Huzzah! The international break is over. Saturday, Sunday and Monday will provide viewers with an interesting set of fixtures in the Barclays Premier League. A list of the fixtures, times, television broadcast, a quick set of key points and the latest on injuries are as follows:
Saturday, October 19, 2013
Newcastle United vs. Liverpool – 7:45EST on NBCSN
Newcastle looks to continue a good run of form with a steady Liverpool visiting St. James’ Park. Loïc Remy has been on a goal scoring tear with 3 in their last 2 games. Luis Suárez, also with 3 in his last 2 games, seeks to continue his easy integration into the squad following an early season suspension. The big question will be whether Liverpool can overcome their list of injuries to take much-needed away points.
Newcastle United – Coloccini, Haidara, R Taylor and S Taylor (Out)
Liverpool – Aspas, Coates and Coutinho (Out); Allen, Johnson and Cissokho (Probable)
Prediction: Newcastle 2 – 2 Liverpool
Arsenal vs. Norwich City – 10:00EST on NBC Live Extra
Norwich is in search of goals – with only five all season. Arsenal has too many goal scorers. This game looks a danger for Norwich on paper. However, their previous two performances – even the 3-1 defeat to Chelsea – showed promise in their play. Arsenal will look to shake off a number of minor injuries and finally unveil the Özil-Cazorla midfield duo. Playing at the Emirates will likely see Arsenal through.
Arsenal – Diaby, Sanogo, Podolski, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott (Out); Cazorla, Özil, Rosicky and Sagna (Probable)
Norwich City – E Bennett (Out); Pilkington (Late Fitness Test)
Prediction: Arsenal 3 – 0 Norwich City
Chelsea vs. Cardiff City – 10:00EST on NBC Live Extra
Chelsea look to continue their latest 3 game unbeaten run – their second of the short season – as Cardiff City make the journey to Stamford Bridge. Fernando Torres rejoins the ranks following his 1-game ban, but still has not found the back of the net in Premier League competition – which comes as no surprise to many. Cardiff hopes to put the chaos of the past two weeks behind them and steal precious points on the road. To do so will require goals against a back line that has given up only 5 in 7 matches. Look for Chelsea to win, but not without having to put in a solid effort against Cardiff.
Chelsea – Cole, Schürrle and Van Ginkel (Out); Torres (Probable)
Cardiff – Cornelius (Late Fitness Test)
Prediction: Chelsea 3 – 1 Cardiff
Everton vs. Hull City – 10:00EST on NBC Live Extra
Two of the more pleasant surprises thus far in the Premier League – Everton and Hull City – square off at Goodison Park where Everton are unbeaten so far this season. Hull City is seeking every point they can muster early in the season. Perhaps the biggest concern for Hull will be the absence of James Chester and his solid play on the back line this season. Everton look too good at home not to expect at least a point. Given Hull’s early season performances, expect a tough test for Everton.
Everton – Alcaraz, Gibson and Pienaar (Out)
Hull City – Chester and Koren (Out); Brady (Late Fitness Test)
Prediction: Everton 2 – 1 Hull City
Manchester United vs. Southampton – 10:00EST on NBCSN
Arguably these are two clubs whose early season form have them heading in opposite directions. Manchester United have only managed 10 points in 7 matches and required the emergence of Adnan Januzaj to steal an away win at lowly Sunderland in their previous match. Southampton has not given up a goal in their previous four and was given the word first team goalkeeper Artur Boruc should be fit for the match at Old Trafford. The biggest factor could be Wayne Rooney’s current run of form with the national team – assuming he brings it back with him to United.
Manchester United – Cleverley and Fletcher (Out); Ferdinand and Rafael (Probable)
Southampton – Boruc and Shaw (Probable)
Prediction: Manchester United 2 – 0 Southampton
Stoke City vs. West Bromwich Albion – 10:00EST on NBC Live Extra
Stoke City and West Brom are two clubs scrounging for points early in the season. Stoke started well taking 7 points out of 12 in their first four matches. Since then, three straight losses have left them out of the drop zone only by goal difference. West Brom has shown a bit more promise having taken 8 points out of 12 and going unbeaten in their previous four. It will take a much better effort from Stoke – even at home – to get points here. Their saving grace might just be the injury woes facing West Brom heading into this fixture.
