One matchday down, 37 to go—the Premier League is back in full swing.
After a thrilling opening weekend that saw shock results, individual class and, of course, plenty of goals, we’re into Matchday 2, which has some mouth-watering fixtures.
Here, we take a look at the table after the opening set of matches and dive into the English top flight’s next instalment of thrilling action.
|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|
|Saturday, August 23||Aston Villa vs. Newcastle United||2-2|
|Saturday, August 23||Chelsea vs. Leicester City||3-0|
|Saturday, August 23||Crystal Palace vs. West Ham||1-0|
|Saturday, August 23||Southampton vs. West Brom||1-1|
|Saturday, August 23||Swansea City vs. Burnley||3-1|
|Saturday, August 23||Everton vs. Arsenal||1-2|
|Sunday, August 24||Hull City vs. Stoke City||2-0|
|Sunday, August 24||Tottenham Hotspur vs. Queens Park Rangers||2-1|
|Sunday, August 24||Sunderland vs. Manchester United||0-1|
|Monday, August 25||Manchester City vs. Liverpool||1-0|
Chelsea vs. Leicester City
Being favourites to be crowned champions come the end of the season carries a bit of responsibility with it, but the way that Chelsea disposed of Burnley in Matchday 1 means they’re up to the challenge.
Newly promoted Burnley’s spirits were high ahead of their first match back in the Premier League, but the Blues simply blew them away in a convincing 3-1 victory, setting up the clash with Leicester City on Saturday perfectly.
New signing Cesc Fabregas was the standout performer of the evening in his league debut for the club against the Clarets, claiming two assists and producing his immaculate best throughout—leading the Daily Telegraph’s Matt Law to heap praise on him:
I used to love watching Cesc Fabregas at Arsenal and it looks like i'm going to love watching him at Chelsea. Superb debut so far.— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) August 18, 2014
Such praise was thoroughly deserved, too, and following the victory at Turf Moor, the Spaniard spoke with Sky Sports to reflect on a dream debut, via ESPN.co.uk:
You always want to do well, I love playing football. We have a very talented young team, it's so far, so good. I'm enjoying it, everyone has treated me so well. They've made it so easy for me, everybody has welcomed me since day one. I'm comfortable with the staff and all the players, we have a good connection. I'm expecting a really good year in front of us.
Keeping up their bid for a good year continues against another newly promoted side for Jose Mourinho’s men on Matchday 2, with Leicester City making the trip to Stamford Bridge.
Leicester performed admirably to hold Everton to a 2-2 draw at the King Power Stadium last time around, but they now face a different animal in Chelsea.
Every point could well be crucial for the Foxes this season, but the chances of them claiming any from the Bridge are extremely slim on Matchday 1’s evidence.
Stranger things have happened in football, sure, but with Fabregas on song, Diego Costa firing and the whole team looking rock solid, the Blues will likely maintain their 100 per cent start.
Prediction: Chelsea 3-0 Leicester City
Everton vs. Arsenal
A clash of the optimists unfolds at Goodison Park on Matchday 2, as Everton take on Arsenal.
Both sides used the transfer window to invest wisely throughout the summer, and they believe that 2014/15 will be a season to remember.
While Everton were held to a draw by Leicester, Arsenal managed to clinch three points on the opening day, but left it late against Crystal Palace.
An injury-time winner from Aaron Ramsey gave the Gunners a 2-1 victory with a matter of seconds to spare, and the Welshman was clearly over the moon after the victory when he took to Twitter:
Tired legs almost cost Arsenal dearly, but Ramsey’s instincts of being in the right place at the right time saw them cross the line.
The goal aside, his performance was nothing short of phenomenal, and club captain Mikel Arteta sung his praises at the final whistle, per Arsenal’s official website:
Aaron is on fire. When you have a player like that coming from midfield to score that many goals, it gives you something extra.
I think his confidence is really high at the moment, physically he can do whatever he wants and technically he is in a very good state so he is one of the most important players in the team.
Ramsey will be looking to keep up such form against the Toffees, but Roberto Martinez’s side will be full of confidence fuelled by their exploits in this fixture last term.
Goals from Steven Naismith, Romelu Lukaku and an Arteta own goal saw Everton claim a 3-0 victory over the Gunners—deservedly so, too.
Martinez’s men were stronger, faster and, quite simply, better than Arsenal on the day, but they have a different look about them this season.
Excitement going forward combined with solidity at the back means that Arsenal are more prepared for a title charge than ever, and the Toffees may just feel the wrath of that.
Prediction: Everton 1-2 Arsenal
Elsewhere, Louis van Gaal's Manchester United travel to the Stadium of Light to face Sunderland on Sunday before last year's top two, Manchester City and Liverpool, battle it out on Monday.
With so much quality in the Premier League, you get the sense that both the title race and the relegation scrap is going to go all the way to the wire. Though it's still early, every point is sacred in England's top flight, and Matchday 2 promises to be exciting from start to finish.