Match week 4 of the 2012-2013 English Premier League season will kick off on Saturday with Norwich hosting West Ham in the opening fixture, while the champions Manchester City travel to Stoke, Manchester United hope to have it easy against Wigan at home, Chelsea face QPR in a London derby and a John Terry – Anton Ferdinand face off and Liverpool hope to get their first win in Sunderland.
Norwich City vs West Ham United
Three matches into the new season, West Ham are above Tottenham, Newcastle and Liverpool, placed at 7th place with two wins. Norwich, on the other hand, have struggled to score (only two goals) and have failed to win thus far, putting them at 15th with two points. West Ham will be missing Andy Carroll but might be showcasing a returning Yossi Benayoun, but with only Carlton Cole up front, they’ll find it hard to score goals unless Kevin Nolan comes through once again. Looks like a draw to me. Kick off on 12:45.
Arsenal vs Southampton
Last time Southampton visited Arsenal, it was Highbury in 2004, with the Saints managing a surprising 2-2 draw, as Robin van Persie scored an injury time equalizer. Many things have changed since then, and Arsenal seem to have found how to score and win, against a Southampton team that drew nothing but praises in the first matches, but lost all three, the only team with 0 points. Gaston Ramirez and Maya Yoshida might get a chance to start for Southampton, while Arsenal might be missing Walcott and Diaby, which still should be enough for a second win. Kick off at 3PM
Aston Villa vs Swansea
Number 2 team in the Premier League? Swansea, playing the most attractive soccer at the moment, scoring 10 goals although they are coming off a 2-2 draw with Sunderland. For Villa, it’s nothing but bad news so far this season, although a 1-1 draw with Newcastle might be a sign that things are changing, scoring only two goals so far. The Michu – Nathan Dyer combo should prove a bit too much for a struggling side once again. Kick off 3PM.
Fulham vs West Brom
The last time these two met at Craven Cottage it ended in a draw, and West Brom are probably the favorites heading into this match as well, going undefeated in the first three matches of the season, conceding only one goal so far. They’ll be missing Steven Reid, but Fulham will struggle for anything more than a draw with their depleted squad, as Bryan Ruiz seems like an unlikely starter, along with new signing Kieran Richardson. Kick off at 3PM
Manchester United vs Wigan Athletic
It was an easy 5-0 win last time Wigan visited Old Trafford, with Dimitar Berbatov scoring a hat trick. Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa both returned from their international matches at less than 100%, but should get a start, with Ryan Giggs (600th Premier League appearance), Paul Scholes (700th United appearance) and Rio Ferdinand (400th United appearance) all looking to write off a major milestone on their way to a third consecutive win this season. Kick off at 3PM.
QPR vs Chelsea
QPR stunned Chelsea last season with a 1-0 win at Loftus road, but it’s hard to see anything similar happening this year. Chelsea are the only 3 for 3 team in the Premier League, and even the 4-1 defeat against Atletico Madrid shouldn’t make the feel a bit insecure against Rangers. Juan Mata might get to rest a bit for Chelsea, while the main attraction in the match will be Terry facing another man who dearly hates him, Anton Ferdinand. Kick off 3PM.
Stoke City vs Manchester City
Last year’s meeting at Stoke was a low point during City’s run for the title, with Peter Crouch scoring what might have been the goal of the season with his perfect volley. Stoke have drawn all three matches so far this season, and will probably be pleased with another 1 point against the champions, looking for their first away win. Both teams have plenty of players looking and hoping to make their debuts, and Sergio Aguero might make his return from the opening day injury. Kick off at 3PM
Sunderland vs Liverpool
Tons of pressure on Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers to win their first match of the season in a stadium they haven’t won at since 2008. Adam Johnson is doubtful for Sunderland, who have two points from their opening two matches, while Danny Rose might make his debut. Jose Enrique and Joe Allen are in doubt for a short handed Liverpool team, in a match that looks like a draw waiting to happen. Kick off is at 5:30 PM.
Reading vs Tottenham (Sunday, 4 PM)
Both teams have yet to win a match, but the pressure will be on Tottenham and Andre Villas-Boas to preform and come up with the win, missing Younes Kaboul and Scott Parker. A lot if interest will be between the posts, as Brad Friedel continues to has his manager’s trust ahead of Hugo Lloris. Things should start connecting for Spurs at some point, and this might be it.
Everton vs Newcastle (Monday, 8 PM)
The Maroune Fellaini drama is over and Everton should have a nearly full lineup, except for Darron Gibson, as they hope to repeat last year’s 3-1 win at Goodison Park over the Magpies. It’s been a slightly disappointing start for Newcastle after their win over Tottenham on the opening weekend, as the injury problems keep piling up for Alan Pardew, with both Tim Krul and Fabio Collicini in all likelihood out of the contest. A draw for Newcastle would be a good result, considering Everton’s promising start.