After a VAR filled week of excitement, the Premier League returns this weekend for matchweek four. It’s the last matchweek before the international break, which will see two weeks off from the Premier League. For some, the rest will be needed, as a congested combination of League Cup, European and league ties means fitness is at risk. For others, though, the break isn’t much of a break at all. Plenty of teams have a collection of players who will get the call for international duty, and with many national teams playing three matches during the break, fitness issues may multiply.
Before the break, let’s take a look at what’s to come in another exciting weekend of Premier League football.
Match of the Week: Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur
One of the clubs dying for the break is Tottenham Hotspur. With three matches in the last week—league Sunday, League Cup Tuesday, Europa League Thursday—players have to be gassed. But there’s no rest for most of them. While Gareth Bale will be ready to debut and Son Heung-min will be ready to return after the break, most of the club will be playing in international ties. The biggest risk for Spurs is star man Harry Kane, who has barely rested during the season and captains the England side. Manager Jose Mourinho asked England manager Gareth Southgate to rest Kane, but Southgate refused to commit to that.
Manchester United are, of course, another club full of international superstars. They’ve struggled in the league as of late, though, finding themselves in 14th. Of course, they’ve played a match less than most of the league, but they’ve only won one against questionable opposition. Their first match of the season saw them lose in embarrassing fashion to Crystal Palace, 3-1. Last week, they left it late to grab a winner against Brighton. How late? A VAR check after the match had ended gave Bruno Fernandes a penalty, which he put away to win in the 100th minute.
Tottenham’s form, on the other hand, has been a bit more positive. Sunday saw a disappointing draw against Newcastle, caused by a questionable free kick that led to a questionable penalty, but the rest of the week has been positive. A win on penalties against Chelsea in the League Cup Tuesday was followed up by a win against Israeli side Maccabi Haifa Thursday. With midweek rotation, Tottenham should be able to put out a relatively strong side this weekend, so expect an entertaining clash between two of England’s biggest clubs.
Best of the Rest
Leeds United vs Manchester City
After an exciting loss to Liverpool matchweek one, newly promoted Leeds United have won their last two games. This weekend, they face another tough test. Manchester City have looked both like the best team in the world and a mid-table side since the restart last season, so it will be interesting to see how they come out against a fiery underdog Leeds side. Although they breezed to victory in the League Cup Wednesday, they’ll still be looking to bounce back from a tough loss on the weekend. Expect goals in this one. Leeds has a habit of scoring them.
Leicester City vs West Ham
Is it 2016 all over again? Once again Leicester find themselves on top of the Premier League table. Sure it’s only been three games, but things are looking good in the East Midlands. A 5-2 win over Manchester City shows they’re for real this season. As for their opponent, while West Ham were predicted to be relegation candidates at the beginning of the season, things are looking up for them. Last weekend saw a shock 4-0 win over Wolves, a team who were thought to be a potential European candidate. Was it just a flash in the pan for the Hammers, or will they be able to break the league leading Foxes?
Aston Villa vs Liverpool
The last match of matchweek four is a matchup between two top four sides. Aston Villa has been on a hot start, winning both of their opening matches. While they likely won’t last in the top four, they look like a completely different squad than the nearly relegated team of last season. As for Liverpool, they’ve done what they’re expected to do. The defending champions have won all three of their matches, with the only close call opening week against Leeds. They’re coming off a disappointing League Cup loss to Arsenal on penalties—days after beating them in the league—so expect them to be motivated against a strong Villa side.
Matchweek Four Full Schedule
Saturday 3 October
7:30am ET: Chelsea v Crystal Palace – Peacock Premium
10am ET: Everton v Brighton – NBCSN
12:30pm ET: Leeds United v Man City – NBC
3pm ET: Newcastle United v Burnley – Peacock Premium
Sunday 4 October
7am ET: Leicester City v West Ham – Peacock Premium
7am ET: Southampton v West Brom – Peacock Premium
9am ET: Arsenal v Sheffield United – Peacock Premium
9am ET: Wolves v Fulham – NBCSN
11:30am ET: Man Utd v Spurs – NBCSN
2:15pm ET: Aston Villa v Liverpool – NBCSN
Make sure to check out our EPL page for more updates!
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