but their defense has been questionable at best so far, and if they don’t get that under control, it could become a serious Achilles’ heel. Leicester are also on four points but look to be stuck in a bit of a championship hangover (compounded by the absence of N’Golo Kante as well) so they are vulnerable at the moment. We know the Foxes love to counter and Liverpool will possess, so expect a lot of the Reds on the ball. Both like to press high, however, so that should create an wild, open environment at Anfield.
Sunday 9/11/16 (8:00 AM PT)
Swansea vs. Chelsea (2)
Though their first two victories required some late Diego Costa heroics, Chelsea are flying into this fixture coming off of a 3-0 win over Burnley. Yes, they have had a quick cool off thanks to the international break, but Antonio Conte has made his transition to Stamford Bridge pretty seamless, and that should worry Swansea this weekend. The Swans’ lone points came in a tight opening-day win over the Clarets, and they will need to bring their best this weekend if they want any chance of competing with Conte’s side. It’s the only match on Sunday, so it’s worth a view, but expecting a particularly tight affair might be too much to ask.
Monday 9/12/16 (Noon PT)
Sunderland vs. Everton (2)
Everton’s matches have all been close this year, but
Bonus European Game of the Week: Saturday 9/10/16, 4 AM PT
Celtic vs. Rangers
The Manchester Derby isn’t the only huge rivalry contest taking place early Saturday in Great Britain. Rangers’ financial problems are now a thing of the past as they prepare for their first league Old Firm Derby since 2012. These teams did meet with plenty on the line last spring, with Rangers topping their rivals on penalties in the Scottish Cup semifinals, but Brendan Rodgers’s Celtic squad will be the favorites to take home the three points this weekend at Celtic Park. Of course, anything can happen in this contest (see four red cards in the last four league meetings), and motivation won’t be a problem for either club. If the Manchester Derby is an appealing contest to wake up to, this one won’t be half bad either.