EPL Week 4 Picks: Predicting the Weekend's Winners and Losers
With eight Premier League games on Saturday, the Premier League returns in style after the current international break, and teams will be raring to unleash their latest signings on their upcoming opponents.
It is those signings, particularly Arsenal's Mesut Ozil and Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini, who will dominate the prematch headlines. But, which sides will seize the back pages with their performances this weekend?
Even at this early stage in the season, the competitiveness of the league means that every result will be crucial, and there are some cracking matches scheduled in the coming days.
|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 in BST
Kicking off the weekend will be Manchester United, who take on Crystal Palace at Old Trafford. It is a fixture the Red Devils would expect to win with ease, and fresh from disappointment against Liverpool, it would take a brave man to bet against them responding in style.
Aston Villa will hope to get their season back on track after defeats in difficult encounters against both Chelsea and Liverpool. The Villans look a much improved outfit this campaign and will cause problems for Newcastle with their fast and talented attacking unit.
Martin Jol will expect three points as Fulham take on West Brom this weekend, having acted well in the transfer market to bring in quality in the shape of Darren Bent and Scott Parker. With Dimitar Berbatov and Bent up front, they should have too much firepower for their opponents.
A trip to struggling Sunderland is a great fixture for Arsene Wenger's side following the international break, and with his team in great form, anything less than three points will be a disappointment. Ozil's debut will be the talking point, but the Gunners look a sure bet to win even if he should start from the bench.
Andre Villas-Boas' Tottenham side will hope to bounce back from their defeat in the North London derby against Norwich and, this time around, will likely have recent captures Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen among their ranks. If all available, it is difficult to see Norwich keeping them out at White Hart Lane.
Southampton take on West Ham on Sunday, with Mauricio Pochettino's side hoping that their new-look attacking unit will begin to find form. They should be able to control midfield areas against the Hammers and, in Rickie Lambert and Daniel Osvaldo, have players to convert any chances that come their way.
Ian Holloway will not be expecting much from his visit to Old Trafford and, despite a tremendous amount of activity this summer, does not appear to have signed anyone who will particularly worry Manchester United. Palace will do well to avoid a heavy defeat.
Crystal Palace have been ridiculous in this transfer window. 13+ players, still signing. There's no way they will get a settled team/squad.— Les Rosbifs (@LesRosbifs) September 2, 2013
Quite what the season holds for Newcastle United is anybody's guess, but they will do well to emerge from Villa Park with a point this weekend. Alan Pardew's side were fortunate to beat West Ham last time out, but Villa are a better attacking force than the Londoners and will worry Newcastle's inconsistent defence.
Steve Clarke's late transfer business has, at least, improved the West Brom side, but the Baggies look a poor outfit compared to many of their rivals. Their best chance of a result at Craven Cottage would be in Youssouf Mulumbu and Claudio Yacob stifling the hosts' creative players, but Bent's pace will worry the Albion's slow central defensive pair.
Paolo Di Canio's side have a tough couple of months ahead regarding fixtures, beginning with the visit of in-form Arsenal to the Stadium of Light this weekend. Sunderland have looked lacklustre thus far this season and don't look to have many weapons with which to truly threaten the Gunners.
Norwich look a good side this season but will come unstuck against Tottenham this weekend. The Canaries will find themselves starved of the ball against Spurs' powerful midfield, and it will limit Chris Hughton's side to a minimal attacking threat.
West Ham's best chance of getting a result against Southampton will be if they can disrupt the rhythm of the match and draw the Saints into a scrap. If they can do that, they will stand a real chance of success. Without Andy Carroll up front, though, it remains difficult to see how they will really threaten their hosts on Sunday.
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