Newcastle fans are sure to give striker Michael Owen a big welcome today in his first game with the club.
Their team has played four times and is the only Premier League team without a goal -- lodged in 19th place with one point. Even last-place Sunderland, which has yet to earn a point, has scored twice.
Owen moved to Newcastle last week, joining from Real Madrid for ?17 million (25 million euros).
The high-profile deal, out of the spotlight during a week of World Cup qualifying, was one of several in late August when Spanish striker Albert Luque and winger Nolberto Solano also joined the club.
"Our season starts now," Newcastle captain Alan Shearer said Thursday, speaking alongside Owen. "Whatever has happened in the previous month or so, it's gone. We can't change that. Our season starts as of Saturday against Fulham."
Owen played in England's embarrassing 1-0 loss at Northern Ireland on Wednesday, and he'll be under pressure to produce. He became Madrid's fifth-choice striker when it signed Brazilian stars Robinho and Julio Baptista.
Owen had hoped to join his old club, Liverpool, which would have seen him debut in an eye-catching game at Tottenham. Instead, he will meet Fulham at St. James' Park.
In other games today, it's: Birmingham versus Charlton; Chelsea versus Sunderland; Everton versus Portsmouth; Manchester United versus Manchester City; West Brom versus Wigan; and Middlesbrough versus Arsenal.
On Sunday, Blackburn plays at Bolton with Aston Villa playing Monday night at West Ham.
Calling the Premier League "my league," Owen said he was glad to be back.
"It's where I really wanted to be," Owen said. "I look forward to kick-starting the Premiership campaign again on Saturday. I'm really excited about the whole occasion. Everyone in the England squad was even talking about it.
"We've got a big game on Saturday, and we could do with taking three points."
Shearer, the all-time leading scorer in the Premier League, figures Owen will carry the load this season.
"There's no doubt he can finish as top scorer, and I sincerely hope he does," Shearer said. "I would be more than happy is Michael were to take that away from me."
England and Real Madrid defender Jonathan Woodgate picked Owen to score often at Newcastle. Woodgate played for Newcastle and Leeds in England.
"I am sure that he will score many goals for Newcastle and England at the World Cup," Woodgate told the Spanish newspaper Marca. "He knew that he was not going to play much and he had to leave. His transfer will be good for him. Newcastle are a great club, a sleeping giant who are going to wake up."
Chelsea leads the Premier League with a perfect 12 points in four games, and has not given up a goal. The Blues are followed by Manchester City (10), Charlton and Manchester United with nine, Bolton and Tottenham with seven, and Arsenal with six. Like Chelsea, Manchester United has yet to yield a goal.
At the bottom, Sunderland is without a point in four games, topped by Newcastle and Portsmouth with one.
While the individual spotlight is on Owen, the most glamorous showdown is the Manchester derby at Old Trafford. Manchester City is unbeaten in 12 games and a surprising early season challenger to Chelsea.
Manchester United, under the new ownership of the Glazer family, is perfect in three games with new goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar keeping out opposition strikers.
City midfielder Claudio Reyna is getting some of the credit after being slowed last season by injury.
"The team has had a great start," said the American, who played Saturday when the United States defeated Mexico 2-0 to qualify for a fifth straight World Cup. Mexico qualified later, beating Panama 5-0 on Wednesday.
"It's not only me, but we've had a lot of good performances. I've been pleased with start. I had a good preseason, and that's helped."
City captain Sylvain Distin is expected to return from a hamstring injury. Striker Robbie Fowler is also expected to play.
City opened with a scoreless draw against West Brom, but has beaten Sunderland, Birmingham City and Portsmouth.
Meanwhile, defending champion Chelsea bids to maintain its 100 percent start by beating promoted Sunderland at Stamford Bridge. Jose Mourinho had most of his players on World Cup duty and hopes they return fit to face a Sunderland side still seeking its first victory since returning to the top flight.
Sunderland manager Mick McCarthy is trying to stay upbeat.
"It is just a case of getting up and running," McCarthy said. "We are getting better but we still have no points, which is disappointing."
In the League Championship -- the old First Division -- Sheffield United leads with 15 points followed by Reading and Luton with 13. Watford, Southampton and Wolves have 11.
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