Saturday 8/19/17 (4:30 AM PT)
Swansea vs. Manchester United (2)
Swansea will probably be elated if they can repeat the goalless draw they earned opening day against the Red Devils this weekend. United smashed four past helpless West Ham last week, and it’s hard to think they won't get at least a few on Saturday at the Liberty Stadium. Expect Swansea come out with a plan to defend, but it probably won't be enough to get them points.
Bournemouth vs. Watford (2)
Watford should be proud of their 3-3 opening day draw to Liverpool, but they need to be wary that their slew of goals came more from Reds mistakes than their own creativity. Strangely, Bournemouth away could well present a tougher task. The Cherries, however, pose a significantly diminished offensive threat in what is setting up to be a much more defensive-minded fixture. Despite that outlook, expect both teams to come out ready to play for full points.
Southampton vs. West Ham (3)
The start of West Ham’s revamp couldn’t have gone worse in their aforementioned smacking at the hands of Manchester United. Southampton as well limped to a week one draw against Swansea, and that sets this fixture up as one vital to both sides to get the season kick-started. Each of these teams fell short of their goals a season ago, and if both struggle to get out of the blocks quickly, a similar fate could be in store.
Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace (2)
After giving up three to newly promoted Huddersfield last week, Palace are ripe for the taking against this rampant Liverpool offense. There’s little doubt that at Anfield the Reds are going to put a couple in the twine, but the question mark surrounds whether or not their own backline will be exposed with Jurgen Klopp’s high-pressing tactics. Liverpool may have been unlucky in last week’s draw, but they still conceded three and getting in a shootout every week is not a way to produce a sustainable run. Palace will be on the back heel and shouldn’t have much of sniff of the points as long as Liverpool can get some defensive help. That said, the Eagles have pulled off surprises at Anfield before, and another isn’t totally out of the realm of possibility.
Leicester City vs. Brighton (2)
Though they were always going to come up short, Brighton did well to keep Manchester City at bay for a decent part of their first Premier League match, and they will have another strong offense to contend with this week against Leicester. The Foxes’ offense looked in 2015-16 form last week, and there’s really no reason to think that won’t be the case for the majority of this year. Brighton will certainly have more time on the ball this week, as Leicester possess far less of an attacking threat than the Citizens, so this will be a good test of their acumen to see if they are really ready for a full season of top-flight football.
Burnley vs. West Brom (1)
With both teams coming off wins to start the season, there’s a bit of intrigue here. Burnley are flying high after their stunning win against Chelsea, and there’s every reason to expect a raucous atmosphere at Turf Moor. With that said, West Brom will likely bring a defensive mindset into this one, and with a pair of teams that struggle to score meeting up, this could easily be a snooze.
Stoke vs. Arsenal (3)
Arsenal have had some trouble at the bet365 Stadium in recent seasons, but they’ll undoubtedly be the favorites this weekend against the Potters. Stoke will take a bit of confidence from the fact that they actually played relatively well in their opening-day defeat at Everton. However, they may find themselves starved for goals this season. Their defense will also get a major test this weekend against a Gunners side that poured in four in the opening week and will be riding into Stoke with confidence.
Huddersfield vs. Newcastle (1)
David Wagner’s Huddersfield host their newly promoted rivals in the first top-flight Premier League at John Smith’s Stadium. It’s too early to give this kind of a game a high rating, but this is the kind of early season clash that could have long-term effects in the relegation race. The Terriers are feeling very good about their chances this season after their fantastic 3-0 win at Crystal Palace, while Newcastle are a bit light at the moment with injuries and suspensions handcuffing Rafa Benitez a bit. Because of those factors, Huddersfield are the favorites, and in front of what should be an outstanding home crowd, they’ll like their chances of taking three points in a big clash at the bottom.
Tottenham vs. Chelsea (5)
This is the first can’t-miss matchup of the season, and it is ever a good one. Last season’s runners-up host the defending champions at Wembley in a clash with some real vitriol on both sides. Spurs carry in the momentum after beating Newcastle, while Chelsea are reeling and will be without a number of key figures. Tottenham will fancy their chances and with good reason, and they’ll be eager for revenge after last season’s title race and FA Cup semifinal, in which
Monday 8/20/17 (Noon PT)
Manchester City vs. Everton (5)
City look like the definite favorites in the Premier League, and they’ll get a really significant test this weekend from Everton. The Toffees didn’t look great in their opening-day win over Stoke, but with the newly captured Gylfi Sigurdsson, they could have a renewed energy at the Etihad. They’ll need it, because City are a much different beast than Stoke (or Hajduk Split, whom Everton defeated in Europa League qualifying Thursday). With Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero each looking good in City’s win over Brighton last weekend, Pep Guardiola is spoiled for choices, and he’ll hope that his litany of attackers can take advantage of an Everton back line that could be a bit tired after a midweek European match.
Bonus European Game of the Week: Inter Milan vs. Fiorentina, Sunday 8/20/17 (11:45 AM PT)
Finishing in seventh and eighth respectively last season, Inter and Fiorentina each fell short of some lofty goals and missed the Europa League. Still, both teams have a decent amount of talent on their sides, and each has recently been involved in European football, which they are desperate to get back to. Both made some moves this summer but no blockbusters, so they will have to for the most part continue to try to improve with the squad they have. In short, a run up the table doesn’t look super promising for either, but both are big names in Italian football, and getting the season off to a winning start would be a major positive.