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Premier League Matchday 4: Big boys back in action after international break
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Matthew Hill
Cristiano Ronaldo is in line for his second Manchester United debut this weekend
Cristiano Ronaldo is in line for his second Manchester United debut this weekend

After a fortnight off, the Premier League is back with a bang this weekend.

Get yourself fully prepared for the action with our bumper preview, delivering the key facts, stats and injury news for all 10 Matchday 4 fixtures.

Crystal Palace vs Tottenham (Saturday, 12.30pm, BT Sport)

Early leaders Tottenham will look to maintain their 100% record when they travel to Crystal Palace in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off.

The omens are certainly good for the visitors, with Spurs having won 10 of the last 12 top-flight meetings between the pair and drawn the other two in an unbeaten run that stretches back to January 2015. 

Three opening victories under Nuno Espirito Santo have all been earned via a 1-0 scoreline and their last five trips to Selhurst Park have each seen the North Londoners net exactly one goal.

Palace are one of eight teams still searching for a first win of the campaign, Patrick Vieira’s troops arrive fresh from encouraging back-to-back draws — though their 20 shots taken so far is the lowest tally in the division.

Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher, who netted twice against West Ham, will hope to continue his hot start at Selhurst Park while the away side are set to be without the trio of Davinson Sanchez, Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero due to quarantine restrictions.

Arsenal vs Norwich (Saturday, 3pm)

Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will hope to hit the goal trail again when the Gunners face Norwich
Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will hope to hit the goal trail again when the Gunners face Norwich

Arsenal will start a Premier League game bottom of the table for the first time since August 1992 with Norwich the visitors to the Emirates.

Home boss Mikel Arteta desperately needs three points to ease the pressure in North London after a pointless start and will hope the Gunners’ impressive head-to-head record against their opponents continues.

The Canaries have not won any of their last seven league clashes with Arsenal and have shipped three or more goals in four of their five top-flight visits to the Emirates. 

Daniel Farke’s side have also started their campaign with three straight defeats, though they were much improved in their most recent outing — a narrow 2-1 home loss to Leicester.

They will need to keep skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang quiet, with the Gabonese star having netted braces in both of the meetings between the sides in the 2019-20 season.

Brentford vs Brighton (Saturday, 3pm)

Brentford and Brighton clash in England’s top tier for the first time, having previously done battle in the second, third and fourth divisions.

It is a first meeting between the clubs since Brighton’s promotion out of the Championship in 2016-17 and the Bees enter the clash on a 15-match unbeaten run — the longest active streak in England’s top four divisions.

After starting their maiden Premier League campaign with a win and two draws, Brentford can become only the second promoted side after Portsmouth (2003-04) to go unbeaten in their opening four outings.

But they may struggle to see much of the ball against the Seagulls, who have completed 61 sequences of 10 or more passes in their opening three fixtures — only Manchester City (72) rank higher.

Home hotshot Ivan Toney opened his top-tier account against Aston Villa and will lead the line once again while Solly March (hamstring) is back in contention for the visitors.

Leicester vs Manchester City (Saturday 3pm)

Jamie Vardy netted a hat-trick against Manchester City last term and already has two goals to his name in 2021-22
Jamie Vardy netted a hat-trick against Manchester City last term and already has two goals to his name in 2021-22

Champions Manchester City will need to be at their best to negotiate a tricky trip to FA Cup holders Leicester.

The Foxes have proven a thorn in the side of their opponents in recent times, producing a remarkable 5-2 win at the Etihad last term while also edging the Community Shield 1-0 last month.

Brendan Rodgers’ men also boast the impressive record of having beaten three of the last five Premier League winners to visit the King Power Stadium, most recently turning Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool over 3-1 last term.

This is the only fixture in Premier League history to be played 20 or more times where the away side have won over 50% of meetings, while there have also been no draws in the last 11 clashes with the Citizens winning seven of those.

Leicester will be missing the suspended Ayoze Perez while Pep Guardiola is still without Kevin De Bruyne (ankle) and Phil Foden (foot).

Manchester United vs Newcastle (Saturday 3pm)

All eyes will be looking for Cristiano Ronaldo’s name on the teamsheet as Manchester United welcome Newcastle to Old Trafford.

Should he be given the nod, the 12 years and 188 days since his last Premier League match will become the longest such gap between appearances in history, while his last goal for United was a May 2009 free-kick against Manchester City.

The Red Devils have a fine home record against Newcastle, winning 26 of their last 36 such meetings and losing only once — when David Moyes was in the dugout in December 2013.

The Magpies have opened the scoring in six of their last eight league meetings with their prestigious opponents but only two of those resulted in victories.

Mason Greenwood will hope to keep his place as he attempts to become the fourth teenager to score in four straight Premier League appearances after Robbie Fowler, Nicolas Anelka and Francis Jeffers.

Jadon Sancho (knock) looks set to be available for the hosts but visiting boss Steve Bruce has been served a double injury blow, with Callum Wilson (thigh) and Ryan Fraser (ankle) both sidelined.