Stoke City – Walters (Probable); Cameron (Late Fitness Test)
West Bromwich Albion – Foster, Gera, Sinclair and Thorne (Out); Anichebe and Vydra (Probable)
Prediction: Stoke City 0 – 0 West Bromwich Albion
Swansea City vs. Sunderland – 10:00EST on NBC Live Extra
Another matchup pitting two teams in need of points takes place at the Liberty Stadium with Swansea hosting Sunderland. New manager Gus Poyet will be hoping to light a fire into a stagnant Sunderland squad. Changes are coming, but there is uncertainty regarding how the squad will integrate them in this debut for Poyet. Swansea faces a different challenge. The Swans have only managed 7 points in 7 despite solid play throughout the squad. There are numerous players from both squads entering this game with knocks as well. Don’t expect those to matter too much and don’t anticipate a glorious debut for Gus Poyet.
Swansea City – Williams (Out); Britton, De Guzman, Monk and Vorm (Probable); Davies and Hernandez (Late Fitness Tests)
Sunderland – Brown (Out); Bardsley, Fletcher and Westwood (Probable)
Prediction: Swansea City 3 – 1 Sunderland
West Ham United vs. Manchester City – 12:30EST on NBC
The final match on Saturday pairs two of the most inconsistent squads in the league thus far. West Ham is coming off an unbelievable three goal stomping of Tottenham at White Hart Lane while Manchester City put in a solid effort in a 3-1 win over Everton. City will still be without captain Vincent Kompany and West Ham finally received news that Andy Carroll should return…in November. With this matchup, just expect the unexpected.
West Ham United – Carroll, Collins and Diarra (Out)
Manchester City – Demichelis and Kompany (Out); Rodwell (Probable)
Prediction: West Ham United 2 – 2 Manchester City
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Aston Villa vs. Tottenham Hotspur – 11:00EST on NBCSN
Sunday’s matches also contains two clubs whose form is nothing short of confusing. Aston Villa has recorded wins over Arsenal and Norwich away and Manchester City at home. And yet, they still only sit on 10 points due to having lost three matches to Chelsea away and Liverpool and Newcastle United at home. Tottenham looked to be early title contenders, winning four of their first five. However, the previous two matches have seen a draw at Chelsea and an absolute drubbing at the hands of West Ham at White Hart Lane. Look for the big story to be the return of Christian Benteke and how he reintegrates into the Villa side.
Aston Villa – Gardner, N’Zogbia and Okore (Out)
Tottenham Hotspur – Capoue and Rose (Out); Lennon (Probable); Kaboul (Late Fitness Test)
Prediction: Aston Villa 2 – 2 Tottenham Hotspur
Monday, October 21, 2013
Crystal Palace vs. Fulham – 15:00EST on NBCSN
The close of gameweek 8 sees two clubs that must win. Crystal Palace looks a favorite to drop while Fulham continue to struggle despite having numerous attacking options at their disposal. If Palace cannot get three points against another of the drop favorites, and even though it is early, form suggests Ian Holloway’s men may simply play the remaining 30 games as a spoiler. Fulham also face difficulties with instability in goal scoring and with manager Martin Jol. Sadly the storylines facing this game will likely overshadow the small television audience who would actually pay attention to these clubs. Do not watch if you expect quality football.
Crystal Palace – Dikgacoi, Hunt, McCarthy, Murray and Williams (Out); Gabbidon (Late Fitness Test)
Fulham – Briggs (Out); Dejagah and Stekelenburg (Probable); Berbatov, Hughes and Parker (Late Fitness Tests)
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1 – 1 Fulham