Just in case you forgot, the 2019-20 Premier League season commences today. Yes, we no longer have the traditional Saturday kick-off. Since last year, in its now customary bowing and prostrating itself to its broadcasters, the League decided to launch the season with a single game on a Friday. (Editor)
I quite enjoy doing season previews. The start of the season is a time filled with fresh optimism. It is something of a blank slate. You can wish for the stars or suffer immense anguish in advance of your team breaking your heart into a thousand pieces.
I support Arsenal and I have always been quite positive about the club and its prospects although the recent departure of Alex Iwobi has broken my heart into a thousand pieces. Iwobi leaving Arsenal is akin to me losing a dear relative; one I will forever mourn, as his body has not been found, leaving the family without closure. This is a child born, baptized and raised in the waters that flow by the Emirates Stadium. How did we ever get here? Selling our kid for less than £40m and buying another person’s child for £72m. Anyway, what cannot be helped must be endured. I hope Alex progresses further at Everton and I hope his departure allows other Arsenal academy prospects game time with the first team.
I make bold to say we will start with a win. Although the last time we started our League Campaign at St James’ Park was eight years ago and that match ended nil all.
Yes there have been a lot of changes in the team with this summer’s transfer window, but if all players bar Holding and Bellerin are fit, the first eleven on Sunday might look something like:
Leno, Sokratis, Luiz, Monreal, Kolasinac, AMN (or Chambers), three from Chambers, Torreira, Ozil, Ceballos, Mkhitaryan or Xhaka and two from PEA, Lacazette, Pepe and Mkhitaryan & Ozil.
In recent years, we have experienced a tricky first match of the season. They have usually been at home and this includes matches where we have played against nonentities like Liverpool. This time around we are away at St James Park. The Toon Army will be our 12thman. They are a lot more useful than the fake Arsenal fans that believe they can run the club better than the owners and the management.
I am predicting six hard fought points from the first two matches. It is about fight, fight and fight. None of those energy less encounters we saw at the end of last season. None of those two, three, four players without defensive duties. All the ten outfield players must defend together for us to make headway.
Andy Caroll, Steve Bruce, Sean Dyche and his band of eleven bricklayers will believe they can bully Arsenal. The bigger boys like Sokratis, Kolasinac, Luiz and Xhaka should stand up to any bullies and let the house rat tell the bush rat that this Arsenal team will not stand intimidation.
Is there a chance we can win the Premier League this season? I don’t think so. The betting companies are making us the sixth favourite after Manchester City, Liverpool (always the bride, never the bridegroom, perennial number twos), Tottenham, Manchester United and Chelsea. The bookies have been known to be wrong before and they are certainly wrong in my opinion, with the odds for the Top 6 clubs. For Arsenal to win the league though, I think we will have to witness a massive collapse in five of the traditional top six sides. I do not see this happening.
Top Four will do nicely and seeing as we were very close last year albeit aided by some shocking performances by Chelsea and Tottenham, I think we will come very close this season again. Will we make it? Only if we fight, fight, fight and fight for the Top Four Love like Mrs. Cheryl Cole sang (Sorry Cheryl Payne, or was that Cheryl Tweedy or Cheryl Versini? Never mind)
Fair to say that the Sheikh’s adopted children look like the best side in the League. Because of the money they have, they can line up two first eleven capable of beating any other Premier League side. While the job seekers of Merseyside have a very good first eleven, their bench is not quite as strong as Manchester City’s. Purely on the strength of the squad, you have to hand it to Manchester City. You know they are taking the piss when they plan to play Fernandinho as a center back for some of their games this season.
While we are all tipping Manchester City for the league win, we have to be mindful of the latest gimmick of the Premier League Management and their cohort the referees’ body. It was obvious they wanted Liverpool to be competitive last season and they kept up the charade ‘til the final day of the season. It was dodgy decisions galore in favor of Liverpool. If the Premier League Management want a repeat of last season, especially if they are dead set against Pep Guardiola’s side winning three titles on the bounce, you and I will be entertained by baffling decisions by the Premier League’s bastardized version of Video Assistant Referee. The comic VAR that hands decision making to faceless jobs worth in some hidden away place.
While we might be unhappy at the in your face attempt to manipulate decisions by implementing their own version of VAR, we must be thankful that the Premier League have not chosen to bless Tottenham the way they are fixated on Liverpool. While hell will be a more tolerable place were Liverpool to win the league, I dare say hell will freeze over were Tottenham to come anywhere near winning the league. To be fair they did win the Audi Cup recently but why anybody will want to win a coffee cup that you can buy in the Audi shop is beyond me. Anyway, desperation & keeping up with your successful not too near neighbors in N5 knows no bounds.
