The Premier League returns this weekend, after the break for World Cup qualifiers. Here is a preview of games taking place on Saturday.
Norwich vs. West Ham
The early kick-off on Saturday sees Norwich host West Ham at Carrow Road.
The home side are yet to win a league game this season, but have drawn two of their opening fixtures.
West Ham have made a solid start to life back in the Premier League with two wins out of their first three games this season.
Both sides will see this as a winnable game, but home boss Chris Hughton will be looking for his first Premier League victory as Canaries boss.
Arsenal vs. Southampton
Southampton face a daunting trip to Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium. The Saints have had a tough start to life back in the top flight. Nigel Adkins side have already faced last season’s top two Manchester City and Manchester United.
They now face Arsenal, who have yet to concede a goal in the league this season. Last time out the Gunners claimed their first league victory of the season with a 2-0 defeat of Liverpool at Anfield. More importantly they started look dangerous going forward. It could be a long game for Saints players and their fans.
Aston Villa vs. Swansea
In-form Swansea travel to out-of-form Aston Villa. The visitors have hit the ground running under new boss Michael Laudrup, taking seven points from a possible nine in the Premier League and currently sit second in the fledgling league table.
Their attacking midfielder Michu has been one of the stars of the English top flight so far this season. Villa on the other hand hasn’t yet claimed a victory in the top flight this season. They did manage to claim a very creditable 1-1 draw at Newcastle last time out though.
Villa are in something of a transitional stage under new boss Paul Lambert and the Villans fans will be hoping they can kick-start their season with a victory over the Swans.
QPR vs. Chelsea
Another team looking to pick up their first league victory of the season are QPR. The Hoops won’t find it easy though, as they face top of the table Chelsea at Loftus Road.
Rangers have picked up just one point from a possible nine this season, but boss Mark Hughes has brought in 12 twelve new players this summer, so they may need time to play together as a unit.
One player that hasn’t needed any time to settle into new surrounding is Chelsea’s Belgium playmaker Eden Hazard. The big money signing has been one of stars of the season so far. He is very much living up to his reputation as one of the best up and coming young players in European football.
Blues boss Roberto Di Matteo will be hoping that Hazard, and his team keep up their good start to the season. The Blues are very much favourites in this clash.
Stoke vs. Manchester City
Elsewhere, Stoke City host champions Manchester City at the Britannia Stadium. The home side could give a debut to former-Manchester United and England striker Michael Owen, who joined the Potters on a free transfer just after the transfer deadline.
Manchester City received some good news this week with the return to training of Argentinian striker Sergio Aguero.
However, this game is likely to come too early for Aguero and his compatriot Carlos Tevez is set to continue to lead the line. City will be favourites for this game, but the Britannia is never an easy ground to visit for opposition, even the champions.
Fulham vs. West Brom
Fulham play host to West Brom at Craven Cottage. The visitors have made a very good start to the season; securing two wins and a draw so far this season in the top flight.
Baggies boss Steve Clarke has enjoyed a stellar start to life at Hawthorns with home victories over both Merseyside clubs Everton and Liverpool and his team also earned a draw at Tottenham.
Fulham made a superb start to the season with a 5-0 victory over Norwich at Craven Cottage, before losing at West Ham and Manchester United. The Cottagers are usually really solid at home, so the Baggies won’t find it easy to secure victory.
Fulham’s new signing Dimitar Berbatov is likely to make his full home debut, after making a cameo appearance from the substitutes bench against West Ham last time out. Fulham boss Martin Jol will be hoping that Fulham’s traditional strong home form continues in this fixture.
Manchester United vs. Wigan
Wigan have made a decent start to their Premier League campaign, picking up a win and a draw so far this season, but they could find it difficult in their next fixture as they come up against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
United have recovered well from their opening game defeat at Everton to win their last two top flight games against Fulham and Southampton. New signing Robin Van Persie has made a superb start to life with the Red Devils, scoring four goals in his first three appearances.
The Dutch striker picked up a knock playing for Holland in the midweek international fixtures, but is expected to be fit for this encounter. However, United look likely to be without Japanese playmaker Shinji Kagawa, who has a back injury.
United will be favourites to defeat the Latics, but the home side will have to beware of complacency and Latics striker Franco Di Santo, who has scored twice in just three league appearances this season.
Sunderland vs. Liverpool
In the late kick-off Sunderland hosts Liverpool at the Stadium of Light. Sunderland has played just two games in the Premier League this season, drawing at Arsenal and Swansea. The Black Cats will be hoping to heap more misery on the shoulders of Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, with a first Premier League victory of the season.
New signing Steven Fletcher scored twice on his debut at Swansea last time out and the Scot will be hoping he can add more goals to his Black Cats tally when Liverpool roll into town on Saturday.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has endured a miserable start to life at Anfield. The former-Swansea boss has saw his team pick up just one point from their first three Premier League games, the point coming from a 2-2 draw at Anfield against Manchester City.
The Reds have also suffered defeat at West Brom and a home defeat to Arsenal. Liverpool’s form sees them in the bottom three of the top flight. The Liverpool boss and fans will be hoping their team can improve their position and morale with a victory at the Stadium of Light.
However Martin O’Neill’s men won’t make it easy for Rodgers charges and it could be more misery on the road for Liverpool and their fans.
Which of Saturday’s Premier League encounters is the biggest?
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