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EPL Previews: Casemiro debuts at Southampton against Aribo and teammates

The Premier League season is only three weeks old but already there has been plenty of drama.

Manchester United recovered from their humbling at Brentford with a vital 2-1 win over Liverpool in the final game of Matchday 3, buoying Erik ten Hag and generating some much-needed optimism.

Elsewhere, Newcastle matched title favourites Manchester City with an aggressive, high-intensity display at St James’ Park, enough to earn a 3-3 draw.

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And Chelsea were stunned by an impressive Leeds side, falling to a 3-0 defeat at Elland Road.

Manchester United will hope to build on their spirited victory over Liverpool when they travel to Southampton.

Much of the focus will be on new signing Casemiro, who will be available for selection after his £60m move from Real Madrid.

Ten Hag now has more options in midfield and showed signs of tactical pragmatism in the Liverpool win, so there is reason for optimism.

But Southampton will represent a very different test, one more akin to Brighton and Brentford. United will again be allowed to control possession, while the home side look to force errors and counterattack.

The Saints have had a mixed start to the season, losing their opening game 4-1 to Tottenham before earning a respectable draw at Leeds from two goals down and beating Leicester 2-1 last time out.

It’s difficult to predict how Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men will perform, then, but the aim will likely be to replicate Brentford’s front-foot display against a United team that remain vulnerable defensively.

Brentford were brought back down to earth last weekend following their dismantling of United, falling to a 3-2 defeat at Fulham thanks to an injury-time header from Aleksandar Mitrovic.

That result means Thomas Frank’s side have won one, drawn one and lost one from their opening three games, though there is plenty to be encouraged about for Bees supporters.

They will hope to make the Community Stadium something of a fortress this season, particularly given the ease with which they swept United aside.

Everton have been involved in some low-scoring affairs so far this season, so another tight game could be on the cards in west London.

Anything other than a win here will likely increase the pressure on Frank Lampard as his side search for their first three points of the campaign.

With just a single point on the board after three games and a difficult trip to Leeds – followed by the Merseyside derby – coming next, this feels like an important match for the Toffees.

Ivan Toney got the only goal from the penalty spot when the two sides last met at the Community Stadium in November.

This is an intriguing clash between two sides who have made excellent starts to their respective seasons.

Brighton currently sit fifth, having beaten Manchester United and West Ham and drawn with Newcastle. Leeds, after their 3-0 win over Chelsea last weekend, are 3rd and earning the plaudits of fans and pundits around the country.

Both teams are on seven points and both are unbeaten, so it could be that there is little to separate them at the AMEX Stadium.

Graham Potter’s impressively well-organised Brighton were better away from home last season, and that trend appears to be continuing this term with victories at Old Trafford and the London Stadium already.

That might encourage Leeds, who are without doubt a more formidable prospect when roared on by the Elland Road faithful.

Regardless of the outcome, expect a tactical battle between two of the Premier League’s sharpest minds in Potter and Jesse Marsch.

Chelsea are in need of a response after their dismal defeat at Leeds.

Plenty of questions are being asked of Thomas Tuchel’s side in the aftermath of that result, which left the Blues with four points from their first three games.

They will be without Kalidou Koulibaly after his red card in Yorkshire, and Leicester will hope to capitalise on any defensive vulnerabilities at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

But Brendan Rodgers’ side have also been out of sorts in the early weeks of the campaign, losing against Southampton last time out after a heavy defeat at Arsenal and a disappointing draw to Brentford on the opening day.

Chelsea will be clear favourites for this one, but they will need an improvement on recent performances. For Thomas Tuchel, a convincing win is essential.

Leicester, meanwhile, need a positive result to ignite their season. Much has been made of their lack of transfer activity, but they are a team capable of far more than they have shown up to this point.

Things don’t get any easier for Bournemouth on their return to the Premier League.

After an encouraging win over Aston Villa on the opening day, they’ve been heavily beaten at Manchester City and against Arsenal, and now face the prospect of a trip to Anfield.

It’s perhaps slightly less daunting given Liverpool’s start to the season. Their defeat at Old Trafford left them with two points from three games and in desperate need of a victory on Saturday.

Jurgen Klopp will still be without the suspended Darwin Nunez, while injuries continue to be a problem in other areas of the pitch.

