The Premier League Update
By Kevin Cain
At the time of going to print we have just once again come out of the back of yet another International Friendly week of football. For Premier League fans this is an unnecessary break in a fledgling season, that has already been interrupted by one previous international break. Only ten matches have been played and unbelievably there have already been two breaks, and considering the wonderful four weeks of World Cup soccer in the summer what else can the managers possibly learn from their teams?
One of the team here at Pattaya Trader is already complaining that his Spurs team have not fully recovered from World Cup duties, and now Tottenham are releasing players once again to their countries. And it is true that some clubs have already lost players because of injuries picked up in International Friendlies.
So the 2018 / 2019 Season is not quite into full flow yet, and it is difficult to make sense of the football that has have been played up to now. Liverpool seem to have confirmed their promise that they left us with at the end of last season, and Jurgen Klopp’s additions to his squad over the summer seem to have strengthened the squad considerably. The addition of expensive new goalkeeper Alisson seems to have secured things at the back and once Mo Salah starts to find the net again Liverpool will be a force to be reckoned with.
Chelsea under the new managership of Maurizio Sarri have got off to a flying start, the team seems to have gelled better and even wayward Ross Barkley is starting to show his precocious talent.
Manchester City have started where they left off, and many people and pundits are already tipping them to win the title again season. On the face of it looking at their highly talented squad they are going to be difficult to bet against.
However, things are different at the Emirates Stadium this season, the long tenure of Arsene Wenger is finally over and the club is now managed by Unai Emery. Many people, including Arsenal fans,have predicted that it would be a tough season of rebuilding but early signs are encouraging. Arsenal look the real deal in early matches and have surprised many fans by their attacking style of football.
The only top six member of the elite squad that is not firing on all cylinders seems to be Manchester United, there seems to be real differences between the Gifted One and the vice chairman Ed Woodward. The chemistry on the pitch seems to have gone and there are rumours that Mourinho has lost the dressing room, but in such a vast stadium that is not hard to believe.
It does not look as if anybody is really pushing hard to break into the top six. Highly fancied and big spending Everton are still adapting to the style of football that their latest manager, Marco Silva wants them to play. The early loss of their influential captain Seamus Coleman due to an international injury is a big factor to their spluttering early form, once again bringing International Friendlies into the spotlight.
Sean Dyche’s team Burnley secured seventh position last time out, but their progression into the Europa League was always going to test the strength of his squad. And in Burnley’s early games this all rang true, they faltered and looked really tired. Thankfully their early exit means that Burnley can concentrate on domestic football and progress up the league.
It is about time that the powers that be looked into the format of the junior cup in Europe. The benefits are not really worth clubs participating in the competition, although they have now included Champions League qualification for the winners, surely it is time to get back to a straight knockout tournament and to cut the amount of games that have to be played?
Moving swiftly on from this latest gripe, what about the promoted teams from The Championship? As usual three teams were promoted into the Premier League from the Championship this season.
Cardiff City, Fulham and Wolverhampton Wanderers all joined the top flight of English football in the 2018 / 2019 season. And as expected Cardiff City are already favourites to go straight back down, and with pantomime villain Neil Warnock at the helm, things do not look promising . Fulham are faring a little better, and owner Shahid Khan spent over one hundred million in the summer to bolster his squad, which is helping their cause no end. The surprise package is Wolves, and likeable Portuguese manager Nuno Espirito Santo, has moulded a proper team together that all play for one another.
Others clubs that have had a good start to the season are Bournemouth and Watford. Once again Eddie Howe is surprising everybody with the brand of football his Bournemouth side are playing. His team always seem to be punching above their weight, and surely it is about time that he proves himself at a bigger club. Watford despite losing their star player Richarlison to Everton, have also started strongly as they did last season, the problem was they quickly faded and their early promise did not achieve anything of note.
We will be back in the Christmas edition of The Trader to review our predictions and see how the teams are coping half way through the season. Until then enjoy the football and don’t forget to cheer your chosen team on every game, every supporter counts.