West Ham and Fulham kick things off at Upton Park on Saturday lunchtime, while the evening kick-off will see QPR return to the Etihad Stadium with a brand new-look team following yet another bout of heavy investment.
West Ham v Fulham 12:45
It’s been a bittersweet August for Fulham supporters, who have seen their team thrash Norwich City 5-0 and acquire the services of Mladen Petric, Hugo Rodallega and Dimitar Berbatov. However, they were unfortunately beaten at Old Trafford last weekend and Moussa Dembele’s bright performance persuaded Tottenham to sign the Belgian.
It also appears that Clint Dempsey will be off the Cottagers’ books ahead of this London derby, although Martin Jol will be confident his team can get a result at the Boleyn Ground and Fulham look a touch overpriced at 15/8 (bet365 £200 free bets) to claim the three points.
West Ham were completely out of sorts at the Liberty Stadium last weekend following on from an opening day victory over Aston Villa, with Sam Allardyce now keen for his team to batten down the defensive hatches and get six points on the board before that fortnight’s break.
The Hammers squad has been trimmed this week with Sam Baldock and Nicky Maynard among those players departing and Carlton Cole could be Turkey-bound before the weekend arrives. However, Kevin Nolan remains a reliable source of goals and the midfielder is a 10/1 chance (bet365) to break the deadlock as he did in that first game of the campaign.
Petric will be looking to get back on the scoresheet and that man Berbatov might play some part in this match, with the Bulgarian actually the Premier League’s joint-top scorer two seasons ago despite a scarcity of games.
Swansea City v Sunderland 15:00
A golden chance for Swansea City to continue their 100% start to the season, something few were predicting following the departure of Brendan Rodgers, Joe Allen and Gylfi Sigurdsson. The Swans have blasted eight goals past QPR and West Ham, with the Welsh club now facing a Sunderland team that have been on the recruitment drive this week.
Martin O’Neill has finally got his man in Steven Fletcher, while Adam Johnson looks like a tremendous acquisition from Manchester City and fans were delighted to see Stephane Sessegnon sign a new contract at the Stadium of Light.
However, it’s City who are warm favourites (6/5 Stan James) to claim victory in front of their own supporters and they are certainly creating and scoring a bundle of chances right now, with new signing Michu having already bagged three goals for the Welsh club.
The attacking midfielder arrived from Rayo Vallecano for just £2 million and has been a popular fantasy football transfer in the past fortnight, with odds of 13/2 (Boylesports) on offer that the Spaniard scores the first goal of this particular game.
Perhaps Sunderland will be more defensively stout than their London counterparts, with the Black Cats having earned a goalless draw at the Emirates on the opening day of the season before last weekend’s game against Reading was called off due to a waterlogged pitch.
You can get odds of 12/5 that this contest ends all square which would dispel the notion that Swansea are world-beaters, with the visitors potentially a big price at 5/2 to win this game, especially with new players hoping to make a lasting impression.
Johnson in particular has a point to prove following his lack of game time at Manchester City and the winger has a keen eye for goal and can be backed at 14/1 to score the first of his game, while Fletcher is an 8/1 poke to break the deadlock.
Tottenham v Norwich City 15:00
Chris Hughton will return to White Hart Lane on Saturday, a ground he knows like the back of his hand after making nearly 300 appearances for Spurs as a player before spending a further ten years as assistant manager of Tottenham.
However, the 53-year-old is now in charge of Norwich City and his brief will be to stop his former club and earn the Canaries their first win of the season. It was a much improved performance against QPR on Saturday which saw them draw 1-1 following that 5-0 opening day hammering at Fulham.
Norwich actually won this fixture last season although the bookies go 15/2 (bet365) about the visitors achieving this feat on Saturday, with Hughton hoping to add Craig Mackail-Smith to his ranks before transfer deadline day.
Tottenham are also looking for their first win of the season following a 2-1 defeat at Newcastle before failing to hold a 1-0 lead at home to West Brom last weekend, although the home side are likely to be boosted by Moussa Dembele making his debut at White Hart Lane.
Odds of 2/5 (Ladbrokes) are available that Spurs claim the three points, with Andre Villas-Boas having to decide between Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe in attack, with the former having been left on the bench for the match against the Baggies.
