The English Premier League came back in full force last week, bringing with it all the excitement associated with the start of a new season. Week 2, however, got rid of all the warm feelings and allowed clubs to start making a case as the best in the world.
Week 2 got started with Aston Villa and Newcastle United battling to a scoreless draw. While not exactly the ideal result for either club, the Lions were able to get points for the second consecutive week.
With a close, competitive field still jockeying for position, one point can make all the difference when you look back on the standings at the end of the year. Here is an updated look at the standings, scores and top scorers from the second week of EPL action.
|12||West Bromwich Albion||2||0||2||0||2||2||0||2|
|20||Queens Park Rangers||2||0||0||2||0||5||-5||0|
|August 23||Aston Villa||0-0||Newcastle|
|August 23||Chelsea||2-0||Leicester City|
|August 23||Swansea City||1-0||Burnley FC|
|August 23||Crystal Palace||1-3||West Ham|
|August 23||Southampton||0-0||West Brom|
|August 24||Hull City||1-1||Stoke|
|August 24||Tottenham||4-0||Queens Park Rangers|
|August 24||Sunderland||1-1||Manchester United|
|August 25||Manchester City||3-1||Liverpool|
|Stevan Jovetic||Manchester City||2|
|Mauro Zarate||West Ham||1|
|Stewart Downing||West Ham||1|
|Carlton Cole||West Ham||1|
|Marouane Chamakh||Crystal Palace||1|
|Nathan Dyer||Swansea City||1|
|Nikica Jelavic||Hull City||1|
|Ryan Shawcross||Stoke City||1|
|Juan Mata||Manchester United||1|
|Sergio Aguero||Manchester City||1|
After finishing four points behind Manchester City in last year's Premier League standings, Chelsea is off to a fast start this year with two wins in two matches.
While the Blues have yet to get into the difficult part of their schedule, defeating Leicester City on Saturday, being able to take care of the clubs you are supposed to beat is critical to taking that next step.
It's even more entertaining when your best players are taking care of business. Chelsea got a 2-0 victory thanks to goals from Eden Hazard and Diego Costa in the second half, via SportsCenter on Twitter:
Chelsea beats Leicester City, 2-0. Diego Costa & Eden Hazard score for the Blues. pic.twitter.com/b0h53i2kIU— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 23, 2014
Hazard, in particular, was brilliant for Chelsea. In addition to his goal, the 23-year-old was creating opportunities for his teammates, as you can see in this graphic from Squawka Football on Twitter:
Eden Hazard game in numbers: Goals: 1 Shot accuracy: 100% Chances Created: 7 Take ons: 11 Pass accuracy: 89% pic.twitter.com/FDEGmHOPx6— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 23, 2014
When you have that kind of efficiency from Hazard, it's difficult enough to stop Chelsea. Throw Costa's contributions into the mix, which OptaJoe points out have been perfect thus far, the Blues are going to be impossible to stop.
2 - Chelsea striker Diego Costa has netted two goals from just two shots on target in the 2014/15 Premier League so far. Clinical.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 23, 2014
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was very complimentary of the job Leicester City did, especially in the first half, via Frank Lampard UK:
Jose: "We didn't play well 1st half. Leicester tried to scare us with their counter attacking play. We were slow."— Frank Lampard UK (@FrankLampardUK) August 23, 2014
With Leicester City in the rear-view mirror, Chelsea can move ahead to next week's matchup against Everton. The two clubs played a fantastic match last February, won by Chelsea, 1-0, thanks to an injury-time goal from John Terry.
Joining Chelsea atop the very early EPL standings is Swansea thanks to its 1-0 victory over Burnley. The lone goal was courtesy of Nathan Dyer in the 23rd minute following a beautiful assist from Gylfi Sigurdsson, via the Premier League's official Twitter:
GOAL Swansea 1-0 Burnley (23 mins). Nathan Dyer beats the keeper at the near post after being put through by Sigurdsson #SWABUR— Premier League (@premierleague) August 23, 2014
Swansea is in an interesting spot this year. It vastly underperformed during the 2013-14 season, with just 42 points and a 12th-place finish. Yet the numbers didn't totally back up that poor finish.
The Jacks had an even goal differential with 54 for and 54 against, yet everyone else in the lower half of the standings had a goal differential of at least minus-11. Tottenham was the worst team in the top 10 with a plus-four goal differential.
Scoring has been the biggest problem for Swansea, and that hasn't corrected itself thus far with three goals in two matches. As long as the club can get out ahead early and play the kind of defense it has thus far, a better finish is easy to imagine.
One thing that is always important to remember is not getting too high or low based on early-season results. All the matches count in the standings, of course, but you can't win or lose a title two games into the season.
The separation isn't starting to show yet, though Chelsea certainly looks to be making an early statement to Manchester City and Liverpool.