Premier League Predictions Round 4: Will There be Post International Blues?

13 September 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.

Manchester United v Crystal Palace (Saturday 7:45 am NBCSN): I've seen it said that this is the banker of the weekend, but I don't think it will be as automatic as many people believe it will be. It is the perfect game to start integrating Fellaini into the squad. While Crystal Palace might be riding high after defeating Sunderland before the international break, the break killed any momentum they would have had coming into this game. Holloway's tactics are the perfect foil for Manchester United to do exactly what they did against Swansea City on the opening weekend. Four points from three fixture maybe a modest total for David Moyes, but it will be seven from four after this one. Prediction: Manchester United 3 Crystal Palace 1

Sunderland v Arsenal (Saturday 10:00 am NBCSN): The injury bug has already bitten Arsenal, but Ozil should be fit in time to make his Arsenal debut. Sunderland should have Jozy Altidore back baring any late fitness struggles. It is going to be curious to see how Sunderland line up since starting with one forward has not been successful in their opening three fixtures. I'm just not convinced that Sunderland has enough width to break Arsenal down. With service lacking from out wide, I expect Arsenal to carve Sunderland up in a similar vein to how they carved Fulham up. Either way, this is going to be one ugly 10:00 am kickoff for viewers. Prediction: Sunderland 0 Arsenal 2

Stoke City v Manchester City (Saturday 10:00 am PLET): There are plenty of under the surface stories to this one. We have Mark Hughes in his attempts to seek any kind of revenge to his sacking from Manchester City. There are two teams trying to adapt to new managers, and the styles of football that they bring. Manchester City have been unimpressive in their two wins, and looked incredibly dire on the road to a recently promoted Cardiff City. Stoke City are adapting much better to the new manager than Manchester City, and if Aguero is starting, Stoke City could be primed for pulling off an upset. When it's all said and done, I think we get a repeat score line from last season. Prediction: Stoke City 1 Manchester City 1

Tottenham Hotspur v Norwich City (Saturday 10:00 am PLET): Tottenham could easily insert Lamela and Eriksen in alongside Chaldi and make Norwich City's life miserable. This is Norwich's toughest outing of the season to date, and I don't see how the back four can cope. If the Canaries think Gary Hooper is going to make a difference up top, they are in for a shock. Is this the day we finally see Spurs get a goal from open play? I think so. Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 1 Norwich City 0

Aston Villa v Newcastle United (Saturday 10:00 am PLET): By the time the full time whistle blows between 4:50 and 4:55 pm, we should have a good idea if what Aston Villa did on the opening weekend was more fact or fiction. Villa's performances have flat lined while Newcastle is still trying to kick into high gear. Libor Kozak is probably going to be the difference late and probably bails Villa out of a potentially bad situation. Prediction: Aston Villa 1 Newcastle United 1

Fulham v West Bromwich Albion (Saturday 10:00 am PLET): This feels like 'just an ordinary game'. The good news for Fulham is it looks like Stekelenburg could feature in goal for Fulham after recovering from a shoulder injury. Neither side has looked impressive after the first month of the season, but West Brom has looked downright awful, only getting four shots on target through the first three games. You would have to believe Steve Clarke can turn this around, but it will take a lot longer to right the ship and start getting three points instead of zero or one. Won't be pretty football, but expect the spoils to be shared. Prediction: Fulham 1 West Bromwich Albion 1

Hull City v Cardiff City (Saturday 10:00 am PLET): This rematch of the Championship last day of the season could be the surprise goal fest of the weekend. The last four times these sides have met, 13 goals have been produced. Add the fact both keepers are injury doubts, and we could see some 'curious' goals scored. Hull has settled better than Cardiff to life in the top flight, and I fully expect the home side to get all three points this weekend. Prediction: Hull City 3 Cardiff City 2

Everton v Chelsea (Saturday 12:30 pm NBC): The first thought Chelsea has to have here is 'thank goodness Lukaku can't play in this game'. It's probably the difference in who gets all three points. I see this as a game where Roberto Martinez sets up way too attack minded, and Chelsea picks them off on the counter. This is probably going to be the most entertaining fixture of the weekend, and one that is probably going to look more lopsided on the score sheet than the play on the pitch would ever have indicated. Prediction: Everton 0 Chelsea 2

Southampton v West Ham United (Sunday 11:00 am NBCSN): I hate to say it, but sucks to be NBCSN Sunday morning. The NFL pregame show on CBSSN will probably be more interesting than the mess this match will put up. How bad do I see this being? For starters, I don't think West Ham scores here. Secondly, it will take Southampton way too long to finally bundle a goal in their efforts will put us back to sleep. But finally, Chivas USA/Portland at 10:30 on Saturday night will be more enjoyable a watch than this. Nothing like Sky having to meet team quotas for their contracting needs to serve us this nonsense when it is a one match day. Prediction: Southampton 1 West Ham United 0

Swansea City v Liverpool (Monday 3:00 pm NBCSN): This is a classic trap game for Swansea City. With Europe lurking on Thursday, it would be easy to overlook this game. However, overlook this Liverpool side at your own peril. Sturridge should be fit to play, and Liverpool is starting to look more and more like top four contenders than pretenders. If Wilfried Bony and Michu can get something early, this could be interesting. However, I think by the time Swansea start to threaten Simon Mignolet, it will already be game over. Prediction: Swansea City 1 Liverpool 2

These are my thoughts on this weekend's action. What are yours? Leave them in the comments below.

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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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