There are some intriguing storylines set up for the games across Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday as Liverpool and Man United face tricky trips to lower-league opponents, while Southampton host Tottenham, Norwich head to Burnley and Arsenal travel to Bournemouth in two all-PL ties.
Brentford hosting Leicester is one for the purists, while West Brom, Millwall, Hull City and Oxford will all fancy their chances of knocking out their Premier League opponents as plenty of teams will rotate their squads.
Below we reveal our score predictions for each game, while you can follow all of the action live by clicking on the link above.
Northampton Town 0-3 Derby County – 3 p.m. ET
QPR 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday – 3 p.m. ET
SATURDAY (all 10 a.m. ET kick offs unless otherwise stated)
Brentford 1-2 Leicester – 7:30 a.m. ET
Burnley 3-1 Norwich City Coventry City 1-3 Birmingham City Millwall 1-1 Sheffield United
Newcastle United 2-0 Oxford United
Portsmouth 2-1 Barnsley
Reading 2-0 Cardiff City
Southampton 1-1 Tottenham
West Ham 1-2 West Brom
Hull City 1-3 Chelsea – 12:30 p.m. ET
Man City 2-2 Fulham – 8 a.m. ET
Tranmere 1-3 Man United – 10 a.m. ET
Shrewsbury 1-4 Liverpool – 12 p.m. ET
Plenty of focus over the next few weeks will be given to the many Americans playing in the Premier League and Bundesliga, but the seasons of several USMNT prospects, alumni, or current players in the lower levels are already underway.
Antonee Robinson, Wigan Athletic — The Latics purchased Robinson from Everton, and USMNT fans will be hoping the left back continues to grow with full-time duty in England’s second tier.
Matt Miazga, Reading (loan from Chelsea) — Reading also liked what it saw from the gumption-filled American center back, and Frank Lampard has shipped the former New York Red Bull out for a second stint.
Andrija Novakovich, Reading — A loan stint in the Eredivisie saw goals in bunches, but some cold streaks. Can he earn regular playing time at his parent club?
Eric Lichaj, Hull City — The Tigers captain has been a mainstay in England, and has performed well when called upon by the national team. He just hasn’t been called too often.
Geoff Cameron, QPR — The longtime Stoke City man just signed a deal to return to the R’s.
Duane Holmes, Derby County — Will the creative midfielder rebound from his summer injury to impress new manager Phillip Cocu.
Tim Ream, Fulham — The longtime defender is back with the Cottagers following relegation to the second tier.
Also of note: Cameron Carter-Vickersis currently with Spurs, as he’s yet to play in preseason due to injury. He’s been linked with a loan to Leeds United after spending last season on loan to Swansea City and Ipswich Town. There’s also Lynden Gooch at Sunderland, still in League One after failing in a bid to reclaim a place in the Championship. Gboly Ariyibi of Nottingham Forest is reportedly wanted by Motherwell after a loan stint there last season. QPR’s Giles Phillips has been loaned to League One’s Wycombe Wanderers.
Green, Greuther Furth — In addition to Friday’s goal, he’s gone 90 in both of Furth’s matches so far this season.
Khiry Shelton, Paderborn — He’s yet to appear in a match through two matches this season, but made two sub appearances last season.
Kevin Lankford, FC St. Pauli — The 20-year-old left winger is yet to appear for FCSP through two weeks.
Bobby Wood, Hamburg — The same is true for Wood, who went on loan to Hannover 96 last season.
There are several other dual nationals, like Ken Gipson of Sandhausen, but they are not yet on the USMNT radar.
After much movement, much speculation, and lots of ups and downs, the top of the Serie A table changed little from the positioning entering the weekend.
Juventus topped Sassuolo 3-0 to restore its 11-point lead at the top of the table, while AC Milan took care of Cagliari 3-0 to move back into fourth place after falling as far as seventh due to other results.
The Old Lady maintained its iron grip over Serie A with a dominant win, grabbing goals from Sami Khedira, Emre Can, and of course Cristiano Ronaldo. While Sassuolo managed to grab 50% possession in the match, they could only muster two shots on target, including none in the final hour of the game.
