Manchester United have the opportunity to go top of the table – for a few hours at least before the 5.30pm BST Anfield showdown between Liverpool and Arsenal – when they host Crystal Palace.
Palace took four points from their two visits to Manchester last season, Andros Townsend’s volley from the gods securing a shock 3-2 win at City while there was a rather less memorable 0-0 draw at United. Speaking of the latter, Palace are pleasing fans of binary sequences but not their own supporters after scorelines of 0-0 and 0-1 so far, their lack of goals a familiar problem.
The Wan-Bissaka derby is one of four 3pm kick-offs in the Premier League …
It’s Brighton v Southampton down on the south coast. Graham Potter’s reign at the Amex has already got off to a flying start with four points out of six but Ralph Hasenhüttl’s stock is down after a pair of back-to-back defeats. Brighton have won just one of their last 10 meetings with Southampton so Saints hold the historical edge.
Like Brighton, Sheffield United have also collected four points from their opening two fixtures. They continue their bid to sneak into mid-table while no-one is looking with a home game against top six wannabes Leicester. Brendan Rodgers’s side drew 0-0 at home to Wolves and looked menacing in a 1-1 draw at Chelsea last time. They need to up the goal count though and boyhood Sheffield Wednesday fan Jamie Vardy would be particularly happy to open his account for the season against the Blades.
Watford v West Ham completes the 3pm Premier League offering. The alphabet put both in the relegation zone of the pre-season table but Watford have decided to stay there after back-to-back defeats. West Ham have a point but were thrashed 5-0 by Manchester City on opening day. Good luck predicting this one. Both sides’ form can oscillate wildly and, for no good reason, West Ham won 4-1 at Vicarage Road last season.
On the subject of teams in claret and blue, Aston Villa banked their first points of the season with a 2-0 home win over Everton in the Friday night game.
In the Championship, it’s good news if you play in a white shirt (the Charlatans’ most underrated song?). Leeds, Swansea and Fulham occupy the top three places and, while wickets tumble at Headingley, Marcelo Bielsa’s West Yorkshire outfit hope to skittle rock-bottom Stoke. Fulham host Nottingham Forest but Swansea can put their legs up for the afternoon ahead of their home clash with Birmingham on Sunday.
Blackpool lead the way in League One and the Seasiders make the short trip to mid-table Rochdale. Speaking of the north-west, Crewe top League Two and bid to stay there with three points from their trip to Newport.
In Scotland, Celtic and Rangers have maximum points and 20 goals between them. Yes, after just two matches apiece! Both play on Sunday but we’ll have updates from the other four Scottish Premiership games, including third-placed Ross County at home to Livingston.
And don’t forget Europe too. Borussia Dortmund moved three points clear at the top of the Bundesliga with a 3-1 win at Cologne on Friday night while Bayern Munich, who failed to win their opener, are away to Schalke in a 5.30pm BST kick-off.
And let’s all cheer on Union Berlin, who got a rather rude awakening on their Bundesliga bow last Saturday when being tonked 4-0 at home by Leipzig. They hope for better fortunes away to Augsburg in one of five 2.30pm BST fixtures in the German top flight. Nick Ames told Union Berlin’s story last week.