Swansea v West Ham - Liberty Stadium, 12.45pm
Swansea produced a five-star performance in their Premier League opener and will aim to replicate that display against West Ham United.#
Michael Laudrup’s first match as manager of the Welsh club resulted in a 5-0 whitewash of QPR at Loftus Road, with Spaniard Michu’s brace setting the tone.
The 26-year-old, a two-million-pound close-season signing from Rayo Vallecano, played a leading role in Swansea’s biggest-ever top-flight victory, eclipsing the 5-1 demolition against Leeds on the opening day of the 1981/82 season.
Nathan Dyer also bagged a brace against QPR, while Scott Sinclair, who has been linked to Manchester City after refusing to sign a new contract, netted a goal of his own.
Laudrup was clearly delighted with the win.
“To win away from home on the opening day of the season is big,” he said. “The five goals are something extra for you (the media) and the supporters.
“The most important thing was that we won.”
It will be a complete contrast of football philosophy when West Ham make the trip to Wales on Saturday.
Sam Allardyce is known for his direct approach and while effective, they will need to remain patient against a Swansea side who regularly dominate possession.
West Ham handed manager Allardyce oversaw victory in his side’s first outing following their return to the top flight, edging Aston Villa 1-0 at Upton Park.
Kevin Nolan tapped in a 40th-minute goal for the newly promoted London side after some good work from Portuguese striker Ricardo Vaz Te and Allardyce is in a confident mood heading into Saturday’s match.
“Our fixture list hasn’t given us any of the big boys in the opening games so you’ve got to try to take advantage,” the former Bolton, Newcastle and Blackburn manager said.
“Not that I’m suggesting any game is easy as a newly promoted team, but it gives you a much better chance to play to your best. If you play to your best against the big boys you can still get beaten.
“Hopefully against Swansea it continues where we left off and we collect those points before we go into that period where you expect life might be a more difficult for us.”
The two teams last met in a top-flight fixture during the 1982/83 season, when West Ham triumphed 5-1 in Wales.
Aston Villa v Everton – Villa Park, 3pm
Aston Villa’s Charles N’Zogbia has conceded he must contribute more in the front third as his side brace for Saturday’s meeting with Everton.
Frenchman N’Zogbia played 24 matches for Villa in the English Premier League last season, scoring two goals and contributing four assists.
The 26-year-old attacking midfielder believes he can do a lot more for his team up front this season.
“I definitely need to be getting a few more goals and a few more assists, that would be good,” N’Zogbia said.
“The thing I’ve got in my mind is just to play my best, to show my skills and that would be a good start.”
Villa finished 16th last season and started the new campaign with a 1-0 defeat away to West Ham.
New manager Paul Lambert will be disappointed with his side’s failure to score having had 66 percent of possession at Upton Park.
Lambert selected Darren Bent, Stephen Ireland, new signing Brett Holman and N’Zogbia as the main attacking threats in his line-up and although Villa managed 13 shots to West Ham’s eight, the visitors from Birmingham only hit the target twice.
Lambert’s Everton counterpart, David Moyes, will be thrilled with his side’s opening-round result after they defeated Manchester United 1-0 on Monday.
Everton will head to Villa Park hoping they can build some momentum after their victory at home over United.
Moyes’ side have not won more than three of their opening 10 matches of a league season since 2007/08, and the Scot is desperate to change that this time around.
“We haven’t started recent seasons very well and even tonight’s result doesn’t tell you we have started the season well, just as if we had lost tonight, we wouldn’t have said we’d started the season badly,” Moyes said.
“I think you judge how you have started a season after 10 games.
“I’ve tried just about everything to try and get off to a good start and we tried something else this year.”
Moyes has a couple of injury concerns leading into Saturday’s game with striker Nikica Jelavic and defender Sylvain Distin picking up knocks against the Red Devils.
Manchester United v Fulham – Old Trafford, 3pm
Fulham’s opening-day hero Mladen Petric has warned they cannot win 5-0 every week as the Londoners prepare for a trip to Manchester United.
Petric scored twice and set up another goal in Saturday’s rout of Norwich, his first league match for Fulham after joining from Hamburg in June.
Despite his heroics, the Croatian striker was eager to focus on the collective effort of Martin Jol’s side after the game.
“I’m happy I was able to provide the assist but most important were the three points and that we played a good game together as a team,” Petric said.
“It wasn’t just one or two of us who played well.
“We didn’t concede a goal, we defended very well, and that was important in a big first game.
“It was a fantastic day for us with an amazing crowd but of course, it cannot be like that every week.”
Petric scored 45 goals in 89 games across four seasons with Hamburg and while the 31-year-old Croatian struggled last term, Fulham manager Jol believed he was worth a gamble.
