Premier League Week 4 Predictions: Picking the Must-Watch Games of the Weekend
The Premier League resumes following the international break this weekend with eight games on Saturday afternoon, with the clubs all ready to unleash their late transfer-window signings upon the League.
This weekend sees an early battle of two promoted sides at Hull, a potentially one-sided encounter at Old Trafford and table-topping Liverpool returning to Brendan Rodgers' former South Wales stomping ground.
So hard to tweet on international break. I miss the Premier League.— Coxy (@MUFCoxy) September 9, 2013
There are potential storylines at every turn, and after a two-week absence fans will be glad to get the show back on the road for a few weeks until the next break for World Cup qualifiers.
First, let's take a look at this weekend's games in full, before taking a closer look at some of the standout ties.
|Manchester United||to beat||Crystal Palace||Saturday||12.45|
|Aston Villa||to beat||Newcastle United||Saturday||15.00|
|Fulham||to beat||West Brom||Saturday||15.00|
|Hull City||to draw with||Cardiff City||Saturday||15.00|
|Stoke City||to draw with||Manchester City||Saturday||15.00|
|Sunderland||to lose to||Arsenal||Saturday||15.00|
|Tottenham||to beat||Norwich City||Saturday||15.00|
|Everton||to draw with||Chelsea||Saturday||17.30|
|Southampton||to beat||West Ham||Sunday||16.00|
|Swansea||to draw with||Liverpool||Monday||20.00|
BBC Sport (all times BST)
Manchester United vs. Crystal Palace, September 14, 2013 (12.45 BST)
A Manchester United debut surely awaits for new signing Marouane Fellaini this weekend, as David Moyes' side look to move past a disappointing defeat to Liverpool last time out.
With newly promoted Crystal Palace the opponents, the Red Devils will be hopeful of a convincing victory to get themselves back on track and in the process build confidence among supporters for the season ahead.
The visitors will be realistic about the task facing them, but will be far from easy opponents if they show the same spirit they have in the early weeks of the season.
Moyes, though, could do with a win that sends out a message to United's rivals and will not be in the mood to show any mercy on the weekend.
Hull City vs. Cardiff City, September 14, 2013 (15.00 BST)
The first clash of two promoted sides this season sees Hull take on Cardiff at the KC Stadium, with both teams having shown early signs that they will be no pushovers in the months ahead.
Hull's central midfield plundering of Tottenham appears to be paying dividends, with both Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore having started the season well. In turn, the solidity they offer has allowed Robbie Brady to take on a starring role in attacking midfield.
Cardiff, for their part, delivered a massive shock in Matchday 2 when they beat 2012 Premier League champions Manchester City 3-1. While that may have been an exceptional result, teams are now fully aware of the threat they pose.
Both teams will be desperate for three points in this one, and with both sides playing good football, it should be an entertaining game for the neutral.
Sunderland vs. Arsenal, September 14, 2013 (15.00 BST)
The alternative on Saturday is to watch Sunderland host Arsenal at the Stadium of Light, in what is likely to be remembered as the debut of Mesut Ozil in English football.
Arsenal's new £42.4 million signing is set to dominate the build-up to the game as intrigue grows into how he will fit in with the Gunners. Attention, though, should perhaps be focused on the hosts.
Paolo di Canio's side fell apart at Crystal Palace in their last outing and face a difficult run of fixtures over the coming weeks. Another disappointing showing on this occasion and pressure will begin to build in the North-East.
Di Canio chose to have a major clear-out at the Black Cats this summer, and he integrated signings from a number of different countries and leagues. There is no doubt he has signed some good players, but the policy will come under heavy scrutiny if results don't pick up soon.
Swansea vs. Liverpool, September 16, 2013 (20.00 BST)
Brendan Rodgers heads back to former side Swansea on Monday night in what will be another test of his Liverpool side that have started the season with three consecutive 1-0 victories.
The Reds put in an excellent defensive display to see off Manchester United at Anfield before the current break, but will be expected to take the game to their Welsh opponents on Monday—a side who are experts on the counter attack.
Swansea, for their part, will hope to build on their away win at West Brom last week, having begun the season with difficult fixtures against Manchester United and Tottenham. It will not get any easier this weekend, however.
It will be a game that truly tests Liverpool's current standing, with the players perhaps lacking the extra motivation that saw them to victory against Manchester United. With both teams trying to play attractive football, it should be an excellent encounter to watch.
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