The first week of Barclays Premier League action was everything we could have hoped for.
From early-season favorites (Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City) stating their case for supremacy to strong outfits (Arsenal, Everton) faltering out of the gate, Week 1 in the EPL was an outstanding beginning to what should be a memorable season.
Faster than we could blink, Week 2 is now upon us.
Chelsea are on top of the EPL table with six points after downing Aston Villa in a fiery early-season match on Wednesday. United, City and Liverpool are all in a good spot heading into their second match of the new campaign.
In preparation for what should be an action-packed week of football in England, here's a glimpse at a Week 2 schedule and predictions for every upcoming match.
*For a complete look at the upcoming EPL schedule, click here (via PremierLeague.com).
Current EPL Table
|West Ham United||1||1||0||0||2||3|
Week 2 Predictions
Fulham 3, Arsenal 2
Hitting the road after dropping their Premier League opener at Emirates Stadium to Aston Villa, Arsene Wenger and the Gunners need a strong showing against Fulham to avoid posting a goose egg on the table through two matches.
Fulham will give Arsenal everything they can handle at Craven Cottage.
The Cottagers took down Sunderland on the road in their EPL opener, and Martin Jol just completed the transfer signing of former Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker to bolster his roster. Playing at home, Fulham will have all the momentum against Arsenal.
With the Gunners weak in the middle of the field, nursing players with injuries (Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Thomas Vermaelen and others) back into form and coming off a Champions League match against Fenerbahce on Wednesday, all signs point to Fulham starting the year with six points after their second match.
Liverpool 2, Aston Villa 1
The Reds looked strong against Stoke City on opening night, using a Daniel Sturridge first-half goal to outlast the Potters in a 1-0 final score.
Even without Luis Suarez, Brendan Rodgers' side performed well in their first opening-week win since 2008. New signings Iago Aspas (assist) and Simon Mignolet (late penalty save) both had strong showings.
Although the Reds will travel to Villa Park for this match, the Lions will be playing their third match in eight days when the action kicks off on Saturday evening.
Paul Lambert's side has come a long way since the end of last season, as evidenced by their victory versus Arsenal. In position to secure a draw at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, Villa faltered late and will be heading into this match on a sour note.
Physically and mentally drained from their tilts with Chelsea and Arsenal to start the year, Villa suffers a minor setback against Liverpool in their third league match of the season while continuing their upward trend in the right direction.
Manchester City 3, Cardiff City 0
Manchester United sent out the first warning shot toward EPL title-chasers with a big win over Swansea City last week. Manchester City more than returned serve with an impressive victory of their own against Newcastle United.
Manuel Pellegrini's opening Premier League match was a success, and as noted by Rob Hughes of The New York Times, City's opening match under their new boss was quite the display of teamwork and cohesiveness.
It should be a sign of things to come.
Cardiff City will be playing their first-ever home match in the Premier League after a lengthy stint in the Football League Championship. Malky Mackay's Bluebirds were bested by West Ham United in their league opener, and things won't get any easier against a club expected to contend for the EPL crown.
It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone when City picks up their fourth, fifth and six points of the season against Cardiff.
Manchester United 2, Chelsea 2
It's the match we've all been waiting for since the 2013-14 Premier League schedule was released.
Jose Mourinho will return to Old Trafford as the boss of the Blues, two of the league's fiercest competitors will renew their rivalry and Wayne Rooney—subject of intense transfer interest from Chelsea—will be as big of a storyline as ever.
All the pieces are falling together for the latest United-Chelsea clash to be one for the books.
The Red Devils demolished Swansea City in their first action of the new year. Robin van Persie was back to top form with a brace and Danny Welbeck added two goals of his own to help United silence early doubters of their new era.
Chelsea have scored two goals in both of their first two matches, proficiently taking down Hull City and handling a calculated onslaught from Aston Villa to become the first club to pick up six points this year.
Although the Blues will be playing in their third match in 10 days when they visit Old Trafford on Monday, Mourinho's impact with Chelsea has been evident through their first two matches. With the Red Devils still struggling to find consistency in the middle of the pitch, the Blues take advantage of an opportunity to pick up an important point in the table on the road.
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