Will they win the league? NOT THIS YEAR. NOT NEXT YEAR. NOT EVER. The less time spent on shit the better.
They remind me of a few rich people in the neighborhood. Those same ones who made money when Margaret Thatcher was selling Council Houses for a penny. Now those houses sell for a few millions. These ones have cashed out and are now blowing the proceeds of the house sale. These type are everybody’s favourite drunk. They buy a pint for every straggler they come across, they give the largest tips to prostitutes despite the fact that they can’t sustain a BONER.
In a space of five seasons, Manchester United has spent almost a billion pounds in buying players. In the same time, United now hand out £200k per week contracts like confetti is sprayed at a wedding. They even have a super talented piano player on their books. For his occasional (make that one) effort at playing the piano, he earns £500k per week. Have the results reflected a billion pounds of transfer spending? You have to say no even if you are die hard GGMU Red.
Looking at last season, United conceded 54 goals. They were the worst side among the Top 9 for goals conceded. The teams in P12 & P13 conceded fewer goals, yet Manchester United and its fans believe the signing of Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan – Bissaka will make their defence less porous? What is this belief based on? Delusions? Pipe smoking? Or OleIsAtTheWheelIsm? It will end in tears. The better sides take the pressure off their defence by attacking. If United are relying on the same attacking set up as last year, they should be ready to battle P7, P8 & P9 with Watford, Everton and Leicester.
Will do very well in my opinion. Although aging a bit, the squad is still largely the same one that won the league three seasons ago without Eden Hazard. The inspiration Frank Lampard is likely to bring to the team will carry them far. Considering they are not as strong as City or Liverpool, I wonder if the notoriously impatient absentee overlord will allow Lampard time if results start to go wobbly. The fact that Chelsea has signed no one per se is not a set back. Think Tottenham last season. It didn’t do them any bad. Also the Chelsea loan contingent is equal to the entire squad of the 19 other teams in the premier league (do not waste your time fact checking this). The transfer ban will do Chelsea some good.
Will this be the season when Wolves, Everton, Watford, Leicester and West Ham gatecrash the Top Six? It will depend very much on Manchester United. I believe they are the most vulnerable member of that group. Until the Glazers get rid of Woodward, United is going nowhere but down.
It is difficult to see beyond the newly promoted sides for the drop. If any of them will stand out like Wolves did last season, my money will be on Norwich. It looks like their manager is one for the future.
You will have to add the strugglers from last season to the list of potential relegation candidates. That will be Brighton, Southampton, Burnley, Bournemouth, Newcastle and Crystal Palace. They might all start well but will revert to the mean as we approach the middle of the season as they have almost always done in the last couple of seasons.
While you want to respect Steve Bruce for what he has achieved as a professional, you have to realize he is no Rafa Benitez. While Ole Solskjaer is likely to be the first manager to be fired, I suspect Steve Bruce won’t be too far behind. You are guaranteed lots of excitement this season if your TV is permanently tuned to St James’ Park Stadium. The more things change in Geordie land, the more they remain the same.
They strike me as a joke club with Steve Whereishischurch thinking he is running a courier company. Because you were successful in fleecing Manchester United of £50m for a nobody from barely 12 months ago, you think Zaha is worth £100m? Football has gone mad.
I would like to make a Public Service Announcement and a warning to Aston Villa fans. When you visit the Emirates Stadium, be grateful that you have been allowed into the temple of football. Cross yourself, thank your stars, drink your beer to stupor while you take the obligatory five nil loss in your stride and sing none of that champions of Europe ditty. It wasn’t really Europe when you won. UEFA will be embarrassed if you parade yourself as former champions.
Message to media and to the fans
I would also like to say a few words to the media commentators especially those paid gazillions from the licence fee – YOUR OPINION IS NOT WORTH MUCH TO FOOTBALL FANS. Many of us now watch or listen to football at home with the mute button activated. You bring nothing to the game. You are worse parasites than football agents.
To football fans out there, please do not let us make football about the transfer market. You are paying for £200m teenagers with your ticket prices, Sky TV bills and purchases in the Supermarket. Winning the transfer market shouldn’t be a thing. The fact that Arsenal has had what appeared to be a good transfer window is not an indication of how the season will pan out. We had a brilliant window last season and see how disappointing it was.
Let the tummy ache begin
So my dear compatriots, let the tummy ache begin, let months of ruined weekend commence, let the feeling on top of the world for 85 minutes start, let the “my opponents loss is worse than my team’s loss so I feel slightly better” be the order of the day. We will experience the highs and the lows and the indifferent. At the end of the season though, I hope it is all worthwhile. I hope for Arsenal fans especially, that it is different than last season. I hope we play a lot better and have a positive football identity while making ourselves very tough to beat even if we don’t win trophies.