EPL Week 4 Picks: Top 4 Sides Facing Uphill Struggles Next Weekend
Next weekend will see the Premier League burst back onto the stage, following the international break of World Cup qualifiers.
It’s a good job that some clubs were afforded a rest, too, considering not all the division’s giants have an easy fight on their hands.
The Premier League’s “Top 4” is arguably as ambiguous as it ever has been, now becoming a tussle between six or even seven clubs.
However, the four teams currently atop the table all have reason to believe they’ll be there come season’s end, although they all have away matches next weekend with the potential to hurt their chances.
|Saturday, Sept. 14||Time||Prediction|
|Manchester United vs. Crystal Palace||12:45 p.m. BST/7:45 a.m. ET||3-1|
|Aston Villa vs. Newcastle United||3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET||2-0|
|Fulham vs. West Brom||3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET||1-1|
|Hull City vs. Cardiff City||3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET||2-2|
|Stoke City vs. Manchester City||3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET||1-2|
|Sunderland vs. Arsenal||3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET||1-3|
|Tottenham vs. Norwich City||3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET||2-1|
|Everton vs. Chelsea||5:30 p.m. BST/12:30 p.m. ET||1-1|
|Sunday, Sept. 15|
|Southampton vs. West Ham||4 p.m. BST/12 p.m. ET||2-2|
|Monday, Sept. 16|
|Swansea City vs. Liverpool||8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. ET||1-2|
Stoke City vs. Manchester City
Following their shock defeat to Cardiff City a fortnight ago, the Citizens got a much-needed confidence boost, beating Hull City, another promoted club, last time out.
However, Manuel Pellegrini’s men face another potential humbling this coming weekend as they travel to the Britannia to take on Mark Hughes’ Stoke.
Manchester City faced the Potters around this same stage last season—just one week later in fact—and could manage only a 1-1 draw away from home, although that was against a Stoke side managed by Tony Pulis.
Hughes is off to an impressive start in his latest position and Stoke’s characteristically tough home presence may pose a tough task for City once again.
Sunderland vs. Arsenal
Last term, the Sunderland vs. Arsenal fixture was somewhat boring across both meetings, with an overall scoreline of just 1-0 in the Gunners’ favour.
That one goal was scored in their Stadium of Light encounter, site of this coming weekend’s match. Arsene Wenger will be hoping for more this time around.
Contemplating Özil's first game for Arsenal, away at Sunderland on Sep 14. Doubt he'll struggle to pick holes in that defence. #afc— Jon Holmes (@jonboy79) September 3, 2013
Arsenal fans can look forward to the debut of Mesut Ozil in North London colours, but will the German provide the difference that was clearly lacking against the Black Cats in the previous campaign?
Everton vs. Chelsea
Notoriously hard for big teams to overcome when under the tutelage of David Moyes, this weekend will be Everton’s first top four clash with Roberto Martinez at the helm.
The Toffees are renowned for their home performances, making for a fierce Goodison Park atmosphere next Saturday.
Of the two teams, Chelsea are quite evidently off to the better start. But after a stalemate at Old Trafford two weeks ago, they come up against their second hardest challenge of the campaign so far in Merseyside.
Swansea City vs. Liverpool
Can the Reds maintain their winning start at the Liberty?
Faced with a very difficult opening set of fixtures, Swansea City continue their hard schedule when they host Liverpool.
This fixture ended in 0-0 last season but promises to be a more exciting clash this term as both teams showed their capabilities in attack last weekend.
Brendan Rodgers has a big ask to come away from South Wales with his side’s clean sheet record still intact. He is still piecing together a side, introducing plenty of new faces in recent weeks.
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