Premier League Preview: Week 2

“Manchester City win premiership on goal difference!”

Ok, so not quite. But some of the wilder responses to Monday’s defeat of Newcastle would almost have you believe the league was over courtesy of a Wilfried Bony consolation goal. Quite a way to make your debut; score the goal that settles the league, and not even for your own side!

With the frenzied anticipation over and the league up and running, the one thing that is certain from the first round of matches is that it’s a long season and champions won’t be decided in August. That said, it only takes two results to turn an anomaly into a trend and so there is plenty to look forward to this weekend. Below I look at a few of the fixtures that have grabbed my attention.

Check back to the site for a Preview of Monday’s big game between Manchester United and Chelsea.

Aston Villa vs Liverpool

Paul Lambert and Brendan Rodgers both moved to their current clubs after a single season with a promoted team, apparently jumping ship to bigger more established clubs. Both men appear to be tasked with a revolution or a “project” and the first season with their new teams was very much a mixed bag. This week is a chance to pit the two men against each other and discover whether their case for progress holds water, or if perhaps they were victims of their own hype, after all neither Swansea nor Norwich seem to have suffered from their departures.

Villa’s win at Arsenal was impressive despite the hyperbole regarding Arsenal’s failings and Lambert’s case that Ivanovic unfairly influenced the result at Stamford Bridge would likely by heard sympathetically by Newcastle’s Steven Taylor, but can Benteke maintain his strong start?

Liverpool meanwhile have a striker in Sturridge who appears to be quietly flourishing in the absence of the press favourite Suarez and there are signs that Jordan Henderson may be approaching some of the form that earned him an early England call up from Sunderland.

Fulham vs Arsenal

Martin Jol looks to have made some very solid signings, proven premier league performers, and was rewarded with an away win on day one, something they managed only 4 times last season. Confidence should be high and despite the impressive performance against Fenerbahce Arsenal may be the victim of tired legs within a slim squad still waiting to add any reinforcements. This would appear to be the perfect bananaskin for the Gunners pitting class against experienced graft, and two Tottenham old-boys to boot in Parker and Bent. A win would rightly be lauded by Wenger as a sign that he still knows what he is doing.

Hull City vs Norwich

Norwich are no pushover, and Chris Hughton looks to have strengthened his squad from last season, but if Hull are to make it past their first season this would look to be a game they should have ambitions on winning. With Johan Elmander arriving this week and Ricky Van Wolfswinkel looking good on his league debut, will Hughton resist the temptation to set up defensively away from home? Steve Bruce is no newcomer to this league but has his doubters, if Hull can’t put in a performance it could be a long season for the Tigers.

Tottenham vs Swansea

You would be forgiven for thinking the weeks choice tie is on Monday, but I have high hopes that pitching the cockerels against the swans could be the game of the weekend. Despite their opening day loss, Swansea looked like a team not afraid to play the ball. With Jonjo Shelvey they have picked up a player who failed to break into the Liverpool side but showed signs on Sunday of the ability that has served him so well for England Under 21s. Jokes aside Bony also looks like a strong addition to the league cup winners. Meanwhile every Spurs signing is a dagger in the side of Arsenal fans and there are more than enough attacking options on AVBs teamsheet even without Bale. I expect there to be plenty of good football on show and hopefully some good goals too.

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