The English Premier League returns to action this weekend after an international break that felt like an eternity.
Maybe because we’ve been waiting to see some new signings debut following one of the most epic transfer windows ever. Or maybe we’ve just had three great weeks to start the season and the September break always feels like an unfair stop to a long-awaited start.
Having the break center around World Cup qualifiers always makes it slightly more interesting, especially with a packed schedule of three national team games into a nearly two-week period, but it just isn’t quite the same as the EPL.
And this week should be something special.
Cristiano Ronaldo returns to Old Trafford as a Manchester United player. It still feels funny to write that. His move back to the Premier League was lightning fast, and it has single-handedly changed the outlook of the campaign.
Hoping to squash any dramatic changes in the title race is Pep Guardiola and Manchester City, who have a tricky match at Leicester City to contend with. The final match we’ll preview is the contest at Elland Road between Leeds United and Liverpool.
The Premier League is back. Let’s get to it.
In this thread, we shall be covering all Matchweek 4 fixtures of this Premier League Weekend
Matchweek 4 Fixtures and Live Match Times
Saturday, September 11, 2021
Crystal Palace Vs Tottenham Hotspur 12:30pm (BST) 5:00 PM IST
Arsenal Vs Norwich 3:00pm (BST) 7:30 PM IST
Brighton Vs Brentford 3:00pm (BST) 7:30 PM IST
Leicester City Vs Man City 3:00pm (BST) 7:30 PM IST
Newcastle Vs Man Utd 3:00pm (BST) 7:30 PM IST
Southampton Vs Westham United 3:00pm (BST) 07:30 PM IST
Watford Vs Wolves 3:00pm (BST) 07:30 PM IST
Chelsea Vs Aston Villa 5:30pm (BST) 10:00 PM IST
Sunday September 12, 2021
Leeds United Vs Liverpool 4:30pm (BST) 9:00 PM IST
Monday September 13, 2021
Everton Vs Burnley 8:00pm (BST) 12:30 AM IST
Feel free to share your thoughts on the various matches and anything in between
Leicester City vs. Manchester City
There’s just something about this fixture these days.
A rematch of this season’s Community Shield, which ended in a 1-0 victory for Leicester, this contest at the King Power Stadium should make for excellent neutral viewing.
Guardiola’s side missed out on bringing Ronaldo to the blue side of Manchester and weren’t able to pry Harry Kane from Tottenham Hotspur. They’ll just have to settle for $139 million man Jack Grealish. That’s certainly not a bad thing. Grealish has been impressive so far and will grow into the team with each passing week.
Last season, the Foxes produced an early-season gem and dealt the champions one of their biggest losses of the campaign in a 5-2 match in which Jamie Vardy scored a hat trick. James Maddison and Youri Tielemans were also on the scoresheet for Leicester that day. Those three are the Foxes’ most talented players. If they want to experience a similar result this weekend, the trio will need to be on song against a difficult group of visitors.
Leicester are sweating on the fitness of defenders Jonny Evans and Jannik Vestergaard ahead of Saturday’s match against Manchester City.
Evans (foot) and Vestergaard (knee) are being monitored ahead of the visit of the champions and will face late fitness tests.
Summer signing Ademola Lookman could make his Leicester debut and Ricardo Pereira (hamstring) and Ryan Bertrand are likely to be available, but Ayoze Perez is suspended.
Manchester City await confirmation as to whether goalkeeper Ederson and striker Gabriel Jesus will be allowed to feature at the King Power Stadium.
Ederson and Jesus are among a host of Premier League players subject to a five-day FIFA ban after City did not release them for international duty for Brazil.
Kevin De Bruyne (ankle) is back in training and could feature but the game comes too soon for Phil Foden (foot). Zack Steffen is out after testing positive for coronavirus.
None of the last 11 league meetings between Leicester and Manchester City has finished as a draw, with the Foxes winning four to the Citizens’ seven.
Man City have won their last two away league games against Leicester, last winning more consecutive away against the Foxes between 1934 and 1954 (5 in a row).
Leicester have won three of their last five Premier League home games against reigning champions (L2), beating Liverpool 3-1 last season.