Ronaldo created the opener 23 minutes in as he worked space near the penalty spot and unleashed a ripper, and while that was saved well by Sassuolo goalkeeper Andrea Consigli, Khedira was there to tap in the rebound at the far post. Ronaldo got his goal on a powerful header in the 70th minute to put the game away, and Can added the cherry on top with four minutes remaining, finding the far post with a low effort from a tight angle. Ronaldo also failed to get through the 90 minutes without a blooper, as he inexplicably rifled a powerful rip straight into Khedira’s face at the top of the box despite his teammate standing almost right next to him.
Milan, meanwhile, picked up a critical result in a match marred by protests. Cagliari struggled to leave its training ground earlier in the weekend as local farmers protested plunging dairy prices, hoping to stop Cagliari from making the trip to the San Siro, wanting the club to use their high profile to make a statement. The team eventually traveled, but ran into a buzzsaw.
Suso was responsible for creating the opener, as his left-footed curler was saved by Alessio Cragno, only for the rebound to ping directly off Cagliari defender Luca Ceppitelli and into the back of the net. 21-year-old Lucas Paqueta doubled the Milan lead in the 22nd minute on a cross from Davide Calabria that found Pacqueta charging to meet at the back post, scoring his first Serie A goal after joining in early January. Krzysztof Piatek made it 3-0 with 20 minutes to go on a scrappy goal that he poked through the legs of Nicoló Barella with Cragno way out of net.
While it appears the top two places in the table have been all but locked up with Juventus on 63 points and Napoli on 52, the final two Champions League spots in the Serie A table are being fought for tooth and nail. Inter, who beat Parma 1-0 on Saturday, sits third with 43 points, while AC Milan moves back into the final position with 39.
Below Milan sits Atalanta, Roma, and Lazio all on 38 points, with Torino at 34, Sampdoria at 33, and Fiorentina at 32.
Elsewhere on Sunday, Atalanta also picked up a 2-1 win over SPAL on a 79th goal from white-hot Duvan Zapata, who grabbed his 15th goal in his last 10 Serie A games. He picked up the winner on the break, with Hans Hateboer providing the fast-break delivery from the right after being sprung through by a wonderful chip from Marten De Roon.
Torino defeated Udinese 1-0 at home to stay in the hunt, with the lone strike coming from former Chelsea youth product Ola Aina just past the half-hour mark on a header, finishing a cross from Cristian Ansaldi after spectacular one-on-one work on the left flank. Torino shot-stopper Salvatore Sirigu also saved his fifth-straight penalty, off the foot of Rodrigo de Paul.
Bologna and Genoa drew 1-1 on a pair of first-half goals by Mattia Destro and Lukas Lerager that cancelled out. The teams combined for 25 shots, including eight on target, but the second half was a dud as Bologna pulled out of the relegation zone but only on goal differential.
