Manchester City vs. Manchester United (Sunday, 16:00)
While it is the last match of the weekend, it is without doubt the most important. The two Manchester clubs have enjoyed mixed starts to the season with both clubs sitting on 7 points from four games each.
As always we can expect a highly aggressive and well competed tie and despite City’s big spending again this summer and home advantage they aren’t necessarily favourites.
United’s midweek win against Bayern Leverkusen and contentious win against Crystal Palace have put them in very good form. So too has the recent performances of their re-established talisman Wayne Rooney.
City have also claimed a group win with a 3-0 victory away to Plzen during the week but were all but beaten by Stoke the weekend.
A dismal performance from Pelligrini’s men suggested that they were content with the draw. Horrible finishing from Stoke including Irish international Jonathan Walters saved City from their second league defeat in four games.
City have shown little in the form of continuous attacking thus far so I would expect United to play more in City’s half than vice versa in spite of the fact that they are playing away. If City can shut down Rooney and hit United on the break at pace with Navas and Aguero they may be able to overturn the Champions.
However one big battle will be between Antonio Valencia and Kolarov or Clichy, whoever starts. With the devastating form Valencia has been in this season it is crucial City neutralize the threat he poses to them.
These games usually have some goals but rarely end in a draw, I’d expect an away win.
Man City 1-2 Man Utd
Liverpool vs. Southampton
The league leaders showed glimpses of why they are top of the table at the Liberty Stadium on Monday night but were mostly outclassed by the Welsh side. We got to see debuts from deadline day signings Sakho and Moses.
That said the quality they have brought in over the last year or so have certainly strengthened the squad and they will prove to be a very difficult side to beat. Southampton have yet to get a second win since their opening day victory against West Brom.
Having only conceded 2 goals in 4 games they have proved difficult for sides to break down and once Wanyama and Pablo Osvaldo settle into the side they too look to have a strong side.
Sturridge was far from 100% fit in Monday’s game but come Saturday he should be raring to go. If Moses can also replicate his impressively lively debut I would expect Liverpool to have too much going forward for the Saints.
Liverpool 2-0 Southampton
Chelsea vs. Fulham
I think we’ve all seen so far that the squad Jose Mourinho is working with this time around is not nearly as strong as the squad he built in his debut season. Oscar and Hazard have replaced the strength and creativity that Ballack and Robben provided. Both very good players but their youth will go against Chelsea’s immediate ambitions.
What has been the most blatant omission from Mourinho’s squad is a world class striker. Bringing in Samuel Eto’o is a short term solution to a serious problem for the Blues.
On the other end Martin Jol has managed to steady the ship after back to back defeats with a draw against West Brom. Fulham are far from the weakest squad in the Premier League especially with the recent additions of Taarabt and Scott Parker but they rarely manage to meet their capabilities.
London derbies are always intensely competed however despite Scott Parker there is little in the line of fight in Fulham’s team. Mourinho needs to put any doubts about his commitment and ability to bed so I can see him getting his side very pumped up for this one. I expect an easy home win.
Chelsea 4-1 Fulham
Arsenal vs. Stoke
Three straight wins after the opening day disappointment at the hands of Paul Lambert’s men and things are looking very well for the Gunners.
Aaron Ramsey is back in outstanding form and so too is front man Olivier Giroud. Add to that the acquisition of world class playmaker Mesut Ozil and you’ve got a very good situation for Arsenal. Stoke have most notably this season outclassed Man City without beating them due to poor finishing.
Stoke are always a hard team to beat at home but take them out of the Britannia and they often fail to reproduce as the goalless draw machine they have become.
I must say I would expect Arsenal to win and win well with Stoke’s blunted attacking options almost solving their own defensive ones. Straightforward home win.
Arsenal 2-0 Stoke
Cardiff City vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Andre Villas-Boas has been vocal about the fact that his team has to play three matches in six days and rightly so. Luckily they certainly have the squad to deal with the demands of challenging on all fronts.
Three wins from four leaves the North London side in third on goal difference following a very impressive home display against Norwich. The stan out performer being new boy Christian Eriksen. He had every pundit singing his praises following his debut and has whetted the appetite of Spurs fans that are hungry to see more of him.
Cardiff have enjoyed a solid start to their campaign and have established themselves as a tough side to beat with a very notable victory against Man City.
It really does look like AVB is striving to make White Hart Lane a fortress and with the way they are playing of late I find it hard to see Cardiff coming out of the lane with anything to show for their efforts.
Spurs 3-1 Cardiff
Newcastle vs. Hull
The Toon looked good last weekend against Villa with strong performances from Remy and Ben Arfa, should they manage to keep up the same attacking threat expect a comfortable home win.
Newcastle 2-0 Hull
West Brom vs. Sunderland
Certainly not a heavyweight clash but with both sides occupying the bottom two places expect a very hard fought game with both sides vying not to be at the foot of the table come the end of the weekend.
West Brom 0-1 Sunderland
West Ham vs. Everton
Everton will be on a massive high after a huge win against Chelsea, their mix of desire and possession made them too much for the Blues and that was without expected debutant Romelu Lukaku.
West Ham 0-2 Everton
Norwich vs. Aston Villa
Villa knew they were in for a very tough start so I wouldn’t expect their recent run of results of three straight defeats affect them too much.
Norwich have strengthened well over the summer so it should make for a good game, it is the type of game Benteke relished last season so I would expect him to play a vital role in the outcome of this one.
Norwich 1-2 Aston Villa
Crystal Palace vs. Swansea
A strong performance against Liverpool and a big midweek Europa League win against Valencia has put the Swans in fine form. Palace are one of the favourites to go down so they may be living in the hope that jet lag will have gotten the better of Michu and co.
Palace 0-1 Swansea