- Brighton has just one point away from home this season
- Both clubs sit on eight points through eight matches
- Hernandez, Caroll potentially out for Hammers
- West Ham has won last three fixtures against Brighton
West Ham United will host Brighton & Hove Albion on Friday from the London Stadium (Watch live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
WATCH LIVE ONLINE AT 2:30 P.M. ET FRIDAY
Both the Hammers and the Seagulls sit on eight points through their opening eight Premier League matches, which puts each club just two points above the bottom three. West Ham enters the weekend unbeaten in its last two fixtures, including last week’s 1-1 draw at Burnley.
Slaven Bilic will have some difficult decisions to make for the match as he’ll be without Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho, while Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez could potentially miss the clash as well with a hamstring issue.
The biggest challenge for newcomers Brighton thus far has been how the club has handled itself away from Amex Stadium. The team’s 0-0 draw against Watford is the only match in which the promoted side has picked up a point this season on the road.
What they’re saying
West Ham boss Bilic said in regards to better performances of late: “We have improved results. We have players back from injury and the players who missed a big part of pre-season have their match-fitness. We improved and we are on the right path, so it’s much better.”
Brighton manager Hughton stressed the importance of gaining road results: “It’s going to be about away form that’s going to be the most challenging. It’s a game away from home, in a big stadium, against a very talented team.”
Brighton has had its fair share of struggles away from home, but West Ham is certainly at a disadvantage with some of its biggest names likely out for Friday’s encounter. The fact that they’re playing on a Friday allows less time for Bilic’s men to get healthy, so it’s easier to lean towards Brighton. They’ll get their first victory on the road this week. 2-1 Brighton.
- Man Utd leads all-time 79W-54D-65L
- Two draws last season
- Utd banished Liverpool from 15-16 UEL
- Reds last PL win vs. Utd came in 2014
Liverpool takes its shot at one of the hottest teams in the world when Manchester United visits Anfield on Saturday (Watch live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
WATCH LIVE ONLINE AT 7:30 A.M. ET SATURDAY
The Reds are seven points back of United, and a 10-point disadvantage after eight games would still feel insurmountable at this stage in the season, so the desperation will be on Jurgen Klopp‘s side (especially as many question his tenure in charge of Liverpool).
Mourinho knows how to work toward a title, and may keep his men penned in deep at times against Liverpool. This is indeed the club’s toughest test of the early season, and a first loss would bring many questions Mourinho will not want to answer with any sort of enthusiasm.
What they’re saying
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp on his detractors: “I don’t think I’m perfect but it’s difficult to find better options. If 99 per cent of Liverpudlians think we’re going the right way then it’s okay. The good old times where we dominate for 20 years will not come back either. Our job is to fight with every point. We had to improve to get into situation we’re in. If they sacked me now I don’t think a lot of managers would do the job better.”
Mourinho on playing Liverpool: “When people speak about big atmosphere it looks like we don’t like it. It is what we want. I am surprised you speak about that in a negative way. I am even more surprised when ex players speak about the atmosphere as if it was something sinister or to worry about. If we could have the same atmosphere in every match we would.”
Liverpool’s attackers will test United in a new way, but the Reds have more concerns with how their beleaguered back line handles the Red Devils. Mourinho may play it tight, but Manchester United will find a way to get three on the road, 2-1.
- Away team has won five of six
- Palace goalless, winless through seven
- Chelsea leads all-time 21W-15D-10L
A fixture that has been anything but predictable gives moribund Crystal Palace a bit of hope versus Chelsea this weekend, though being at home has not been a boon to either London side in this series (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
WATCH LIVE ONLINE AT 10 A.M. ET SATURDAY
The visitors have claimed all three points on four-straight occasions between Palace and Chelsea, and the Blues will be keen to strike following a loss to Man City which dipped them six points back of the throne.
Both teams have their star attackers the fittest they’ve been this season, with Eden Hazard ready to roar for Chelsea and Wilfried Zaha‘s Palace return imminent.
But Chelsea has concerns with Alvaro Morata and N'Golo Kante out, though David Luiz returns from suspension.
What they’re saying
Palace’s Zaha on life at Selhurst Park: “Players are not robots. You have got feelings. Bad games, good games, your emotions change all the time. Having someone who is just going to ask you now and then how you are makes a big difference, especially for me. It [feeling loved] is massive. I am a confidence player. So even just having the fans signing, “he’s just too good for you!” . . . these people proper love me. When my confidence is high I am able to do things that I do not even think I could do.”
Chelsea’s Hazard on his return: “I missed football for three months [and] it’s not easy to come back after a big injury but I did. I worked out during the summer. I just want to play football. I will miss some games, I will play bad for some games. I just want to play football and try to bring the best of me.”
It’s difficult to keep a straight face and pick Palace to get anything from a match right now, and even Zaha’s probable return coupled with some Chelsea injuries won’t lead us down that path. Chelsea 3-0.
- Hosts have won last four matches
- Arsenal leads all-time 70W-31D-38L
- WBA last won at Arsenal in 2010
Arsenal watched as all of their traditional Top Four rivals posted big wins Saturday, and must do the same Monday when West Bromwich Albion visits the Emirates Stadium (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET and online via NBCSports.com).
WATCH LIVE, ONLINE AT 3 P.M. ET MONDAY HERE
The Gunners have just seven points through five matches, but have claimed four of the last six available including a scoreless draw against Chelsea.
West Brom have one more point, but have dipped in form after a red-hot start. The Baggies have one point in their last three Premier League outings.
What they’re saying
Arsene Wenger on choosing his front three: “First of all, the fact that they can compliment each other well. You need to have the potential to be strong on counter-attacks, potential to be strong to get in behind defenders, potential to combine with each other as well. All these kinds of ingredients come into your mind and the whole thing has to be well-balanced.”
Tony Pulis on his luck against Arsenal: “I’ve got a great record against them at home for whichever clubs I’ve managed in the Premier League – but I must admit the record at their stadium is the opposite. It would be nice to change that. It will be a real, real tough game but the players should take some confidence into it after their performance against Manchester City.”
The Gunners seem to be coming around to form, even with some injuries and absences. A win puts them within striking distance of the Top Four, and the Gunners shouldn’t have too much of a problem making that happen at home with a 3-1 win.
- First meeting since 1997 (League Cup)
- Town leads all-time 22W-7D-10L
- Irons: minus-8 goal differential
- Town yet to lose in PL
West Ham’s next chance for its first points of the Premier League season comes with a Monday visit from surprising Huddersfield Town (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
The Irons have had to stew on a 3-0 loss to Newcastle United, and return to play after an international break with a spot at the table’s rock bottom.
[ STREAM: West Ham vs. Huddersfield Town ]
Town sits sixth in the table and can claim a share of the Premier League lead on points with a win at the Olympic Stadium on Monday. David Wagner‘s men have yet to concede a goal in Premier League play.
West Ham’s two goals this season have both come from Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.
What they’re saying
West Ham star Michail Antonio on the import of points: “It’s just one of those things where we’ve had a bad start and made a couple of mistakes. We need to pick ourselves up and just keep moving forward. It’s important to win because we have got to get some points on the table, especially with Burnley and Newcastle winning again. We need to put our heads to it and keep going.”
Huddersfield Town manager Wagner on Bilic’s struggles: “I think it’s totally correct (to say the criticism is unfair) because he gets back to play three difficult away games, and in one they got a red card very early (the 3-2 defeat at Southampton). They have come out of pre-season into three away games, but now is the time for him to correct it and I wish him all the best after the game on Monday.”
Bilic’s embattled men send Town back to Earth with a 1-0 win in London.