The international break is done and dusted as the Premier League is back in action, with Cristiano Ronaldo’s Manchester United homecoming the headline of this weekend’s fixtures. Matchday 4 is set to throw up some exciting encounters, and we’ve got you covered with previews and tips for the key matches!
Sunday 12:00am AEST, Old Trafford
After 4,491 days since he last played for the Red Devils, Cristiano Ronaldo returns home to Old Trafford after a shock return to Manchester United late in the transfer window. Fellow signing Raphael Varane starred on his debut for United in their 1-0 victory over Wolves in their last outing, with the Red Devils adding superstar talent at each end of the pitch, as they look to hunt down their crosstown rivals in the chase for the title.
Newcastle are languishing in seventeenth place on the Premier League table with just one point from their opening three games. Newcastle have conceded eight goals in their three games against West Ham, Aston Villa and Southampton, and they could be in for some serious punishment at Old Trafford. Coming up against a side with a red hot Mason Greenwood (3 goals, ranked 2nd in the league), Bruno Fernandes (3 goals, ranked 2nd), Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo, there could be plenty of goals put past a struggling Newcastle defence. United have scored 11 goals in their last three Premier League fixtures against Newcastle, with an aggregate score of 11-3 across those matches. The Red Devils have had the wood over Newcastle for a long period of time, with an 11-2-3 in their last sixteen Premier League games against Newcastle.
Manchester United’s defence has been in outstanding form to kick off the season, conceding just two goals from their opening three games, with David De Gea in excellent touch after his remarkable performance against Wolverhampton. This matchup looks ugly for Newcastle, as they could get exposed badly at both ends of the pitch. With the momentum of Ronaldo’s return adding another difficult facet to the clash, it’s going to be a tough day at the office for Steve Bruce’s men. United will continue their unbeaten start to the season with a convincing win at home.
Sunday 12:00am AEST, St Mary's Stadium
Once again West Ham have been the surprise packet of the Premier League season, sitting in second place after an impressive start to the season. The Hammers have begun their campaign with two wins and a draw, with their attacking flair once again taking the league by storm. West Ham have scored a league best ten goals, with Michail Antonio leading the golden boot race with four goals. The Hammers head to St Mary’s Stadium to take on Southampton that is coming off a 2-2 draw against Newcastle.
Southampton sit in thirteenth place on the table with two draws and a loss to begin their campaign in uninspiring fashion. The Hammers have had five individual goal scorers so far this season, the third most for a team in the Premier League, only behind Chelsea and Man City, showcasing the attacking firepower they have at their disposal. West Ham have been dominant over the last three years against Southampton, with a 6-1-0 record over the Saints since 2018.
The Hammers have scored 15 goals in those 6 victories, and with 10 goals from their first three games this season, they’ll be full of confidence heading into this fixture. West Ham provide excellent value in a clash between second and thirteenth, particularly given their recent record against Southampton. West Ham’s balance in midfield and attack will overpower Southampton, and extend their winless start to the season.
Monday 5:00am AEST, Goodison Park
The final fixture of Matchday Four sees the unbeaten Everton host the winless Burnley at Goodison Park. Rafa Benitez has his side firing on all cylinders, with seven points out of a possible nine to start the season. Burnley were expected to be in a relegation battle this season, and their statistical profile suggests they’re going to be headed for a battle for survival. The Clarets rank seventeenth for goals with just two goals from three games, nineteenth for possession, and despite being renowned for their defensive prowess under Sean Dyche, they’re yet to record a clean sheet.
The Toffees have been electric in attack this season, scoring seven goals through the opening three games of the season, the third most in the Premier League.Burnley have struggled to pose an attacking threat with their inability to create attacking chains through midfield, and it’s hard to see them finding a flow that can match it with one of the best attacking teams in the league. Goodison Park hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for the Clarets, who have lost five of their seven games in the Premier League at the Toffees home.
The gap in talent between the two sides, as well as their gamestyles is going to be too much for Burnley. With the Clarets posing next to no threat forward of centre, Everton are going to be able to gain serious control of this game and should dominate possesion, and create an abudance of opportunities for their in form attackers. The Toffees will be too good for a struggling Burnley outfit at Goodison Park.
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