EPL Week 4 Predictions: Premier League Players Set for a Difficult Weekend

Joe StrangeContributor ISeptember 12, 2013

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 26:  Everton player Leon Osman celebrates after scoring the third Everton goal during the FA Cup Fifth Round Replay between Everton and Oldham Athletic at Goodison Park on February 26, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

As focus returns to the Premier League, teams up and down the country will be targeting a positive run of results before the next international break in October.

This weekend's fixtures give every side a chance to kick-start their season, although some face more difficult challenges than others.

With champions Manchester United hosting newly promoted Crystal Palace, title challengers Manchester City visiting in-form Stoke and struggling Everton facing Jose Mourinho's rejuvenated Chelsea, here's a look at some of the players who should be prepared for a tough 90 minutes.

Premier League Week 4 Predictions
Manchester United3-0Crystal PalaceSaturday
Aston Villa1-0Newcastle UnitedSaturday
Fulham2-1West Bromwich AlbionSaturday
Hull City1-1Cardiff CitySaturday
Stoke City1-1Manchester CitySaturday
Everton1-1 ChelseaSaturday
Southampton2-0West HamSunday
Swansea City2-1LiverpoolMonday


Danny Gabbidon, Crystal Palace

After picking up their first win of the season against Sunderland prior to the international break, Crystal Palace face arguably their most difficult game of the season in Saturday's lunchtime kickoff.

Ian Holloway's side take on Manchester United away from home, with the champions desperate to get back on track following their 1-0 defeat to rivals Liverpool last time out.

Although Wayne Rooney is ruled out by injury, Robin van Persie will be keen to rediscover his goalscoring touch after failing to find the net at Anfield or in the draw with Chelsea.

The Dutchman's movement and clinical finishing will cause major problems for veteran Danny Gabbidon and his defensive partners, as will the in-form Danny Welbeck and pace of Antonio Valencia.

The Eagles will not enjoy too much possession at Old Trafford, and their feint hopes of coming away with a point rest on the back four putting in an outstanding defensive display.

Unfortunately for boss Holloway, Gabbidon doesn't possess the ability or pace to deal with the Premier League's most deadly striker and his supporting cast.


Joleon Lescott, Manchester City

With captain Vincent Kompany and new signing Martin Demichelis both out injured, defensive responsibilities will once again fall on the shoulders of the experienced Joleon Lescott on Saturday.

Manchester City travel to Stoke to face Mark Hughes' side, who have started the season well with two wins and a narrow defeat to Liverpool on opening weekend.

Lescott will have talented youngster Matija Nastasic alongside him, but the former Everton man will need to be on top of his game at the Britannia Stadium.

Stoke's style of football has improved under Hughes, but the Potters still retain the direct qualities which made them so successful under Tony Pulis.

Striker Kenwyne Jones will provide a physical threat from long balls and set pieces, while Matthew Etherington and Jermaine Pennant will provide plenty of dangerous balls into the box for City's defence to deal with.

Lescott and the rest of City's back four have what it takes to combat Stoke's attacks on Saturday, but they'll need to be at their best to come away with a clean sheet.


Leon Osman, Everton

Everton have failed to find the net in their past two league games, and things won't get any easier when Chelsea visit Goodison Park in Saturday's evening kickoff.

Jose Mourinho's side have started the new season in solid fashion, conceding just once on their way to seven points from a possible nine.

Much has been made of the Special One's midfield options, and whoever he decides to play on Merseyside is sure to give the Toffees their biggest challenge of the season so far.

With Darron Gibson still injured and Marouane Fellaini having departed for Manchester United, Leon Osman looks like the only certain starter in the heart of Roberto Martinez's midfield.

A talented player with the ball at his feet, Osman often struggles against opposition with speed, energy and trickery—three things the Stamford Bridge outfit have in abundance.

With the likes of Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Oscar, Willian and Andre Schurrle to pick from, Chelsea's midfield—no matter who starts—will hold an advantage over Osman and his team-mates.