The Premier League campaign got underway on Saturday amid plenty of hope and anticipation for clubs and supporters. A special feeling always exists on the opening matchday given the limitless possibilities that await in the months ahead.
One thing every manager surely preached to his squad in the weeks leading up to the first match was getting off to a fast start. Early matches may not seem overly important in a 38-game season, but it's a challenge trying to dig out of an early hole.
With that in mind, let's check out the current Premier League table and a complete list of results from the opening matchday. Both will be updated through the end of play on Monday. The tables are followed by a recap of the action.
Premier League Table
|2014 Premier League Standings|
Matchday 1 Results
|Premier League Matchday 1 Scores|
|Date||Home Club||Road Club||Result|
|Aug. 16||Manchester United||Swansea||1-2|
|Aug. 16||Stoke||Aston Villa||0-1|
|Aug. 16||West Brom||Sunderland||2-2|
|Aug. 16||West Ham||Tottenham||0-1|
|Aug. 16||Arsenal||Crystal Palace||2-1|
|Aug. 17||Newcastle||Manchester City||0-2|
Week 1 Recap
Optimism surrounded Manchester United following the arrival of Louis van Gaal. They are coming off a frustrating campaign that saw them finish a distant seventh but were tabbed to get back into contention under their new manager.
While those expectations won't radically change after the opener, they definitely took a hit. Ki Sung-Yueng and Gylfi Sigurdsson scored for Swansea as they emerged from Old Trafford with all three points courtesy of a 2-1 win. Wayne Rooney scored for United.
Robin van Persie's absence was felt as the Red Devils failed to create enough scoring opportunities despite controlling possession.
The club's official Twitter feed passed along comments from Rooney after the loss:
Another club that will be disappointed following its opener is Everton. The Toffees have a tricky slate on the horizon with fixtures against Arsenal and Chelsea, which placed an onus on getting the win against promoted side Leicester City.
Things got off to a promising start when Aiden McGeady delivered an outstanding strike, as illustrated by Footy Vines, to give his side the lead:
Lackluster defending and nonexistent attacking pressure in the second half allowed Leicester to remain close, however. Chris Wood scored in the 86th minute to level the score at two, and Everton were unable to find a winner in the final minutes.
Other visiting squads did a better job of picking up victories.
Tottenham got a second-half stoppage-time winner from Eric Dier. It was the only goal in an entertaining back-and-forth encounter that had everything except for a goal for nearly the entire match. The tally Spurs were pushing for finally arrived in the 93rd minute.
Aston Villa also earned a 1-0 victory on the road. The clash represented more of the same for Stoke, which defended well enough and won the possession battle but couldn't find the net. Andreas Weimann scored shortly after halftime on a rare Villa chance, and that was enough to get the win.
OptaJoe provided a note about Stoke's inability to keep clean sheets, which is a major issue when a squad is having trouble scoring consistently:
Joining those two sides in the 1-0 road triumph club was Hull. James Chester delivered a perfect header while getting pushed away from goal to grab the lead in the 52nd minute. QPR had some chances to equalize over the final 30 minutes but couldn't convert.
West Brom and Sunderland fought to a 2-2 draw in the other early match on Saturday. Both managers will be seeking defensive improvement from their squads moving forward or else the back lines are going to become a serious concern against top competition.
Arsenal and Crystal Palace wrapped up Saturday's slate with another thrilling finish. Brede Hangeland got the Eagles on the scoreboard first, but Laurent Koscielny tied it for Arsenal tied it late in the first half and Aaron Ramsey netted the winner in the final moments for the Gunners.
It was an often sluggish performance in the attacking third for Arsenal and a more efficient effort will be needed over the next week. That said, Ramsey's winner ensures the vibes will be positive heading into matches with Besiktas and Everton.
Sunday brings about a couple top clubs from last season. Liverpool begin life after Luis Suarez with a clash against Southampton. Reigning champions Manchester City are also in action when they open their title defense against Newcastle.
Chelsea finished off the opening weekend with a resounding 3-1 victory over Burnley on Monday. The underdog squad too the lead on a Scott Arfield goal in the 14th minute, but any hopes of a major upset were quickly snuffed out by the quality in Chelsea's side. Diego Costa and Andre Schurrle notched goals in the 17th and 21st minutes to quickly give the Blues the deserved advantage.
Branislav Ivanovic tallied a goal in the 34th minute to create the final 3-1 scoreline and put the game out of reach for Burnley.