The Premier League began last night with a match that had the air of being a friendly. Liverpool’s defensive vulnerability from the preseason continued but Norwich’s?
What do you say, other than that they are going to be involved in a lot of high-scoring games? They must fine tune their finishing because they ‘deserved’ more last night. I am not complaining, however. My prediction treble came true: 4-6 goals, Liverpool to concede, and win by three goal margin.
Always good to start the season with a bang. Or a fluke…
Football really returned earlier in the day as Arsenal issued their first injury bulletins of the new season. David Luiz trained, Nicolas Pepe might feature; all innocuous enough.
After which, matters took a sinister turn. Later in the day, the club issued another statement:
Mesut Özil and Sead Kolasinac will not be part of the squad for our opening match against Newcastle following further security incidents which are being investigated by the police.
The welfare of our players and their families is always a top priority and we have taken this decision following discussion with the players and their representatives.
We are liaising with the police and are providing the players and their families with ongoing support. We look forward to welcoming the players back to the squad as soon as possible.
Inspector Knacker of the Yard didn’t know anything about it but that’s not the point. Player safety is paramount.
Not just individually but their families as well; no matter what you think of them as players, no one deserves this.
The mental impact of fears for their own safety is compounded by those for their loved ones. To play through this is nigh on impossible.
Family First, Football Second
We don’t know the ins and outs. Speculation is rife over the initial incident and subsequent events. Sorry, I don’t know anything so won’t be joining in. Even if I did, it would be hugely irresponsible to comment, anyway.
The players are grounded by the club. Not on the naughty step but certainly not allowed to come out and play. The police are investigating and in time, I hope both Özil, Kola and their families return to normality.
Media coverage won’t help, particularly reporters shouting through a fence and cluster of bushes and trees, “Mr Özil, Mr Özil, are you all right?”
Let’s be honest, those involved probably knew where the players lived anyway. However, if they didn’t Sky gave them a big helping hand.
The media loves to absolve itself from their social responsibility. Hacking a dead girl’s phone became justified in their perverse minds as they were chasing a story. Too many in power are there because they owe their careers to press barons.
Back to the football.
Neil Lennon’s hopes of Kieran Tierney being fit in a fortnight proved to be the last joke carrot top could have at our expense. He’s out for four to six weeks.
Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin are on course for their returns to the first team. The pressure to bring Holding into the fold early eased with Sideshow Bob’s signing.
Which is pretty much everything for this morning. A season preview will arrive later but for the moment, that’s me done.