EPL Preview: Week Four

Following last week’s international break, Riley Beveridge explores the upcoming matches in gameweek four of the English Premier League.

 

(Kickoff times are AEST)

Norwich v West Ham

Kickoff: 9.45pm Saturday September 15th at Carrow Road

Norwich have recovered well from their 5-0 opening day hammering at Fulham. They notched up successive draws against QPR and Tottenham, with the latter a very deserved point at White Hart Lane. Chris Houghton is yet to prove himself at the Canaries, and will be hoping to grab his first win in charge on Saturday.

Meanwhile, West Ham’s return to the Premier League has been a topsy-turvy ride. After a hard-earned win on opening day, they got comprehensively beaten by Swansea. Loan signing Andy Carroll then led them to a massive victory at home to Fulham, however the England international will miss the match due to injury.

Both sides are looking to find their feet in the new campaign, and will both settle for a draw in the early kickoff.

Norwich 1-1 West Ham.

 

Arsenal v Southampton

Kickoff: 12.00am Sunday September 16th at the Emirates Stadium

Arsenal’s successive goalless draws with Sunderland and Stoke were quickly forgotten and forgiven when they went to Anfield and pushed aside Liverpool. New signings Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla proved their worth, scoring the two goals in the win to get Arsenal’s season off the ground.

Southampton remain the only side yet to pick up a point so far in the Premier League, however their boss Nigel Adkins won’t be worrying just yet. They’ve taken the respective champions and runners-up Manchester City and Manchester United right to the very wire, losing 2-3 in both matches.

Unfortunately for the Saints, I can’t see their tough start to the new season ending on the weekend.

Arsenal 3-1 Southampton

 

Aston Villa v Swansea

Kickoff: 12.00am Sunday September 16th at Villa Park

Frustrated Villa fans would have been proud of their side’s effort to grab a point away to Newcastle in the most recent matchday. They took the lead through Ciaran Clark, however could do little to stop Hatem Ben Arfa’s second half thunderbolt. Yet many remain unconvinced following poor losses to West Ham and Everton to start the season.

Swansea, on the other hand, are flying. They played QPR and West Ham off the park to start the season perfectly, before twice coming from behind to deny Sunderland at the Liberty Stadium. Their football under Michael Laudrup has been a joy to watch.

Villa will be hoping to avoid a second successive home defeat, however Swansea look wonderful under Laudrup’s guidance.

Aston Villa 1-2 Swansea

 

Fulham v West Bromwich Albion

Kickoff: 12.00am Sunday September 16th at Craven Cottage

Fulham will look to rebound after two losses on the trot to Manchester United and West Ham. It’s a shame for the Londoners to only be on three points after three games, after they trounced Norwich on the opening day and then had United on the ropes, but that’s football. Clint Dempsey will prove to be a big loss after his move to Tottenham, however they did manage a deal to bring in Greek veteran Giorgos Karagounis, who impressed at the recent European Championships.

West Brom’s form to start the season has been scintillating. The transition from Roy Hodgson to Steve Clarke at the helm has been seamless, and has allowed them to record big victories over Liverpool and Everton with ease. Sandwiched in between was a convincing draw away to Tottenham.

Fulham are still finding their way to start this season, while West Brom would probably take a point away at Craven Cottage.

Fulham 1-1 West Bromwich Albion

 

Manchester United v Wigan

Kickoff: 12.00am Sunday September 16th at Old Trafford

Manchester United will go into this match red hot favourites, however their form is shaky and should suggest otherwise. Robin Van Persie, who scored a hat trick in United’s 3-2 win over Southampton, is likely to join Wayne Rooney on the sidelines with an injury. They weren’t convincing against Southampton, nor were they in their win over Fulham and their loss against Everton.

Wigan are starting to come into a little bit of form following their opening day loss to Chelsea. They managed a simple victory against Southampton, before drawing at Stoke in a pulsating match.

Although United haven’t been at their best, they should easily account for the Latics on Saturday night.

