Premier League statistical preview: including Newcastle vs Arsenal; Chelsea vs Crystal Palace; Swansea vs Manchester United return to preview the Premier League's key matches this weekend

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Newcastle vs Arsenal

Steve McClaren's Newcastle host Arsenal to kick-off the weekend's Premier League action, aiming to end a run of 7 straight defeats to the Gunners on Saturday. That said, the heavy defeats the Magpies have suffered at the hands of Arsene Wenger's men in recent years have all come at the Emirates, with none of the last 5 meetings between the two sides at St. James' Park separated by more than a single goal.

Neither side have looked particularly sharp in attack thus far, netting just two goals each this season and failing to score in two of their three league encounters thus far, so another tight game could yet be on the cards. The visitors will hope to have at least one of their starting centre-backs available after Mertesacker and Koscielny missed out on the game against Liverpool on Monday, while the hosts could hand a first league start to Florian Thauvin, who shone in the cup in midweek.

Much has been made of Arsenal's need for striking reinforcements but if there is one side that Olivier Giroud has not struggled against since his move to England it's Newcastle. The Frenchman has scored 8 goals in 6 appearances against this weekend's opponents - so will be aiming to build on a modest rating of 7.04 thus far.

Chelsea vs Crystal Palace

The champions may have earned their first win of the season last weekend but made hard work of it against West Brom, who missed a penalty in an eventual 3-2 defeat. The Blues certainly looked more of a threat going forward, with thanks to new signing Pedro - who earned an impressive WhoScored rating of 8.21 on his debut having opened the scoring at the Hawthorns - but problems persist at the back.

Mourinho will have to make do without John Terry, who became the second Chelsea player to be sent off already, and the West London club have conceded more shots on target than any other team this season as a consequence (24). Palace will be confident of causing their hosts problems this weekend in turn and had a debutant of their own hit the ground running last week, with Bakary Sako netting the winning goal against Villa to earn a man of the match rating of 8.51 from WhoScored.


The Eagles will also take confidence from what is a superb away record since Alan Pardew's appointment, with no side winning more matches on the road since the turn of the year (7). Chelsea will be favourites nonetheless, and rightly so, but none of the four meetings between the sides since Palace were promoted back in 2013 have been decided by more than a single goal.

Swansea vs Manchester United

It's fair to say both Swansea and United will be satisfied with their respective starts to the season, with both picking up comfortable wins in cup competitions in midweek. Swansea have been excellent going forward, with Jefferson Montero and Andre Ayew impressing on the flanks, while Bafetimbi Gomis is one of only two players to score in all 3 league matches for his club to date.

The hosts will be confident of an upset once more having done the double over Van Gaal's men last season, with that man Gomis netting the winner the last time the two met earlier in the year. However, they will have to break down one of the league's most resolute defences thus far, with United yet to concede in their opening three matches and conceding the fewest shots at goal in the process (21).


Chris Smalling and Daley Blind have formed an effective defensive partnership, with the former earning the highest rating of any centre-back this season from (7.72); enough to rank 7th in the league just behind Swansea's Jonjo Shelvey (7.81), who has also began the season in fine fashion. This will likely be the toughest test yet for United's new look backline, while Wayne Rooney must translate his form from midweek into the league if the visitors are to have their revenge for last season.

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