Friday 8/19/16 (12:00 PM PT)
Manchester United vs. Southampton (3)
United come into the first Friday matchup of the season flying after big wins in both the Community Shield and their opening-week fixture against Bournemouth. The Red Devils looked like the best team in the league after matchday one, and though it is still way too early to tell if that will hold, they definitely have the firepower to overwhelm the Saints. Southampton, however, have played the Red Devils very well over the past three seasons, with two wins, two draws, and two losses, so that little piece of history could help them spur a good result.
Saturday 8/20/16 (4:30 AM PT)
Stoke City vs. Manchester City (3)
In similar fashion to the above fixture, the Citizens enter with the better squad, but Stoke have a good track record, having won six points from City in the past two seasons. However, City weren’t nearly as
(7:00 AM PT)
Watford vs. Chelsea (3)
Watford earned a solid point at Southampton last week, but they will have to work even harder Saturday with the Blues visiting Vicarage Road. Chelsea will be in good spirits as well, coming off of a 89th-minute winner from Diego Costa who despite having a rocky offseason is looking to find his stride early. It should be a good measuring stick for the Hornets to see where they are at early in the season, while the Blues will expect three points given their revamped title aspirations.
Swansea City vs. Hull (2)
Hull were undoubtedly the biggest surprise of week one, finding a way past champions Leicester City in an absolute shocker. The Tigers are a common pick to go down, and matchups against other weak teams, such as Swansea, will be critical in determining their Premier League fate, even if we are only two fixtures in. At home, the Swans will want another three points against another promoted side after defeating Burnley 1-0.
West Brom vs. Everton (2)
Both squads enter coming off solid performances, with the Baggies securing three points against Crystal Palace while Everton held Tottenham to a good 1-1 draw. New signing Idrissa Gueye, who played a key part in the Toffees’ draw, will again have a big role in the center of the park as Ronald Koeman's men look for their first win of the season. The Baggies are no slouches, especially defensively, and even though they are probably out-gunned on paper in this matchup, expect them keep their home opener close.
Tottenham vs. Crystal Palace (2)
This isn’t the most fervent of London rivalries, but these teams produced three interesting games last year, so there’s potential for a good game. However, Spurs are the far more talented side, and considering where the teams finished last season and how they started this one, they should find a way to get a win. Palace fell to a West Brom side expected to battle relegation, while Spurs got a point in an away game and picked up steam as the contest went on. Tottenham may suffer over the next month from the loss of Hugo Lloris with a hamstring injury, but that shouldn’t slow them down much in their home
Burnley vs. Liverpool (3)
After Liverpool’s insane win at the Emirates, Jurgen Klopp’s traveling gegenpress-ing circus visits Turf Moor to face promoted Burnley. The Clarets won’t have any problems getting up for this game, and they need to win their home games if they want to stay up. They failed to do it last weekend, conceding late in a loss to Swansea, while the Reds put forth an offensive masterclass truncated into a 20-minute stretch to take three points from Arsenal. With Liverpool’s aggressive nature, phenomenal playmakers, and susceptible defense, this could prove to be a wild ride, even if the Reds look like big favorites.
(9:30 AM PT)
Leicester City vs. Arsenal (5)
For oh-so-many reasons, this game should be absolutely fantastic. The storylines run deep: Last season’s first and second-place teams, Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez spurning Arsenal in the summer, both sides coming off emotional losses — and, of course, the home opener for the defending champions. You can bet both Arsene Wenger and Claudio Ranieri want their teams to get off the mark this weekend, but neither will have a simple task. Both of last season’s matches were among the best of the season, with the Gunners taking all six points in 5-2 and 2-1 wins. Basically, there are no reasons to skip this match, especially with the late kickoff, so you shouldn’t miss it.
Sunday 8/21/16 (5:30 AM PT)
Sunderland vs. Middlesbrough (4)
In a game that will incite rage in Newcastle supporters to no end, Sunderland and Middlesbrough battle in a Premier League northeast derby, their first against each other since January 2009. Boro earned a good point in their first match back in the top flight, but Sunderland were maybe more impressive despite ultimately falling 2-1 at Manchester City. This will be a fascinating watch, even if there might not be as much quality on display as some other games. It certainly looks like an even matchup, and with points at the bottom of the table awfully hard to come by, it contains some definite importance, regardless of the month it takes place in.
West Ham vs. Bournemouth (2)
West Ham and Bournemouth are both coming off opening-day losses, although the Hammers will probably be the more distraught after conceding late in a 2-1 defeat at Chelsea. Still, in their first PL game in the Olympic Stadium, West Ham will expect to beat a Bournemouth side coming off a 3-1 loss to Manchester United in which they didn’t show much attacking threat. The one solace the Cherries can take is the knowledge of having earned their first PL win in a 4-3 game at West Ham in August a year ago. They’ll be eager for a chance to spoil the party, but it’s hard to predict them to sneak away with a result again.
Bonus European Game of the Week: Juventus vs. Fiorentina, Saturday 8/20/16 11:45 AM PT
A new-look Juventus side starts its annual title defense against one of a handful of teams hoping to close the gap this season. Fiorentina have reinforced their depth in defense after conceding 42 goals last season, most of any team in the top six, while they added Barcelona product Cristian Tello permanently to an attack that scored 60 times, fourth-best in Serie A. Juve are obviously the most dominant side in Italy and will expect to brush aside any team they face, but La Viola started last season strong and are capable of catching the Old Lady by surprise if the new additions in Turin don’t gel.