Published on August 21st, 2014 | by webmaster0
“The Anonymous, Unspoken Champions” | Daniel Riordan
The Premier League has returned with excitement and anticipation amongst all football fans up and down the country. The champions of England, whom traveled up to the North East for a challenging tie against Newcastle, were able to place 3 points in the bag and get the blues off to a winning start. However the talk of the team who turned the season around just a few months ago are yet to be mentioned in my eyes by anyone in the media – especially these “football experts” dubbed by the BBC.
Monday night sees the champions in April face the champions in May at the Etihad which is set to test both sides title credentials. It won’t be an irrelevant game because you could look back at the end of the season and suggest the fixture could of been one which could of changed things. However there’s not much judgement that will be made from the game so early into the season. Yet already this year seems to have been written by the ‘football experts’ already with Chelsea being the clichéd and repetitive favourites this year just 1 game into the season.
So many of the BBC, TalkSport and Sky pundits are placing Chelsea as favourites for the title due to the signings they’ve made. But are really every other club going to just role over for them? City, Liverpool, Arsenal especially but even United, Everton and Spurs are threats for the league and top 4 this year. Liverpool, who came so close last season, could suggest that the fixture at the Etihad in December could of been one of their pinnacle games to determine the league had it not been for Sterling’s wrongly offside. But pressure had the better of them to the end of the season, something City learnt from in 2012. Who’s to say from the lesson learnt for Liverpool that they can’t take that to the end of the year? They’ve invested heavily in their team with more probably coming in – Balotelli with the latest rumour. The only thing with these signings however is similar to what Spurs did with the Bale money, spend heavily on good players but not sell what they’re replacing. Not that I’m backing Liverpool but I’d put them favourites before Chelsea.
We never know until the end of the year. Who knows, Chelsea may win the league but nothing surely can be put together at this stage. I don’t even think United will have a disastrous season – yet suddenly it’s a disaster that they’re not winning and everyone should feel pity. Watching a lot of Bundesliga football, I watched Bayern under Van Gaal and he’s not a poor manager yet it’s already written they’ll come out of the top 4 – although it would be brilliant.
The thing that’s getting me the most though is how the current champions aren’t getting a mention at all. I don’t know if it’s because we’ve gone without a lot of news over the summer with signings but there isn’t one pundit I’ve seen give City the backing. With Chelsea making their signings and the Suarez saga on going throughout, I’ve not seen anything directed City’s way. The only one I know that isn’t a pundit giving City’s backing is Ian Holloway. He mentioned in his column in the Mirror how by looking at the adverts, you wouldn’t of thought City were the team who won the league last season and expects us to win it this year again.
If we look at United over the past years when they won the league, more to the later stages of the 2000s, they kept a unity in their team and only spent in areas to continue their success. This is what we’ve adapted this year. We tried to do it in the summer 2012 with the additions of Rodwell and Javi Garcia to close the gap in the middle, Sinclair to provide more width and replace Johnson and Nastasic to provide more defensive cover. Only those players weren’t good enough (other than Nastasic who I think still can provide for the club) and especially to compete with other teams in the league. The only thing from that summer is I don’t think Mancini got his targets.
Last year they replaced with the right players to fit Pellegrini’s philosophy and adapted this summer in certain areas with top quality signings. Fernando looked impressive in his first game especially and we’re yet to see how Mangala will perform. And I doubt the transfer limit has anything to do with the signings because we don’t need an overhaul of players each year. The players from last year have gelled in also and if you’re able to win a league title in your first year regardless of what club, it can tell a lot about that player.
I keep saying it but I have to reiterate it how it just really baffles me how judgements can be made this early into the season. Whether it’s Chelsea christened champions already or United soon to be relegation candidates, nothing can be made or judged so early on. I guess it’s freedom of speech and the opinions of pundits but if they’re ‘football experts’ why have they all got the same view and nothing unique about them to suggest otherwise. Not even a club like Spurs who spent heavily and their players have gelled this year. Who would of thought last season Atletico Madrid would be league winners? Nothing is predictable in this game.