Manchester United 3-0 Wigan

 

QPR v Chelsea

Kickoff: 12.00am Sunday September 16th at Loftus Road

It’s a London rivalry which is always full of controversy, however both of the main sideshows in Anton Ferdinand and John Terry will miss through injury. The pair have a long history which involves viscous racial allegations and a subsequent court case. It is yet to conclude, either, with the FA still to hold a hearing that could see Terry serve a lengthy suspension.

QPR invested heavily in the transfer market, making several big name acquisitions, however they are yet to reflect on the outcomes of their games. They were blown away on the opening day, and had a torrid time at Manchester City last matchday.

Meanwhile Chelsea remain the only side to have an unblemished record in the Premier League. Wins against Wigan, Reading and Newcastle have come about rather easily. You’d imagine that winning trend to continue against QPR in this derby match, however expect a tight and tense tussle.

QPR 0-1 Chelsea

 

Stoke v Manchester City

Kickoff: 12.00am Sunday September 16th at the Britannia Stadium

Stoke love a scrap, especially at home. Their willingness to get stuck in has seen them start the season with three draws from as many games. Arsenal was a key scalp, although perhaps Tony Pulis may have been expecting wins against Reading and Wigan.

The champions will roll into the Britannia knowing exactly what to expect. Their form to begin their Premier League defence hasn’t been great, although they’ve done what they have needed to in order to secure wins against Southampton and QPR. Sergio Aguero is back in training from a knee injury, however he isn’t likely to take part in the match.

Stoke will park the bus, however City prided themselves in being able to knock down any defensive wall last season. I think they’ll prove a little too good again on Saturday.

Stoke 1-2 Manchester City

 

Sunderland v Liverpool

Kickoff: 2.30am Sunday September 16th at the Stadium of Light

Sunderland have only played two matches so far this season after their game with Reading was called off due to a waterlogged pitch. However, they’ve battled to two well-deserved draws against Arsenal and an in form Swansea outfit.

Meanwhile, Liverpool are in a bit of strife to start Brendan Rodgers’ tenure as Reds boss. Rodgers watched his side get thrashed at West Brom and then at home to Arsenal, with a really well fought out draw with Manchester City in between.

A tough trip lies ahead for Liverpool. Going up north is never easy, and I think we’ll see a draw in the late kickoff.

Sunderland 1-1 Liverpool

 

Reading v Tottenham

Kickoff: 1.00am Monday September 17th at the Madejski Stadium

Reading’s return to the top flight hasn’t been the worst, although there is still a lot of work to be done for Brian McDermott’s men. They battled to a draw with Stoke on opening day, and then weren’t disgraced by any means away to Chelsea, holding the European champions right until the death.

Andre Villas Boas will be very disappointed with the way his Tottenham side have begun the new campaign. A loss to Newcastle on the opening day was compounded by successive home draws to West Brom and Norwich. In both games they didn’t look like winning, either.

Reading will give everything they’ve got, but I think Tottenham should just do enough to record AVB’s first win in charge.

Reading 1-2 Tottenham

 

Everton v Newcastle 

Kickoff: 5.00am Tuesday September 18th at Goodison Park

Just when Everton fans thought they were enjoying a dream start to the 2012/13 season, it began to spiral. A victory over Manchester United in their opening game was followed with a convincing 3-1 victory away to Aston Villa. However, just as the Toffees began to dream, a disciplined West Brom side caught them off guard and grabbed a 0-2 win.

Alan Pardew’s Newcastle have had a difficult start to this campaign. After surprising everyone with a 5th placed league finish last season, the Magpies have tailed off after the opening day win over Tottenham. A 2-0 loss to Chelsea was followed by a 1-1 draw at home to Aston Villa.

Both sides look very evenly matched, and this game looks to have draw written all over it.

Everton 1-1 Newcastle

Riley Beveridge is a first-year Bachelor of Sports Journalism student. You can follow him on Twitter: @RileyBev.

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