Leicester striker Jamie Vardy has scored eight goals in 10 Premier League games against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, more top-flight goals than any other player has netted against sides managed by the Spaniard. This includes two hat-tricks against the Citizens, one in December 2016 and one in September 2020.
Man City lost their last away league game of 2020-21 and their first away game this season, having lost just one of their previous 20 on the road in the Premier League (W16 D3). They’ve not lost both of their first two away games in a single Premier League campaign since 2006-07.
Manchester United vs Newcastle
Manchester United have made a much better start to the 2021/22 season when you compare it to the onset of their campaign last term. The Red Devils are indeed unbeaten after their first three outings, but have not quite been in full flow after a brilliant season opener against Leeds United, struggling versus both Southampton and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Newcastle United, on the other hand, have been rather miserable at the start of the 2021/22 season. While the Magpies have been among the goals, a frail defence has paved the way for a winless start to the campaign, although they did get their first points on the board last time out, holding Southampton to a 2-2 draw.
The reverse fixture last season saw Manchester United cruise to a 3-1 win over Newcastle, with Daniel James, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes on target, while Allan Saint-Maximin scored for the Magpies.
Manchester United vs Newcastle team news
Jadon Sancho is a doubt after withdrawing from international duty with a knock, while Alex Telles, Phil Jones and Scott McTominay are short of fitness, Marcus Rashford is definitely ruled out.
Callum Wilson, Paul Dummett and Isaac Hayden will all be assessed, with Martin Dubravka, Jonjo Shelveyand Ryan Fraser all injured, and Miguel Almironbanned from taking part by the Paraguayan FA.
Manchester United have lost just one of their last 36 home league games against Newcastle (W26 D9), with that defeat coming in December 2013 under David Moyes (0-1).
Newcastle have opened the scoring in six of their last eight Premier League meetings with Manchester United but have gone on to win just two of those (L4).
After losing three of their first six league games last season (W2 D1), Manchester United have lost just a further three in their subsequent 35 Premier League matches (W21 D11).
Cristiano Ronaldo’s last Premier League appearance was in May 2009 against Arsenal - if he plays for Manchester United in this game it will set a new record for longest gap between appearances in the competition’s history (12 years 118 days).
Man Utd star Cristiano Ronaldo’s last Premier League goal came 12 years and 124 days ago, against Manchester City in May 2009. Assuming he scores again for United, only one player has ever had a longer gap between Premier League goals - Matt Jackson (13 years and 187 days between May 1993 and November 2006).
Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 48 hat-tricks in all competitions in his club career - the first of these came against Newcastle United, in a Premier League match in January 2008.
Chelsea vs Aston Villa
Chelsea have appeared to be quite solid at the start of the season. The Blues were top class in their opening two games, as they blew away Crystal Palace and Arsenal. However, Thomas Tuchel & co. showed their resilient side last time out, as they managed to hold Liverpool to a 1-1 draw after going down to ten men at the stroke of half-time.
Aston Villa, on the other hand, have somewhat bounced back from a slow start to the season, that saw them go down 3-2 to Watford. The Villans then cruised to a 2-0 win over Newcastle United before being held to a 1-1 draw by a stubborn Brentford side. The departure of Jack Grealish has had its effect on Dean Smith’s side, and they will be eager to move on quickly to enjoy a memorable season.
The corresponding fixture last season saw Aston Villa come from a goal down to hold Chelsea to a 1-1 draw, with Anwar El Ghazi cancelling out Olivier Giroud’s first half strike.
Chelsea will be without injured N’Golo Kante and Christian Pulisic for Saturday’s visit of Aston Villa.
Striker Romelu Lukaku is available after recovering from injury, but the Blues are likely to be without defender Thiago Silva due to FIFA’s five-day international ban, while Reece James in suspended.
Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez will be absent from a league game for the first time in hisAston Villa career due to quarantine rules which also apply to Argentina team-mate Emiliano Buendia.
John McGinn, Leon Bailey and Jacob Ramsey are available but the trip to Stamford Bridge comes too soon for Bertrand Traore, who has only just returned to training after injury.
Chelsea have lost just one of their last 16 home league games against Aston Villa (W11 D4), going down 3-1 in December 2011.