Premier League Week 5 Fixtures: Biggest Matchups on Tap This Weekend

Andrew Gould@AndrewGould4Featured ColumnistSeptember 21, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 01: Jan Vertonghen of Spurs challenges Olivier Giroud of Arsenal during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium on September 01, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Saddle up for another intense week of Premier League fixtures.

Last week saw Tottenham roll on with another victory while Liverpool gained only one point with a surprising draw against Swansea City.

Most of the matches won't cause weekend workers to call in sick or cancel plans with the family, but a few games featuring teams clamoring for a top-four finish promise some intrigue.

It's still early, but all points are created equal, so these squads will be hungry to garner three more during Week 5's slate.


West Ham vs. Everton

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: Kevin Nolan of West Ham attempts to control the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and West Ham United at St Mary's Stadium on September 15, 2013 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Clive
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Playing matches to an even score will trap you in the middle of the pack. Depending on whether you're a glass half-full or half-empty type of fan, West Ham and Everton have either done well or underwhelmed early in the season.

Everton ranks ninth in the standings with one win and three draws while West Ham trails one point behind in 10th, with a 1-1-2 record shared by two other clubs.

This is usually the time to say "Something has to give," but they could easily just draw again to remain mid-table in the Premier League.

Everton is coming off a first victory of the season, having beaten Chelsea, 1-0 with a Steven Naismith header on the 45-minute mark. One goal may be enough to beat the Hammers, who have only netted two goals in four contests.

Unfortunately for West Ham, they have not defeated Everton in their last 11 showdowns.


Arsenal vs. Stoke City

While Arsenal is gunning for Liverpool's first-place positioning, Stoke City can make a major statement with a surprising upset.

The Gunners are 3-1 on the year and tied with Manchester City for the most goals scored (8) during the 2013/14 campaign. Oliver Giroud is morphing into a star during his second season in the Premier League with four goals, and now he has more help in Mesut Ozil.

Ozil will create more chances for Giroud and Theo Walcott, further solidifying Arsenal as an offensive powerhouse with grand aspirations.

But what will Stoke City have to say about all of that?

A tight defense has delivered a 2-1-1 start under new manager Mark Hughes, with only two goals conceded so far.

This game pits strength against strength with Arsenal's attack likely to get the better of Stoke City's stout defense. Whichever unit wins that duel will decide this contest.


Manchester City vs. Manchester United

(FILE PHOTO - EDITORS NOTE: COMPOSITE OF TWO IMAGES - Image Numbers (left) 177990986 and 176924376 ) In this composite image a comparison has been made between David Moyes (L) , Manager of Manchester United and Manuel Pellegrini,Manager of Manchester City
Getty Images/Getty Images

This Manchester derby on Sunday is the fixture of the weekend.

Both clubs enter the match with seven points and a 2-1-1 record. Claiming three points would likely jump the winner into the top four.

Wins over Newscastle United and Hull won't exactly prompt any City supporters to plan a parade, but wins over Crystal Palace and Swansea are hardly game-changers for United.

New managers David Moyes and Manuel Pellegrini will be on the sidelines for their Manchester derby debuts, and both need strong performance to avoid further flak.

Moyes will count on Wayne Rooney to help lead his attack while Pellegrini will need his defense to toughen up against a premier scoring club.

There's plenty of star power to keep add spice to this class derby, but despite the offensive firepower present, six of their last seven bouts at Ethiad Stadium featured two or less combined goals scored.