As far as the top spots are concerned, the 2014-15 Premier League table is already beginning to resemble something that fans might see come May.
Reigning champions Manchester City have stormed into first place following their 2-0 win over Newcastle United. Liverpool and Arsenal edged 2-1 victories over Southampton and Crystal Palace, respectively, and rank highly as a result.
Hot title contenders Chelsea will be one of the last teams to play, opening their campaign at Burnley on Monday evening. But already the craving for top-flight excitement sees us turn our gaze toward Week 2, where we break down the key matches and title odds.
|11||West Bromwich Albion||1||0||1||0||0||1|
|17||West Ham United||1||0||0||1||-1||0|
|19||Queens Park Rangers||1||0||0||1||-1||0|
|August 23||12:45 p.m. BST/7:45 a.m. ET||Aston Villa||v||Newcastle United|
|August 23||3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET||Chelsea||v||Leicester City|
|August 23||3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET||Crystal Palace||v||West Ham|
|August 23||3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET||Southampton||v||West Brom|
|August 23||3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET||Swansea City||v||Burnley|
|August 23||5:30 p.m. BST/12:30 p.m. ET||Everton||v||Arsenal|
|August 24||1:30 p.m. BST/8:30 a.m. ET||Hull City||v||Stoke City|
|August 24||1:30 p.m. BST/8:30 a.m. ET||Spurs||v||QPR|
|August 24||4 p.m. BST/11 a.m. ET||Sunderland||v||Manchester United|
|August 25||8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. ET||Manchester City||v||Liverpool|
Must-Watch Week 2 Matchups
Everton vs. Arsenal
Last season, Everton and Arsenal were close rivals for fourth spot in a race that went right down to the screw, Roberto Martinez coming so close to clinching Champions League after his first term in charge at Goodison Park.
The Toffees' 2014-15 season didn't begin under ideal circumstances on Saturday. Leicester City managed to grab a 2-2 draw against the Merseysiders, and the prospect of facing Arsene Wenger's giants next Saturday doesn't hold great promise.
The Gunners were themselves far from confident en route to their win over Crystal Palace this weekend, but Squawka illustrates just how essential the three points were to the club, nonetheless:
That's Arsenal's first opening day Premier League win since 2009 when they beat Everton 6-1 at Goodison Park. pic.twitter.com/M0mZfI2URk— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 16, 2014
Everton went unbeaten against Arsenal in 2013-14, winning 3-0 in their home fixture and drawing 1-1 at the Emirates Stadium, but Martinez will take nothing for granted this time around.
Wenger also may have the benefit of seeing his German World Cup winners return to action, per Ben Dinnery of ESPN FC:
Wenger "The Germans are not ready yet, they continue their preparation and the earliest they could be considered again is Everton" #AFC— Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery) August 15, 2014
The Toffees will have been pleased to score twice at the King Power Stadium, but their usual defensive resilience was somewhat amiss, something they must recall if they're to survive their Week 2 test.
Manchester City vs. Liverpool
Barely a week into the season and already the title race will receive a monumental impact when Liverpool travel to face champions Manchester City next Monday.
In a battle of last season's top two, the Reds will be keen to show that they are an improved party compared to last term, Luis Suarez or not.
But City looked confident in Sunday's opening win over the Magpies, the club's official Twitter account quoting Manuel Pellegrini in explaining why his side are back at the top:
Manuel Pellegrini: "We played with two 'H’s' - we were humble & hungry. We need both if we want to keep winning titles" #NEWMCI— Premier League (@premierleague) August 17, 2014
It may be just the beginning, but already City are setting themselves apart, it seems, showing a fine balance in attack and defence to resume this season just how they ended the last.
Will the Reds be able to restrain those they're hoping to prise silverware from at the Etihad Stadium?
Title Odds Breakdown
It's of little surprise to see Liverpool and Manchester City's odds on the title decreasing. The Reds place at 10-1 while Pellegrini's men are among the extreme favourites at 2-1, per Oddschecker.com.
Despite not having kicked a ball just yet, Chelsea are the outright favourites, however, at 7-4, with their Monday night fixture against Burnley set to have an impact on the stakes.
Despite their 2-1 loss to Swansea City, Manchester United (8-1) remain at lower odds to win the title than Liverpool. The Red Devils would appear to be benefiting from the arrival of Louis van Gaal, at least as far as their probabilities go.
Not far in front of them is Arsenal at 5-1, while Tottenham and Everton retain their usual places as outsiders to come top of the pile, pitched at 50-1 and 200-1, respectively.