Premier League, Week 7 preview and fixtures: It's a good time for Manchester City to wake up

Laurence Griffiths

Manchesters City and United have good opportunities to win and avoid full-blown crisis-mode, while Tottenham and Arsenal look to establish themselves as truly legitimate title contenders.

Manchester City vs. Everton

Etihad Stadium; Saturday, 12:45 GMT/7:45 AM ET

It's been a pretty rough week for City, with a loss to Aston Villa on Saturday and a complete undressing at home courtesy of Bayern Munich coming mid-week. Manuel Pelligrini's side currently sit 7th in the league having suffered losses to both Villa and Cardiff, and the start to City's new era has clearly gotten off to a rockier start than hoped. The same can't be said for the beginning of the Roberto Martinez regime at Everton, as the Toffees remain the Premier League's only unbeaten side and have won three in a row coming into the weekend.

This is a good test for both sides; City is clearly obscenely talented and there's no compelling reason to believe that Pellegrini is out of his depth, but three losses in an eight day span would be a significant blow to confidence. Where Everton is concerned, coming away from the Etihad with aa result would bolster their case as legitimate Champions League contenders in a season where the race from the top four looks to be more wide open than usual.

Cardiff City vs. Newcastle

Cardiff City Stadium; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

Neither of these sides have done much to convince anyone they'll be able to avoid the relegation battle come season's end, but both have given some glimpses of promise; Cardiff with their stunning win over Manchester City, Newcastle with dominant wins over Fulham and Aston Villa and a spirited loss to a very good Everton side. Newcastle have the look of a team that will struggle for consistency but is capable of beating anyone on the right day, while Cardiff looks very much like a side that will make life tough for every opponent they face. This likely won't be the most exciting game of the weekend, but the outcome could be fairly important once spring rolls around.

Fulham vs. Stoke City

Craven Cottage; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

It's becoming increasingly apparent that this is not a very good Fulham team. Their only win of the season came against Sunderland in the opening weekend, and it's been pretty unpleasant going since then. Things haven't been much better for Stoke in the results department thus far, but they're at least tolerable-ish to watch now so I guess that's something. But yeah, probably skip this one.

Hull City Tigers vs. Aston Villa

K.C. Stadium; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

If anyone can figure out what Aston Villa's deal is, I'll give you ten dollhairs. Since they won't be expected to lose to Hull by multiple goals they'll likely play terribly, unless Paul Lambert's ploy to make Steve Bruce's side play in United shirts is successful. A win for Hull in this game could conceivably put them into the top four, and though the results that would make such a thing happen are unlikely that it's even a possibility two months into the season is more than a bit surprising.

Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace

Anfield; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

At some point one would expect Palace have a decent run of form, but man this is just not a very good team. Their win against Sunderland aside-because really, who hasn't beat Sunderland-they've been severely outclassed every time out this season. It's tough to see that changing against Liverpool, who look as good as they have in years. With United and City both struggling mightily the Reds may well have an opening to get back to(wards) the top, but it should go without saying that in order for that to happen games like this are must-win.

Sunderland vs. Manchester United

Stadium of Light; Saturday, 17:30 GMT/12:30 PM ET

Sunderland winning this game would be the most objectively funny thing to happen since the mirror scene in Duck Soup.

Norwich City vs. Chelsea

Carrow Road; Sunday, 13:30 GMT/8:30 AM ET

Chelsea hasn't taken the league by storm in the manner that many predicted coming into the season, but they've still lost just once-to unbeaten Everton-and they've done what would be expected of them against weaker sides. Norwich certainly falls into that category, and though Chelsea is still in the process of finding their identity under Jose Mourinho, the Blues will likely have little difficulty against a struggling Canaries team that has little to show for a very active summer transfer window.

Southampton vs. Swansea City

St. Mary's Stadium; Sunday, 13:30 GMT/8:30 AM ET

Southampton had their struggles last season, but with the young talent in the squad it was easy to understand the approach being taken. It's paid off so far this season, with the Saints sitting on 11 points and looking every bit as good to this point in the young campaign as their place in the table would indicate. Swansea was in a similar place last year, and though they've struggled a bit out of the gate there's little reason to think they aren't capable of pulling it together and making another push for Europe. Two stylish and talented teams full of exciting young players makes this a solid bet for the weekend's best game.

Tottenham Hotspur vs. West Ham United

White Hart Lane; Sunday, 16:00 GMT/11:00 AM ET

West Ham playing good teams is exciting, because it brings with it the possibility that Big Sam will be as sad as everyone else that has to watch his teams play.

West Bromwich Albion vs. Arsenal

The Hawthorns; Sunday, 16:00 GMT/11:00 AM ET

Last weekend, West Brom played host to Manchester United. Coming into the game the Baggies were given no chance; and yet, when the final whistle blew, Steve Clarke's side stood victorious over the famous defending champions. Can they make lightning strike two weeks in a row?

Probably not. Arsenal's actually good.

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