EPL Week 2 Preview

Week 2 of the Premier League always seems to provide us with some intriguing fixtures.  Last year, a Fulham side that was coming off of a Europa League final appearance, hosted Manchester United in a thrilling 2-2 draw, while Monday gave us new money Manchester City taking on old(er) money Liverpool, thrashing them 3-0 at what is now called the Etihad Arena or something absurd and opulent.  Two years ago, Burnley stunned Manchester United 1-0 at Turf Moor in Round 2, easily giving the club their most memorable moment of Premier League football, as they’d be relegated months later.

What I’m saying is that something memorable always happens in the second week.  Champions aren’t yet decided, but favorites dropping points two weeks in a row becomes a concern.  The duck (or 0, for those who don’t dabble in cricket) at the bottom of the table in the “points” column looks threatening as the numbers at the top grow exponentially.  The fixtures are supposedly computer-generated, but even I have to doubt that, or at least wonder if this computer knows to set up some strong games in the second week.

After coming off of strong Europa League showings, Fulham and Spurs are teams to watch.  They dominated Ukrainian and Scottish opponents, respectively, with American Clint Dempsey scoring twice for Fulham.

Fulham face a tricky challenge at Wolves, but should handle them well.  Spurs have the tougher challenge, going to Old Trafford on Monday.  They took care of Hearts pretty handily, but the defending champions are a very different matter.  Enjoy the goals from Thursday’s game, because you may see similar ones again on Monday.  I expect a fast pace, many chances, and Spurs will find a high-scoring draw to be an absolute success to start their campaign.

But we’re greeted on Saturday morning at 7:30 am ET with the most intriguing of matches.  Liverpool and Arsenal, two potential challengers for the title, meet in what will be the most telling of these early-season fixtures.  Arsenal took a slim lead in their Champions League qualifying tie, but have lost Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona, and threaten to lose Samir Nasri to City, as long as no one else can compete financially.  They are on a potential skid, but could boost their chances and their morale with a win at home.  Liverpool, on the other hand, have the talent to finish in the top 3 this year, and will be looking past an unlucky draw against Sunderland.  I can’t help but think the Arsenal camp is in a bit of shambles right now, so expect Liverpool to take advantage of this.

Oh, and don’t forget about Bolton and Manchester City on Sunday.  That has the potential to be the most exciting game of the week.  Enjoy.

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