Weekend Preview: Arsenal Look to Rebound, Villa End Tough Stretch vs Liverpool, Spurs and Swansea Meet After Qualifiers in Europe

23 August 2013

Kickoff times are EDT. PLET stands for Premier League Extra Time.All games available live on NBC Live Extra. Check your provider for availability.

Fulham v Arsenal (Saturday 7:45 am on NBCSN): Neither side impressed on opening weekend. Arsenal go into this one at least with some confidence after their exploits in Turkey this week. Fulham, steady but unimpressive last week in their win; get steadier in the midfield with their inclusion of Scott Parker. Arsenal should have enough talent to see this one out, but we thought the same thing against Aston Villa. The difference between Villa and Fulham, Villa are a much more talented side. The mustaches maybe in full flow, but Fulham fans will see what Shad Kahn's Jacksonville Jaguar fans see plenty of times a season; a home defeat (I should know...I'm subject to them all by living 10 minutes from Everbank). Fulham 0 Arsenal 2

Southampton v Sunderland (Saturday 10:00 am on NBCSN): I hate to be cruel to Sunderland, but I have no choice. Southampton at home should be able to shut down service to Jozy with no problems whatsoever. Sunderland proved they had no plan b at home. If Sunderland can't come up with a plan b at home, I don't expect Paolo Di Canio to be able to come up with one on the road. While Southampton didn't impress against West Brom, Sunderland were worse. The NBCSN audience tuning into see Jozy Altidore will be in for as frustrating an experience as he will have begging for anything that would qualify as respectable service. Southampton 1 Sunderland 0

Everton v West Bromwich Albion (Saturday 10:00 am on PLET): West Brom has to be praying that the Scott Sinclair loan pays off. I'm not convinced it does this early. Everton proved they can score goals; I'm just not 100 percent certain they can prevent them. The good news for Everton is that West Brom looked so tepid against Southampton that I'm not convinced they can score them. I fully expect Roberto Martinez's side to get off to a roaring start at home. Everton 3 West Bromwich Albion 1

Hull City v Norwich City (Saturday 10:00 am on PLET): The sooner Huddlestone and Livermore are playing 90 minutes, the sooner Hull play to their fullest potential. Norwich City showed the promise last week that lead me to believe they can finish in the top half of the table. As long as Michael Turner doesn't screw up like he did last week, Norwich City should be okay. However, I don't see that being the case. I think we see Huddlestone start, and give Hull their first point of the season. Hull City 1 Norwich City 1

Newcastle United v West Ham United (Saturday 10:00 am on PLET): Will the real Newcastle United please show up? I questioned their professionalism after being thrashed by Manchester City, and I'm pretty sure I wasn't the only one. The problem is, we don't know who the real West Ham United is either. They got the lucky lottery of doing very little in beating Cardiff City. The difference between the two is West Ham United have the appearance in midfield of getting forward at will. That is plenty enough of a difference to continue to make Alan Pardew's life miserable. Newcastle United 0 West Ham United 1

Stoke City v Crystal Palace (Saturday 10:00 am on PLET): My nominee for ugly game of the weekend. This will be all action signifying absolutely nothing. Stoke should have just enough to edge this out. Stoke City 1 Crystal Palace 0

Aston Villa v Liverpool (Saturday 12:30 pm on NBC): Aston Villa have looked the genuine article in their first two matches, and they close this difficult week hosting a Liverpool side that still have a question about their keeper. While Simon Migonlet saved a penalty last week, he was shakier during open play than the scoreline would suggest. Benteke has started the season like a house of fire, and if he finishes this week like he played against Arsenal and Chelsea, Villa could have six points. Before a ball kicked off, I thought they'd be lucky to get one. The good news for Villa is, I thought this would be the game they'd get a point in. I'm not wavering from that pick either. Aston Villa 2 Liverpool 2

Tottenham Hotspur v Swansea City (Sunday 11 am on NBCSN): While both sides enjoyed the relatively same Europa League success on Thursday, I could see this playing out in exactly the same way both teams played in their opener. However, the lone exception there is I expect the Swans to have much less of the ball than they did last week. Swansea's defense looked extremely shaky on the counter attack against Manchester Untied, but Spurs's drop off on the counter isn't as big as one would think. The only question I have about Spurs is if they'll be able to finish those chances. Considering Tottenham made it harder on themselves than it should have been on opening day, I have to say I expect much of the same. The Wilfred Bony/Michu partnership looked dangerous late against United. Tottenham Hotspur 2 Swansea City 1

Cardiff City v Manchester City (Sunday 11:00 am on PLET): Cardiff City maybe at home, but if they do as half as much ball watching as they did against West Ham, this will over in triple quick time. Cardiff City 0 Manchester City 2

I'm saving my preview of Manchester United v Chelsea for Sunday evening.

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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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