Fulham vs. Watford (4:30 AM PT, NBCSN)
Liverpool vs. Southampton (7 AM PT, NBCSN)
Cardiff City vs. Manchester City (7 AM PT, CNBC)
Manchester United vs. Wolves (7 AM PT, NBC Sports Gold)
Leicester vs. Huddersfield (7 AM PT, NBC Sports Gold)
Crystal Palace vs. Newcastle (7 AM PT, NBC Sports Gold)
Burnley vs. Bournemouth (7 AM PT, NBC Sports Gold)
Brighton vs. Tottenham (9:30 AM PT, NBC)
West Ham vs. Chelsea (5:30 AM PT, NBCSN)
Arsenal vs. Everton (8 AM PT, NBCSN)
Top Three Games
3. Brighton vs. Tottenham
Mauricio Pochettino’s steady Spurs ship is wobbling. For the first time in the Argentine manager’s overwhelmingly successful four-plus year tenure, Tottenham have lost three consecutive games, the most recent in heartbreaking fashion against Inter Milan in the Champions League. They were much better than they had been in last weekend’s loss to Liverpool, but Spurs capitulated late and
2. Manchester United vs. Wolves
How could the second-best game of the week involve two mid-table sides? Well, this is how. Wolves have already earned quality draws this year with Everton and Manchester City and are coming in hot, riding a two-game winning streak. Nuno Espírito Santo’s side was tipped for success after running through the Championship last year, and so far this year, the results clearly have lived up to the billing. That’s not good news for Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils, and though they too are riding a mini two-game winning streak, they have yet to really look convincing this year. The eye test says both teams are pretty evenly matched at the moment and have a great opportunity here. A win for United, and they are well back into it as Mourinho’s seat cools a bit. The opposite will see Wolves earn their classification as a serious threat to beat anyone, week in and week out.
1. West Ham vs. Chelsea
On a weekend without a top-six matchup in the Premier League, this London derby should provide the thrills necessary to live up to the billing of the top game of the matchday. There is, of course, a clearly defined favorite here, as Chelsea will head across town to the London Stadium expecting three points. But they’ll need to be careful. West Ham looked like a completely different animal in last weekend’s 3-1 win over Everton than they had in any of the previous four games, and they’ll certainly be looking to build on
Under-the-Radar Game to Watch
Arsenal vs. Everton
It’s not really under the radar necessarily considering the teams on display, but this is a sneakily important match — and opportunity — for each side in this early portion of the season. Both have come under similar levels of scrutiny over the past two years, having talented sides capable of achieving much more that they were able to, and with coaching changes looming over everything. Now, the Toffees take to the Emirates with six points and needing a result to really boost their confidence about where this season might go. They took care of business against Southampton, but aside from that, it’s been three draws and most recently a disappointing loss to West Ham. They need to show up and at least perform as a team to prove they can legitimately think about bridging the gap to the top six. The Gunners, meanwhile, have come back strong since losing their first two and must keep their momentum going to stay within touching distance of the leaders. It’s a task easier said than done, and one which will encourage or dissuade Unai Emery’s new supporters.
European Games of the Week
Schalke vs. Bayern Munich (Saturday 9/22/18, 9:30 AM PT, FS2)
It has been an absolutely brutal start for Schalke. The Royal Blues — who finished second in the Bundesliga last season — have lost their first three league games, falling to Wolfsburg, Hertha, and Monchengladbach, conceding two goals in every game. Then, on Tuesday, they grabbed a second-half lead at home and gave it away nine minutes later, conceding a penalty and ultimately settling for a 1-1 home UCL draw against Porto. The beast standing in the way of their first league win this weekend is none other than Bayern Munich, runaway champions last year, holders for six years, and already out ahead of the pack three matches in. Bayern will know how good of a side Schalke can be, so they won’t take a trip to Gelsenkirchen lightly, but they should come out on top. Expect a fervent fight from a desperate Schalke side in front of what’s sure to be a tense home crowd.
Espanyol is quietly having one of their best starts to a season in recent memory, and now the often-overlooked “second” team of the city of Barcelona will get to truly display what they have against Real Madrid at the Bernabéu. The hosts haven’t lost yet but are coming off a draw last weekend and have the added disadvantage of a midweek Champions League game wearing on their legs. Don’t second guess yourself though, Los Blancos are clear favorites and should get the points. Still, every week they have a target on their backs, and this is surely a trap game for the Galacticos.