Newcastle v Arsenal, 12:45
Two big teams with relatively large ambitions meet for the opening game of the weekend, but of this pair there will be a definite favourite. Arsenal have won their last seven games against Newcastle and look much more dangerous away from home this season even if they are struggling to replicate that at the Emirates, while Newcastle only have one win in their last seven matches and only three wins in their last twenty-eight against their southern guests.
Newcastle midfielder Moussa Sissoko faces a late fitness test, but Papiss Cisse, Daryl Janmaat and Florian Thauvin could all be involved. Arsenal may again be without Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker, as well as Danny Welbeck and Jack Wilshere who remain sidelined by injury.
Aston Villa v Sunderland, 15:00
The last time Villa met Sunderland, the midlands side walked away with a 4-0 and Gus Poyet, then Sunderland manager, was relieved of his duties shortly afterward. Given that Villa are unbeaten in eight against their feline foes for the day, we might expect another such result in the game, and maybe another such result in the boardroom as Dick Advocaat is under a lot of pressure already, making this one of the biggest games of the season so far even if we’ve only seen four match-days played out.
Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood says “a couple of players” have been affected by a sickness bug, and that Adama Traore could be involved despite sitting out training. Sunderland loan signing Ola Toivonen is available, but Adam Matthews is out for up to six weeks because of an ankle injury.
Bournemouth v Leicester, 15:00
While neutrality is generally our thing here, there is definitely going to come a time where the MOTD obsession with Leicester City Football Club must stop infecting the program quite so badly, although if that can happen with Lineker still at the helm is another matter. Today the high-flying Foxes take on a Bournemouth side that has won friends, but only one game to date, but Eddie Howe will know they can take the three points in this match after last term, and that could make for one of the most interesting games of the afternoon.
Bournemouth midfielder Marc Pugh could earn a starting place with Harry Arter their only injury absentee. Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri has no new injury concerns and could give a first league start to Gokhan Inler.
Chelsea, v Crystal Palace, 15:00
It was against Palace that Chelsea tied up the Premier League title last season, but they come into this meeting with the Eagles under rather different auspices. Incredibly for a Mourinho team with such great defensive players, the Blues haven’t managed a clean sheet in six matches and have just four points from their first three games, but the away side have only won one of their last fifteen against Chelsea and probably won’t come into this game feeling like favourites even with the five-place gap between these two in the Premier League table.
John Terry is suspended so Gary Cahill will be recalled alongside Kurt Zouma, but Baba Rahman is short of fitness, while Victor Moses and Oscar remain doubts. Yannick Bolasie will be involved for Crystal Palace but Mile Jedinak will miss the game after suffering a hamstring injury.
Liverpool v West Ham, 15:00
A first 3pm kickoff of the season for the Anfield club comes against struggling West Ham and their new manager Slaven Bilic, who visits the north knowing West Ham haven’t managed a victory against a Liverpool team playing at home in forty-two matches. It’s been nearly a decade since any Hammer even scored at Anfield, and even with Liverpool looking about as convincing as a David Cameron promise it seems unlikely that the East London side are going to be able to turn over the Reds today, although a committed defensive display could net them a point.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson remains an injury doubt, and Adam Lallana has a thigh injury, joining Jon Flanagan and Joe Allen on the treatment table. West Ham forward Diafro Sakho is expected to be available despite his recent arrest, but Enner Valencia, Mauro Zarate and Andy Carroll are all sidelined because of injury, with Adrian and Carl Jenkinson suspended.
Man City v Watford, 15:00
The last time Watford beat Manchester City in Manchester, it was 1989, and the teams met in the old Division Two. Since then a deluge of oil money has turned City from the second-best team in their town to arguably the best club in Britain, and today is a game that will be played out against the backdrop of another massive deal bringing someone into the Etihad stadium. Kevin De Bruyne will cost even more than Raheem Sterling did, but City will hope he is the final piece of the jigsaw as they seek to regain their crown domestically and compete in Europe too.
Manchester City striker Wilfried Bony is sidelined, along with Pablo Zabaleta, Gael Clichy and Fernando, but Nicolas Otamendi is available for his debut. Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores knows Joel Ekstrand remains injured and Miguel Britos is suspended, and must make do without the pair.
Stoke v West Brom, 15:00
It’s only very early in the season of course, but at the time of writing West Bromwich Albion are bottom of the Premier League and have just a single point to their name. this is despite having broken their transfer record for Salomon Rondon and apparently holding onto Saido Berahino, although those two can both be expected to improve in coming weeks, and today this trip to Stoke isn’t looking like the easiest route to more loot either. The Potters aren’t on great form, but have drawn their last two games, and playing at home will feel like this is a great chance for a first three points of the year themselves.
Stoke are expected to hand a home debut to Xherdan Shaqiri, and while Peter Odemwingie is out Bojan could feature after making his comeback in midweek. West Brom will assess Chris Brunt and Callum McManaman and must decide whether to recall unsettled striker Saido Berahino after Spurs pulled out of a deal.
Spurs v Everton, 17:30
It remains to be seen whether or not new Tottenham signing Son Heung-min will be a success at the club after his £22m move, but he probably won’t feature today meaning any possible bromance with Harry Kane will need to wait a bit. The signs for the London side are good, with three consecutive wins over Everton and being unbeaten in their last six home matches in the division as well, but they only have one clean sheet in some considerable time, and if Everton get an early goal it will be interesting to see how Tottenham react to the famously good Toffee back-four.
Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen will again be absent but Andros Townsend returns to the squad. Everton defender Brendan Galloway is a doubt and new boys Ramiro Funes Mori and Leandro Rodriguez will not be available for the game.