(4:30 AM PT)
Tottenham vs. Liverpool (5)
This will truly be a great measuring stick for both sides, each of whom enters far from its best form. Liverpool are on the heels of a horrible defeat at Burnley in which they possessed the ball for 81 percent of the fixture but could not find the back of the net. Spurs are in better shape after a win over Crystal Palace, but they haven’t looked stellar over the first 180 minutes of the season. A big story of the fixture very well could be Liverpool’s shaky defense, which has allowed a league-worst five goals so far
(7:00 AM PT)
Chelsea vs. Burnley (2)
Chelsea’s start has been defined by the clutchness of Diego Costa, who has now twice pulled a rabbit out of the hat in the form of a game-winning goal in the last 10 minutes. But while Antonio Conte’s side is certainly bigger favorites in this fixture than the previous two, Burnley are riding high after their aforementioned win over Liverpool. The Clarets have already pulled a major upset, so don’t expect them to back down from any challenge, and there is certainly another big one staring them right in the face with their trip to Stamford Bridge.
Everton vs. Stoke City (3)
Stoke are looking a bit uneasy early in the season with just one point, but they need not yet worry, as their 4-1 defeat to Manchester City a week ago was not nearly as bad as it sounded. Everton, on the other hand, have started the season off on a positive note, and it looks like new manager Ronald Koeman is beginning to have the impact that many Toffee supporters hoped he would. Now, for these two traditional mid-table sides, this — like the Tottenham-Liverpool matchup — should be a good gauge to see if either side is ready to make an early season run up the table.
Southampton vs. Sunderland (2)
It’s hard to get a read on Sunderland, who pushed Manchester City very well in their opener but struggled against Middlesbrough last week and are one of three teams still sitting on the dreaded zero points. That is somewhat similar to Southampton, who certainly have a talented side, but came up well short against Manchester United last week. Given the matchup is at St. Mary’s, the Saints have a clear advantage and should be able to control the fixture, but new manager Claude Puel has yet to fully reign in his side and they are vulnerable at the moment.
Crystal Palace vs. Bournemouth (2)
Well, something has got to give for the other two sides who have no points. Both are desperate, too. Palace have more losses than any other Premier League side in 2016 after their tumble down the table to end last season seems to have carried over into this campaign. The Cherries, meanwhile, are in better shape having lost a pair of respectable fixtures to Manchester United and West Ham, but they will not want to continue to sit at the bottom, and this is a
Watford vs. Arsenal (3)
Through two games, these teams sit next to each other in 13th and 14th, with just one point each. Arsenal won the league game at Vicarage Road 3-0 last season, but Watford got the last laugh by knocking the Gunners out of the FA Cup. That’s an interesting subplot, but the real intrigue will come from the fallout for whichever side loses this game. It’s a pretty decent option in a busy time-slot.
Leicester vs. Swansea (2)
Here’s another matchup during the busy 7 a.m. window that doesn’t really stand out. Leicester, like Arsenal, have stumbled out of the gate, but they should be favorites to beat Swansea at home, even if the Swans sit ahead of the Foxes at the moment. It’s an important game for Leicester, who need to get in the win column to avoid making the upcoming international break feel much longer than it needs to. That doesn’t make it the best game to pick out of the choices above, however.
(9:30 AM PT)
Hull vs. Manchester United (4)
Well, it’s the top-four matchup we were all expecting as second-place Manchester United visit third-place Hull City. Alright, so nobody is expecting Hull to stick around and compete with the top teams, and they’ll probably get blasted back to reality by a United side that has started life under Jose Mourinho very well. But with the Tigers sitting on six points out of six possible, the crowd at the KCOM Stadium (formerly known as the KC Stadium) will do everything it can to make this a tough contest for the Red Devils. With what already looks to be a very unified — though small — squad, Hull will take tons of confidence into this game in the hopes of sneaking one over on United. While the Red Devils are undoubtedly the favorites, this has the look of a fascinating game between a pair of red-hot clubs.
(5:30 AM PT)
West Brom vs. Middlesbrough (2)
Based on what we’ve seen so far this season, this has the potential to be a good game, as these sides have combined for seven points so far. But with their histories, these teams could end up playing to a low-scoring stalemate instead. Both rely heavily on their defenses and try to get men forward when they can, but someone will have to take the initiative for this game to avoid being a snooze. With the early wakeup time, this is a good chance to catch up on the sleep missed from the day before.
(8:00 AM PT)
Manchester City vs. West Ham (3)
These were the only two Premier League teams who played in Europe this week, but they had vastly different fortunes against a pair of Romanian teams. City cruised to a place in the group stages of the Champions League after sealing their tie with Steaua Bucharest last week, while West Ham wasted the away goal they picked up last week in falling out of the Europa League at the hands of Astra Giurgiu. Both should be plenty rested after rotating their squads in the midweek, but City’s starters are also in better form than West Ham’s at the moment after scoring four times against Stoke last week. Last season, the Hammers surprised City 2-1 to end the Citizens’ perfect start, so the hosts will know they can’t take this game lightly, even if they will be confident heading in.
Bonus European Game of the Week: Sunday 8/28/16 (10:00 AM PT)
Sporting CP vs. Porto
When two of the big three in Portugal match up, it’s always a meaningful game, and even though the season is in its infancy, this fixture could go a long way in determining the final standings. These are the only two squads sitting on six points through the first two games, and with the other part of the dominant trio, Benfica, already producing a bad draw against Vitoria FC, whoever comes out on top of this fixture will have a leg up in the early going. Nothing critical is on the line at the moment, but as always, it will be a heated battle at the Estadio Jose Alvalade, so expect a raucous atmosphere.