- Associated Press - Thursday, August 21, 2014

MANCHESTER, England (AP) - One round of Premier League games has already backed up many pundits’ pre-season predictions, notably that Chelsea and Manchester City are title favorites and Manchester United needed more than just a change of manager to arrest its slump.

Strengthened by new attacking signings Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas, Chelsea delivered the best display of the opening weekend in beating Burnley 3-1 away and meets another promoted side, Leicester, in its second match Saturday.

City was less eye-catching in its 2-0 win at Newcastle but the result served notice that the defending champions won’t be giving up its title easily. Next up for City is Liverpool - the team it beat to the championship in May - at home on Monday.

Things aren’t looking so promising for United and its new manager Louis van Gaal, who are looking to avoid a second straight defeat in an away match at Sunderland.

Here are five things to know about the upcoming Premier League matches:



Perhaps the most damning assessment of United following its 2-1 opening-day loss to Swansea came from its former midfield maestro, Paul Scholes.

“I am scared for United,” Scholes wrote in Thursday’s Independent newspaper. “Genuinely scared that they could go into the wilderness in the same way that Liverpool did in the 1990s.”

After finishing seventh last season in the turbulent reign of David Moyes, there was renewed hope at Old Trafford following the hiring of the experienced Louis van Gaal and an unbeaten record in preseason.

But the home loss to Swansea punctured that optimism, highlighting the deficiencies that still exist in the team - a lack of pace and dynamism in its attack and a lack of experience in defense.

The signing on Wednesday of left-sided defender Marcos Rojo from Sporting Lisbon will help but there’s a general feeling that a superstar needs to arrive at United before the summer transfer window closes if the team is to finish in the top four.

Sunderland started with a 2-2 draw at West Bromwich Albion.



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