The opening weekend of EPL play kicked off in shocking fashion, signaling that the 2014-15 Premier League campaign could be as unpredictable as ever.
Every club has a long season ahead of them and plenty of time to move toward the top of the table, but there is no question that some teams are feeling a lot better than others with their first match officially in the books.
The standings promise to change rapidly on a weekly basis throughout the early part of the season, but here is a look at where every club currently stands, as well as a breakdown of some of Saturday's more significant results.
Matchday 1 Results
|Home Team||Road Team||Result|
|Manchester United||Swansea City||2-1 Swansea City|
|Queens Park Rangers||Hull City||1-0 Hull City|
|Stoke City||Aston Villa||1-0 Aston Villa|
|West Bromwich Albion||Sunderland||2-2|
|West Ham United||Tottenham||1-0 Tottenham|
|Arsenal||Crystal Palace||2-1 Arsenal|
|Newcastle||Manchester City||2-0 City|
Current EPL Table
|12||West Bromwich Albion||1||0||1||0||0||1|
|16||Queens Park Rangers||1||0||0||1||-1||0|
|18||West Ham United||1||0||0||1||-1||0|
Breaking Down Most Intriguing Results
Swansea Shocks Manchester United
After sacking David Moyes at the tail-end of last season and bringing in Louis van Gaal as manager, things were expected to be different for Manchester United this time around. They finished a disappointing seventh last year, but most prognosticators had them pegged to rebound to the tune of a top-four finish at the very least.
Perhaps that will still happen, but the Red Devils didn't inspire much confidence Saturday in a 2-1 losing effort to Swansea City. The Swans were a mid-table team last year, and while it is conceivable that they have improved, Man Utd will undoubtedly receive a great deal of criticism.
Van Gaal's tenure couldn't have gotten off to a much worse start, and he is well aware of that, according to Nicholas Mendola of NBC's Pro Soccer Talk.
"We have built up a lot of confidence (in preseason) and it shall be smashed down because of this result," Van Gaal said. "It's disappointing for the fans, for the players and also for me. It's a very bad day for us."
Swansea were massive underdogs, and they were well aware that few expected them to upset United at Old Trafford, per Rob Harris of The Associated Press:
Swansea manager Garry Monk on United win: "I'm sure many didn't give us a hope in hell."— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) August 16, 2014
As big as this win is for Swansea, the talk will focus largely on Manchester United's shortcomings. ESPN's Ian Darke accurately points out that this loss is a huge step in the wrong direction as the Red Devils look to put last season behind them:
New regime old problems for Man Utd. Didn't create enough at home. Nasty setback. Tremendous result for Swansea with Williams immense— Ian Darke (@IanDarke) August 16, 2014
United have a great deal of talent and Van Gaal has proven to be an excellent manager, so this one match doesn't necessarily indicate the trajectory of Man Utd's upcoming season.
It is eerily similar to some of the losses they suffered last year, though, which means they will be very much under the microscope moving forward.
Leicester Enjoy Successful EPL Return
Leicester City played their first EPL match since the 2003-04 season Saturday, and they shocked Everton with a late goal to earn a 2-2 draw. The Toffees are in search of an elusive top-four finish this year after a fifth-place result in 2013-14, and their pursuit didn't get off to an ideal start.
Everton's greatest strengths were quite apparent during much of Saturday's match, as they were on the attack throughout. In fact, Everton's first goal of the season may prove to be their best, as winger Aiden McGeady put this gorgeous, curling strike past Kasper Schmeichel to go up 1-0, per Footy Vines:
What a shot by McGeady! | https://t.co/KNQGrcr6Mt— Footy Vines (@TheFootyVines) August 16, 2014
The Toffees' leaky defense allowed Leicester to equalize two minutes later when Leonardo Ulloa scored, but Everton answered at the end of the first half with Steve Naismith putting them ahead.
Leicester did their best to get back into the mix, but they simply couldn't get the ball away from Everton for most of the second half. According to Greg O'Keeffe of Liverpool Echo, the Toffees essentially rendered the Foxes moot:
#Everton squeezing the life out of Leicester with their possession game— Greg O'Keeffe (@GregOK) August 16, 2014
Just when it seemed as though a loss was certain, Leicester received a stroke of luck when a defended ball bounced to a wide open Chris Wood, who beat goalkeeper Tim Howard to level the match, per Premier League on Twitter:
GOAL Leicester 2-2 Everton (86 mins). The ball falls to an unmarked Chris Wood inside the area and the substitute slots home #LEIEVE— Premier League (@premierleague) August 16, 2014
The competition will get tougher for Everton as the season progresses, so coming away with only a draw may be disheartening for their fans. They can take solace in the fact that the Toffees dominated the match, though, and probably would have won on almost any other day.
This is a great result for the Foxes, but also one they were fortunate to escape with.
Tottenham Steals Win Over West Ham
All signs pointed toward Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United playing to a scoreless draw to open their respective EPL seasons, but Spurs were able to secure a huge road victory thanks to a stoppage-time goal from defender Eric Dier, according to SportsCenter:
Tottenham with the stunner! Eric Dier scores in the 92nd minute vs West Ham to give Spurs the win and three points.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 16, 2014
Despite being viewed as a potential top-four team this season, Tottenham didn't separate themselves from the Hammers for the bulk of the match. Tottenham had a slight possession advantage, but West Ham had eight more shots toward goal and looked the more dangerous side at various points.
The score at the end of the match is all that matters, though, which means Saturday's tie was a rousing success for Spurs. This particular win also means that Tottenham were able to carry over the momentum they built up at the end of last season, per OptaJoe:
4 - Tottenham have won four of their last five Premier League games. Settled.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 16, 2014
Tottenham will have to be much better, and they will need to show a more consistent attack in order to compete with the big boys moving forward. With that said, good teams find ways to win despite not playing their best. That is precisely what Spurs did against West Ham, and that is certainly a good sign.
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