Well, how was week one for you? The new English Premier League season kicked off last weekend in a blaze of publicity and non-stop live telly football and I, for one, am grateful for it.
Liverpool looked good going forward, not so good at the back; Arsenal were, well, Arsenal; Ibra scored on his debut for Manchester United; Sergio scored for City, as usual; and Hull won! Yes, who would have thought it? Certainly not me but they beat the champions with only nine fit first team players according to the narrative. To be fair to them they kept the same eleven players on the pitch for the full ninety minutes.
What of Leicester and Vardy? He missed several chances that last season he would have gobbled up. Is it too early to think their bubble has burst?
Game of the weekend had to be Arsenal at home to Liverpool. It had just about everything, great goals, shocking defending, angry fans and Gary Neville slaughtering Liverpool’s full back Alberto Moreno. I doubt if many Liverpool fans would have disagreed with him too much.
Worryingly for Burnley fans they lost at home to Swansea. I hope this is not a sign of what’s to come this season but I’m sure Sean Dyche would have been targeting these types of games as the kind where a victory would go a long way to securing seventeenth place.
Last season Aston Villa hosted Manchester United in a one-off Friday night fixture. This season, as part of the biggest television deal in history, there will be regular Friday night football on Sky. The first official Friday night football offering from Sky is Manchester United (what a surprise) against official Premier Punt partners Southampton.
I’m interested in seeing how attendances will be affected in these games. Under normal circumstances, Old Trafford would be full to capacity with no empty seats, even if the game was being shown on TV on a Saturday or Sunday and even on a Monday night. It will be interesting to see if United’s famous ‘travelling’ home fans will make the effort on a Friday night. On this occasion, I doubt if we will see any empty seats given that it is the first home league game of the Mourinho era, Ibrahimović makes his home debut and, for the first time in twenty years, the world’s most expensive player might make his debut (again) in a Premier League match.
Keep an eye on future attendances for these Friday games, particularly ones that are less attractive than this one.
Stoke host Manchester City at the Victoria Gro…..no, sorry the Britannia Stad….no, that’s not right either, the Bet365 Stadium….Anyhoo somewhere just near Stoke.
Joe Hart won’t be playing as Pep says he can’t pass the ball properly. Well, I watched Caballero last week and from what I saw he better sign a keeper who can because he’s not very good at it either.
Lancashire derby at Turf Moor. Is it still called that? It should be entertaining with Liverpool looking good going forward and Burnley trying to get their first points.
Swansea started with a good away victory last week and play Hull this week at home. It will be interesting to see if Hull can maintain their level of performance with a threadbare squad and no indication of any other signings on the horizon.
I think Spurs are a certainty at home to Palace. Not sure what’s going on at Selhurst Park. Why is Pardew getting rid of Jedinak, a fan’s favourite? I know why they got rid of Bolassie, another favourite….almost £30,000,000, that’s why.
Chelsea go to Vicarage Road to play Watford. Diego Costa is not suspended….I have no idea why not after watching him almost break the West Ham keeper’s leg in two on Monday night, and he had already been booked.
Everton go to the Hawthorns. I don’t see too many goals in this one so I’m backing under 2.5 for ninety minutes.
The evening game is Leicester against Arsenal. Will Arsene have signed a centre half (that’s what they used to be called before football was invented in 1992) by then? No, I don’t think he will either. He might have signed a small, skilful playmaker though….
Claudio will have been rallying his troops all week after last week’s opening day loss at Hull. Will last week be a blip? Will Vardy take his chances against the team he could have signed for in the summer? Might Riyad Mahrez, a small and skilful playmaker, have signed for someone else by then? Who knows?
A North-East derby in the Premier League kicks off at lunch time. No, the Geordies did get relegated last season; this one is Sunderland v Middlesbrough. I’m taking Jermaine Defoe in my Premier Punt team this week as he will score. Alvaro Negredo might well score for Boro as well. It should be a decent game.
Closing the week two fixtures is West Ham at home to Bournemouth. I don’t know what the name of their new rented stadium is and I don’t care. I can see the euphoria taking the Hammers all the way to three points, which will make it two losses on the trot for Bournemouth if I’m proved correct. It could be a hard season for the Cherries and one of England’s top Premier League managers…..not that he’s got much competition for that accolade.
Over and Out,