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Four teams that either love or hate their early Premier League fixtures


Norwich City’s Dutch striker Ricky Van Wolfswinkel (L) vies with Southampton’s Portuguese defender Jose Fonte during the English Premier League football match between Norwich City and Southampton at Carrow Road stadium in Norwich on August 31, 2013. AFP PHOTO / OLLY GREENWOOD RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or live services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo credit should read OLLY GREENWOOD/AFP/Getty Images)

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Earlier today, Joe Prince-Wright gave you a list of 10 matches to watch this season in the Premier League (though let’s face it: I’m about ready for any match and would take any two teams squaring off at this point).

[ RELATED: Assessing the big boys ]

Getting off to a good start is critical for these teams, some of whom are fresh off relegation fights and one which is searching to take the next step and make the UEFA Champions League.

So who is pleased, and who could be frustrated by the early season slate?


Sunderland: away to Leicester City, home vs Norwich City, home vs Swansea City, away to Aston Villa

With all due respect to the runs from Nigel Pearson and Tim Sherwood last season, the Black Cats have a great chance to get some space from the drop zone to start 2015-16. That said, a poor showing from the first four matches could set the stage for another awful year.

Southampton: away to Newcastle, home vs Everton, away to Watford, home vs. Norwich City

While St. James Park is no picnic, there’s no guarantee Newcastle will come together quickly with a bevy of new faces expected in the fold. The Everton visit could cause problems, but Saints have a legit shout at 8-10 points from their first four fixtures.


West Bromwich Albion: Home vs Manchester City, away to Watford, home vs Chelsea, away to Stoke City

On top of having to face the league’s top two teams in a three-week span, the Baggies will have to enter a wild Vicarage Road for the Hornets first Premier League home match in nearly a decade. The Britannia Stadium is no picnic, either.

Newcastle United: Home vs Southampton, away to Swansea City, away to Manchester United, home vs Arsenal

Woof. Could Newcastle again be staring down last place in the Premier League in September? It’s hard to imagine a tougher road to travel, as Newcastle will be all over the country against four of the better teams in the Premier League.

Follow @NicholasMendola