Cesc Fabregas v Yaya Toure
Live on Sky Sports 1
Chelsea's quick passing and creativity in the final third had looked ominously impressive in the opening hour against Swansea, but as Thibaut Cortois clattered into Batafembi Gomis and the match ebbed away from the champions, familiar worries about Chelsea's central midfield re-emerged.
Cesc Fabregas is undoubtedly a world class playmaker, but increasingly his defensive frailties are leaving his team exposed. Frequently day-dreaming and caught out of position, he was directly at fault for four separate Swansea chances (by failing to press or being caught high up the pitch). Andre Ayew's opening goal may have been prevented if the Spaniard had worked harder to throw his body into the box, and certainly the penalty incident would not have occurred if Jose Mourinho had a more consistent, energetic, and ruthless box-to-box midfielder.
Caught jogging back from his team's attack, the hole created by Fabregas's absence meant that John Terry was forced to step out from defence and make a challenge. As the ball broke to Shelvey, Fabregas should have applied pressure and prevented the Swansea midfielder from carefully picking out a pass towards Gomis.
Such lapses will be punished by a resurgent Man City side led by Yaya Toure. The Ivorian struggled last season with personal issues, but the listless roamer of 2014/15 seems to have been swept away; at The Hawthorns, Toure had 91 touches of the ball, completed 83 of 86 passes, and scored twice. He is exactly the kind of player Mourinho needs alongside Nemanja Matic.
Mourinho could field Kurt Zouma in this role for such a tricky fixture, but if he does not, then the outlook is bleak.
Recommended bet: Back Man City to win at 21/20
Walker v Afellay
Having stumbled lifelessly to defeat at Old Trafford on the opening day, Tottenham will be keen to prove that their efforts in Manchester were an anomaly with a domineering display at White Hart Lane. However, high tempo attacking football could leave them exposed to the marauding runs of Ibrahim Afellay - and heap further misery on a predictably low key start to the campaign for Mauricio Pochettino.
Against Man Utd, Spurs began the match with forward-thinking intent, pressing from the front and instructing Kyle Walker to sit extremely high up the pitch at all times; since Pochettino focuses on narrow attacking lines (using inverted wingers and overloading the middle), width is provided by roaming full-backs.
This tactic directly resulted in the opening goal, with Walker caught out of position and, flailing to recover ground, flicking the ball into his own net. Under great pressure to exert dominance at White Hart Lane, a similar structure will be implemented against Stoke. Afellay, playing from the left, should find plenty of space to charge into on the counter.
Afellay dazzled in flashes against Liverpool, but struggled to create chances thanks to the peculiarly deep-lying defence of a Liverpool team clearly fearful of another 6-1 mauling. Against a right-back whose priorities are attack-minded (and who struggled for confidence on the opening day) Afellay is in a better position to sparkle.
Tottenham may need to rely on Ryan Mason to cover this area from the right side of central midfield, something that he is not particularly adept at doing. Stoke are in an excellent position to punish a disjointed and predictable Tottenham team.
Recommended bet: Back Stoke to win at 15/4
Gylfi Sigurdsson v Newcastle Pressing
Garry Monk's managerial reputation grows with each tactically disciplined Swansea performance, and certainly their draw at Stamford Bridge suggests this should be another superb year in South Wales. Newcastle were similarly impressive against Southampton, but since Steve McClaren's tactical evolution is still developing, Swansea's Gylfi Sigurdsson will likely dominate.
Newcastle held 55% possession against Southampton, holding their own against one of the league's best passing sides and beginning the McCaren era with greater technical composure. Discarding the Pardew-led counter-attacking football of last season, Newcastle attempted 427 short passes (up from 2014/15 home match average of 337), and built slowly out from the back.
This was reflected in their full-backs' contributions. Last season, Massadio Haidara and Daryl Janmaat averaged 34 and 38 passes per match respectively. Against Swansea, they each completed more than 50. Newcastle still focused on distributing down the flanks, but the wingers were reached via short passes from centre-back, to full-back, to winger, rather than long punts on the counter. The transition is an interesting one, but is far from complete.
Dramatic stylistic shifts inevitably lead to mistakes in early season matches, and against Southampton it was Newcastle's pressing that seemed most disorganised. Sadio Mane consistently found pockets of space in the number ten position (66 touches, 4 dribbles) due to Newcastle's midfielders pressing high and the back four failing to follow. The gap between these two lines was far too large.
Sigurdsson is superb at finding these gaps and exploiting them, drifting unseen in the final third before playing the killer ball. With Jonjo Shelvey developing into a superb central midfielder capable of feeding sweeping passes into the final third, Swansea are well set up to exploit any tactical disarray in the Newcastle team.
Recommended bet: Back Swansea to win and over 1.5 goals at 29/20
Dimitri Payet v Cambiasso-less Leicester
At Upton Park, Slaven Bilic's attack-minded philosophy should inject flair into a team that laboured under the weight of Allardyce's stodgy principles. His 4-2-3-1 formation will focus upon greater offensive dynamism and against a Leicester team whose central midfield is considerably weakened without Esteban Cambiasso new star Dimitri Payet could run riot.
Payet arrived at West Ham to great excitement. The central attacking midfielder made 17 assists last season, averaging 3.7 key passes and an outstanding 2.4 accurate crosses per match. Possessing great strength, dribbling speed, intelligence, and crossing ability, Payet will be the lynchpin of Bilic's first eleven.
If the Hammers are to break through a deep-lying Leicester team high on confidence, the Frenchman will be key. Leicester's Daniel Drinkwater and Andy King will have to work hard to stop him, and although both possess great strength and energy (averaging 2.3 and 1.9 tackles per match respectively) Sunderland managed to successfully exploit this area last weekend.
Jermaine Defoe's goal came from an Adam Johnson through ball on the edge of the D. It is here that Payet can operate, and it is here that West Ham will most likely win the game.
Recommended bet: Back West Ham to win and over 1.5 goals at 17/10