Cardiff City vs. Newcastle (Saturday 8/18/18, NBCSN, 4:30 AM PT)
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Fulham (Saturday 8/18/18, NBCSN, 7 AM PT)
Everton vs. Southampton (Saturday 8/18/18, NBC Sports Gold, 7 AM PT)
Leicester vs. Wolves (Saturday 8/18/18, NBC Sports Gold, 7 AM PT)
West Ham vs. Bournemouth (Saturday 8/18/18, NBC Sports Gold, 7 AM PT)
Chelsea vs. Arsenal (Saturday 8/18/18, NBC, 9:30 AM PT)
Manchester City vs. Huddersfield (Sunday 8/19/18, NBCSN, 5:30 AM PT)
Burnley vs. Watford (Sunday 8/19/18, NBC Sports Gold, 5:30 AM PT)
Brighton vs. Manchester United (Sunday 8/19/18, NBCSN, 8 AM PT)
Crystal Palace vs. Liverpool (Monday 8/20/18, NBCSN, 12 PM PT)
Top three games
3. Brighton vs. Manchester United
Coming off a productive summer, many have high hopes for tiny Brighton, but they fell flat in a 2-0 opening-day defeat to Watford in which they failed to record a shot on target. They’re a far different proposition at home, where they won 29 of their 40 total points last year, including three against United in a 1-0 win in early May. At the Amex Stadium in front of the first home crowd of the season, the Seagulls will like their chances of knocking off Jose Mourinho’s
2. Crystal Palace vs. Liverpool
After an impressive opening-day win over Fulham, Crystal Palace will get their first big test of the season this weekend against Liverpool. The Reds were diabolical in a 4-0 thrashing of West Ham last weekend, and the rest of the league certainly doesn’t want to see their motors already zooming at full speed. The Eagles have a lot to prove this year, and that includes whether they can pull out some gritty results against top teams. Selhurst Park is an incredibly difficult place to visit, too, so their strong fan support behind them will give them belief, too. Still, Liverpool are big favorites and should be able to manage three points. There was more than one match last year like this, however, that tripped up Jurgen Klopp and co.
1. Chelsea vs. Arsenal
A pair of rivals in transition meet at Stamford Bridge with each given a chance to make an early statement. The Unai Emery era at Arsenal got off to a rocky start; it’s no surprise the Gunners lost to Manchester City, but they were pretty thoroughly mediocre throughout their 2-0 home defeat to the defending champions. Emery should and will be given a chance to turn things around, but a match away to Chelsea isn’t ideal for a club looking for its first win under its first new manager in 22 years. Meanwhile, the Blues are in the exact reverse position. After an impressive 3-0 win at Huddersfield, Maurizio Sarri has a platform to build on for his debut in the Chelsea home dugout.
Under-the-radar game to watch
Cardiff City vs. Newcastle
Each lost their opener, so both Cardiff and Newcastle need to get their jets going. The Magpies fell 2-1 to Tottenham at home in what was a good chance to get a result against a top side that was at less than full strength. On the other hand, Cardiff lost to Bournemouth, the type of team they will need to capitalize against this season if they are going to end up staying afloat. It wouldn’t be a truly detrimental loss for either, but both will want to make sure they make their impacts on the league sooner rather than later. Rafael Benitez’s Newcastle is the stronger of the sides, but don’t count out what the Welsh outfit can do, especially in front of what will be a raucous crowd experiencing its first top-flight home game for the Bluebirds since 2014.
European games of the week
Lazio vs. Napoli (Serie A, Saturday 8/18/18, ESPN+, 11:30 AM PT)
What a banger we have on our hands Saturday to start the Serie A season. Napoli pushed Juventus all the way until the end last year, and though they came up four points short, they surely have similar, if not even loftier, ambitions for this season. Lazio were a more-than-solid fifth-place finisher too, heartbreakingly missing out on Champions League play on head-to-head results against Inter Milan. As
Valencia vs. Atletico Madrid (La Liga, Monday 8/20/18, BeIn Sports, 11 AM PT)
Two of last season’s top four La Liga finishers face off to finish off the weekend, and it should be a tremendous match to kick off the Spanish season in style. Atletico finished second behind only Barcelona last season, and they certainly appeared to be in midseason form in their 4-2 European Super Cup win over Real. Their first league task won’t be easy, though, as they travel to the Mestalla and face a team that earned a Champions League spot last year. Valencia are dangerous, and they’ve had a busy offseason with a handful of promising signings joining the club. They’ll be well and truly up for the test as they try to open with a big win over a top side.