Five questions that the EPL's first weekend asked
It was eventful Match Day 1 in the English Premier League, with some surprising results, some cracking goals, and some telling performances across the league.
Let's take a look at how it all shook out. Arsenal in trouble?
How much should we read into Arsenal's 2-0 loss to West Ham on Sunday? New goalkeeper Petr Cech was at major fault for both goals. It was a really uncharacteristic display from one of the league's most competent - and experienced - keepers. Arsenal have been heavily linked with Real Madrid's Karim Benzema, and I say Benzema would be the perfect signing for a team relying on the inconsistent Olivier Giroud for a whole lot. No reason for major panic for the Gunners, but the loss was disappointing for sure. Respect to West Ham for putting in a great performance on the opening day. Swansea ready for European push?
On the strength of their impressive 2-2 draw away at Chelsea, Swansea City look like they could be primed for another serious push. Will they crack the top 6? It's unlikely, but they looked really, really strong against the league's best team on Saturday. New signing Andre Ayew was energetic and scored a goal, while big striker Bafetembi Gomis was as imposing as ever and Ash Williams rewarded the Swans' efforts to keep him at the club with a solid shift at the back. They were aided by Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois's red card and played a large part of the second half with an extra man, but it was an impressive match all the same for one of the league's up-and-coming squads. Promoted sides here to stay?
While two losses and a draw from the league's three new sides may not seem all that impressive, anyone watching the teams play knew that all three made solid showings for themselves. Watford were the most impressive, as they played to a thrilling 2-2 draw with Everton (conceding one of the goals of the week to Ross Barkley). Bournemouth had opportunities but ended up falling to Aston Villa 1-0 in another tight contest. And Norwich City will feel hard done by the referee following their 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace. They had an equalizing goal ruled out for a strange high leg call and a legitimate cry for a penalty turned away.
In any case, upon first glance these look like three teams that can outfit themselves well, maybe score some goals and, at the very least, entertain viewers. Coutinho to step it up?
Liverpool's key player is Philippe Coutinho, and he showed his quality with a stunning goal, certainly the goal of the week. It broke a 0-0 deadlock in the 86th minute in the match vs. Stoke. An important win for Liverpool, definitely - and against a very well organized opponent on the road. But maybe even more important is Coutinho's contribution - if he can be the talisman this season, he will make everyone around him better, including newcomers Roberto Firmino and Christian Benteke. Sunderland worse than we thought?
Sunderland got whopped by Leicester, 4-2. Now, we didn't expect much from either of these sides entering the season, but a huge defeat to another potential relegation candidate has to be worrisome for Sunderland. They were totally overrun by last year's success story and showed hardly any bits of excitement. On the other hand, Leicester were outstanding, let by the under-fire Jamie Vardy (a video has surfaced showing Vardy making a racial comment in a casino) and the under-rated Riyad Mahrez. Might they have what it takes to survive another season in the Prem, maybe building on the terrific form they showed toward the end of last season?