The stadiums were packed. Club colors were evidently everywhere. Fans were screaming. The players were itching. Even the sun was shining (well at least in the matches that I saw on the telly) as the Premier League returned to action last weekend with goals galore. Some premier league debutants made impressive impacts while others promised much but fell short of delivery. And then there was that one who made a journey from London to Manchester only to see an extremely disappointing debut match. There was certainly no shortage of goals but surprisingly most of them for clubs you would not expect such numbers from. There were a total of 26 goals scored on the opening weekend! And if you include the midweek clash between Chelsea and Reading then 32 Goals! That’s 32 goals in 11 games and comes to an average of almost 3 goals per game and if it’s anything to go by as a trend for this season then it’s fantastic news for the neutral.
Manchester City started life in the 2012/13 season just as they ended it in 2011/12 – coming from 2-1 behind to win it 3-2. Albeit the 2011/12 was to win the league title while this one was to ensure getting off on a winning start.
To be honest.. their overall performance wasn’t as impressive as it should have been. They won the league title for the first time last season and that fire should have helped them demolish newly promoted side Southampton. The defence needs to tighten up if they are to retain their title. With Manchester United always hunting for revenge after losing the title they will face a hard time from their red rivals. Things won’t be easy to come by from Chelsea either. The potential for title deciders will also be with Tottenham, Liverpool (their next match) and Arsenal.
Having said that, from the above list only Chelsea made an impressive start. They had a double game week (with the second game played on Wednesday). Chelsea are top with 6 points at the moment and 6 goals already in their books with 2 against. Eden Hazard has been supremely impressive for them and already looks to be one of the buys of the season in the league.
He has played a massively important and influential role in the both the games and is surely a top quality purchase. The blues will however face in due course of the season problems up front (Torres hasn’t been the Torres of yore in the last 2 seasons). Plus the back line is ageing. It is but a matter of time when that catches up with them this season. The midfield however is strong and if Torres can manage to get some of that original flair and sparkle back then Chelsea will quite easily be able to keep last season’s domestic league standing behind them and back into the top 4 as title contenders.
Liverpool had the worst possible start to the season. Going down 3-0 to West Brom in what was their worst start in I believe some 25 odd years ( I think its 25, please correct me if I am mistaken. However it was the worst in a long long time). Brendan Rogers has his work cut out. Liverpool above all lack grit and desire. They have good players. But the reliance on a single talisman has taken away the desire from the rest.
The next couple of games (especially next one being Mancs) will be important in determining how the Reds season will go. Mancini thinks they are definite title contenders but that could just be fancy talk before their clash.
Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson. The search for the 20th league title. Star signing of Robin Van Persie from Arsenal. Plenty of firepower up front for him to join – Rooney, Chicharito, Welbeck, Berbatov and fellow new signing Kiguawa. Goodish to average midfield thou. And definitely fragile defence in terms of depth. One or 2 injuries and it comes undone. A still learning and developing keeper in De Gea. But they are United after all.
They have a massive history and experience in winning titles and reclaiming them. They have a supremely confident attitude of being winners. It is that quality which will always ensure (along with Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm of things) that even thou they had a losing start – you know they will be in the title race till the last couple of games. And yes I hated saying every bit of the last two sentences since I am an Arsenal fan but it is true. So they lost to Everton thanks to a Fellaini header. But you know they will bounce back. They have had slow starts before which have ended in league titles. So what’s so new and great about their defeat at goodison? Nothing. I will just be hoping that we can do better then them and rest.
Coming finally to my club – Arsenal. They have had yet another season of departures and more importantly the departure of a club captain. Not good for the motivation of other players and the club fans this. Van Persie followed Fabregas, Nasri and Clichy from last season in being a big name exiting the club. But more shockingly he was sold to Manchester United. That will be really hard to stomach. And of course will result in a not so warm reception for him if he faces Arsenal at the emirates. With the first game promising much but failing to deliver the new look Arsenal side will be under the microscope through the course of the season. Hopes will be pinned solely on new signings Carzola, Giroud and Podolski to deliver the goods.
However we need Vermalaen, Koscileny and Scezny to have good seasons to ensure stability at the back which is and has been a major problem area for Arsenal in the past. We have leaked way too many goals in the last few seasons. And with Song gone we need Wishere back and for Diaby to have an injury free season to ensure a solid midfield. Arteta will provide the additional stability as well. Our next game is Stoke and the potters can be a tough ask. Let’s hope the new boys adjust to life in the premier league fairly fast and that we end our 7 year trophy drought. We have the potential but we need the execution and mentality to win as well.
This will most definitely be a telling season for Wenger and I fear if it is yet another trophy less season than it will be trouble despite the prof’s brilliant business acumen.
My honest predictions for the league:
1. Manchester United / Chelsea / Manchester City
2. Manchester United / Chelsea / Manchester City
3. Manchester United / Chelsea / Manchester City
6. Tottenham / Newcastle