Bournemouth will hope to frustrate a Liverpool side lacking their usual firepower, but it will be another uphill task for Scott Parker and his players.

For the Reds, this looks like the perfect fixture to kick start their season.

Man City, unsurprisingly, look a frightening prospect at the Etihad Stadium this season.

Newcastle gave them a scare at St James’ Park last weekend, but stopping Pep Guardiola’s side on home soil is an entirely different prospect.

Crystal Palace, though, do have experience of leaving City with all three points. They did exactly that last season, winning 2-0 thanks to goals from Wilfried Zaha and Conor Gallagher.

The former has started this season superbly, scoring twice in his side’s 3-1 win over Aston Villa last Saturday.

Patrick Vieira’s team should go into this with some confidence, then, especially after a battling draw at Anfield earlier this month.

But City now have more tools than ever to unlock stubborn defences, with Erling Haaland hitting the ground running and Kevin De Bruyne in superb form.

After a slightly erratic display at Newcastle, expect City to dominate again when Palace come to town.

A London derby of sorts wraps up Saturday’s Premier League football, with Mikel Arteta’s high-flying Arsenal hosting Fulham.

The Gunners have started the season in fine form, sitting top of the table as the only side with a 100% record after three matches.

There is more optimism at the Emirates than there has been for years, and it’s hardly surprising. Gabriel Jesus looks an inspired signing, as does his former Man City teammate Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Arteta appears to have put all the pieces together, after a few years of patient building and progression.

Fulham could provide a stern test for Arsenal, though. Marco Silva’s side are yet to lose and look far better prepared for this stint in the Premier League than their previous two.

With a fluid and effective style of play and Mitrovic firing in goals for fun, the Cottagers are not to be taken lightly this season.

On Sunday Aston Villa play West Ham , both in urgent need of points, even at this early stage of the season.

Steven Gerrard is under real scrutiny after a slow start to the season, with defeats to Bournemouth and Palace hardly encouraging supporters.

He remains something of an unknown quantity as a Premier League manager, and even four weeks in the pressure can begin to mount.

David Moyes has built up more of a buffer at West Ham, but zero points from the first three games is an unquestionably poor return.

After the standards set in recent seasons, the club’s fans are unlikely to tolerate the depths of the Premier League for long.

Something has to give at Villa Park on Sunday. The hosts edged to a win over Everton in their last home outing, which has at least given them something to build on.

West Ham, it could be argued, have had a tricky start, facing Man City before a trip to newly-promoted Nottingham Forest and a clash with Brighton.

But there are no easy points in the Premier League, and Moyes’ team will need to step things up against Villa.

Wolves are in something of a transitional period under Bruno Lage as they look to move away from their five at the back, counter-attacking style of play.

There have been some teething issues so far, with just one goal scored in their opening three games. That has led to a return of one point, leaving Wolves in the bottom three heading into Sunday’s fixture.

New signing Matheus Nunes made his debut in last weekend’s 1-0 loss at Tottenham and will be expected to start again. Lage will hope his drive and energy in midfield can help a Wolves side lacking in inspiration.

For Newcastle, the aim will be to pick up where they left off after their impressive draw against City.

Eddie Howe’s side have suffered a blow with the news that Callum Wilson has a hamstring injury, which could leave them short of numbers in attack.

But the Magpies head into this game with their unbeaten record intact and confidence flowing.

Nottingham Forest didn’t take long to get their first win on their return to the Premier League.

The newly-promoted side, back in the top flight for the first time since 1999, beat West Ham on matchday two at the City Ground.

Steve Cooper’s team followed that up with a commendable 1-1 draw at Everton, but expectations have increased significantly after a summer of big spending for the Championship play-off winners.

Morgan Gibbs-White made his debut against Everton after a £42.5m move from Wolves, while striker Emmanuel Dennis could feature for the first time on Sunday following his switch from Watford.

Tottenham, meanwhile, will be looking to build on their strong start to the season, with a 1-0 win over Wolves last time out enough to take Antonio Conte’s side up to fourth in the early standings.

Harry Kane has started the campaign in clinical form, with two goals already to his name. Son Heung-min and Dejan Kulusevski continue to look a real threat, too, and there is a balance about Spurs that should stand them in good stead for the season.

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