World Football

EPL Table: Updated Premier League Standings, Fixtures, Title Odds After Week 2

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 16:  Mauricio Pochettino the Spurs manager directs his side during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur at Boleyn Ground on August 16, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images
James DudkoFeatured ColumnistAugust 24, 2014

The top of the Premier League table combines some of the familiar with a touch of the unexpected. The former is satisfied by Chelsea's place near the top, while the latter sees Swansea City surprisingly joining the Blues.

But the real credit belongs to Tottenham Hotspur, owners of the summit position after two weeks. New manager Mauricio Pochettino has made his team defensively solid, while also crafting more guile and pace in forward areas.

For Chelsea, the start to the season has been ominous viewing for the rest. Jose Mourinho's squad has comfortably dispatched of both Burnley and Leicester City.

Diego Costa has made a fast start for impressive Chelsea.
Diego Costa has made a fast start for impressive Chelsea.Sang Tan/Associated Press

The Blues have been strong, compact and technically assured going forward. The latter quality has been produced thanks to impressive starts from new boys striker Diego Costa and midfielder Cesc Fabregas.

At the other end of the table, Queens Park Rangers are finding a return to the Premier League fray a major chore. Manager Harry Redknapp's insistence on stockpiling ageing retreads has done nothing to refresh a squad that needed the playoffs to escape the Championship last season.

Here's what the table looks like after two weeks:

2014-15 Premier League Table (as of Sunday, August 24)
PositionClubPlayedWonDrawnLostGDPoints
1Tottenham Hotspur2200+56
2Chelsea2200+46
3Swansea City2200+26
4Arsenal2110+14
5Hull City2110+14
6Aston Villa2110+14
7Manchester City1100+23
8West Ham United2101+13
9Liverpool1100+13
10Everton202002
11Sunderland202002
12West Bromwich Albion202002
13Manchester United2011-11
14Southampton2011-11
15Stoke City2011-11
16Leicester City2011-21
17Newcastle United2011-21
18Crystal Palace2002-30
19Burnley2002-30
20Queens Park Rangers2002-50
PremierLeague.com

A shakeup at the top is guaranteed following the result of the marquee clash between Liverpool and Manchester City. The two title contenders play some of the best attacking football in the division, and will each want to lay down an early marker.

The early standings make ominous reading for fans of Burnley and QPR. Both teams already look ill-equipped for England's top flight. They will each hope home fixtures can help arrest the slide in the season's third week.

Here are the full fixtures for Week 3:

2014-15 Premier League Week 3 Fixtures
DateTimeHomevs.Away
Saturday, August 3012.45 p.m. BST / 7.45 a.m. ETBurnleyvs.Manchester United
Saturday, August 303 p.m. BST / 10 a.m. ETManchester Cityvs.Stoke City
Saturday, August 303 p.m. BST / 10 a.m. ETNewcastle Unitedvs.Crystal Palace
Saturday, August 303 p.m. BST / 10 a.m. ETQPRvs.Sunderland
Saturday, August 303 p.m. BST / 10 a.m. ETSwansea Cityvs.West Bromwich Albion
Saturday, August 303 p.m. BST / 10 a.m. ETWest Ham Unitedvs.Southampton
Saturday, August 305.30 p.m. BST / 12.30 p.m. ETEvertonvs.Chelsea
Sunday, August 311.30 p.m. BST / 8.30 a.m. ETAston Villavs.Hull City
Sunday, August 311.30 p.m. BST / 8.30 a.m. ETTottenham Hotspurvs.Liverpool
Sunday, August 314 p.m. BST / 11 a.m. ETLeicester Cityvs.Arsenal
PremierLeague.com

 

Must-See Week 3 Matches

Everton vs. Chelsea

Chelsea's first real test sees Mourinho's team return to the scene of a defeat last season. Everton bested the West Londoners 1-0 at Goodison Park thanks to a Steven Naismith goal back in September of 2013.

But this is a stronger Chelsea team with a more obvious focal point in attack, courtesy of Costa. He found the net for the first time in his Chelsea career during the 2-0 win over Leicester.

But as good as Costa has been, it's been the creative influence of winger Eden Hazard that has really sparked Chelsea so far. He was dominant against the Foxes, as Squawka Football noted:

As for Everton, manager Roberto Martinez will still be smarting after watching his team let a 2-0 lead slip at home to Arsenal. The stalemate with the Gunners has to raise doubts about the Toffees' ability to break into the top four.

Liverpool Echo writer Joe Rimmer believes Everton dropped too far off Arsenal in the second half:

Everton simply allowed the visitors too much time and space in the second period as the Gunners applied the pressure, desperate to get something out of the game.

Gone was the hustle and bustle in Everton's performance, gone was the pacey counter-attacks and gone were the full-blooded tackles.

Instead the Blues dropped deeper and deeper and, with a mere seven minutes remaining the Gunners fired their shots.

It was all too easy for Arsenal and Martinez won't want his side to allow a good team to play like that again on their own turf.

Giving Arsenal space to probe and create chances was certainly a major gaffe from Martinez's men. With Fabregas dictating the passing for Chelsea, Everton can't make that mistake again.

As good as Chelsea have been, there's also little doubt they have exploited soft competition. Despite a sputtering start, Everton will be a tougher opponent to break down.

 

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Liverpool

Pochettino has made a great start to life in North London. But much like Chelsea, his Tottenham team faces a more formidable test than in its first two games.

Hosting Liverpool will bring back painful memories of the 5-0 thumping the Reds dished out at White Hart Lane last season. However, that was a Luis Suarez-inspired rout.

Suarez helped Liverpool destroy Tottenham last season, but the Reds won't have him at White Hart Lane this time.
Suarez helped Liverpool destroy Tottenham last season, but the Reds won't have him at White Hart Lane this time.Paul Gilham/Getty Images

With the mercurial Uruguayan now with FC Barcelona, Spurs should feel confident they can put an early dent in Liverpool's title hopes.

The presence of Pochettino should be an extra confidence boost. He masterminded a 1-0 Southampton win at Anfield last season. The scorer that day was centre-back Dejan Lovren, now plying his trade for the Merseyside club.

Lovren and his defence must be mindful of two attackers who have been revitalised during the early days of Pochettino's tenure. The first is Argentine winger Erik Lamela.

A major flop in his first season in England, the former AS Roma man has started his second campaign in fine form. He was particularly effective during the demolition of QPR:

But as good as Lamela has been, few Spurs players can match the efficiency and skills displayed by Nacer Chadli. The clever Belgian international was one of the club's better signings last season.

Chadli's movement is quick and varied. He's become a dangerous outlet in Pochettino's more fluid brand of passing football. QPR found that out the hard way:

A draw seems a likely outcome here. Liverpool won't pose the same threat this season without Suarez. Meanwhile, Spurs certainly won't be as generous defensively as they were the last time they hosted the Anfield club.

 

Updated Title Odds

Temporarily at least, Chelsea have assumed the role of favourites ahead of City and Liverpool. Mourinho's men are listed at 6-5, per Oddschecker.com.

City remain 12-5, and victory over Liverpool will certainly strengthen the case for the defending champions repeating last season's magic.

It seems that Arsenal's battling point away against tough opposition has given bookies more belief in the title credentials of Arsene Wenger's squad. The Gunners find themselves rated at 11-2 after their solid start.

Of course, this picture will change every week. However, an Arsenal win over newly promoted Leicester will add more credence to the renewed faith in their chances.

It would be a timely victory in a week where fellow prime contenders Chelsea and Liverpool are facing daunting challenges away from home. That means the onus will be on Arsenal and City to capitalise on any potential stumbles in Matchweek 3.

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