English Premier League: Match-by-Match Guide to Every Fixture This Weekend
The English Premier League returns to action this weekend after a week off for the recent international break.
With all the World Cup qualifiers complete, the stars have returned to their clubs and are set to resume the long league campaign.
The Premier League features 10 matches this weekend, from Saturday through Monday. What follows is a guide to all 10 games.
Norwich vs. West Ham United
Details: Saturday, 7:45 a.m. ET (all times ET), Carrow Road
TV: ESPN Deportes (all listings for U.S.)
Norwich: Elliott Bennett continues to recover from a knee injury, while Elliott Ward was not included in manager Chris Hughton's 25-man squad. Steven Whittaker remains out with an ankle injury, but Russell Martin is expected to play after recovering from his own ankle injury (via Norwich Evening News).
West Ham: Manager Sam Allardyce is expected to replace injured forward Andy Carroll with Carlton Cole. Carroll is expected to undergo another scan on his hamstring next week (via ESPN FC). Defender James Tomkins is expected to start as Winston Reid recovers from jet lag after playing in New Zealand this week (via East London Advertiser).
The Skinny: These teams last met in the English top flight on March 11, 1995 that ended in a 2-2 draw at Upton Park. It's been a tight series all-time with West Ham winning 14, Norwich winning 13 and the teams drawing 13 others.
West Ham crushed Fulham 3-0 last time out and sit sixth in the table, ahead of Everton, Arsenal, Newcastle and Liverpool. Norwich drew 1-1 at Tottenham and sit 15th with two points. The host Canaries have yet to record a clean sheet in the league this season.
Arsenal vs. Southampton
Details: Saturday, 10 a.m., Emirates Stadium
TV: Fox Soccer Plus (delayed, noon)
Arsenal: Abou Diaby will be tested Friday morning after the midfielder sustained a minor hip injury on international duty with France. Theo Walcott continues to recover from the virus that kept him out of England's qualifier against Ukraine, but goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny returns to the squad. Tomas Rosicky, Bacary Sagna and Jack Wilshere remain out with long-term injuries (via Arsenal.com).
Forward Marouane Chamakh did not play in Morocco's World Cup qualifier against Mozambique after coming down with a mysterious virus (per The Guardian).
Southampton: 17-year-old left back Luke Shaw could make his Premier League debut as Danny Fox races to recover from a groin injury. Brazilian forward Guly do Prado has been banned for 12 months after pleading guilty to drunk driving in Southampton last month (via Southern Daily Echo here and here).
The Skinny: Arsenal won for the first time this season, beating Liverpool two weekends ago. The Gunners are the only Premier League club yet to have conceded a goal.
Southampton are the only Premier League club yet to collect a point. The Saints led both Manchester City and Manchester United in the second half before losing.
Aston Villa vs. Swansea
Details: Saturday, 10 a.m., Villa Park
TV: Fox Soccer Plus (delayed, 4 p.m.)
Aston Villa: New signings Ashley Westwood, Christian Benteke, Jordan Bowery (all signed on deadline day) and Joseph Bennett (signed Aug. 29) are all available (via Birmingham Mail). Marc Albrighton (foot), Richard Dunne (groin) and Gary Gardner (knee) remain out with long-term injuries.
Swansea: Chico is serving a three-match ban for his red card against Sunderland. Defender Neil Taylor has been ruled out for the rest of the season after fracturing his ankle in the same match (via WalesOnline). Defender Kyle Bartley is out for three months with a thigh injury (via This Is South Wales).
The Skinny: Swansea have been one of the league's most surprising teams after collecting seven points in their first three matches. New manager Michael Laudrup has the Swans flying high in second place, thanks to a number of standouts. Michu has scored four goals, Nathan Dyer has two goals and two assists and Wayne Routledge has three assists and one goal.
Villa have started slowly again after last season's 16th-place finish. New manager Paul Lambert picked up his first point two weekends ago with an away draw against Newcastle.
Fulham vs. West Bromwich Albion
Details: Saturday, 10 a.m., Craven Cottage
TV: Fox Soccer (delayed, 4:30 p.m.)
Fulham: Manager Martin Jol said Sept. 2 that Costa Rican forward Bryan Ruiz would be fit after suffering a hamstring injury against West Ham (via Fulham Chronicle). The Cottagers signed 35-year-old Greek forward Giorgos Karagounis on a free transfer this week (via ESPN FC).
West Brom: Midfielder Jerome Thomas remains out with a hip injury, while defender Steven Reid faces a race to be fit after a hamstring injury (via Birmingham Mail).
The Skinny: West Brom have remained relatively injury-free, and that's helped the Baggies take seven points (good for third place) from their first three matches. No player has scored more than once or assisted more than one goal.
Fulham lost attackers Moussa Dembele and Clint Dempsey at the transfer deadline and lost 3-0 last time out. The Cottagers are in 11th place with three points.
Manchester United vs. Wigan Athletic
Details: Saturday, 10 a.m., Old Trafford
TV: Fox Soccer Plus (live)
Man United: Forward Wayne Rooney remains out after suffering a leg gash against Fulham, and now Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa are dealing with minor injuries sustained while on international duty (via Daily Mirror).
Midfielder Ashley Young hopes to return to the lineup after missing the win over Southampton two weeks ago with a knee injury (via Daily Mail).
