Football is back folks! Enough of all the half wavering interest in what Lewis Hamilton does on the race tracks and how Serena Williams gets along on the court, the sport that has us all captivated is back! The season ahead is one of epic proportions everywhere in the football hemisphere.
In Spain, the biggest club in World football is in chaos with a manager who looks like a mistake waiting to happen. In Germany, there is a real sense of unrest amongst the Bayern faithful who believe it or not, do not quite fancy Pep Guardiola – they would like a German in charge – to take the club forward. Turin giants Juventus have dominated Italian football for the last few years and with Roma and Inter looking strong, it would be interesting to see how that pans out this year.
Over in England, the suspense is rife! With the money involved, this is no surprise that once again, clubs in England have spent substantial amounts of money. The Manchester clubs combined have spent well into hundreds of millions of pounds and with still about three weeks to go in the transfer window, the close of business is still some way of.
Chelsea won the Premier League with ease last year and deservedly so. Over the course of the season, they were by far the best team in the land. Going into the new season, things do not look quite plain sailing. The small club in West London look way too dependent on creator in chief Eden Hazard for any spark going forward and you feel that Costa’s fitness is a major worry for the Champions. The addition of Falcao is a win win situation for Jose Mourinho in the sense that if he succeeds, the manager would look like a hero and if he fails? No worries, he was already finished.
In Manchester, it is a pivotal season for Louis Van Gaal. United have strengthened significantly across the midfield with top class signings but with uncertainty over the future of De Gea still abound, there are still some question marks over the Manchester club heading into the new season. Van Gaal seems determined to transform the club and despite spending over €300million on 11 new players in his short time at the club, whether he has transformed the team for better or worse remains a mystery. De Gea, United’s player of the year last season is ruled out for the opening game because “his head is not in the right place”. Having already lost Di Maria and Van Persie – who whether the little boy inside of him was ever screaming to play for Fenerbahce we would never know -, losing De Gea would be all too much.
Manchester City is right there in the mix too. If they can keep Aguero fit for long periods of the season, his goals would shoot them right to the top or thereabouts. Sterling is a good addition. Notwithstanding that a new deal has just been announced for Chilean manager Pellegrini, the uncertainty over his position might prove to be their biggest undoing this season.
Liverpool? Oh please, it would be a miracle if Brendan ‘character’ Rodgers is still in the job at the end of the season. This is a man who once referred to Mario Balotelli as a “calculated risk” and then labeled Dejan Lovren as “a powerful and commanding presence in defense.”
Spurs? Okay, enough jokes for now.
Over in N5, North London giants Arsenal have not been this confident going into a season for a long while. Ahead of Arsene Wenger’s 20th season in charge of the Gunners, the Frenchman is “ready for a fight” and confident his side has what it takes to deliver an all elusive Premier League title. The Arsenal squad as of today is well balanced. There is competition for places across the pack and with the addition of Petr Cech, you sense their level has gone even higher.
A key player for the Gunners this season is Mesut Özil. The man from Gelsenkirchen has it all to do this year and for the gunners to progress this season, his creative ability is vital. Upfront, there is talk of Karim Benzema coming in but that is unthinkable. It is simple; Madrid will not find a better number 9 on the market, so why sell?
Theo Walcott has just signed a new deal that reportedly puts him on par with the highest earners at the club. As manager Arsene Wenger said, “I think he’s at a moment of his career where he knows that it’s now time for him to completely fulfill his potential.” The time for Theo to deliver is now. With 76 goals for the club already, getting into the select 100 club this year would do wonders for Arsenal’s title aspirations. If you add the immense abilities of Star man Alexis Sanchez, you see that there is a real cause for the optimism amongst the Arsenal faithful.
The level of competition in England is surreal and you cannot afford a run of 3 bad games to win it. Consistency over 38 games is the only way and for this Arsenal side, that is now the real challenge. Can they do it? Do they have the squad to do it? No, not at the moment they don’t. Jack Wilshere’s latest injury has shown once again how fragile and injury prone this Arsenal squad is. There is still a need for an addition in central midfield as Coquelin being out for a while raises a concern.
However, the major flash point over the season would be the battle between Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger. Two men who cannot stand the sight of each other. Wenger finally beat his nemesis last weekend but if the events that followed were anything to go by, there is still no love lost between these two. The first meeting of the season between Chelsea and Arsenal would be on September 19 and it is a day that I personally have already bookmarked on my calendar. It is an interesting season ahead and for Arsenal fans in particular, it is one filled with hope and optimism.
Article by: Nkay, @swaynkaayyy