Jol and Petric worked together when the Dutchman was head coach of Hamburg in the 2008/09 season.
“I feel, especially if you are not Barcelona or Real Madrid or Manchester United or Chelsea, you should get quality in when they are not playing well,” Jol said.
“That is what I did with Petric.”
United are Fulham’s next opponents and the Red Devils will be desperate to get on the winners’ list after they lost 1-0 away to Everton on Monday.
Everton took advantage of Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to play midfielder Michael Carrick in central defence as big Belgian attacker Marouane Fellaini dominated United and scored the winning goal.
Jonny Evans was expected to return from an ankle injury against Fulham but Ferguson believes neither he, nor fellow defenders Rio Ferdinand, Chris Smalling or Phil Jones will be fit in time for the clash at Old Trafford.
After a 5-0 opening day victory, Jol is expected to name the same line-up against United with Alexander Kacaniklic also having impressed against Norwich.
The 21-year-old Swedish midfielder scored from Petric’s flick-on to make if 4-0 on Saturday and was a constant menace for Norwich’s defenders.
Norwich v QPR – Carrow Road, 3pm
Norwich City welcome Queens Park Rangers to Carrow Road on Saturday with both sides looking to avenge their disastrous opening day defeats.
Both Chris Hughton and Mark Hughes watched on as their teams were humiliated 5-0 against Fulham and Swansea respectively.
New signings Michael Turner and Robert Snodgrass debuted for Norwich but were unable to prevent defeat and Hughton has called on his troops to bounce back this weekend.
“You have to remember it’s the first game of the season. Defeats are defeats, and you have to be able to bounce back and learn from them,” he told the club’s official website.
“We got a harsh lesson, and the players and myself need to learn from this. We need to make sure it makes us stronger and more resilient.”
Norwich completed the double against QPR last season, recording two 2-1 victories.
But it will be a different encounter with the west London side also reeling from their loss to Swansea, which Hughes described as ‘embarrassing’.
“If you’re not careful it can be embarrassing if you’re two or three behind and you’re chasing the game,” he said.
“It was certainly that.”
Debutants Robert Green, Junior Hoilett, Fabio and Park Ji-Sung all started the match but offered little against the Welsh outfit, who had failed to score in five of their previous six trips to Loftus Road.
Hughes is known for his ruthless approach so expect to see QPR up and about for this clash from the beginning.
Wigan’s James McArthur fights for possession with Chelsea’s Eden Hazard in last week’s season opener.
(C) Peter Byrne/PA Wire/Press Association Images
Southampton v Wigan – St. Mary’s, 3pm
There was plenty to like about Southampton despite their 3-2 defeat to Manchester City, while the same could not be said about Wigan.
Southampton had only lost one of their last five league games away to City heading into the match, and although times have significantly changed, the newly promoted side came within a whisker of taking all three points on their return to the Premier League.
Steven Davis, formerly of Rangers, and Rickie Lambert cancelled out the opening goal from Carlos Tevez to hand Nigel Adkins’ side a surprise 2-1 lead against the defending champions with less than 20 minutes remaining.
But they were eventually pegged back through goals from Edin Dzeko and Samir Nasri.
Adkins walked away heartened by the display of his charges, even if he was a little disappointed not to have at least claimed a point.
“I’m obviously very proud of the players, but it’s about winning games of football – that’s our endeavour,” he said.
Next up for Southampton is a match against Roberto Martinez’s Wigan at St Mary’s.
Wigan were outplayed by Chelsea in their league opener and looked off the pace but showed signs of progression in the 2-0 defeat according to midfielder James McArthur.
“When you look at what happened against Chelsea here two seasons ago, it just shows you how far we’ve come since then,” he said.
“Going two behind so early might have made people think here we go again but, we showed great mental strength and put them under pressure for the majority of the game.”
And the former Hamilton Academical midfielder is well aware of the threat Southampton will pose.
“They’re going to be raring to go and we know what we need to do because we played all three promoted teams in a row last season and we know that they’re going to come out all guns blazing,” the 24-year-old said.
“We need to impose ourselves on every game because with our style of play it helps to stop other teams controlling the match.”
Sunderland v Reading – Stadium of Light, 3pm
Reading travel to the Stadium of Light for the first time since Sunderland’s promotion to the English Premier League in 2007.
Sunderland hosted Reading in September 2007 following their return to the top flight after Roy Keane guided the club to an unbeaten run of 17 games and top spot in the Championship.
Kenwyne Jones and Ross Wallace found the back of the net in a 2-1 victory on a day Sunderland paid tribute to club legend Ian Porterfield, who had passed away a week earlier.
Since that memorable day almost five years ago, Sunderland has new owners and a new manager in Martin O’Neil.
