Saturday 10/17/15 (4:45 AM PT)
Tottenham vs. Liverpool (5)
This would have gotten a five even if Brendan Rodgers hadn’t been let go and replaced by Jurgen Klopp, but that just adds fuel to what will already be a fascinating fixture at White Hart Lane. Spurs haven’t lost a Premier League game since the opening day of the season, while Liverpool were struggling in Rodgers’ final weeks at the helm. However, the Reds have also won five straight league games against Tottenham, outscoring Spurs
(7:00 AM PT)
Crystal Palace vs. West Ham (4)
It's not every season that this London derby is an important one, but this year, it's shaping up as a top-notch fixture. The teams sit in fourth and sixth, respectively, and both have performed above expectations in the early going, notching some impressive wins along the way. Palace have been in form since the opening day, and West Ham would have the same honors if not for them stumbling into the fixture on the heels of back to back 2-2 draws with Norwich and Sunderland. A year ago, we might have completely different views on this game, but this season, it's almost a can't miss.
Manchester City vs. Bournemouth (2)
Both of these teams have been hit hard by the injury bug in past weeks. City will be without Sergio Aguero, who strained a hamstring on international duty, and David Silva could also join him on the sidelines after hurting his ankle with Spain. Meanwhile, Bournemouth’s lengthy injury list, which already included record signing Tyrone Mings and livewire striker Callum Wilson, got longer when it was announced that captain Tommy Elphick could be out until the new year with an ankle problem. In truth, this should be a walk in the park for City, even without Aguero, but they’ve struggled to break down opposition without their talisman in the past and could again this weekend.
Everton vs. Manchester United (4)
Despite a shaky 2014-15 campaign, Everton have come out of the gates in solid form and have shown they can once again challenge for a top four spot. After knocking Brendan Rodgers out of his post as Liverpool manager before the international break, their sights will be set high as the Red Devils come to visit. United were blazing through the BPL until Arsenal stopped them in their tracks with a 3-0 thrashing, so United will certainly be looking to regroup at Goodison Park. It's probably the best
West Brom vs. Sunderland (1)
Two sides who will fight against the drop this year meet at the Hawthorns in Sam Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland. The Black Cats desperately need wins to get back within striking distance of safety, and with West Brom currently sitting in 17th place, the Baggies could gain some breathing room on the bottom three with a victory. Allardyce will certainly change some things at Sunderland, but with a pair of defensive managers doing battle and better options available, this game is definitely a stay-away, even if it is Allardyce’s first in charge of Sunderland.
Southampton vs. Leicester (3)
The Foxes’ early-season form has faded a bit recently, but the upstarts still sit in fifth place heading into their trip to St. Mary's. On the other hand, it seems that Southampton have finally found their footing, producing a pair of 3-1 victories over Swansea and Chelsea before the break. Given the fight and pedigree of both sides, this one’s seriously too close to call, and it will probably come down to which team clicks best following the week off.
Chelsea vs. Aston Villa (3)
Nobody would’ve predicted this would be a battle of two teams in the bottom quarter of the table at the beginning of the season, and yet here we are. Stamford Bridge no longer looks like the fortress it’s been in recent years, but Chelsea are still the overwhelming favorites at home against an Aston Villa team that has scored just eight goals this season. However, with Jose Mourinho’s Blues in disarray early in the campaign, the door is open for Villa and Tim Sherwood to sneak a shock result at
(9:30 AM PT)
Watford vs. Arsenal (2)
For having just been promoted, Watford are holding their own in the BPL, as they have played the tightest contests so far, with just 13 goals (six for and seven against) for either side in their opening eight fixtures. Arsenal present a new challenge, however, especially after the Gunners dismantled Manchester United to ascend to second in the table. If Arsenal can find that form again, it will be a very long day for Watford (it would be for anyone really), but their resilient defense could just keep them in the game long enough to give the Hornets the motivation they need to snatch points.
Sunday 10/18/15 (8:00 AM PT)
Newcastle vs. Norwich (2)
This is the kind of matchup that both teams will feel the need to win if they are to stay up. Norwich certainly look the more likely to do so, as the Magpies have been horrible so far this year, with a joint-league-low six goals scored, but the fact that the contest is at St. James’ Park will give Newcastle hope. But, without a win this season, it’s hard to predict that Newcastle will get back on track. It’s a vital contest, which makes it fairly interesting, but the football on display won’t be all that good.
Monday 10/19/15 (Noon PT)
Swansea vs. Stoke (2)
Both of these sides were pegged to challenge the top half of the table this year, and both have been a bit disappointing throughout the early part of the year. Their seasons have been quite opposite, however, as Swansea burst out of the gates, but have produced just two points in their last four, while Stoke, who were terrible in the opening month, have seven of their nine points in their last three games.
Bonus European Game of the Week: Schalke vs. Hertha Berlin, Saturday 10/17/15, 6:30 AM PT
The top two spots in Germany look almost locked up by Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, but things appear to be wide open behind those two. This weekend, the third- and fourth-placed teams do battle in Gelsenkirchen, with Hertha looking to continue their surprising start to the season. Schalke will be the favorites in this one, but they’re coming off a bad home loss to Cologne prior to the international break. Meanwhile, Hertha have been very impressive thus far, with their only losses coming on the road to Wolfsburg and Dortmund. It won’t come easy, but a victory at the Veltins-Arena would signify that Hertha’s challenge to the top four is a serious one.