The midweek fixtures in the Premier League don’t offer any mega matchup, but there are certainly quite a few interesting tales to follow, as Manchester United play at home against Everton, their manager’s former club, while league leaders Arsenal hope to continue their impressive start to the season with a home win against Hull City, coming off a surprising win over Liverpool.
The Reds themselves will try and keep their championship hopes alive at home against Norwich, a side that usually succumbs quite easily against Luis Suarez. Both Chelsea and Manchester City have tough away matches against Sunderland and West Brom respectively, not really in a position they can afford to drop points.
Arsenal vs Hull City
Arsenal are coming off a very impressive away win against Cardiff that once again presented the scoring abilities of Aaron Ramsey. At home the league leaders (four points ahead of Chelsea) haven’t lost points since the opening match of the season to Aston Villa, and Hull’s cautious, sometimes ugly to watch style won’t make a difference with the Gunners not missing any one of their key players.
Liverpool vs Norwich
Norwich? This surely means we’re going to see a Luis Suarez hat trick, right? Brendan Rodgers has to stop making mistakes with his lineups. Daniel Sturridge not playing isn’t the end of the world, but using impossible formations is. The Canaries have done very badly playing away from home this season, including losing their last three, but if Liverpool continue to play with a lineup that makes it really difficult for them to score, they might finally break the string of bad results.
Manchester United vs Everton
A team that always gives Manchester United a lot of problems, but this time it’s different. Everton are playing without Leighton Baines, and in a more open style than we’ve been used to see from them under David Moyes. Manchester United without Michael Carrick are a team with an awful midfield when it comes to Premier League matches, and it remains to be seen how their centre backs handle the force of Romelu Lukaku. A draw wouldn’t be shocking in this one.
Southampton vs Aston Villa
After two losses to Chelsea and Arsenal, Southampton are ready to return home and play against rivals they feel more comfortable against. While Aston Villa might be worried Benteke’s goalscoring form, the Saints are missing their goalkeeper, Artur Boruc, heading into the match, which might mean we’ll see yet another surprising result from Villa, who haven’t lost in four consecutive matches.
Stoke City vs Cardiff
A must win match for both teams, but Cardiff are awful away from home, while Stoke struggle in a similar way no matter where they play. While there is the slight blow of Jonathan Walters not playing for Stoke due to a thigh injury, they do have the better team (just by a bit), and considering how bad Cardiff are when they play away from Wales, this should be a win for Mark Hughes’ side.
Sunderland vs Chelsea
Things have been looking slightly better for Sunderland with Gus Poyet at the helm instead of Di Canio, but this is still the worst team in the Premier League. Chelsea need to be wary – Sunderland beat Manchester City and Newcastle on their last two home matches, which means that Jose Mourinho can’t come off as too arrogant and careless with his lineup and preparation. Oscar and Samuel Eto’o won’t be playing, while Ashley Cole is tipped to make his return to the lineup. In any case, anything but a Chelsea win will be a massive surprise.
Swansea vs Newcastle
It’s been a weird run from Newcastle, suddenly having their French legion clicking on all cylinders. Swansea are having a weird season – no longer the neutral’s favorite, not winning a home match since October and stuttering in the bottom half of the table. The Magpies have won their last four, including away at Spurs, and won’t change their winning lineup while Ryan Taylor continues to sit out with an injury. Wilfried Bony, Angel Rangel and Michu probably won’t be playing, which means a fifth consecutive win for Newcastle.
Fulham vs Spurs
If there was ever a match for Andre Villas-Boas to win and impress in, it’s this one. Fulham have lost their last five matches, and it’s not quite clear if a managerial change is enough. Tottenham are also winless since October, but at some point all the firepower they have should be enough to pick up a win. Against Fulham in Craven Cottage we might see a start of that.
West Brom vs Manchester City
West Brom haven’t been that impressive at home, which means this finally might be the chance for Manchester City, a frightening side at home but terrible when they travel away from the Etihad, to get things going their way, with Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo playing some amazing football. West Brom have not beaten Wednesday’s opponents in the league in their last seven attempts, a trend that will continue.