The former Aston Villa and Celtic manager was given the task of reinvigorating the club’s fortunes in December last year and his team’s campaign got off to a promising start with a goalless draw at Arsenal on the opening day.
New signing Carlos Cuellar was a standout performer on his debut and the Spaniard believes his team can mix it with the best on their day.
“It’s very important to start well because you realise you are a strong team, have quality players and you can beat anyone,” the ex-Aston Villa defender said.
“To play against Arsenal, one of the top teams and favourites to reach the top four, and get a point a point with chances to score, it’s a good game to build your confidence.
“If you’re working and doing your job properly, you can get a result against anybody.”
As for Reading, they have endured a mixed start upon their return to the big time.
The newly promoted outfit salvaged a 1-1 draw at home to Stoke on the opening day before losing to Chelsea 4-2 midweek.
Fernando Torres scored the decisive third goal, which seemed to be from an offside position, but despite the decision and result, McDermott could not be prouder of his players.
“We felt there was something for us at 2-2 and we could have got another goal,” he said. “I certainly don’t feel we deserved to lose the game.
“What you have to do is move on very quickly. I thought it was a great game. We’ve come to the European champions and put on a real performance and it shows we deserve to be here.
“We’re trying our best to play the best football we possibly can. I told myself when I took this job we’d try and win games.”
Tottenham v West Bromwich Albion – White Hart Lane, 3pm
Andre Villas-Boas was unable to make a winning start to life at Tottenham and it will not get any easier against West Bromwich Albion.
Tottenham, who have failed to win at St James Park since 2004, were beaten 2-1 by Newcastle on Saturday after Hatem Ben Arfa converted an 80th minute penalty for the hosts.
Demba Ba put Newcastle nine minutes ahead in to the second half before Jermain Defoe, Spurs’ loan striker, levelled proceedings on 76 minutes and Villas-Boas heaped praise on his sole marksman.
“He always has this killer instinct,” he said. “He scored in midweek for his country, scored for us during pre-season and again (at Newcastle).
“He is showing that touch that we need up front.”
However, Defoe may not be alone for much longer with Emmanuel Adebayor close to rejoining Tottenham permanently.
As for West Brom, the Midlands outfit is coming off a remarkable 3-0 victory over Liverpool at The Hawthorns in Steve Clarke’s first match as manager.
Clarke’s side had only recorded one win in 11 English Premier League encounters with Liverpool at home, which dated back 31 years but emphatically ended their dismal run on the opening day courtesy of a stunning strike from Zoltan Gera and goals from Peter Odemwingie and Romelu Lukaku.
Clarke’s name echoed around the stadium as West Brom handed Liverpool their worst opening day defeat in 75 years and they head to White Hart Lane with their tails up.
Defoe was the hero when these two sides last met in January, with his 63rd-minute goal proving the difference but both clubs have witnessed changes in coaches and philosophy since.
Chelsea v Newcastle – Stamford Bridge, 5.30pm
Chelsea will host Newcastle on Saturday in what is shaping up to be one of the matches of the round.
Chelsea will be looking to continue their solid early season form which has seen them defeat Wigan and Reading, while Newcastle will be hoping to build on their promising win over Tottenham in their opening league fixture.
The Londoners will hope they can atone for last season’s 2-0 loss at Stamford Bridge to Newcastle which will be remembered for a Papiss Cisse screamer in a game which played a major part in the Magpies finishing above the Blues on the league table.
Roberto Di Matteo’s side has looked sharp early in the campaign, particularly going forward, with new signing Eden Hazard already showing why he is one of the most exciting players in Europe.
However, their defence has looked shaky at times, typified by the two goals Reading were able to score against them on Wednesday.
Di Matteo will be hoping to eradicate those problems as his side face their toughest test of the season thus far.
Newcastle go into the game full of confidence after their hard-fought 2-1 victory over Spurs last weekend, although they had to settle for a 1-1 draw at Atromitos in Europa League qualifying on Thursday.
Alan Pardew’s side will be hoping that injured trio Cheick Tiote, Demba Ba and Fabricio Coloccini recover in time for Saturday’s clash after they were left out of the team that travelled to Greece.
Ryan Taylor equalised for Newcastle in Greece but may still have not done enough to earn a place against Chelsea.
Pardew said: “I should think in the Premier League, there are not too many players at dead balls who have the accuracy of Ryan.
“He is desperate to play in the first team, but he has got some good performances from Saturday’s game against Tottenham in front of him, so he has got to be patient.
“When he gets his chance, what more can he do? He played very well – and hopefully there are a few more of those, please.”
Chelsea’s injury list is far less extensive, with new signing Marko Marin the only absentee as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury that has marred his start to the season.
But if star signing Hazard continues to fire, Chelsea could be set for a third win in as many league games to start the campaign.