On the heels of an action-packed opening week, the EPL season kicked into another gear on Matchday 2 with yet another entertaining slate of games.
The Premier League table is going to fluctuate a ton from week to week early in the campaign, and that was certainly the case Saturday. It is difficult to accurately say which teams are contenders and which are pretenders two weeks in, but they should start to separate themselves in the near future.
Here is a breakdown of the Matchday 2 scores and the EPL table, as well as a closer look at the most notable results of the day.
|Home Team||Road Team||Result|
|Aston Villa||Newcastle United||0-0|
|Chelsea||Leicester City||2-0, Chelsea|
|Crystal Palace||West Ham United||3-1, West Ham|
|Southampton||West Bromwich Albion||0-0|
|Swansea City||Burnley F.C.||1-0, Swansea|
|Tottenham||Queens Park Rangers||4-0, Tottenham|
|Hull City||Stoke City||1-1|
|Manchester City||Liverpool||3-1, City|
|12||West Bromwich Albion||2||0||2||0||0||2|
|20||Queens Park Rangers||2||0||0||2||-5||0|
Breaking Down Notable Results
Chelsea Take Down Leicester
Chelsea proved once again why they are considered by many to be the EPL favorite this year with a 2-0 victory over Leicester City Saturday. The Blues gave the Stamford Bridge faithful a great result, and they remained atop the table in the process.
Although Chelsea dominated the match in terms of possession and shots by the time it concluded, they didn't look great in the first half. In fact, Leicester was just as menacing, as evidenced by this stat, courtesy of BBC Radio's Mike McCarthy:
Leicester City attempted more passes in the attacking third (77) than Chelsea (76) in that first half. 0-0.— Mike McCarthy (@mikemccarthy) August 23, 2014
As the Blues so often do, though, they turned it on in the second half. It started with a goal from striker Diego Costa in the 63rd minute, and Chelsea didn't look back from there. According to WhoScored.com, the addition of Costa has already paid dividends and given Chelsea a dimension they didn't have last year:
Diego Costa: Has scored 2 goals in 153 minutes of PL action. It was 696 minutes before a Chelsea striker scored in the PL last season— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) August 23, 2014
Eden Hazard eventually added an insurance marker in the 77th minute to make it 2-0, and that ended up being the final score. It was a solid victory for Chelsea, and one that manager Jose Mourinho had to be happy with.
Leading up to the match, he wasn't taking anything for granted against a hungry team like the Foxes, per Chelsea FC on Twitter:
Jose: 'It's difficult playing newly-promoted teams, they know every point is important.' #CFC— Chelsea FC (@chelseafc) August 22, 2014
The Blues have beaten teams they were supposed to beat through the first two weeks of the season, so the challenge moving forward will be to defeat the EPL's upper-tier squads.
West Ham Roll Past Crystal Palace
Several teams have been pegged as potential breakout squads during the 2014-15 season, but West Ham United made a great case for that title Saturday with a 3-1 thrashing of Crystal Palace. The Hammers were relentless throughout the match, as they peppered goalkeeper Julian Speroni with eight shots on frame.
West Ham jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first half when Mauro Zarate and Stewart Downing netted spectacular goals in the 34th and 37th minutes, respectively. Marouane Chamakh pulled the Eagles within one with a tally in the 48th minute, but Carlton Cole put it away for good in the 62nd minute when he scored West Ham's third goal of the match.
According to OptaJoe, the Hammers' offensive outburst on the road essentially came from out of nowhere:
3 - West Ham have scored 3+ goals in a PL away game for only the second time in 44 attempts. Rare.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 23, 2014
The bulk of West Ham's squad looked great against Crystal Palace, but Dan Silver of The Sun was especially impressed with midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate:
Great West Ham result and performance. Kouyate looks like he could be a real star and so nice to have genuine attacking variety and options— Dan Silver (@dansilver_) August 23, 2014
He was all over the place throughout the match and had a great assist on Downing's goal. He seems like a good fit for West Ham's free-wheeling style, and it will be interesting to see if they can keep this up all season long.
Even if the Hammers are nothing more than a mid-table team, they should at least be exciting to watch.
Swansea Outlast Burnley
Which squad's performance impressed you most Saturday?
It is still incredibly early in the season, but Swansea City are even with Chelsea atop the EPL standings with six points after a 2-1 win over Burnley F.C. Saturday. The Swans pulled off a shocking upset last week by defeating Manchester City on the road, and they managed to maintain the momentum with a home triumph on Matchday 2.
Midfielder Nathan Dyer put Swansea City on top in the 23rd minute, and that was the extent of the scoring. Swansea didn't necessarily dominate that match, but they were never threatened or tested, which is a testament to their preparation.
BBC's Jason Roberts was extremely complimentary of the way Swans manager Garry Monk utilized his talent throughout Saturday's tilt:
Swansea brilliant today, Monk got his tactics spot on..Bony, Sigurdsson, Ki, Shelvey, Dyer, Williams etc..could have a fantastic season..— Jason Roberts (@JasonRoberts30) August 16, 2014
It is difficult to fathom Swansea being among the elite teams like Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal, but perhaps they will prove worthy of entering that conversation. It wouldn't be fair to judge them based on two wins, though, just like it wouldn't be right to judge a team after two losses.
With that said, the Swans are clearly much improved from last season, and they are playing great football in the early going. Watching their progress over the course of the season could be one of the most intriguing storylines of the entire Premier League campaign.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.