The second weekend of the season sees Everton take on Arsenal in Saturday Night Football, while on Sunday, Manchester United will be looking to bounce back from an opening defeat.
The Premier League kicked off in style with some surprise results, late goals and excellent performances, and the latest round of games provides another opportunity to assess the likely title contenders or relegation candidates.
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Arsenal are one of the sides hoping to challenge for top spot this term and they got off to a winning start against Crystal Palace as Aaron Ramsey grabbed a stoppage-time goal. Ramsey was sent off for Arsenal in their midweek UEFA Champions League clash against Besiktas and the return leg lies in store on Wednesday, so Arsene Wenger will be anxious to build some momentum at Goodison Park. Everton threatened to pip the Gunners to fourth last season, especially after an emphatic 3-0 win in April’s corresponding fixture, and will hope this season that they can book a spot with Europe’s elite, although they were pegged back to a 2-2 draw by newly-promoted Leicester City in their opening game.
Super Sunday starts with an encounter between Hull City and Stoke City at the KC Stadium. Fresh from a trip to Belgium to face Lokeren in the Europa League, where they lost 1-0, Hull have a chance to build on their 1-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers. However, they will be without Robert Snodgrass after the summer signing was ruled out for around six months with a dislocated kneecap. Hull’s campaign may hinge on how they cope with their continental exertions, and Stoke will try to capitalise on any sort of negative reaction as they bid to recover from a 1-0 home loss to Aston Villa.
All eyes will be on the Stadium of Light at 4pm on Sunday as Sunderland seek to get the better of Manchester United once again, having knocked them out of the Capital One Cup last season and then won away from home during their dramatic escape from the relegation zone. Sunderland needed a late equaliser from Sebastian Larsson to hold West Bromwich Albion to a 2-2 draw on Saturday, while United were beaten 2-1 by Swansea City in Louis van Gaal’s first match in charge. The Dutchman could be set for a busy final few days of the transfer window as he sizes up the task he is facing, but will want an immediate response from his players to boost confidence.
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Sunday’s final game features Harry Redknapp going up against his former club as Queens Park Rangers tackle London rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Mauricio Pochettino is the third manager Spurs have had since Redknapp’s departure and began his reign with a 1-0 victory over West Ham United thanks to Eric Dier’s late strike. QPR’s return to the Premier League started with a disappointing 1-0 defeat at home by Hull, leaving Redknapp on the lookout for reinforcements before the deadline.
Chelsea were the only team to score three goals on the opening weekend as they set the early pace with a 3-1 success at Burnley, and the impressive performances of new players Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa showed just why they have been widely tipped to become champions. They meet another team to have come up from the Championship this Saturday in the shape of Leicester, who will be feeling encouraged about their chances of competing at this level following a hard-fought draw with Everton.
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Saturday’s action begins with a meeting between another two teams who had plenty of reasons to be positive on the opening weekend. Aston Villa got their campaign up and running with a 1-0 triumph over Stoke City as Andreas Weimann’s second-half goal proved the difference between the sides. Although Newcastle United lost 2-0 to defending champions Manchester City, Alan Pardew’s new recruits put in decent displays in an evenly-contested match, and they will now look to get off the mark at Villa Park.
Crystal Palace will hope to end a dramatic week on a high note as they entertain West Ham at Selhurst Park. Keith Millen took caretaker charge for the loss to Arsenal following the shock departure of Tony Pulis, before Malky Mackay’s chances of being appointed were ruined after his former club Cardiff City sent a dossier to the Football Association detailing allegations about his time in Wales. Occupying the visiting dugout on Saturday will be a manager whose position continues to come under scrutiny, although Sam Allardyce remains convinced that he still has the faith of the West Ham board after a 1-0 defeat by Tottenham.
Swansea produced one of the performances of the opening weekend to see off Manchester United at Old Trafford but manager Garry Monk believes they can play better and he will sense an opportunity to make it maximum points from their opening two games when Burnley make the trip to the Liberty Stadium. Sean Dyche admitted that his side had been outplayed following their 3-1 loss to Chelsea and that they ‘knew who they must take points from’, so he will be desperate to get something from the visit to Wales.
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Two other teams who have been tipped to struggle this season lock horns at St Mary’s as Southampton host West Brom. Ronald Koeman’s Saints battled hard before falling to a 2-1 defeat against Liverpool last weekend, while Saido Berahino scored twice for West Brom in their draw with Sunderland.
Beyond the weekend, there is a mouth-watering edition of Monday Night Football to look forward to as Manchester City welcome Liverpool to the Etihad Stadium. Just two points separated the teams at the top of the table last season and they played out a couple of magnificent matches, while they have both started the new campaign with wins.