The Premier League season officially kicked off on Saturday, and it is great to see the Northwest with five teams in the top division again, with the mighty Burnley joining their more established Merseyside and Manchester peers.
I was at Leicester to see Everton draw their opening fixture on Saturday, and like all avid football followers watched the highlights of all the other games on Match of the Day, enjoying the beginning of the inevitable renaissance that Man United will enjoy now that they have a foreign manager – oops, maybe not!
But, as much as it was nice to have the ‘beautiful game’ back after what was an even shorter break than usual due to the World Cup, you can’t help but have the feeling that we have got off to a bit of a false start. Indeed, until the transfer window closes at the end of this month we don’t actually know which players each club will have available to select for the remainder of the campaign.
This is a ridiculous anomaly that supporters are used to; but what has added to the ‘phony war’ environment this term is the fact that those players returning from World Cup duty were not deemed fit to play.
I can’t understand why the powers that be didn’t put back the opening day fixtures by a week. But then again, when have the football authorities ever operated on a logical basis?
In the long term, over the course of a long, tough season, the opening weekend results may have little impact. But, when you are shelling out anything between £35-£90 for a match day ticket, then the very least you should expect is to see the best players on the pitch entertaining you – not sat in the stand, posing for the paparazzi and signing autographs.
Nevertheless, we are where we are as they say, and so it is prediction time. I am expecting Chelsea to win the title, just pipping City this time around. Fabregas looked awesome at Turf Moor on Monday night, and Mourinho has now got his own squad in place that I can’t see being beaten.
I’ll take Arsenal to finish third, and any one from Liverpool, Everton, Spurs and United to finish in the final Champions League spot. Through gritted teeth I would have to accept that those loveable Reds from Anfield are the favourites at the moment.
Burnley will survive, Real Madrid will retain the Champions League and Luis Suarez will receive a lifetime ban for biting Cristiano Ronaldo on the arse! Enjoy the season.