That’s the way to do it
PEP Guardiola bats his eyes at Jack Grealish; Aston Villa’s directors and management team read the runes, go out into the market, and buy an excellent midfielder from Norwich, a more than useful winger from Bayer Leverkusen, and the best striker in England not called Harry Kane in Danny Ings. As a result, I would argue that they have actually improved the team considerably from last season’s edition despite the loss of their “best” player.
Meanwhile in North London
Pep Guardiola bats his eyes at Harry Kane; Spurs Chairman Daniel Levy as per usual retreats into his bunker and refuses to countenance a transfer. The saga runs on throughout the summer until eventually a few minutes before the transfer window shuts Kane becomes a Citeh player, leaving a record fee nestling in Spurs bank account while the current Spurs manager realises he’s just lost his top striker and playmaker and has no time to find replacements. (Largely hypothetical but based on past experiences with, among others, Carrick, Berbatov, Modric and Bale this is how it may well play out.)
Prediction time: normally I would run through the prospects for each Premier League team but this time around I’ll just concentrate on the top four and bottom three. All things being equal my top four picks in order would have been Citeh, Chelsea, Liverpool and United but things aren’t equal, and at the time of writing Chelsea’s acquisition of a striker with a point to prove and a massive chip on his shoulder in Romela Lukaku makes them my favourites for the title.
However, should Citeh eventually nab Harry Kane, then it’s as you were. Of course both Liverpool and United could add some much needed firepower, but unless someone of the calibre of Robert Lewandowsky or Erling Haaland rock up at Anfield or Old Trafford, then the title is definitely between Chelsea and Citeh.
I expect Leicester to just fall short again, though I can see them being ahead of a group consisting of Arsenal, Spurs, West Ham, and Leeds in the chase for the minor European spots.
At the bottom it’s hard to advocate for Watford to stay up and it would hardly be a surprise if yet again Norwich last just one season before returning to the Championship.
Brentford could be the surprise package this season but they’ll be vying with Burnley, Wolves and, given the loss of key players this summer, Southampton for the final relegation place.
Team of last season
Emiliano Martinez Villa, Kyle Walker Citeh, Harry Maguire United, Reuben Dias Citeh, Ben Chillwell Chelsea, Kevin De Bruyne Citeh, Bruno Fernandes United, Harry Kane Spurs, Son Heung-Min Spurs, Riyad Mahrez City, Mo Salah Liverpool. Manager: Pep Guardiola Citeh. Player of the season: The PFA and the football writers both went for Citeh’s Reuben Dias but putting bias aside how can it not have been Harry Kane?
By any measure he was the best player in the league and quite frankly how the Premier League’s top scorer and playmaker didn’t walk it is either down to a dislike of Spurs or Harry Kane, or both.
Goal of the season
As per usual there were some notable netbusters, particularly Manuel Lanzini’s once-in-a-lifetime strike at Spurs that arguably was the difference between the Hammers making Europe or missing out. But I’m going for a bit of subtlety and Erik Lamela’s curling rabona against Arsenal.
The fact that it was voted the goal of the season somewhat validates my opinion and relieves me of the accusation of Spurs bias.
Could have been a legend
That’s a quote about Jack Grealish had he stayed at his boyhood club Aston Villa instead of moving to trophy machine Manchester City. The same could also be said of Harry Kane should his projected move to Citeh come to fruition. There’s no doubt that moving to Citeh guarantees silverware, but will those trophies bring genuine personal satisfaction to the lifelong Villa fan and his prospective Spurs-supporting teammate?
Fresh from the national team’s (lack of) success at Euro 2020, hopes were high for the Old Firm in this season’s Champions League. Despite Celtic’s annual humiliation in early qualifying, the previous week Rangers were expected to salvage Scottish pride and make the Champions League proper, the only problem is that Malmo stood in their way.
Two goals in two minutes at the start of the second half of the first leg saw the Swedes take a narrow 2-1 lead to a packed Ibrox on Tuesday night, and with Rangers 1-0 up and facing ten men at the half things were looking good for Steven Gerrard’s men.
Then déjà vu struck and two goals in four minutes at the start of the second half saw Malmo through 4-2 on aggregate, a result which means that once again the Old Firm find themselves back in Europa League qualifying.
George Offord will no doubt be furious but not as furious as the Rangers board that just waved goodbye to the minimum 40 million quid the club would have earned for reaching the group stage.
This week’s games
Premier League today 2:30; United vs Leeds. 5pm; Burnley vs Brighton, Chelsea vs Palace, Everton vs Southampton, Leicester vs Wolves, Watford vs Villa. 7:30; Norwich vs Liverpool. Tomorrow 4pm; Newcastle vs West Ham. 6:30; Spurs vs Citeh. Selected Scottish League Cup tomorrow 2pm; Raith vs Aberdeen. 4pm; Hibs vs Kilmarnock. 5pm; Celtic vs Hearts.
Games to watch: United vs Leeds, Spurs vs Citeh. Last season Leeds started at Anfield and went down 4-3 in a cracker; this one could be just as much fun.
The “Harry Kane team” vs the wannabe Harry Kane team – I have no idea whether or not Kane plays but wouldn’t be too shocked to see him on the bench, while hopefully Son Heung-Min and Dele Alli run rings around the Citeh defence (one can dream).
Last week’s question: name the actor who won five Olympic gold medals. I must have been in a good mood when setting this because it was so easy – the answer is of course Johnny Weissmuller. The Hungarian-born American won his medals in the pool in the 1924 and 1928 Olympics and famously went on to star as Tarzan in 12 movies between 1932 and 1948.
Not surprisingly John Grundey was first with the correct answer (probably because he saw the flicks when they came out). This week: which legendary manager started his tenure with a 10-4 win?