As beginnings go, the opening weekend of the new Premier League season was cinematic, having on display the very elements that make it the most followed club sport league in the world.

Although, it is never advisable to attempt predicting anything that will stretch over much of the season from the opening games, but there were still little lessons learnt that faintly suggested certain developments that might unfold from the “title challengers” over the course of the season.

Leicester City – a different PL this time

Leicester’s 2-1 loss should have made more headlines than, say, Ibrahimoviç’s debut goal, but in truth, no sane person would bet on them successfully defending their title – finishing the campaign in the top four even, seems like a lot of ask.

In sports, you get what you deserve. The Foxes won the League because they deserved it, along with every extolment but the “what ifs?” still remain and they will be answered this term.

No longer will they experience days when  teams gave them the chance to sit back and hit on the counter; mid-table and bottom half teams will seek only to park the train against them and just like it was against Hull City, the “merry band of brothers” will have to take the game to the opposition, playing on the front foot, thereby leaving themselves vulnerable to counter-attacks – a development their uncouth style and the N’Golo sized hole in their Midfield suggest will be their sinking board.

Arsenal – the show continues

The game against Liverpool summarised Arsenal in the last ten or so years: start brightly then dig an annoying hole for themselves, attempt to climb out but ultimately fall short.

With Arsenal, it is  A Series of Unfortunate Events for their fans and a Family Guy type sitcom for opposition. The characters never grow or regress, a different twist of the same stories season after season.

It is hilarious if you love twisted comedy. Peter Griffin seems crazier than Donald Trump but for some reason, Lois never puts herself out of her misery.

You find the same humour with Arsenal if you support anything but Arsenal – and of course Tottenham – and to be honest, the show doesn’t seem to have an end in sight.

Tottenham Hotspur – the complimenting series

The story of Tottenham for some twist of ‘fate’ always seems to be intertwined with that of Arsenal especially in the business end of the season. The Lily Whites have over the years become a very competent source of comic relief for abject Arsenal fans to the point that even an Arsenal goalkeeper on a suicide mission would halt his plan for one final laugh from St. Totteringham’s Day.

The game against Everton didn’t tell much to suggest a change of approach from last season. Mauricio Pochettino seems to be sticking to the same playing style and tactics that got them those almighty 70pts for a TITLE CHALLENGE last season.

Here’s to hoping this season ends differently for someone in North London.

Manchester City – from one PHILOSOPHER to another

With City, it is a case of the Premier League getting a new philosopher to replace the one that was sent away: out goes the Dutch, in comes the Catalan – or is it Spaniard?

The game against David Moyes’ Sunderland suggested all that was to come from Pep Guardiola’s City. We’ve already seen strange epiphany-inducing tactics of false nines and attacking goalkeepers, quarterback style center-backs and 2-2-6 formations but on Saturday we saw stranger – inverted fullbacks.

That game confirmed Pep pulled a Clinton (either of them will do – they both lie) in his unveiling. He is not here to adapt, the other way round actually – it is the team who must adapt and just like the Brexit campaigners, he has begun taking back that promise.

Joe Hart’s City career is over, so is Yaya Toure and the center-back who arrived via one of the biggest transfer scams only an EPL club can fall for. Why? they don’t suit his PHILOSOPHY.

City showed glimpses of the detailed possession football that cost Pep his hair, although more in tune with van Gaal – that should change with time. They will play like a Guardiola team this season but time will tell if it turns out successful.

Manchester United – shadow of LvG and the Wayne Rooney dilemma

The first half-hour or so against Bournemouth made it clear that van Gaal’s philosophy is more cancer than malaria and cannot just be cured by ingesting pills – pills here being a couple of months under Jose Mourinho. The sideways and backward passing is the current default and it will take some time for Mourinho to change that.

From the second half, we saw a Mourinho style team, not obsessed with possession, efficient with the ball and defending basically like animals.

The game as a whole however did suggests a problem in Wayne Rooney. The partnership with Zlatan seems not to be working, plus he seems to be hindering the team moving forward.

He hasn’t been  the best striker at the club since 2011/12 and still isn’t. He isn’t the best attacking midfielder also, neither is he good enough for a central midfield role ahead of the others currently in Mourinho’s plans.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan had to be played out wide upon coming on when the position where he is at his world class best is more than obvious – the main reason Shinji Kagawa never made it at United.

The Wayne Rooney conundrum needs to be addressed, and knowing Jose Mourinho, not even Wayne’s truckload of wages will save him.

Liverpool – the consistent issue

It’s no secret, Liverpool are a far better team than they were under Brendan Rodgers. They now focus on playing football instead of showing character and on their day, can blow any team away but their problem has always been an issue of consistency and defence.

All signs from the game versus Arsenal suggests the defence is still nowhere near what Klopp wants.

That aside, they must learn to be more consistent. They cannot be that team that defeats Chelsea 1 – 3 today and loses to Crystal Palace the next week.

Their preseason performances suggest they should improve but with Jürgen Klopp’s football that carries the potential for quick exhaustion and player wear and tear, Liverpool fans might just have to turn to cloud storage to save that “EPL champions” tweet, especially with the future of twitter still uncertain.

Chelsea – Conte, hmm…

Antonio Conte is like a Jürgen Klopp on crack – or is Jürgen Klopp like an Antonio Conte in rehab?

He seems to have quickly brought back the hunger to the Chelsea players. Even the much maligned Nemanja Matiç was back to his old self yesterday.

There was something in this Chelsea team that has been absent for quite some years. They played in such a way that it didn’t really matter who was playing. It was more the team  than any single player – maybe except N’Golo.

The game suggests Chelsea will challenge for the title as one cannot begin to imagine what those players will be put through by the crackhead if anything otherwise happens.

Author: TUD Author