Premier League Gameweek three is upon us and it’s the last round of fixtures before the first international break. As always, we’ve broken up the previews into two parts with this first part focusing on the Saturday games. In the early kickoff Mikel Arteta takes his Arsenal side to the Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City while there is a tasty derby at the London Stadium between West Ham United and Crystal Palace later on along with an intriguing clash between Aston Villa and Brentford. Read on for analysis, match predictions and betting tips.
Manchester City vs Arsenal
Both teams will be hoping they have got their seasons up and running after thumping wins in their last games. Pep Guardiola’s Man City stuffed Norwich in the Premier League 5-0 last time out while Mikel Arteta relieved some of the pressure on him in midweek with a 6-0 battering of West Bromwich Albion in the League Cup.
Manchester City could have Kevin de Bruyne available for this game despite the midfielder being left out of Belgium’s squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers. Phil Foden is still struggling with a foot injury while Benjamin Mendy has been suspended from the team while he deals with criminal charges. With Gabriel Jesus and Jack Grealish performing so well last week it could be Bernardo Silva making way for de Bruyne, while John Stones could come onto the bench.
Arsenal have struggled massively this season, losing their opening two games in the Premier League and they face another tough away trip. They could be without Bukaya Saka for this game after the England midfielder hurt his knee in the thrashing of West Brom, and while Gabriel has returned to training England defender Ben White is likely to miss out having recently tested positive for coronavirus. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should return having scored a hat-trick in midweek and will probably replace Gabriel Martinelli.
Man City are unbeaten in their last nine games against Arsenal, taking 28 points from a possible 30 against the Gunners under Pep Guardiola.
Newcastle United vs Southampton
It’s been a tough start to the season for Steve Bruce’s men, having lost both their opening games and then suffering the ignominy of going out on pens in midweek in the League Cup to Burnley. Joe Willock was unable to continue his scoring run against Villa but the Magpies were unlucky to have a penalty award scrubbed off for the tightest of offside decisions. They’re still without both first choice keepers and Freddie Woodman will continue between the sticks for a while yet. However, Matt Ritchie is second in the Premier League for chances created this season with nine and it could be the former Portsmouth and Bournemouth man is key against Southampton.
Southampton picked up a creditable draw with Manchester United last weekend while a much-changed side ran rampant against Newport County in the League Cup scoring a club record eight goals away from home. Goals for Armando Broja on his debut as well as Nathan Redmond puts pressure on first choice strikers Che Adams and Adam Armstrong to continue their good form so far this season. New defensive signing Lyanco won’t play however, as this game has come too soon for the former Torino man to make his bow. One man who could be key for Southampton is Theo Walcott, who has been involved in more goals against Newcastle United than against any other club.
Newcastle have lost just one of their last 16 home Premier League games against Southampton.
Brighton and Hove Albion vs Everton
Brighton have had a fabulous start to their Premier League season so far, winning their opening two games against Burnley and Watford. Now they are hoping to make it three in a row, as is Neal Maupay who has scored as many goals in the opening two games this season as he had in his previous 18 league appearances. He is facing a late fitness test due to a shoulder injury but is expected to start. Enock Mwepu and Danny Welbeck could also feature but both may have to be content with spaces on the bench.
They face an Everton side who followed their opening day win with a tough fought 2-2 draw with Leeds United at Elland Road. One of the interesting players to watch for Everton could be former Birmingham City and Leicester man Demarai Gray, who has looked a bargain since his £1.5M move from Bayer Leverkusen. Alex Iwobi has a slight knock and could be out of this one, while Colombian playmaker James Rodriguez is likely to miss out again with injury.
Brighton have never lost in eight Premier League meetings with the Toffees, winning two and drawing two at the Amex Stadium.
West Ham United vs Crystal Palace
West Ham United come into this game top of the table following two fantastic wins to start their season. David Moyes’ men followed up their 4-2 away win over Newcastle United with a 4-1 win over Leicester last weekend. Key to their fine form has been how well the frontmen are playing; in two games Michail Antonio has three goals and two assists despite missing a penalty against Newcastle and Said Benrahma has two goals and two assists. They are the first two players to both score and assist in both of their team’s opening games of a season.
Crystal Palace on the other hand have had it tough. An opening day 3-0 thumping by Chelsea was followed by a 0-0 draw at home to Brentford last weekend. Patrick Vieira has moved to improve his squad further by pursuing midfielder Will Hughes from Watford and while he hasn’t signed yet it’s expected he will for a fee of around £6M. It won’t be in time for this game however, and with Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze still out the Eagles are lacking a bit of flair in the forward lines.
Both teams have scored in each of the last eight meetings between these two teams in the Premier League.
Norwich City vs Leicester City
The return to the Premier League has been a baptism of fire for Norwich City. Their first two league games have seen them play Liverpool and Manchester City, conceding eight goals and scoring none. However a much-changed team in midweek smashed Bournemouth 6-0 in the League Cup and two debutant starters pushed their cases to be included in the line up for the visit of the Foxes. Greek winger Christos Tzolis scored two and made two more, while US forward Josh Sargent also scored twice and assisted once. Sargent came off the bench to replace Teemu Pukki in the last game and could start this one while Tzolis could come in for Kosovar wideman Milot Rashica.
An opening day win over Wolves for Leicester City was brought back into perspective by a 4-1 battering by West Ham United and Foxes manager Brendan Rodgers needs to ensure his charges quickly get back to form. He will be without Ayoze Perez who received his marching orders against the Hammers, which could see a way for Kelechi Iheanacho to return to the starting line-up. Belgian full back Timothy Castagne is pushing for a return to the first XI while Jamie Vardy will be hopeful he can end a barren run which has seen him fail to score in his last 11 Premier League away games.
Leicester City have won five of their last six away games against newly promoted teams with the only defeat coming to Norwich in February 2020.
Aston Villa vs Brentford
It’s been a mixed bag for Aston Villa this season; defeat to Watford on the opening day was wiped away with a great win against Newcastle United last weekend. An acrobatic finish from Danny Ings has done wonders for a fanbase mad about Jack Grealish leaving, while the defence has been bolstered by the capture of Axel Tuanzebe on loan for his third spell at Villa Park. Jamaican winger Leon Bailey is out with a hamstring injury while Ollie Watkins is likely to miss out with a knee injury. Brazilian forward Wesley was on the bench last week but it’s known he is likely to move on, and after bagging a hat trick in the midweek 6-0 win over Barrow in the League Cup young striker Cameron Archer could have put himself into contention for a spot as a substitute.
Brentford have enjoyed a good return to the top flight with an opening day win over Arsenal followed up by a 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace. While Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbeumo drew a blank last weekend they should continue up front despite Marcus Forss and Yoane Wissa both scoring in the midweek 3-1 win over Forest Green Rovers in the League Cup. Ethan Pinnock should be fit to play despite picking up a knock on his ankle against Palace.
Brentford have not lost in their last six meetings with Aston Villa (all in the Championship), winning three times and drawing three times.