Theatre of the Absurd – The Premier League Returns

Years ago, a sunny Saturday afternoon in August was something to look forward to. The first time I remember it not being the case was 1984 – I think – when we played Chelsea and it kicked-off at 11.30 a.m. Not quite as awry as the parachutist who ended in the North Bank building site…

Now, it’s three days and nights; a footballing St Swithin’s, if you like. Surprisingly, Sky left out Monday night football this weekend. Spurs trip to Newcastle is a prime candidate or Chelsea’s to Huddersfield; both cause maximum inconvenience to travelling supporters.

The transfer window for buying closed yesterday, with only Lucas Perez leaving. It doesn’t mean we’re saddled with players we don’t want, however. EFL clubs can still take players on loan until the end of the month; there’s hope yet for Carl Jenkinson to get first-team football.

Of course, the overseas markets were always the only option for Ospina and Campbell; it seems unlikely Danny Welbeck would move abroad although some leagues may prize the shinned goal highly. I don’t know.

The good news is that football takes over. I’m relaxed about the sales side of the squad. None of the main first XI players is leaving so speculation is precisely that and easily ignored. Aaron Ramsey’s contract remains unsigned but Ornstein from the BBC claimed yesterday a deal was close. All hail the word of Ornstein; we shall climb to the top of Buile Hill Park and take his word as gospel, writing on the back of the Malborough Gold packet left on the floor.

Salford council’s website lists famous denizens of the suburb. Who knew Kenneth Wolstenholme and John Cooper Clarke were Salfordians? No mention in John Moores bio of his Liverpool FC ownership though. Strange that…

A Brand New World With Just A Handful Of Men, We’ll Start All Over Again

Now Unai Emery’s reign at the club really takes shape. A summer working with the players intensified over the past fortnight when what will be his first XI trained together. The pressing game of which he is so enamoured, reared its’ head occasionally in the friendlies; to be effective it must be a constant presence. He also needs everyone to buy into it.

The biggest failure on our part was inconsistent pressing. When one player drops off or doesn’t press in a pack, it wrecks the shape of the team, leaving gaps to be exploited. Which is better than Gap exploiting anyone, I suppose.

Facing City on Sunday is good in that respect. The players know their opponents possess a devastating attack. Any lapsed concentration or effort will be exploited.

However, in an attacking sense, our players are equally capable. Aubameyang is a genuine contender for the Golden Boot while Lacazette scores all manner of goals. We need others who chip in five or six goals to up their contributions to take us a step forward and increase the threat.

It will, of course, be strange not to see Arsène Wenger on the touchline. Refreshing as well, a signal of change, rebirth, reinvigoration, even if the end result remains the same. Which it may well do on Sunday.

Expecting change to take effect on the opening game might be realistic against lesser sides; this weekend, we are underdogs so a good performance is important for the season ahead. If we’re as lacklustre as we were at Wembley or the league match the following week, we deserve the crucifixion we’ll receive.

But that’s not going to happen, is it? A new optimism, guys and gals, a new optimism.

Boredom, Boredom, Be-dum, Be-dum!

And a new way of delivering injury updates. Blunt; you can tell they are written by a doctor.

Aaron Ramsey
Has resumed training

Sead Kolasinac
Injury to his left knee. Will be out for 8-10 weeks.

Laurent Koscielny
Injury to his right Achilles. Aiming for return to training at the end of the year

The bottom two lack the beside manner. Kolasinac’s update is only missing, “Get over it” at the end, while Koscielny’s lacks “Malingerer”. I’ll quickly add that I think the pair are neither malingering or shirking…!

Which brings us full circle. Tottenham are set to bring out a new DVD, marking their record-breaking summer without a single new signing. Not even an ageing goalkeeper. Mauricio Pochettino wants a repeat of last season so that’s third and failing miserably in the domestic cups before being knocked out in the round of sixteen of the Champions League. Been there, done that; the t-shirt’s not worth buying. All this in an executive toilet pan.

’til Tomorrow.

23 thoughts on “Theatre of the Absurd – The Premier League Returns

  1. Looking forward to PL football again! Done my fantasy footy team and only Auba made the team! Took a punt on Fulham pair of Cairney and Sessegnon but I don’t think they’ll win against Palace this Sat.

