Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mandatory Season Preview

When is a good time to do a season preview? After the season starts? Definitely not, both you and I would think. But then the world of football is crazy. Games have been played, points have been scored and lost and some managers are already feeling the heat even before the transfer window has closed. So if we can have people getting unemployed even before they form a team, why can't I do a preview, after the view? More so becuase I've hardly seen any of the action yet.

Of course, if you follow the game, there is not much I can give you now in terms of information, so I will stick to opinions and maybe even general rambling. Let's see.

First up the big four. My beard if not my hair has gone grey and I'm wise enough not to claim to be a prediction expert, but it will be a real rocket up my a**e (yes, I edit my own day I'm looking at millions of readers including kids) if we do not have the same four comfortably ahead of the rest of the pack when the season closes. And though I'm tempted to further bracket them into two and two (Chelsea - Man U and Arsenal-Liverpool) I will resist the temptaion.

Why? Because I don't think that either Chelsea or Man U will be stronger than last year (not that they need to be) and the title will be decided by tactics, form and fitness rather than obvious superiority. I expect Liverpool to challenge more than before, though their success could depend on how easily the new fullbacks can gel with the squad and how fit the first choice striking pair remains. As for Arsenal, I believed it before and I do so now...we can all predict doomsday but Mr. Wenger is a little smarter than all of us, and I won't be surprised to see the Walcotts and the Diaby's step up and provide us with an entertaining four-way contest.

In the pack that follows, i.e. Villa, Everton, Pompey, Spurs, Hammers, Man City and maybe even the Toon, it is again difficult to predict a stronggest contender. Spurs have the most new faces and perhaps the biggest stars, but the loss of their strikers coupled with the lucky draw that is involved with bringing new players, might see them struggle before they hit the stride. Force me to pick a winner from this lot, and I would go for Portsmouth - I like the fact that they have Defoe and Crouch up front and if their squad is not too shallow, they may be the team to beat in this group.

The more I get into this, the more I realize that the exercise though not futile, demands predictions which I'm wary of making (unless there is money involved of course). So to cut a long story short (or make it more readable), I'll end this with a few things I'm most curious to observe in the coming season:

  • Managers: Scolari, Ramos and Moyes. Scolari and Ramos are obvious, but can Moyes yet again repeat the Everton story? If yes, I'll nickname him the 'Far More Entertaining Allardyce'
  • New Players: Many...all actually. Specially look out for Modric.
  • Old Players: Alves (Boro), Keane (Pool) and Crouch (Pompey)
  • Surprsie Team: Maybe Sunderalnd???
  • Fantasy Football favorites: Santa Cruz again, maybe Jenas
  • ...

This is also rather pointless...will just enjoy the football and then talk!

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