To celebrate the start of another Premier League campaign Kieran Davies talks zulus, Butthead, and Coronation Street appearance fees.
He’s not the messiah, he’s a very naughty boy! So Crystal Palace owners would lead you to believe when quizzed about the departure of Tony Pullis. Fantasy football teams around the country are dropping Julian Speroni as we speak as under Pullis their back four was tighter than a submarine door but before his arrival Speroni must have felt like one of the soldiers in the film Zulu! Don’t kick those bloody balls at me! (say in a Michael Caine cockney accent) The news of Pullis’ departure certainly sent shockwaves across the football fraternity, so close to the opening game of the season. Cue Martin Kelly’s first interview as an eagle stating how he couldn’t turn down the chance to work with a manager like Pullis……..AWKWARD! You’ve got to feel sorry for the fans in this situation as the club have almost given themselves a handicap going into the new campaign.
The teams who would consider themselves challengers for Champions League qualification have all strengthened and spent large this summer. Defending champions Man City have brought in quite small numbers by their standards also without parting with much money, suggesting they care a little more for financial fairplay this season. To be honest them not spending big on their squad is like Hugh Heffner deciding not to have any new bunny inductions this year, they’ll survive very well. They will be taking notice at Chelsea taking advantage of this adding three new signings to their first team while also retaining the services of the impressive Courtois instead of farming him out on loan again. With the wealth of talent already at the disposal of Jose Mourinho they really have to be strong favourites to win the title, along with Man City. Chelsea’s Achilles heel for me is their strike force of Costa, Drogba and Torres. Costa is one Europe’s finest and if he can play EVERY game this season Chelsea will do well but I worry when he is not available as Drogba is getting on now in football terms and will have the turn of pace of Patrick Truman while Torres couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat in a Chelsea shirt. They do however a lot of goalscoring midfielders and this could be their saviour in any title race.
Louis Van Gaal the man who brings the character ‘Butthead’ from ‘Beavis and Butthead’ to life has taken nest at Old Trafford. After an impressive World Cup pulling off such genius moves as bringing a goalkeeper on for a penalty shootout and making Ron Vlaar look half decent, he now faces his biggest challenge in turning around the fortunes of a side who had a huge fall from grace last season with all their fans clinging on to the hope that this was a mere ‘blip’. If he was only able to put out a side including HALF of the players he has talked about or been linked with or made moves for the outlook for the season would be looking rosy for the United faithful. Alas he does not and his squad is ravaged by injury but surely the event of a debut home game in his new job, they will have enough to get past Swansea. Arsenal started the summer off impressively capturing the signature of Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona but that aside they haven’t followed up on this with further signings. This team didn’t have enough goals in them last season and struggled defensively, areas they haven’t really addressed with signings. Debuchy has joined from Newcastle but Sagna was competent for me so not a problem area. They face a demoralised Palace side at home so it should be a routine win for Arsene’s side but he may need a few more faces before its time for that transfer window to close.
Fans up and down the country are still coming to terms with the fact they will need to find a new pantomime villain to hate this season now Luis Suarez has got himself a taste for tapas (or something like that!). Liverpool followed suit in Tottenham’s hard stance taken with Gareth Bale to get the fee they wanted for their departing talisman and have spent heavily to strengthen what last season was quite a threadbare squad when it came to quality. With three defenders added to the ranks with Manquilla, Moreno and Lovren, Liverpool fans will be hoping that their defense doesn’t resemble the flood barriers of Fukishima again this season. Kolo Toure keeps coming back to the club like a boomerang everytime Liverpool agree a fee with a club. The Southampton game comes a bit too early for some of Rodgers new signings due to injury but Lovren and Lambert are likely to face their old employers. Considering the upheaval at St Mary’s this summer it would be tough to envisage that Koeman will be able to pull off an Anfield win and he may have to be more wary of what happened to sides in those first 20 minutes at home last season quite often. Spurs again haven’t been overly active in the window but they still have a wealth of talent to bed in from the previous summer. They travel to Upton Park to face a London derby to kick the new season off and Pochettino will be hoping his new team can hit the ground running.
Meanwhile on the other side of Merseyside, Bill Kenwright decided to blow all his Coronation Street appearance fee money on much coveted Romelu Lukaku. The player really made himself a fans’ favourite last season and his style of play really suits Everton’s game. The fans will be hoping that he is fit to face their away game at Leicester which will be a tricky fixture away to a newly promoted team. West Brom have a home game against Sunderland to kick off their campaign, after spending a club record £10m for a striker this summer. The chairman was said to be livid when he got back from holiday only to realise he had left his credit card lying around and was ruing his not selecting a less memorable pin number. Mark Hughes added what is an impressive signing in ex-Barcelona frontman Bojan. Someone who has never kicked on from a ‘wonderkid’ billing, maybe the Brittania Stadium is where it was meant to happen. With Harry Redknapp and Glenn Hoddle teaming up at QPR, fans will be hoping they have a more successful crack at securing Premier League status this time around.
Both Newcastle and Sunderland head into the season not really knowing what their aim is after both enduring poor seasons where they flirted with the wrong end of the table and disappointed fans. The fans really do deserve a better showing this season as the ardent Geordie faithful regularly fill their respective stadiums yet are starved of even a bit of cup glory. Time to step up to the plate. Or if any Newcastle players are reading this………. temps d’intensifier à la plaque. With the transfer window open for a good couple of weeks yet, all fans will be clinging on to the hope there are more additions to come for their team yet this weekend that doesnt matter. It’s that time again, the moment you crave, your one true love, capable of giving you moments of ecstasy whilst still also being just as capable or ruining your whole weekend in a couple of minutes……..the football season’s back !!!!!