BY OSHO SAMUEL
Aftermath of a busy and enthralling transfer window in Europe yielded more buoyant clubs in the English Premier League. The influx of record-breaking players with record-breaking fees signaled the beginning of a fascinating season, pregnant with twists and suspense. It is the beautiful game in England but the clime of suspense which comes with each game makes the future unpredictable. Four sets of matches played already and the glimpse of what looks like a bright future awaits a couple of clubs as they jostle for the top four positions. Defending champions, Manchester City managed to get a draw against Arsenal at Emirates after Arsene Wenger’s men dealt with them in the curtain raiser which ended 3-1 in favour of Arsenal. A rejuvenated Liverpool side under the watch of Brendan Rodgers came into the new season with so much gusto and energy despite the absence of Luiz Suarez. Manchester United looks to be on the path to success after gaining their first win of the season with a 4-0 victory over QPR in their fourth fixture of the season. A concise analysis of the top clubs likely to finish in the top four:
The Blues had what could be regarded a dismal performance last season despite having the much-revered Special one, Jose Mourinho as their gaffer. It was a ‘trophyless’ season for them and two years in a row in which Jose Mourinho will be without a silverware (the first in his career). The huge mountain to climb was to find a perfect solution to the misfiring attacking department.
Mourinho had to acquire the services of a couple of fantastic players; Diego Costa from Atletico Madrid, Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona, Loic Remy from Queens Park Rangers, Didier Drogba from Galatasaray and a couple of others.
The new signings paved way for the exit of Demba Ba to Besiktas, Torres to AC Milan and Eto’o was not fortunate to get a new contract as he joined Everton. With the trio of Demba Ba, Eto’o and Torres producing a total of 31 goals for Chelsea last season and Diego Costa while in the colors of Roji Blancos in Spanish La liga netting 31 times, it was obvious that the signing of Costa was a tow in the right direction for them. With four matches played, Chelsea stands tall amongst the other teams as the only club with 100% winning record as they got maximum 12 points from all their four games. The excellent goal poacher, Diego Costa got the first hat-trick of the season with a master class display against Swansea in a 4-2 win. Former Barcelona midfielder and former Arsenal skipper, Cesc Fabregas has carried Chelsea on his shoulders with his midfield creative acumen having created 6 assists while the Spanish forward, Costa has 7 goals from 4 matches. Torres managed to score only five for the blues in 43 games last season. With huge and brilliant resources at the disposal of Mourinho at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea fans can expect to finish in the top four or perhaps win silverware or a double.
For the optimistic fans of Arsenal, a wind of change is blowing over the Emirates Stadium as their silverware drought ended with a historic FA Cup win over Hull City in May 2014. It was indeed a great moment for them but they were lost in the overwhelming showers of mirth as they got a second trophy 85 days later.
The Community Shield victory over Manuel Pellegrini’s side at Wembley Stadium was a perfect start to the season. Apart from these sudden clinching of trophies was the decision of the ‘renowned economist’, Arsene Wenger to spend as much as close to 77 million pounds during the transfer window and also starting the spending spree as early as July.
He strengthened the team by reinforcing several departments of the team. The new signings are; Chilean forward, Alexis Sanchez (Barcelona), Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle), David Ospina (Nice), Calum Chambers (Southampton) and transfer deadline day signing of Danny Welbeck (Manchester United). With French striker, Olivier Giroud out for four months due to injury, Wenger might need to explore other options in attack with Welbeck or Sanogo through the middle while Mesut Ozil is deployed to the left as Alexis Sanchez routs in from the right.
After the Gunners struggled to defeat Crystal Palace at home during the league opener they have settled for draws in their three consecutive matches which placed them in seventh position. With the amount of funds invested on new players by Wenger, the fans are anticipating a better display with lot of goals and wins in the future. The fans have backed the French tactician as they believed in the wealth of experience he has garnered over the years being the undisputable longest serving manager in the English Premier League at the moment.
- Manchester City
The ‘engineer’ from Chile who provided a pertinent panacea to the maladies of Malaga was able to lead Manchester City to a Premiership League victory in his first stint. The Eastlanders could not spend much during the transfer window due to the Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules which they must strictly adhere to in order to avoid some sanctions.
They got a couple of new players; Willy Caballero, Fernando, Frank Lampard, Bacary Sagna and a host of others. The team seems to be a shadow itself as they were overpowered by Arsenal at the curtain raiser and they were narrowly defeated by Stoke City in their third fixture of the season.
They settled for a draw in their away fixture to the Emirates and they have just managed to get 7 points from their last four games which placed them in the sixth position on the table. A lot is expected from Manchester City if they want to win the EPL and successfully defend their title.
The Reds from Merseyside returned to the palace of fame and the lofty heights of stardom with an outstanding performance last season. With Brendan Rodgers calling the shots and Uruguayan Striker, Luiz Suarez netting the goals it turned out to be a fantastic season for the Reds.
They finished second on the table, narrowly losing the league to Manchester City, and qualified for the UEFA Champions League for the first time in 5 years. Barcelona striker, Luis Suarez scored a total of 31 goals in 32 matches for Liverpool despite missing the first six matches of the season. The exit of this diminutive striker might cost the Reds more than the 75 million pounds they got from the Catalan giants. Will they get another goal poacher like him? New signings are; Adam Lallana, Mario Balotelli, Rickie Lambert, Lazar Markovic, Emre Can, Dejan Lovren amongst others.
Liverpool had a shock defeat by Aston Villa in their fourth fixture which has dampened morale but they would be expected to bounce back to winning ways.
- Manchester United
The Red Devils started their Premiership campaign in a highly unprecedented manner as they were defeated by Swansea at Old Trafford during the league opener. They were expected to bounce back to winning ways under new manager, Louis Van Gaal in an entirely new season after enduring a lacklustre performance last season with David Moyes.
Their second and third games of the season ended in draws and they were tipped to re-ignite their Premiership campaign after acquiring the likes of Marcos Rojo, Blind, Luke Shaw, Angel di Maria and Radamel Falcao. The fans had to wait till the fourth game of the season in front of their home fans in the historic grounds of old Trafford against Queens Park Rangers.
The most expensive player in the English Premier League, Angel di Maria justified his price tag (59.7m pounds) with an impressive display which earned him his first premiership goal and assist. The enthralling match ended 4-0 in favour of Louis Van Gaal’s side with Spanish players – Ander Herrera and Juan Mata on target while skipper Wayne Rooney was not left out of the party as he also found the back of the net.
It is too early to conclude who carts home the English Premier League title or who finishes in the top four. An interesting season awaits all as we keep our fingers crossed to watch one of the best seasons ever.
Who do you see finishing in the top four?Kindly drop your comment!