Premier League: 10 Things We Learned from EPL Week 2
Week 2 of the English Premier League is finished, and we're beginning to get some sort of idea of what the 2012-13 season will look like.
We're continuing to be surprised and proven wrong by what happens on and off the pitch, but we aren't as much in the dark as we were prior to the opening round of competition.
From Liverpool's thrilling 2-2 draw at home to Robin van Persie's debut goal for Manchester United, Week 2 of the EPL was another round of fascinating matchups and results. Here are the 10 things that we learned about the competition over the weekend.
Swansea City Are the Real Deal This Year
If you don't believe that statement, have a look at the competition table.
Six points from two matches, eight goals for and no goals against. And were it not for Chelsea playing an additional fixture, it would be their name atop of the English Premier League.
Brendan Rodgers, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Joe Allen—all distant memories now as the Swans prove that they are a genuine threat in the EPL this year. Whether or not they can go the distance still remains to be seen, but two weeks in, Swansea are looking good.
As Are Everton
You'd have to argue the same thing also for Everton, who are looking to build on their strong performances from last season.
The Toffees have already shown they can mix it with the Premier League's best, taking down Manchester United in the opening weekend. And with Marouane Fellani, Nikica Jelavic and Kevin Mirallas leading their attack this year, there's no reason why Everton can't be considered the real deal this year.
They're even looking good to finish above Liverpool this year.
Andre Villas-Boas Is Not Spurs' Messiah
Andre Villas-Boas had a lovely offseason with Tottenham Hotspur, but now that the season has started, he is struggling to get the job done.
I know it's only two weeks in, but with just one point from matches against Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion, Villas-Boas must start to get Spurs clicking before they fall behind the top sides in the Premier League.
He was brought in as a replacement for Harry Redknapp, who couldn't deliver Champions League football to the North London club. AVB was meant to be the Messiah who could fix all of that for Tottenham, but for the most part, he isn't instilling a whole lot of confidence at the moment.
Manchester United Have Bought Very Well over the Summer
If you had any doubts as to the importance of the summer transfer window, have a look at Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson has worked his magic again, bringing in quality players without breaking the bank.
Two signings in particular will be of the utmost importance for the Red Devils this season.
Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa will spearhead United's attack this year and, after showing a strong combination against Fulham, could become a lethal duo in the Premier League.
Wayne Rooney is out for four weeks, which would have instilled mass chaos at Old Trafford had the star pairing not been present at the club. With Van Persie and Kagawa there, however, confidence remains in the Red Devils ability to win football games.
Injuries Could Have a Huge Impact This Season
According to PhysioRoom.com, several high-profile Premier League clubs have already been forced to deal with injuries to key players to start the season.
Arsenal have lost goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny for their fixture against Stoke, as well as Laurent Koscielny, Barcary Sagna and Jack Wilshere—all of whom would have most likely featured in their starting lineup.
John Terry was out for Chelsea, Manchester City's Sergio Aguero is out for four weeks and now Wayne Rooney is out for Manchester United for the next month. These injuries and the way that teams cover their significance could well be a deciding factor in the title race, even though the season has only just begun.
Liverpool Aren't Just Dead Weights This Year
After struggling to find any positive in their 3-0 opening-round demolition at the hands of West Bromwich Albion, Liverpool proved they are more than the dead weights this season,, pushing defending champions Manchester City all the way to finish with a 2-2 draw.
The Merseyside club probably should have won the match were it not for Martin Skrtel's horrendous back-pass that gifted Carlos Tevez a late equalizer—proving that they are still a side to watch out for this season.
Arsenal Are Still Struggling to Get Going Minus RVP
Robin van Persie's departure from the Emirates was met with the single question from Gunners fans: What affect will it have on the attack this year?
So far, a lot. Arsene Wenger's men have struggled in attack thus far against Sunderland and Stoke City, failing to find the back of the net in either encounter and simply not looking like the dominant attacking side that they once were.
Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski will come good, but Arsenal fans must be wondering when that will be, for they need it to happen sooner rather than later.
Santi Cazorla Isn't
The one highlight from Arsenal's season so far is summer recruit Santi Cazorla, who looks like a Premier League legend rather than a league debutant.
The Spanish midfielder was again sublime for the Gunners, sparking their attack and looking like the one man who can create the opportunity to get Arsenal on the scoresheet this season.
The former Malaga midfielder looks to be one of the buys of the summer so far.
It Could Be a Long Year for Aston Villa
Aston Villa haven't shown a whole lot of anything in their opening two games and are primed for a very long season in the English Premier League.
Paul Lambert's men are yet to win a single point and have only scored one goal in their opening two matches.
But what's most alarming for Villa is the lack of potency that they are displaying. They simply aren't offering much in either attack or defense, and with fixtures against Newcastle United, Swansea City and Tottenham Hotspur all in the next few weeks, it could be a long year for Aston Villa.
Chelsea Are the EPL Favorites
What is most clear through two weeks of the English Premier League is the fact that Chelsea are the undisputed favorites for the title this year.
The arrival of Eden Hazard has breathed new life into the Blues attack this year, with the Belgian international arguably the best player of the year so far. He is everywhere in attack, but most importantly, is helping the rest of the team play high-quality football.
Chelsea's only real test over the next month will be an away game to Arsenal, but you'd have to think that, with the schedule ahead, the Blues will definitely still be on top of the table and another month closer to the Premier League trophy.
They are the team to beat.
What did you make of the Premier League this weekend?
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