Saturday 10/29/16 (4:30 AM PT)
Sunderland vs. Arsenal (2)
Though Arsenal come into this fixture big favorites against last-place Sunderland, the Gunners gave away a golden opportunity last week against a subpar team, failing to score in a goalless draw with Boro at home. The Black Cats are definitely worse, however, as they are the only squad that hasn’t yet won a game this season. They are playing hosts, though, and will look to trip up the Gunners for the second week in a row. Given the early wake up and the struggles of Sunderland, however, this is far from a must-see contest.
Watford vs. Hull City (1)
There’s no beating around the bush: Hull is in serious trouble. The Tigers have lost five straight by a combined 19-3 scoreline, and there’s no reason to think they are going to turn it around this weekend at Watford. The Hornets have struggled a bit recently against some bottom-feeders, but Hull have been far worse recently than any team in the top flight, so expect the hosts to roll to three points that could boost them as high as sixth in the table.
West Brom vs. Manchester City (4)
West Brom, meanwhile, have been the antithesis to Watford lately, giving some very solid performances against the league’s top sides of late, coming in off a tie with Tottenham and a tough 2-1 loss to Liverpool. That should worry the Citizens, as they have not won in their last six in all competitions and badly need three points to get back on track. They still sit in the top spot, but only on goal differential, and it would not be a surprise in the least if they cede that this weekend at the Hawthorns. There’s much more to this match than meets they eye, and it certainly has all the makings of a tight wire-to-wire affair.
Manchester United vs. Burnley (2)
United have been only marginally better than their crosstown rivals lately (largely in part to a midweek win against City in the EFL Cup), but visiting Burnley presents the Red Devils a great chance to begin their climb back up the table. Burnley have been awful on the road this year, having lost all three of their games away while conceding nine goals and scoring just one. It won’t get easier for the Clarets, either, as they visit one of the most intimidating venues in the league, which will provide a major advantage for the hosts.
Tottenham vs. Leicester City (4)
These two teams last met in January, when they played three games in a week, with Spurs advancing in the FA Cup and Leicester striking a blow to Tottenham’s title hopes. This year, Leicester are in a slightly different position, sitting mid-table as they’ve started their PL title defense in mediocre form, sitting at just 3-2-4 on the year. Spurs returned to last year’s form early, but they have tripped up recently, with draws against West Brom and Bournemouth. Even though they are favorites, the points are there for the
Middlesbrough vs. Bournemouth (1)
Boro are in the midst of a seven-game winless run, and this is the type of match they need to win to stay in the Premier League. While the Cherries have been hot of late with two wins and two draws in their last four games, they are still a team that will likely struggle to break into the top half of the table. Visiting the Riverside Stadium won’t be an easy contest, but Bournemouth will feel confident of nabbing another positive result. Still, with two teams that lack the kind of quality others have in their squads, this isn’t the most compelling matchup in the time slot.
(9:30 AM PT)
Crystal Palace vs. Liverpool (3)
These teams tend to play outstanding games when they line up against each other. Since Palace returned to the Premier League in 2013, the teams have met six times in the league, with Palace winning three, Liverpool taking two, and the pair drawing one extremely memorable game (Crystal Palace’s late three-goal comeback in 2013 that all but ended Liverpool’s title hopes). Every one of those games has seen at least three goals, so regardless of who takes the points, there should plenty of action on display. Liverpool are the favorites considering their current seven-game unbeaten stretch, but they know better than most how dangerous it can be to underestimate Palace.
Sunday 10/30/16 (6:30 AM PT)
Everton vs. West Ham (3)
Over the past few weeks, these sides have started to regress to the mean ever so slightly. That’s a good thing for West Ham, who have won two games in a row to jump up to 15th. It’s not so good for Everton, as the Toffees haven’t won in their past four contests with two losses and two draws, most recently a last-second defeat to Burnley last weekend. On talent, these teams are pretty comparable and could well be competing for positioning in the table come the end of the season. For now, the Toffees will like their chances at Goodison Park, but West Ham are certainly capable of providing a stern challenge for Ronald Koeman’s squad.
(9:00 AM PT)
Southampton vs. Chelsea (4)
Since a poor start to the season, Saints have righted the ship in a big way, as they’ve won three and drawn two of their last five games to jump into eighth place in the table. During that stretch, Southampton have allowed just two goals, and they seem to be hitting their stride. Chelsea are doing exactly that as well. The Blues have won three in a row and outscored their opponents 9-0 since Antonio Conte switched formations to a 3-4-3, and they’ve gained tons of confidence from their hot streak. They may not have an easy time getting a fourth win in a row, but Chelsea are nonetheless the favorites heading into what should be a tremendous contest at St. Mary’s.
Monday 10/31/16 (1:00 PM PT)
Stoke City vs. Swansea City (2)
Bob Bradley’s quest for a first PL win continues at the
Bonus European Game of the Week: Juventus vs. Napoli, Saturday 10/29/16, 11:45 AM PT
If anyone is to topple Juventus this season, it’s probably Napoli. Even without Gonzalo Higuain, who now plies his trade for the Old Lady, Napoli has lost just twice in their first 10 games and currently sits in third place, four points back of Juve. However, games against the leaders and five-time defending champions are always critical for the sides in the chasing pack. A loss would send Juve seven points clear of Napoli, while a Napoli win would close the gap to one. While they remain the favorites, Juventus haven’t been invincible this season, so it would be unwise to count out the Naples side, although the visitors will undoubtedly be huge underdogs in what already appears to be a massive clash.