Aston Villa v Everton
It was never likely to be an easy season back in the top flight for Championship playoff winners Aston Villa but reality is already beginning to bite with 2 loses from their opening 2 games. In fairness Villa have held there own in both games and but for a couple of individual mistakes against Bournemouth last week they could be on the board points wise. Points at home will be crucial in what is already shaping up to be a battle to avoid relegation.
As for Everton, they have had a quiet start with just 1 goal so far in the Premier League but they remain unbeaten. For much of the first half of last season, the Toffees leaked goals far too readily so the fact they they are yet to concede this year will be encouraging for Marco Silva while at the same time he will hope they can find a little more flair in the final third
Fun Fact: This is the most played fixture in English football - 2 sides with a fantastic footballing history
Norwich v Chelsea
A trip to Norwich is already looking like a potential banana skin for any of the more established Premier League sides. Carrow Road was pumping last weekend as the Premier League newcomers swept aside a feeble Newcastle and no doubt hat trick hero Teemu Pukki will have been shoehorned into many a fantasy team across the land. Norwich certainly enjoy playing on the front foot and against a Chelsea side that has yet to keep a clean sheet this season they will fancy creating a few chances again on Saturday.
The longer that Lampard has to wait for his first win the harder it's going to be. Performance wise Chelsea aren't doing badly but they just lack that real quality up front to kill games off. It's been noticeable that in all 3 games this season Chelsea have started brightly before being reeled back in by the opposition. The first goal in this game is likely to be crucial and don't bet against the Blues being the ones to get it.
Sheffield United v Leicester
Sheffield United's style of play since returning to the Premier League will have come as a bit of a surprise to anyone who doesn't watch Championship football but what worked for them in the 2nd tier of English football has translated well to date in the EPL. Beyond that is the obvious desire and togetherness of the squad in firstly rescuing a well earned point at Bournemouth and then getting their first victory of the season against Crystal Palace. Home wins are vital for a side that is still expected to be in the bottom half of the league come the Spring and this match represents their biggest challenge to date.
Leicester will be satisfied enough with 2 points from 2 tough fixtures but Brendon Rodgers will undoubtedly have ambitions to add a tick to the win column on Saturday afternoon. His side showed some good fight to come back from a goal down away at Chelsea last week and the midfield that he has put together over the close season looks capable of competing with pretty much anyone in the league. If they can add goals from the likes of Jamie Vardy and gain some early momentum then Leicester will hope to push the top 6 but it will require them winning fixtures like this.
Watford v West Ham
Javi Garcia is the first Watford manager that I can remember for a while that didn't leave/ get sacked in the summer but if his side's poor form continues then he might yet struggle to make it through to the Autumn proper. A home tie against West ham following such a feeble start to proceedings now becomes a must win game for the Hornets. Watford are yet to register a goal this season and while Danny Wellbeck and Ismaila Sarr have been brought to the club to find the back of the net neither has started a game yet and with fitness doubts over both it may be that neither will do so again this weekend.
West Ham picked themselves up from their 5-0 opening day mauling at the hands of Man City to get a point at Brighton. That draw on the South Coast while underwhelming did come without the likes of Sebastian Haller and Felipe Anderson but Pellegrini hopes to welcome both players back to the starting 11 this weekend.
Manchester United v Crystal Palace
Good old Paul Pogba finds it very difficult to keep himself out of the headlines. Unfortunately if you are a United fan it generally seems to be for the wrong reasons. Whether that penalty miss will disrupt what has otherwise been a decent start to the season for the Red Devils remains to be seen but they would certainly expect to get all 3 points from this game. The whole world will be hoping for a penalty in this match just to see who steps up to take it ..........
Palace whilst well organised have looked fairly toothless in attack so far this season. Re-integrating Wilfred Zaha (assuming he doesn't leave for a European club) into the starting 11 and getting the best from their prized asset is priority number 1 for Roy Hodgson and his team but you feel that this is going to be a tough test. That being said, Palace were excellent on their travels last season and caused more than the just the odd upset. Could this be a chance to get their season up and running?
Liverpool v Arsenal
The glamour fixture of the weekend and one that usually throws up a few goals! Equally this game pits the last remaining teams in the league with a 100% record. Liverpool will certainly fancy their chances at home of extending that run to 3 wins from 3 and despite not playing at their absolute best so far this season they are getting the job done which is a good sign for any side that wishes to win a title in a league as competitive as this. Probably the one area of concern for Jurgen Klopp has been some occasional sloppiness in defence from a side that was so tight at the back last season.
Arsenal certainly have the players to hurt Liverpool if the Reds do drop anymore clangers on Saturday evening. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looks in very good form in the early parts of this season and there is talk of new signing Nicolas Pepe getting a first start for the Gunners. Failure to bring in real quality at the back has been a critique of Arsenal this summer. Newcastle and Burnley were never likely to really test Arsenal's defensive depth but you can bet that Liverpool at Anfield will give it a serious examination.