Phil Jones and Chris Smalling continue to rehab after long-term injuries.
Wigan: Jean Beasejour's status is in doubt after a scan revealed a hamstring tear suffered in the Stoke game two weeks ago (via ClickLancashire).
The Skinny: Van Persie scored a hat trick two weeks ago, as United came from behind to defeat Southampton. With Rooney already ruled out, manager Sir Alex Ferguson could face a selection headache if RvP is unavailable.
Franco Di Santo has scored in consecutive league matches for Wigan, who currently sit ninth in the table.
Queens Park Rangers vs. Chelsea
Details: Saturday, 10 a.m., Loftus Road
TV: Fox Soccer (live)
QPR: Defender Anton Ferdinand is fit after sustaining a shoulder injury two weeks ago against Manchester City (via Daily Mail).
Chelsea: John Terry and Ashley Cole (both ankle injuries) are racing to be fit (via The Guardian).
The Skinny: These teams have a history. Last October, Terry and Ferdinand became embroiled in a controversial on-field incident that resulted in Terry being tried for racist abuse. He was found not guilty (via Daily Telegraph). Officials from both clubs have reportedly met to discuss the pre-match handshake (via BBC Sport).
Chelsea are the only Premier League club to have won all three matches this season. They top the table with nine points.
QPR signed keeper Julio Cescar from Inter Milan and Esteban Granero from Real Madrid just before the transfer deadline.
Stoke City vs. Manchester City
Details: Saturday, 10 a.m., Brittania Stadium
TV: Fox Deportes (live)
Stoke: New forward Michael Owen has said he's ready to make his debut (via Sky Sports). Midfielder Matthew Etherington is available after missing the last two league matches with a hamstring injury (via This Is Staffordshire). Forward Mamady Sidibe is expected to leave the club on loan (via This Is South Wales).
Man City: Forward Sergio Aguero is "50-50" as he continues to recover from a knee injury. Micah Richards remains sidelined with an ankle injury. City's four new signings—Matija Nastasic, Javi Garcia, Maicon and Scott Sinclair—are available (via The Guardian).
Forward Mario Balotelli's status is uncertain after he underwent eye surgery earlier this month (via ESPN FC).
The Skinny: Stoke have drawn all three matches this season. They're the only Premier League club with that distinction.
City are fourth with seven points from three matches, but Roberto Mancini's team have yet to record a clean sheet.
Sunderland vs. Liverpool
Details: Saturday, 12:30 p.m., Stadium of Light
TV: Fox Soccer (live)
Sunderland: Adam Johnson was set to find out Thursday whether he will play this weekend after sustaining an injury training with England on international duty (via Sunderland Echo). Defenders Wes Brown and Phil Bardsley remain sidelined with long-term injuries (via Sunderland Echo).
Liverpool: Defender Jose Enrique is battling for fitness after a knee injury two weeks ago against Arsenal (via Chester Chronicle). Midfielder Lucas Leiva is out for up to three months with a thigh injury (via ESPN FC).
The Skinny: Liverpool fans were exonerated this week of any wrongdoing in the Hillsborough disaster of 1989 (via Daily Telegraph). That's a bit of bittersweet news for a club currently enduring its worst league start in 50 years. The Reds have just one point from three matches and currently sit 18th in the table.
Sunderland have played only two matches—they've drawn both—after their match against Reading on Aug. 25 was postponed due to rain. New forward Steven Fletcher scored twice in his debut two weeks ago against Swansea.
Reading vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Details: Sunday, 11 a.m., Madejski Stadium
TV: Fox Soccer, Fox Deportes (live)
Reading: Jimmy Kebe (hamstring) and Jason Roberts (calf) are not expected to play (via ReadingFC.co.uk).
Spurs: Defender Younes Kaboul (knee) is out for four months (via ESPN FC). Midfielder Scott Parker underwent surgery on his right Achilles tendon in August and has not played this season. The club expected him to return to training in mid-September (via TottenhamHotspur.com). New signing Clint Dempsey is available for his debut.
The Skinny: Spurs have just two points through three matches and find themselves 14th in the table under new manager Andre Villas-Boas. Reinforcements arrived at the transfer deadline in the form of Dempsey, Moussa Dembele and French keeper Hugo Lloris.
Reading have played only two matches and have yet to win on their return to the top flight.
Everton vs. Newcastle United
Details: Monday, 3 p.m., Goodison Park
TV: ESPN2 (live)
Everton: Midfielder Steven Pienaar withdrew from South Africa's squad last week after straining his thigh against West Brom (via EvertonFC.com). Midfielder Darron Gibson left the West Brom game after 20 minutes because of injury. Their status is still unclear four days ahead of the match.
Newcastle: Captain and defender Fabricio Coloccini suffered a hamstring injury while on international duty with Argentina and could miss Monday's match. Keeper Tim Krul hurt his elbow in Holland training. He is expected to miss up to three matches. Midfielder Cheick Tiote is doubtful as he continues to recover from a calf problem (via The Independent).
The Skinny: Everton defeated Manchester United on the first Monday night match of the season. The Toffees are seventh with six points through three matches.
Newcastle are 10th with four points, having won once, lost once and drawn once. The Magpies have faced a tough schedule so far, with matches against Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur in the first two weeks of the season.