JOHN KRETLOW - Friday, August 16, 2013
Jozy Altidore looks to debut strong in Sunderland's opener against Fulham, while Geoff Cameron and Stoke City travel to Anfield to take on Liverpool.
Liverpool - Stoke City
Geoff Cameron and Stoke City look to start off the season on the right foot when they travel to play Liverpool at Anfield.
Cameron was a regular in Stoke's backline last season and is likely to start at fullback on Saturday. Brek Shea is nursing a knee ligament problem that he sustained in the preseason and will not be available.
For the Potters, this will be their first game under new manager Mark Hughes. Last season under Tony Pulis the team finished in 13th place, but this season brings higher expectations and hopes for a more aesthetic style of play.
Liverpool finished in 7th place last season and looks to press for a top four finish. To help them the Reds brought in new signings Kolo Toure, Iago aspas, Luis Alberto, and Simon Mignolet.
The home side will be without Luis Suarez who is serving suspension. Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel will miss because of injuries.
Arsenal - Aston Villa
Brad Guzan hopes to help Aston Villa notch a road victory against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
Guzan managed to take Villa's number one ‘keeper spot last season and is expected to start once again this season.
Paul Lambert's side barely avoided relegation last season, with a run of five wins in their last ten games saving the team. Villa will lean on striker Christian Benteke on the offensive end and hope that the young team grows and improves on last season's close call.
Arsenal finished last season in fourth place, however the Gunners lost many players including Denilson, Marouane Chamakh, Gervinho, Sebastien Squillaci, Johan Djourou, and Andre Santos. Nevertheless, Arsene Wenger and company look to improve on last season's accolades.
Norwich City - Everton
Tim Howard and Everton start the season off on the road when they take on Norwich City at Carrow Road.
Howard was on international duty with the United States in the midweek but is still likely to start at goal for the Toffees.
Everton hopes to usher in the Roberto Martinez era with a win and a strong season in general. The team brought in Gerard Deulofeu from Barcelona on loan in hopes of giving the team a boost.
The Canaries played the majority of last season in relegation danger, however the team pulled together in the end to win themselves another Premier League season. Chris Hughton and company look to give their fans more to celebrate this season.
The Toffees look to be without Darren Gibson, Tony Hibbert, Magaye Gueye, and Antolin Alcaraz, while Norwich will miss Gary Hooper, Sebastien Bassong, and Anthony Pilkington.
Sunderland - Fulham
Jozy Altidore looks to make a successful debut in Sunderland's home match against Fulham.
Altidore, who spent last season in Holland, arrived in Sunderland this summer and is looked upon to help the team's attacking prowess. The young American striker is coming off a three-goal game with the United States in their win over Bosnia and Herzegovina. He hopes to bring a similar performance on Saturday.
The Black Cats finished last season just three points above the drop zone and will need to improve this season to avoid another relegation battle.
Manager Paolo Di Canio made many changes to last season's team including the signing of Altidore and Italian international Emanuele Giaccherini.
Fulham finished last season in 12th place but could have finished even higher if it were not for a poor run of form at the tail end of last season. They look for success starting on day one and hope for a big road win this weekend.
Craig Gardner is on suspension and will miss for Sunderland.
Derby County - Leicester City
Zak Whitbread and Leicester City look to continue their unbeaten start to the season with a win at Derby County.
Whitbread started in last week's draw against Leeds United and is likely to start once again on Saturday.
The Foxes drew their home opener last weekend, but this time around hope to add some more spark to their attack as they finished without finding the back of the net against Leeds.
Derby has also started the season unbeaten. They beat Brighton & Hove Albion last week on the road and look to replicate that performance at Pride Park on Saturday.
Nottingham Forest - Bolton Wanderers
Eric Lichaj and Nottingham Forest hope to continue their perfect start to the season with another victory when they take on Tim Ream's Bolton at home.
Lichaj has been a fixture in Forest's starting lineup in this young season and is likely to start once again this weekend. Ream has not featured in league play this season but hopes to see the field on Saturday. Stuart Holden is a long-term injury worry for the Wanderers and will miss.
Forest has wins over Huddersfield Town and Blackburn as well as a League Cup win over Hartlepool United. They look to keep their strong run of form and confidence on Saturday.
Bolton has managed two ties to start the season and scored just two goals thus far. They hope to pick up some offense and three points this weekend to avoid last season's horrid start to the campaign.
Brad Friedel and Tottenham take on Crystal Palace on the road to start their season.
Jonathan Spector is not likely to start in Birmingham City's game against Brighton & Hove Albion. Will Packwood will miss for the Blues.
Seb Hines and Middlesbrough take on Blackpool.
Jon Paul Pittman's Wycombe Wanderers take on Mansfield Town in League Two action.