Premier League preview
Red Devils go to Stoke; City host Toffees; Gunners face Trotters
By Chris Burton. Last Updated: September 23, 2011 1:02pm
Manchester United will put the Premier League's only 100 per cent record on the line this weekend, while Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool will be hoping for home comforts.
Newcastle and Aston Villa be looking to make it six games without defeat and Tottenham head to the North West aiming to secure a third victory on the bounce.
Finally, Roy Hodgson welcomes one of his former employers to the Hawthorns with West Brom stuck at the foot of the top flight table.
Manchester United are now the only side in the Premier League to still boast a perfect record and have been scoring goals for fun in recent weeks. Stoke are the next side charged with the task of trying to halt the Red Devils juggernaut, while attempting to make amends for a sorry showing at Sunderland last weekend. The Potters required penalties to see off Tottenham in the Carling Cup in midweek, but Tony Pulis is likely to make sweeping changes to the team that figured in that game. United should be fresh after resting players for their trip to Leeds on Tuesday, and you can catch all the action from the Britannia Stadium on ESPN from 5.30pm on Saturday.
Click below for individual match previews and stats:Saturday
Man City v Everton
Arsenal v Bolton
Chelsea v Swansea
Liverpool v Wolves
Newcastle v Blackburn
West Brom v Fulham
Wigan v Tottenham
Stoke v Man Utd
QPR v Aston Villa
United wrap up Saturday's action, while their arch-rivals Manchester City get the weekend up and running. The Blues saw two points slip through their grasp at Fulham in their last top flight fixture and will still be smarting when they welcome Everton to the Etihad Stadium for a game that can be seen live on Sky Sports HD2 and in Sky 3D from 12.30pm. The Toffees will make the short journey from Merseyside looking to build on a recent run that has seen them pick up seven points from their last three outings.
Arsenal find themselves languishing in 17th place in the table, with just one win to their name, and desperately need to establish some momentum in a home date with out-of-sorts Bolton. Arsene Wenger saw his men slip to a 4-3 defeat at Blackburn last weekend and make hard work of Shrewsbury in the Carling Cup. He will, however, feel that now is a good time to be facing the Trotters. Owen Coyle's men have lost four on the bounce since opening up with a convincing win at Queens Park Rangers and are currently second from bottom in the top flight standings.
Chelsea left Old Trafford last Sunday feeling they had been harshly treated by the match officials, with manager Andre Villas-Boas lodging a complaint to referees' chief Mike Riley. The Blues must put those grievances to one side, though, when they welcome Swansea to Stamford Bridge. The Swans have made a steady start to their debut campaign among English football's elite and secured their first Premier League victory against West Brom last time out. Chelsea are a formidable force on home soil, though, and will be keen to give former coach Brendan Rodgers a harsh reality check.
Liverpool, following a bright start, have suffered back-to-back defeats in the league and need to address that wobble before they fall too far behind the frontrunners. A meeting with Wolves will provide them with an ideal opportunity to rediscover their league form. Not that Mick McCarthy's side will be a pushover. Wolves may have also tasted defeat in their last two fixtures, but they will have fond memories of their last visit to Anfield - when they left with a 1-0 victory.
Newcastle are performing admirably under Alan Pardew and are one of only four sides yet to taste defeat in the league this season. They could have done without seeing their Carling Cup clash with Nottingham Forest in midweek go to extra-time, but can take plenty of positives from that tie - not least the return to action of Hatem Ben Arfa. The Magpies will be looking to bring Blackburn back down to earth with a bump this weekend, with Rovers' thrilling victory over Arsenal last weekend giving manager Steve Kean a bit of breathing space.
Tottenham blasted four goals past nine-man Liverpool in their last Premier League fixture and will be looking for more of the same when they go to Wigan. The DW Stadium has not been a happy hunting ground for Spurs down the years, though, with only two victories secured in their five previous trips to the North West. The Latics will be looking to pick up at least a point in their latest meeting, with successive defeats seeing them slip down the table.
The final fixture on Saturday sees West Brom boss Roy Hodgson square up to one of his former employers. Fulham are the next visitors to the Hawthorns and will arrive in the Midlands still searching for their first victory of the season. The Baggies and the Cottagers have both taken three points from their opening five fixtures and find themselves languishing inside the relegation zone. There is, however, still plenty of time for them to turn things around.
Sunday brings only one game this weekend, as Queens Park Rangers entertain Aston Villa in front of the Sky cameras. Neil Warnock's side, led by Joey Barton, eased past Wolves in their last top flight fixture, suggesting they are ready to make their mark back among the big boys. They will, however, have their work cut out against Villa. Alex McLeish may not have been a welcome appointment among a certain section of Villa supporters this summer, but the Scot has overseen an unbeaten start to the season - that has included four draws - and has his team sit sixth in the early standings. You can catch all the action from Loftus Road on Sky Sports HD1 from 3.30pm.