So we’re two games into the 2012-2013 BPL season. Let’s take a look at what I imagine will end up being the top five most interesting storylines this footballing year!
5. Robin Van Persie: Will he achieve more with Manchester United than he did with Arsenal?
The chances have to be that he will. Like, a lot more.
But how good would it be if he didn’t? It’s pretty much a given that the only people who want to see Man United do anything positive are Man United fans.. Everyone else kind of hopes that they will wake up one day and the team will have suddenly ceased to exist. And all of their fans fell down into a puddle.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful though, to see Manchester United suddenly crumble and for Van Persie to wonder why he left the ‘Gunners’?
Here’s a quick look at the number of trophies won by players after having left Arsenal in the last 7 years, versus those who stayed:
Left: 44 winners medals between them, at 11 different clubs
Stayed: 0 winners medals between them
So if winning zero honors (major or minor) is your thing, then you should definitely look into signing a long term contract with Arsenal. Like Theo Walcott.
Here’s an interesting question: do Arsenal fans even care if he stays at this point?
As far as I can tell his greatest quality as a player is his unrivaled potential. For the past five years. Maybe more. I mean, I’ve never seen a player so frequently dribble down the wing with such conviction, burning two players for pace, before swinging a cross in to absolutely nobody.
Arsenal lost Alex Song too, who was quietly their most consistent performer last year. Given that Arsenal have mediocre attacking midfielders in abundance and not many solid defensive midfielders. I find it hard to see how this could possibly go well.
4. Chelsea’s quiet rebuilding
While all of the big clubs went about either spending lots of money on established super stars (see: Manchester United), or bemoaning their inability to do so (see: Manchester City), Chelsea did some very, very interesting work. Here are five of their biggest summer business:
- Cesar Azpilicueta (from Marseille)
- Victor Moses (from Wigan)
- Oscar (from Internacional)
- Eden Hazard (from Lens)
- Marko Marin (from Werder Bremen)
Hazard in particular already looks fantastic. They also have Fernando Torres. Who has the potential to suddenly become the best signing of the season, given that since he arrived in Chelsea for a hundred billion pounds he has been playing like absolute garbage and achieved little more than a change of hair color/style three or four times.
Another interesting sign is that a lot of the transfer chatter coming out of the big teams across Europe involved trying to swipe lunatic David Luiz from Chelsea. They could realistically never let him go because there are oil paintings at the Louvre younger than the Chelsea back line.
At this point John Terry, even though he is still powered every now and then by racism, is, running on the fumes of his fumes’ fumes. But when you have all of the other big clubs trying to buy your young player, that means you’ve got something good.
A sub storyline here is how long will Roberto Di Matteo last in the hot seat. The club’s fans and football fans in general must kind of be wondering how it is possible at a club with an owner as notoriously ruthless as Roman Abrahamovich, that Di Matteo is still manager. I mean, are we really forcing Jose Mourinho (lock for top three working managers today) out of the club and then five years down the line doubling down on the guy who had an application to become manager of Birmingham City last year turned down.
3. How long will Brendan Rodgers last at Liverpool?
This is an interesting one because he shouldn’t last long. He’s a small name, coming from a small club, with a (relatively) small salary and he has already gotten his new look Liverpool squad absolutely spanked by a newly promoted Swansea on the opening day.
But then really, what are the expectations for Liverpool at this point? To challenge for the title? Really?
I think even the most hardened Liverpool fans have to now accept that this is a bridge too far. Challenge for a Champions League spot? Possibly. This is pretty much the life-cycle over the course of a BPL season for a Liverpool fan:
Why are we offering ten times the market value of this player just because he is young, English and came on for the last five minutes of an England game?
5 mins before kick off of first game:
I like our chances this season. Gerrard is fit. We look good.
5 mins after kick off of first game:
We are garbage. What was I thinking.
10 games into the season:
Ok, we lost most of our games but at least we beat Chelsea.
Halfway through the season:
This is bad.
3/4 of the way through the season:
Now it’s getting embarrassing.
10 games left:
When did Everton get above us?
Last day of the season:
Next year is going to be our year.
Sure it’s exciting to see who wins the title at the end of the year, but it’s even more interesting to see which three teams are relegated, and whose fans are crying come season’s end. No one likes to see other people with other allegiances happy, but everyone likes to see someone depressed about sporting results, and with the end of the BPL season you get to see three sets of people!
The two pace setters for relegation at the moment are Southampton and Aston Villa, but it’s unlikely to be both of those teams that bottom out come season’s end. My prediction is Norwich, Reading and Southampton.
Let us know your predictions in the comments!
1. Can Manchester City better themselves?
With the amount of money that has been pumped into the club, the quality of players brought into the team, and how quickly success has been attained, expectations are sky high at Manchester City. And probably rightly so. They have easily, player-for-player, the best team in the league so expectations should be high. They’re also buying pretty wisely, now having established their supremacy, they invested in youth with the signing of Jack Rodwell from Everton, which demonstrates their intentions not to be a flash in the pan.
So the question now is can they do one better and win the Champions League? It’s pretty difficult to make those kinds of predictions in a cup tournament. And it’s not an easy tournament to win, packed with killers. From the top tier teams like Real Madrid and Barcelona (who both have squads at least comparable, and at best, superior to City), to the dark horses like Inter Milan, Bayern Munich and the newly minted, oil rich, Paris St Germain.
But with the great squad that they have, and with players like Yaya Toure who have been on successful, long European campaigns before, they’re definitely as well placed as any of the other teams to do it.
For more on the Barclays Premier League, click here.
For photos from the match between Liverpool and Manchester City, click here.
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