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Freedom without American football

Manchester City leads Newcastle at the Etihad, but it isn’t the blowout I expected. The defending Premier League champions are up 2-1 after 69 minutes.

Liverpool and Chelsea each went to 12 points earlier today, which I expected.

The Reds bested Leicester City 2-1 in the East Midlands, with the Foxes pulling together a fine performance in the second half, although it wasn’t enough to offset the terrible defending which allowed Liverpool to tally twice in the first half.

Chelsea scored twice in the second half to dismiss Bournemouth 2-0 at Stamford Bridge. The Blues still have their kinks to work out under Mauricio Sarri, but a lot better to do it when you’re 100 percent through four matches than any alternative.

West Ham is stuck on zero points, losing 1-0 to Wolverhampton at London Stadium as the Wolves scored late in second half stoppage time. It is Wolverhampton’s first PL victory since the spring of 2012. All that spending and what has it gotten the Hammers? Not a darn thing. The Championship looms in East London.

The draw I predicted on the south coast came to pass, and it came to pass by the exact score I predicted: Brighton & Hove Albion 2, Fulham 2. The Cottagers had the match dead to rights with a 2-0 lead, but their defense is a sieve. The Seagulls certainly would have dropped all three points had it been most any other team, save maybe West Ham or Cardiff, but they came back strong to gain a point at home. Considering Brighton has tallied only 11 points in 21 away matches since going up, it had better get all the points it can at the AMEX Stadium.

The other draw so far today was Everton 1, Huddersfield 1 at Goodison. The Terriers played a 5-4-1, bunkering in and trying to keep the Toffees from doing much damage. It worked to give Huddersfield a critical point. Every point figures to be critical for Huddersfield, who will be in or near the drop zone all season. Everton, though, has to be kicking itself after blowing winnable games with Bournemouth and Huddersfield. Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea will not be so forgiving.

Southampton shocked me with a 2-0 victory at Crystal Palace. This has got to be depressing for Roy Hogsdon. Very depressing. Losing at home by the same score to Liverpool is completely understandable. Losing away to Watford is completely understandable. But this result is very bad. If Crystal goes down and/or Southampton stays up, remember this match.

It’s 1300 CDT (1900 BST), and I must say, it is beyond liberating not to be a slave to the boob tube watching college football. I am not controlled by kickoff times. I am not controlled by the game being tied with two minutes to play. I am free to do what I want. And I love it.

Ready for some jolly good football

When I wake up tomorrow morning, the first thing I’m watching is Leicester City vs. Liverpool at 0630 (1230 British Summer Time).

Matchweek Four in the Premier League. I feel a bit out of place not drinking hot tea and munching on crumpets while watching, but my homemade sausage muffins (for Leicester-Liverpool) and cold cut sandwiches (for Manchester City-Newcastle at 1130 CDT/1730 BST) will do fine.

I’m hoping the Foxes will recapture some of the magic that spurred them to the 2015-16 PL championship, but I’m also a realist. Liverpool is playing out of this world through its first three matches, and I can’t see Jurgen Klopp’s men giving any ground at the KP. Leicester will make it quite entertaining, but the Reds head back to Liverpool with 12 points out of a possible 12.

The featured match at 0900 CST/1500 BST is Chelsea welcoming Bournemouth to Stamford Bridge. The Cherries showed quite a bit of heart after rallying from 2-0 down to Everton last Saturday at Dean Court to pull out a draw, but that will be fatal this time. The Blues have taken well to Mauricio Sarri following last season’s rocky ride under Antonio Conte. Eddie Howe’s men have a fighting shot to leave London with a point, but I can’t see it. Chelsea matches Liverpool at 12 points.

Elsewhere in that 1500 BST window, two matches have rout written all over it: Crystal Palace vs. Southampton at Selhurst and Everton vs. Huddersfield at Goodison. The home teams clearly have the upper hand in these.

Huddersfield can’t score, and the Toffees have to be angry after dropping two points on the south coast last week. Roy Hogsdon’s team has lost two in a row after winning on opening day at Fulham, and the Eagles figure to get well against a Saints team which couldn’t hold a 1-0 lead at home in losing to Leicester last week.

Fulham is feeling good after a 4-2 victory over Burnley at Craven Cottage, but it now goes to the south coast to face Brighton & Hove Albion, which defeated Manchester United 3-2 the last time it took the pitch at AMEX Stadium. This one ends in a 2-2 draw.

West Ham is at the foot of the table, and Wolverhampton comes to London following a thrilling draw vs. Manchester City at Molineux. The Hammers will still be stuck on zero when full time arrives. Wolves win their first Premier League match since 2012.

Manchester City vs. Newcastle? Pep Guardiola’s side will run riot over the Magpies at the Etihad. Considering City was hosed on two calls last week at Molineux, it will leave no doubt. I would not be shocked if City scores seven or eight.

Sunday’s early match (0730 CDT/1330 BST) is Cardiff hosting Arsenal. The 1000 CDT/1600 BST fixtures are Manchester United at Burnley and Tottenham at Watford. More on those next time.

I need to get to bed! I won’t have this problem next weekend, because there are no PL matches.