The English Premier League has returned with a vengeance in 2014-15, as Week 2 brought fans plenty of goals, upsets and controversy during Saturday's slate of fixtures.
Title favourites Chelsea did what they had to do, beating newly promoted Leicester City 2-0. Swansea City continued their fine form with a 1-0 win over Burnley. The Blues and the Swans currently lead the Premier League standings ahead of Sunday's matches.
The full Premier League table, after six of Week 2's 10 fixtures:
|6||West Ham United||2||1||0||1||3||2||1||3|
|11||West Bromwich Albion||2||0||2||0||2||2||0||2|
|17||Queens Park Rangers||1||0||0||1||0||1||-1||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||1:30 p.m.||Stoke|
|August 24||Tottenham||1:30 p.m.||Queens Park Rangers|
|August 24||Sunderland||4 p.m.||Manchester United|
|August 25||Manchester City||8 p.m.||Liverpool|
Chelsea's biggest weakness during the 2013-14 campaign was a lack of consistent production from the team's attackers, and if the Blues' early showings this season are any indication, manger Jose Mourinho solved that problem—and then some.
Leicester City gave Chelsea everything they had, and although the Blues never seemed to get into a nice rhythm, they got goals from Diego Costa and Eden Hazard to give them a routine win against the Premier League newcomers.
As shared by Frank Lampard UK, Mourinho wasn't happy with his team's performance in the first half, as the Blues seemed to lack pace in their game and nearly ran into several sharp counters from the visitors:
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
The Blues didn't play well but still came away with a 2-0 win, avoiding any bookings. This is what top teams do. Not every week can be filled with fireworks and world-class performances, but as long as the team keeps winning, they'll remain in the Premier League driver's seat.
Hazard was the top performer for the hosts, as the Belgian has clearly moved on from a disappointing performance at the 2014 World Cup. Per Squawka, his numbers were truly phenomenal:
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
The Blues will take on Everton in Week 3, who once again squandered a lead to record their second consecutive 2-2 draw, this time against Arsenal.
Seamus Coleman and Steven Naismith had given the hosts the lead in the first half, but a late rally from the Gunners made sure they wouldn't be going home empty-handed, with Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud netting for the visitors.
Arsenal have now twice showed a ton of resiliency late in matches, a good sign this early in the season. The flanks have struggled to contain advancing full-backs, however, and manager Arsene Wenger will need to get that issue sorted before the end of the transfer window.
Nathan Dyer scored early for Swansea, helping the Swans get past a feisty Burnley side. The Welsh outfit continue their perfect start, and as shared by OptaJoe, former Spurs midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson has played a large part in the team's success:
2 - Gylfi Sigurdsson has already assisted two goals for Swansea this season, after providing none in 25 apps for Spurs last season. Swan.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 23, 2014
West Ham United recorded an entertaining 3-1 win at Crystal Palace, pushing the Eagles back into a crisis that seemed to have been averted following their promising performance against Arsenal.
Mauro Zarate, Stuart Downing and Carlton Cole scored for the visitors, with Marouane Chamakh briefly restoring hope for Palace early in the second half.
Football Funnys couldn't help themselves:
Downing scores for West Ham.. pic.twitter.com/iecNwbJ8x2— Football Funnys (@FootballFunnys) August 23, 2014
Three more matches will be played on Sunday, as Manchester United will attempt to avoid a nightmare start when they visit Sunderland.
Fans will be eagerly anticipating Monday's clash between Manchester City and Liverpool, however, as the defending champions will host their main title challengers from last year.
Both clubs showed signs of rust in the first week of Premier League action but still came away with easy wins, and Monday's tie promises a lot of attacking football from two of the league's most exciting teams.