Meanwhile, Paul Lambert faces his old club when Aston Villa go up against a Norwich City full of confidence after beating Arsenal 1-0, with the Gunners hoping to bounce back against a QPR team still without a win all season.
Aston Villa v Norwich City 12:45
It’s clear that Lambert had a falling out with the Norwich board in the summer before exiting for Villa Park, although it has been a case of ‘out of the frying pan into the fire’ for the Scot who has taken charge of an Aston Villa squad not blessed with quality and facing a long hard winter.
The Villans came close to holding out for a point at Craven Cottage on Saturday before Fulham scored a late winner and that result leaves the Midlands club with just five points from their first eight games, with the manager under pressure to improve fortunes.
Perhaps things will change on Saturday against a team with just one point from four away games and Aston Villa can be backed at 10/11 (bet365) to win this match, with Darren Bent having been restored to the team last weekend and it might be the case that he is partnered with Christian Benteke in a quest for goals.
Bent is a 9/2 chance with Boylesports to score the first goal, although Benteke catches the eye at 6/1 and the Belgian could blossom in the Premier League whether it’s with Villa or another club in the top flight.
Norwich manager Chris Hughton has clearly done a lot of work with his team when it comes to defending and that 1-0 win against Arsenal was just the pick-me-up that their season required, with the Canaries looking overpriced at 31/10 to claim their first away win of the campaign and get one over their old boss.
Arsenal v QPR 15:00
A good time to be visiting the Emirates Stadium? Arsenal were completely lacklustre when losing 1-0 at Carrow Road last weekend and they will have little time to prepare for this London derby considering they face Schalke on Wednesday in the Champions League.
Nevertheless, the bookies aren’t taking too many chances considering punters will be doubling Arsenal with Manchester City on Saturday and the former team are a 4/11 chance (Coral free bets) to claim an important three points as they look to close the gap on the three breakaway teams at the top of the Premier League.
Arsene Wenger will have been dismayed by his team’s performance at Norwich where few chances were created and Mark Hughes will have watched the game with interest before seeing his QPR team create enough chances to beat Everton on Sunday.
You sense that Rangers will be scoring their first victory of the season after that draw against the Toffees and odds of 10/1 (Boylesports) do look a touch big about a team that led at White Hart Lane earlier in the campaign before failing to prevent the Tottenham comeback.
The man making Arsenal tick this season is Santi Cazorla and the Spaniard is available at 7/1 (Coral free bets) to find a breakthrough against a Rangers side that will be intent on making things difficult for their opponents, while Thomas Vermaelen generally gets among the goals as the season progresses and the central defender is 16/1 to score first.
Sky Bet go 9/2 about this match ending all square and perhaps Djibril Cisse will earn a recall to the side for this match considering his pace can trouble Per Mertesacker in the Arsenal defence.
Reading v Fulham 15:00
The Royals badly need a Premier League win for two reasons. The three points is clearly vital in terms of accumulating a big enough tally to stay in the top flight, although it’s also a case of confidence and the longer that Reading go without that victory, the tougher it will become.
Brian McDermott’s team have led on several occasions this season, including at Stamford Bridge, although the bottom line is that they have just three draws from their seven games played and this game has a ‘must-win’ feel for the Berkshire side who are 15/8 (BetVictor) to win this game.
Reading might just nick this game against a Fulham side who are not too convincing on the road, with defeats occurring at Old Trafford and Upton Park this term, although they did come close to winning at Southampton after gathering three points at Wigan.
The Cottagers are marginal favourites to follow up Saturday’s 1-0 win against Aston Villa with another maximum haul at the Madejski Stadium and Martin Jol pulled off something of a coup on transfer deadline day by acquiring Dimitar Berbatov who is a proven match winner.
The Bulgarian has added a new dimension to a Fulham team shorn of Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele in the summer, with the forward a 13/2 chance to score the first goal of the game, while match winner Aaron Hughes is 50/1 to do it all over again.
Reading could have nicked a point at Anfield on Saturday following a three-match unbeaten run and Pavel Pogrebnyak is 6/1 to find the back of the net first, with the Royals having led twice against Newcastle before drawing.
