Only one game of the new Premier League season has been played and already the likely candidates have gathered at the top of the table.
Manchester City started their defence of the title with a win, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool prevailed to take their first three points of the season, while Manchester United yet again collapsed at home despite being under new management.
The second week of fixtures for the most exciting league in the world offers up some huge encounters, not least a meeting of last term's top two at the Etihad Stadium.
Here we take a look at the full schedule and provide predictions for each game:
|EPL Week 2 Schedule Information and Predictions|
|Fixture||Date||Time (GMT)||Time (ET)||Prediction|
|Aston Villa v Newcastle||Aug. 23||12:45 p.m.||7:45 a.m.||1-0|
|Chelsea v Leicester||Aug. 23||3 p.m.||10 a.m.||3-0|
|Crystal Palace v West Ham||Aug. 23||3 p.m.||10 a.m||0-0|
|Southampton v West Brom||Aug. 23||3 p.m.||10 a.m.||2-0|
|Swansea v Burnley||Aug. 23||3 p.m.||10 a.m.||2-1|
|Everton v Arsenal||Aug. 23||5.30 p.m.||12.30 p.m.||1-2|
|Hull v Stoke||Aug. 24||1.30 p.m.||8.30 p.m.||1-1|
|Tottenham v QPR||Aug. 24||1.30 p.m.||8.30 p.m.||2-1|
|Sunderland v Manchester United||Aug. 24||4 p.m.||11 a.m.||1-1|
|Manchester City v Liverpool||Aug. 25||8 p.m.||3 p.m.||2-1|
Manchester City v Liverpool
Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool team entered a brand new era in the first match of the season as they look to prove they are more than just a one-man band.
Luis Suarez's exit from Anfield has left many supporters doubting Liverpool's credentials for the title in 2014-15, but Rodgers will be looking to prove those naysayers wrong.
The Reds showed an amazing level of form in the second half of last year but clearly struggled in their first game of the new season, at home to a depleted Southampton.
Raheem Sterling once again showed why there is such a fuss about him in the English press, helping his team win a hard-fought victory. The attacking wizard scored his first goal of the campaign and also grabbed the assist that led to Daniel Sturridge's winner, per WhoScored.com.
However, City will be a much tougher nut to crack.
The champions got back to business in their usual ruthless fashion, dispatching Newcastle with goals from David Silva and Sergio Aguero.
Despite a lack of excessive activity in the transfer market, City look primed and ready to defend their title. After the capture of their first Premier League crown three seasons back, the Sky Blues looked disorganised and demotivated the following campaign.
They will now be looking for a stronger showing to prove their world-class credentials, both at home and in European competition.
Aguero will once again be the fulcrum of City's attack and ambitions. Jim Proudfoot of talkSPORT highlighted just how good the player has been throughout his career:
Liverpool were irrepressible against all opposition last year but they are likely to struggle at the Etihad. Rodgers played a much more defensive formation against Southampton and he may feel this is the best option against a rampant City.
Edin Dzeko also showed he is in sparkling fettle against Newcastle, and Liverpool's new-look defence will likely struggle against him and Aguero.
Lucas' inclusion in their first match surprised many Reds, and it will be interesting to see if he is selected again to curb the threat of Yaya Toure. In truth, Liverpool's best defence might be to go on the attack.
Despite the odds being stacked against Liverpool, the scoreline should remain a close affair. Liverpool still have fantastic options in attack and if they can utilise this, they will hurt the champions.
But City should prevail and continue their 100 percent start to the new campaign.
Prediction: Manchester City win 2-1
Everton v Arsenal
Everton will offer Arsenal a stern test in the Gunners' first away game of the new season.
Roberto Martinez's team were the surprise package at the top end of the league last year, not only winning matches but doing it in a style most Toffees were not used to witnessing.
They will not fear Arsene Wenger's collective despite the world-class addition of Alexis Sanchez.
Everton have now permanently secured the services of Romelu Lukaku, who was on-loan from Chelsea last year, and the striker struggled to make an impact against Leicester at the weekend. Lukaku was in poor form over the summer at the World Cup for Belgium, but Martinez believes he now has a top striker at his disposal, per Ed Aarons of The Guardian:
Sometimes when you pay a record fee and it’s a new player at the club there can be a lot of pressure because of the expectation and you don’t know how he’s going to adapt. But he is the opposite. We know Rom inside out, and the supporters know what to expect. He knows how much we appreciate and love him then I think that will take the weight off expectations.
Lukaku will have to buck the trend of his poor form against Arsenal, or his team risk being overrun by an impressive looking Gunners team.
Wenger has once again leaned toward purchasing flair over muscle but when you can pass a ball as well as their attack, it is difficult to include a midfield enforcer.
Arsenal struggled at times against Crystal Palace but showed they have the intestinal fortitude to dig out a result. They will need to go to places like Everton this season and win if they want to be serious title challengers.
The midweek Champions League trip to Besiktas might put the Gunners at a slight disadvantage, but Everton are without starlet Ross Barkley. Momentum appears to be with the visitors.
Prediction: Arsenal win 2-1
Chelsea v Leicester
Jose Mourinho's Chelsea suffered a scare against Burnley on Monday night, going 1-0 down before taking control of the fixture.
The match represented the return to the Premier League of Cesc Fabregas and the Spanish international showed why Mourinho brought the player back to London.
Fabregas ran the show for the Blues and his inclusion in Chelsea's midfield will make them a deadly opponent this year.
Leicester, meanwhile, showed some excellent promise of things to come as they battled to an opening day draw with Everton. They are one of the favourites to go down but as Crystal Palace proved last season, bookies odds mean nothing in the heat of battle.
Mourinho has strengthened his team's areas of weakness from last year and they look ready for a real crack at winning the domestic league title.
Diego Costa opened his account against Burnley and he will give Mourinho the world-class striking option he craved in 2013-14.
Chelsea should make short work of the promoted team in their first game at Stamford Bridge this season. They have so much strength in depth now, opponents will not fancy visiting west London to play them anytime soon.
Prediction: Chelsea win 3-0
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