One match out of 38 in the English Premier League doesn't tell the whole tale of the season that is to come. That said, it's clear there are a few teams that are in a lot better shape now than they were a term ago.
The story of the first week of action, though, had nothing to do with anything positive. Chelsea, fresh off of the most wins in a season in EPL history, was taken out by Burnley 3-2 in the opener at Stamford Bridge. The Clarets, who are amongst the favorites to be relegated this season, were on the front foot for much of the match after Gary Cahill was sent off for a straight red card in the 13th minute.
From there, the floodgates opened. Sam Vokes bagged himself a brace in the first half and capped a three-goal performance for his side with a stunning header past Thibaut Courtois.
The Blues also had Cesc Fabregas sent off in the second half for his second booking of the match. Though they did pull two goals back, including one with just nine men on the field, there was never a shot to complete the comeback from down three.
The problems all over the pitch are now clearly apparent. Antonio Conte will get this figured out for sure, but this second fixture of the season at Tottenham now seems awfully daunting, especially with Cahill facing a mandatory three-match ban and Fabregas guaranteed to be on the sidelines for this duel against Spurs as well. It isn't often that Chelsea is an underdog in a match, but it deserves to be on Sunday afternoon.
On the flip side, the de facto Wayne Rooney/Romelu Lukaku flip between Everton and Manchester United paid dividends for both sides in their respective opening matches of the year.
Rooney, who returns to his boyhood club, scored just before halftime in what proved to be the only goal of the match against Stoke City. It's clear that the Toffees aren't going to have a slew of offense this season, but Rooney could be a factor in what might be his best season in years at his old home.
But the first match day belonged to Lukaku and the Red Devils. The whole summer, Jose Mourinho heard all about how Lukaku wouldn't fit with what he wants out of a striker. The opening salvo? Two goals against West Ham in what turned out to be an easy 4-0 victory.
Granted, there will be harder competitors on the docket, including perhaps this week at Swansea City. But the fact that Lukaku was clearly the dominant man of the match is a great sign going forward.
Opportunity is knocking for Huddersfield Town right out of the gate. The newcomers to the EPL know that the race to 40 points is on, and any points that could be had out of away matches are crucial.
Steve Mounie ensured that the Terriers would start off the year on three points by shocking Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday. Now, Huddersfield will return home for a match against newly promoted Newcastle. A win is very possible in that match, and if Huddersfield could get it, it might need just 34 points over the course of its last 34 matches to guarantee relatively improbable safety for a second season in the top flight.
The second match day of the EPL season will wrap up with Manchester City, a 2-0 winner over Brighton in its opening match of the season, going against Everton. It'll be a nice litmus test of sorts for the Toffees after their relatively drab win over Stoke, but nothing will be expected to come of this fixture.
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