    Quite rightly we are the underdogs this Sunday. So anything other than defeat will be a bonus. A defeat being anticipated, it’s more the manner of the defeat which will be in question. If it’s combative, spirited, tactical, strong defensive display and we lose because they simply have a better starting 11 than we do. Then that’s all fair in love and war. But if heads drop or play ground defending contributes to the defeat then the fans have everything to complain about.

    Personally I’m looking forward to seeing how this new era of Arsenal will pan out.

  2. I’m also interested in how Mesut performs and whether or not he will press or do any tracking back!

    I’m going for a United win, unless the opinion in the dressing room amongst the player’s is to get rid of Moan-inho. Then they may lose intentionally. But I’m guessing he still holds weight with the majority of the playing staff. So I’m backing a 1-0 bore fest tonight. With a lot of energetic running around from the Leicester player’s thrown in for good measure. With no Mahrez or Okazaki, I can’t see them creating much or having much of a goal threat. They didn’t address the lack of goals in the team and with only Vardy, Ulloa and Slimani to rely upon, I think they may struggle this season. However I’ll be keeping an eye on Diabaté as he may warrant inclusion in my fantasy footy team!

  3. Pl futbol is back and it just feels different and your right Yogi….new optimism, rebirth, change and it all kicks off this weekend.

    The pressing will be fun to watch as will, at least for me, seeing the tactics and mannerisms of a manager who Inhave followed and enjoyed for a number of years.

  4. As YW stated it’ll be fun to watch if ALL of the player’s commit to it! It breaks down the minute that one player doesn’t do it. The key is to do it in packs of 3. Player nearest to the ball closes the player with the ball. Player’s either side close the angle of pass in either direction thus forcing the player with the ball to pass backwards or lose possession.

  5. I REALLY like Fulhams midfield of Serri and Anguisa. Two players who I think will be magnificent in midfield together and for Fulham.

  6. C,

    Less familiar with Anguissa but Seri at Fulham is quite amazing considering he almost went to Barca in January.

  7. LSG,

    Anguissa is a atheltic DM/CM that played at Marseille last season and was excellent. Covers ground, technical, strong, good passer. He is a player I mentioned earlier in the window to pair with Torriera in midfield. He might not offer much going forward but he bosses a midfield and likes to either drive forward or make a quick pass to get things going. He and Seri will be a true joy to watch and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if you see them boss quite a number of midfields in the PL. Anguissa was being watched and wanted by a number of clubs based on reports.

  8. Emery says:

    “[On Thursday] the window closed here in the Premier League,” he said. “Today, we had a meeting with the players to close all the possibilities to bring more players. We only have three players: Carl Jenkinson, David Ospina and Joel Campbell, with the possibility to leave.

  9. He certainly talks a good game LSG. But is he prepared for the EPL? I see a baptism of fire in the offing!? If he finishes above the Spuds he’s a messiah! Which actually won’t be an easy task!

  10. Our biggest weakness last year was our back 4 or 3. Kozzer is a step slower and his stamina has decreased. Mustafi became increasingly mistake prone. We have done nothing to address that. We’ve addressed the loss to Kozzer but we haven’t upgraded on him. We have the Greeks who will need to adjust to a new different league/country/teammates. The question is will the addition of Torreira and Leno mitigate what I feel is a weakened back line?
    Starting XI attack looks good but over a 50+ schedule Mikkhi tends to disappear for whole matches, Ramsay will pull his hammies and Ozil will take extended rests and ‘sick’ holidays. We are a bit thin on quality replacements when they are out.
    If a few other teams implode we might finish 4th, but I expect us to finish same place we did last year : 6th.
    My biggest fear is Ramsay tries to play out his contract and once that is evident in January he crocks himself thus obliterating any possible January transfer fee.

  11. I suggest you rest your fears about Ramsey’s contract saga. The main issue is conceding fewer goals, scoring more goals than last season, or even perform better.

    The midfield was awful last season, the only reason most people spoke less about it was because of Ramsey’s goals. With the new focus on defending as a unit compacting the space and keeping our shape, it will be interesting to see our far we can go.

    The defense might take time to gel and become invincible, but if we can put in a defensive shift as a team, then we would get more points by May.

  12. HenryNorrisDialSquare,

    We wait and see, which is why this is the first interesting season for me in about 5 years! I have questions about Emery but he’s our new coach so I hope he can succeed and wish him the best.

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