Southampton vs West Ham (Saturday 3pm)

Michail Antonio has been named the Premier League Player of the Month for August
Michail Antonio has been named the Premier League Player of the Month for August

Southampton must find a way to snap a rotten recent streak against West Ham when the two sides meet at St Mary’s.

The Saints have lost six of their last seven meetings with the Hammers — failing to find the net on five of those occasions, which hints that a strong rearguard effort could be required.

That has not been something which Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have found easy to come by, however, with only one clean sheet in their last 24 Premier League games — and they will come up against a particularly potent opponent here.

Since David Moyes returned to East London in January 2020, West Ham are one of only four clubs to have scored 100 goals in the top tier alongside Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool. 

What is more, their red-hot marksman Michail Antonio has scored and assisted in his last three Premier League and can become the first player ever to do so in four consecutive games.

Stuart Armstrong (calf) and Theo Walcott (knock) will miss out for the hosts while new boys Kurt Zouma and Nikola Vlasic are in contention to feature for the away side.

Watford vs Wolves (Saturday, 3pm)

Bruno Lage takes his Wolves side to newly-promoted Watford hoping for a change of fortune following three narrow defeats to start his spell in England.

The Hornets have failed to follow up their impressive opening day victory over Aston Villa but return to home soil looking to extend a club-record run of 10 straight league wins at Vicarage Road.

Home boss Xisco Munoz has overseen eight clean sheets on that run too and will be confident of adding a ninth given the visitors still hunting their first goal of the 2021-22 campaign.

Though points and goals are yet to flow for Wolves, performances have been encouraging and their 57 shots across their opening clashes is the third-highest total in the division — suggesting their opponents’ net will bulge sooner rather than later.

Brazilian teenager Joao Pedro is nearing full fitness for the hosts and could feature while the visitors have no fresh injury concerns.

Chelsea vs Aston Villa (Saturday, 5.30pm, Sky Sports)

Victory for Chelsea would see them become only the second side to reach 600 Premier League victories after rivals United  (689) when Aston Villa visit the capital in Saturday’s late kick-off. 

The Blues have made an impressive start to their campaign and should arrive confident of continuing in a similar vein, having won 11 of their last 16 home games with the Villans and losing only once.

Fresh off scoring three times for Belgium in the international break, Romelu Lukaku will be searching for a first career league goal at Stamford Bridge at the 12th attempt — strikes in his last five appearances against Villa should fill the 28-year-old with confidence.

Dean Smith’s visitors have had a mixed start to their campaign but did beat Chelsea 2-1 on the final day of last season, while they were victorious on three of their six visits to the capital in 2020-21.

Villa are set to be without both keeper Emi Martinez and midfielder Emi Buendia due to the quarantine issues in South America, while the hosts are sweating on Christian Pulisic and N’Golo Kante (both ankle).

Leeds vs Liverpool (Sunday, 4.30pm, Sky Sports)

Mohamed Salah is on the cusp of 100 Premier League goals for Liverpool
Mohamed Salah is on the cusp of 100 Premier League goals for Liverpool

Liverpool head to Elland Road in Sunday’s only top-flight clash hoping to maintain an excellent recent record against Leeds.

The Whites are winless in their last eight league meetings with the Merseysiders, having to go back to 2000-01 for their last triumphs when David O’Leary’s side did the double over the Reds en route to Champions League qualification.

Marcelo Bielsa’s men finished last term with a flurry of four straight wins but are still looking for their first victory in 2021-22, though they are unbeaten in seven on their own turf.

The visitors are 13 league games unbeaten themselves, while Mohamed Salah needs one more goal to reach 100 Premier League strikes — this will be his 162nd appearance in the competition.

Mateusz Klich (coronavirus) may return for Leeds but this clash is likely to come too soon for visiting forward Roberto Firmino (hamstring).

Everton vs Burnley (Monday, 8pm, Sky Sports)

Monday night football returns to our screens from Goodison Park as Rafael Benitez’s impressive Everton side welcome struggling Burnley.

The Toffees have caught the eye in taking seven points from their opening three matches and are looking to win a third consecutive home league game for the first time since September 2019.

Benitez has seen his troops score seven goals already, the same total they had managed after 10 games last term, with new arrival Demarai Gray netting two in two and hotshot Dominic Calvert-Lewin bagging in all three outings.

Burnley, meanwhile, are still hunting a first win of 2021-22 after Leeds’ late equaliser prior to the international break, though the Clarets have won four of their last eight meetings with Everton — including a 2-1 triumph in this fixture last term.

Seamus Coleman (thigh) should be fit for the home side while Sean Dyche may be able to give a debut to new signing Maxwel Cornet.



Premier LeagueCrystal PalaceTottenham HotspurArsenalNorwich CityBrentfordBrighton & Hove AlbionLeicester CityManchester CityManchester UnitedNewcastle UnitedSouthamptonWest Ham UnitedWatfordWolverhampton WanderersChelseaAston VillaLeedsLiverpoolEvertonBurnleyCristiano Ronaldo
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