One suspects that Adebayor will get the nod and the Togolese forward is a 4/1 chance to break the deadlock, with Defoe a similar price although Gareth Bale enjoyed a couple of goals against the Canaries last term and can be backed at 6/1.
West Brom v Everton 15:00 BST
The Baggies have already slayed one Merseyside team this season although the bookies are happy to lay Steve Clarke’s side at a big price on Saturday when they take on Everton.
West Brom are available at 21/10 (BetVictor free bets) to make it a very creditable seven points from their first three matches by beating the Toffees and confidence couldn’t be higher after beating Liverpool 3-0 and then grabbing a dramatic late equaliser at White Hart Lane last weekend.
Albion were tipped by many to have a difficult season under their rookie manager and it’s still early days, although Clarke appears to have garnered lots of team spirit at The Hawthorns, with Claudia Yacob looking particularly impressive in the middle of the park.
West Brom were also victorious when beating Yeovil in the Carling Cup during the week which saw Shane Long open his account for the season with a brace and the forward is a 15/2 chance to break the deadlock here.
However, Everton are in fine fettle after shocking Manchester United in their opening game before making short work of Aston Villa last weekend and they are bidding to continue their 100% start which has been a relief to David Moyes after a succession of poor beginnings.
The Toffees will be a popular bet at 6/4 to continue their run going and some strength in depth was illustrated on Wednesday night when a second string team claimed a 5-0 win over Leyton Orient in the Carling Cup.
That man Marouane Fellaini stood out against the Red Devils and seems to be playing in an advanced position, with Nikica Jelavic looking to stay on the goal trail after notching at Villa Park and perhaps it will be another victory for an Everton side who are likely to challenge for a top four place this season.
Wigan Athletic v Stoke City
Wigan have had the upper hand over Stoke in the past couple of seasons. That dramatic 1-0 win at the Britannia Stadium two seasons ago preserved the Latics’ top flight status, while another great escape started with a 2-0 win over the Potters at the end of March last season.
Roberto Martinez will hope he can steer his team clear of danger before the end of this campaign, although the Spaniard is always handicapped by losing some of his best players every summer and so it has proved with the recent departures of Mohamed Diame, Hugo Rodallega and Victor Moses.
Quite how many matches Moses will get at Chelsea remains to be seen, although Wigan must now plan for the season without their forward and they seem to be coping well so far, having landed the spoils at Southampton last weekend before beating Nottingham Forest in the Carling Cup.
Wigan are a 5/4 chance (Paddy Power) to win this match against a Stoke side that have landed consecutive draws against Reading and Stoke, although the Potters were dumped out of the Carling Cup by a lively Swindon Town side during the week.
Tony Pulis might well be fielding some new recruits for this match as Stoke look to conduct some last-minute business and that could include the late acquisition of Michael Owen, with the visitors available at 5/2 to win this match.
City don’t exactly have a reputation for winning away games but they do have match-winners in the team and that might even more the case if Charlie Adam and Owen join the likes of Peter Crouch and Jonathan Walters.
Manchester City v QPR 17:30
Premier League bankers have been hard to find in the opening few weeks of the season. Manchester City and Chelsea were both behind against promoted teams before winning 3-2, the same applied to United at home to Fulham and Arsenal were denied by Sunderland in their first game.
However, the punters will be piling into City on Saturday evening as they entertain a QPR team who are much changed from the first game of this season, let alone nine months ago when Mark Hughes replaced Neil Warnock as manager.
It’s hard to understand what Rangers are trying to achieve as they throw money at the cause in an attempt to become a regular fixture in the Premier League. Julio Cesar has arrived to become the new goalkeeper, with more players set to arrive before the transfer window shuts.
Even so, the 2/9 (Boylesports) about a home win might not last until kick-off, with Roberto Mancini hoping to avoid a repeat of this fixture last season when the Hoops raced into a 2-1 lead before late drama from Sergio Aguero helped Manchester City clinch the title.
It’s another Argentine that is scoring the goals at the moment and Carlos Tevez is 4/1 to break the deadlock in this match, having managed to find the net in both of his opening matches, while Mario Balotelli is likely to enjoy another start.
QPR did manage a 1-1 draw at Norwich last weekend although it could be damage limitation for Sparky as he returns to one of his former clubs, with Djibril Cisse likely to play as the lone striker and he can be backed at 14/1 to score first.