Stoke v Sunderland 15:00
Don’t expect this match to be featured first on Match of the Day, with the 13th and 14th placed team in the Premier League meeting at the Britannia Stadium and this match looks to have a draw written all over it.
Stoke have kept things very tight in matches against Arsenal, Manchester City and Swansea City to earn two draws and a win at the Brit, with the Potters obvious favourites at 21/20 (Sportingbet bookmaker) to claim victory and bounce back from that 4-2 drubbing at Old Trafford where City went into the lead before being overrun by Van Persie and Rooney.
Even so, six of Stoke’s nine matches this season have ended all square after normal time and Sunderland can play their part to ensure it’s a point apiece on Saturday afternoon, with bet365 going 23/10 that this match ends all square.
The Black Cats clawed a point from Sunday’s north-east derby when Demba Ba scored an own goal and that 1-1 scoreline characterised their season with goal scoring continuing to be a problem for a team whose only scorer this season in the Premier League has been Steven Fletcher.
The Scot is a 7/1 chance to open the scoring for the visitors and Tony Pulis might have wished he had tried harder to sign the former Wolves man, although the Stoke manager does have Michael Kightly doing great things for the Staffordshire club after making the move from Molineux.
The visitors are a 3/1 poke to win their first away game of the season and it could be a match where we see defences on top, with BetVictor unsurprising going odds-on at 4/6 that there are two goals or less.
Wigan v West Ham 15:00
While Wigan have been a Premier League team for several seasons, West Ham have just returned to the top flight after previously being relegated to the Championship although Sam Allardyce seems to be making sure that the Hammers won’t be troubled by the prospect of the drop this season.
Allardyce may have lost his job if the London side had failed to beat Blackpool in the play-offs, although they occupy 7th place after amassing 14 points from their first eight games and look a big price at 23/10 (bet365 £200 free bets) to win at the DW Stadium.
After all, West Ham blew Southampton out of the water last weekend to win 4-1 and there’s a real buzz around Upton Park despite the injury to Ricardo Vaz Te which has made that loan signing of Andy Carroll even more important.
The on-loan Liverpool striker didn’t score against the Saints although his unsettling of the opposition defence was key in allowing the goals to fly in, with Kevin Nolan enjoying another good season so far and the Hammers captain is an 8/1 chance to score the first of this game.
Wigan aren’t in the relegation zone despite taking just five points from their first eight games and Roberto Martinez’s side have failed to register a win in four games at the DW Stadium although it would be no great surprise if they claimed victory in this match after drawing 2-2 with Everton in their last home match.
Manchester City v Swansea 17:30
Roberto Mancini’s side have a chance to get within a point of Premier League leaders Chelsea on Saturday night and it would be a surprise if they were unable to beat a Swansea side that have lost at Stoke City and Aston Villa on the road this season.
Manchester City might have been playing Champions League football in Amsterdam on Wednesday night, although they have a big enough squad to cope with the demands of a busy fixture schedule and Coral offer a best price 1/4 about the English champions claiming all three points.
The Citizens have won three of their four games at the Etihad Stadium, with Arsenal the only team to deny them three points in front of their own supporters and the latest home result was a comfortable 3-0 victory against Sunderland, with odds of 7/1 (William Hill free bets) about the same outcome in this match.
The Swans will look to attack their opponents from the off and they did beat Manchester City at the Liberty Stadium last term although they were also soundly beaten 4-0 in the reverse fixture and Michael Laudrup might be wary of setting his team up too offensively and being ripped to shreds on the counter-attack.
Sergio Aguero is likely to continue in attack after playing against Ajax and the sharp shooter is a 7/2 chance to score first, while flat-track bully Carlos Tevez is a similar price and Mario Balotelli can also be backed at these odds if you think he will score first.
It’s no surprise to find Swansea available at double figures to claim victory in this match and they did warm up for this game by beating Wigan 2-1 which ended a run without a win that stretched back to August.
The Welsh side do have a tricky customer in the form of Michu who is a 16/1 chance to score first and he has been enjoying himself in front of goal since the season began and the Spaniard orchestrated a 5-0 win at Loftus Road.