18. Fulham — Havard Nordtveit will help the back line, but they needed much more aid in defense. Ryan Babel looks lively enough to give some hope to the team and freedom to Aleksandar Mitrovic. Can Lazar Markovic quickly find form after not making meaningful minutes since May at Anderlecht? Last week: 19 Season high: 11 Season low: 20
17. Burnley — The performances have improved and the Peter Crouch for Sam Vokes swap makes sense — Vokes wanted regular time, Crouch a return to the PL — but the Clarets added nothing else. That’s playing with fire. Last week: 16 Season high: 13 Season low: 20
16. Southampton — Ralph Hasenhuttl has proven himself adept at managing Saints’ talent, but the lack of January additions accompanying a number of veteran departures may hurt “Ralphampton.” Last week: 14 Season high: 13 Season low: 20
15. Newcastle United — Beating Man City and signing both Miguel Almiron and a potential upgrade on Paul Dummett was enough to pull the Magpies even higher, but then Everton held onto Idrissa Gana Gueye and Palace landed Michy Batshuayi on loan. Now what’s fair to expect from Almiron? Last week: 17 Season high: 13 Season low: 19
14. Everton — Holding onto Gana keeps Marco Silva‘s men just ahead of a slide down our rankings. In fact, they move up a spot thanks to Saints’ disappointment in the market and versus Palace. Last week: 15 Season high: 5 Season low: 15
13. Brighton and Hove Albion — The loss at Fulham was bad, and the Seagulls failed to show January ambition to meet their Top Seven potential. Maybe that’s a reflection of the true expectations on the roster, but Chris Hughton probably wanted a bit more. That said, a return to health for Alireza Jahanbakhsh could be the elixir needed if he finds his attacking form and some Premier League comfort. Last week: 12 Season high: 9 Season low: 19
12. Crystal Palace — How impactful might the addition of Michy Batshuayi be to the Palace strike corps? It will allow Roy Hodgson to both use him in isolation but also running off of Christian Benteke if the fellow Belgian finds his form. Even if Batshuayi doesn’t discover the form he had on loan at Borussia Dortmund last season, he should rejuvenated at home in London (and his wingers are a bit more like the BVB fellas than the ones Valencia proffered him). Last week: 13 Season high: 6 Season low: 17
11. West Ham United — Can Marko Arnautovic re-earn his teammates’ trust now that he’s staying at the London Stadium? Because the club’s performance against Wolves was… not good. Last week: 9
Season high: 6
Season low: 20
10. Leicester City — A well-earned point against Liverpool, even if the Foxes should’ve probably been done one via penalty. Youri Tielemans is the right kind of risk, on loan no less, for the window and Leicester’s needs. Claude Puel might just hand Tielemans his mojo back. Last week: 10 Season high: 7 Season low: 13
9. Bournemouth — Beating Hammering Chelsea to end a transfer window which included adding Nathaniel Clyne from Liverpool — again, why, Jurgen? — and holding onto Callum Wilson is reason enough to celebrate: The Cherries have finally beaten one of the big boys this season. Last week: 10 Season high: 6 Season low: 14
8. Watford — Falling apart late at Spurs wasn’t ideal, especially given Tottenham’s injuries. Keeping Abdoulaye Doucoure is very much ideal. Last week: 8 Season high: 4 Season low: 14
7. Wolves — Probably not chasing down Manchester United, Chelsea, or Arsenal, but in clear pole position to finish seventh and dance from the Championship into the Europa League. Last week: 7 Season high: 5 Season low: 13
6. Chelsea — Put us in the camp backing Maurizio Sarri over his crew of three-manager quitters, but that won’t drag him back into his players’ good graces. Look for Gonzalo Higuain to pay dividends soon. Last week: 6 Season high: 1 Season low: 6
5. Arsenal — Denis Suarez was a nice get, especially if Unai Emery can re-inspire the Spaniard back to his Sevilla and Villarreal best. That said, the defense is playing with fire. Last week: 5 Season high: 2 Season low: 9
4. Manchester United — The fightback to draw Burnley was nice, but we knew United had that in them. It will be very intriguing to see if the Red Devils have a Champions League run in them with Neymar missing for PSG, but are you expecting them to handle Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani at the same time? Anthony Martial re-signing was a solid move on the final day of the window, but do they have enough cover at center back? Last week: 5 Season high: 4 Season low: 14
3. Man City — We still expect City to rise above Spurs and keep second place on lock, but the loss to Newcastle was their fourth in nine PL outings. And adding a center midfielder in addition to Fernandinho would’ve given them depth and a jumpstart on next season’s title run. Last week: 2 Season high: 1 Season low: 3
2. Tottenham Hotspur — Would’ve been nice to see another Lucas Moura-like signing this month. Breaking down Watford for a comeback win amongst a forgiving run of fixtures gives hope to a Top Three finish. Last week: 3 Season high: 2 Season low: 8
1. Liverpool — The Reds will have to choke even worse than their last title effort to lose the title given their fixture list, but Jurgen Klopp did his side no favors in loaning Nathaniel Clyne (and not starting Fabinho against Leicester City. How does he remain unconvinced by the ex-Monaco man?). Last week: 1 Season high: 1 Season low: 4