Premier League Table
2. Manchester City
3. Manchester United
12. West Ham
13. Aston Villa
15. West Brom
20. Crystal Palace
Premier League Golden Boot: Robin Van Persie
Capital One Cup: Norwich
FA Cup: Liverpool
Champions League: Real Madrid
Chelsea have attempted to return to the swagger of seasons past. Since his departure from the club in 2007, Jose Mourinho has developed a bit of middle-age paunch and appears to be in the midst of a mid-life crisis. Gilets, ill-fitting tracksuits and ghastly raincoats were a feature during Mou’s tenure in Madrid – his clothes perhaps reflecting his tumultuous time in charge. Which Mourinho will we see this season? The suit wearing, smoldering one or the track-suited one?
Michael Laudrup. Ah. THE HAIR. AND JEANS! Football fans alike were purring at the thought of the Dane managing Swansea last season. And he didn’t disappoint. Swansea finished 9th and won a trophy – Capital One Cup – qualifying for the Europa League this season. Swansea. Europe. Laudrup. Swansea have bought well this summer. Remember Michu? Cost £2m, you know! Well, he has a new strike partner, in £12m (or 6 Michu’s) Wilfried Bony – Bony and Michu: Bony M.
Watch out for Norwich – linked with the likes of Fabio Quagliarella, Toby Alderweireld and Ola Toivonen, the East Anglian side have made some clever summer signings – Leroy Fer, Nathan Redmond, Martin Olsson, Ricky Van Wolfswinkel, Gary Hooper and err, Carlo Nash. Chris Hughton’s side could surprise us this season.
1st vs 2nd. Champions League winners vs Champions League runners-up. Bayern vs Dortmund. Pep Guardiola vs Jurgen Klopp.
Jurgen Klopp is already a Hipsters wet dream of a manager. No, he’s not just a German Tony Pulis – baseball cap and tracksuit. He is much more. The glasses. He swears in press conferences. In English! When asked about the Champions League final….“so shit”.
Klopp will becoming up against stiff competition on the touchline this season – a certain Pep Guardiola. Fresh from his New York sabbatical, Pep will be bringing with him his usual sartorial elegance. Expect plenty of talk about false nines, a midfielder playing a centre-back and season ticket prices. Cheap as chips. Allegedly.
Ten years on from the glory days of finishing 2nd in La Liga, Real Sociedad’s 4th placed finished surprised many. After ten games, they were in 17th place but just two defeats in 28 from November until the end of the season saw La Real leapfrogging usual fourth place finishers, Valencia on the final day of the season, thus qualifying for the Champions League where they will face Lyon. Coach, Philippe Montanier may have departed, but La Real have replaced him in a Barca-esque fashion, appointing assistant, 35-year-old, Jagoba Arrasate as manager.
Napoli have splashed the cash this summer, under new manager, former-interim manager of Chelsea, Rafa Benitez. Edinson Cavani and his luscious locks have decamped to France. Benitez has taken it upon himself to sign three Real Madrid rejects: Jose Callejon, Raul Albiol and Gonzalo Higuain. After last seasons 2nd place finish, can they stop Juventus completing a hat-trick of Serie A titles? By the way, Napoli’s camouflage kit should have hipsters swooning everywhere! Look at Marek Hamsik modelling it.
The Premier League, La Liga and Serie A have yet to return but with the Bundesliga and Ligue 1 kicking off this weekend, there was more than enough European football to whet our appetites. Here are three goals that caught my eye this weekend.
3. Yoann Gourcuff (Lyon) vs Nice
We all enjoy a good up-and-over the wall free-kick, right? Look no further than Yoann Gourcuff. Also features a shouty French commentator.
2. Zakaria Bakkali (PSV) vs N.E.C
Just think for a moment, what were you doing when you were 17-years old? What ever you were doing, you probably weren’t completing a hat-trick in the Eredivisie. And what a hat-trick goal it was.
1. Peter Ankersen (Esbjerg) vs Aarhus
From Holland to France and finally to Denmark with a hint of a Dutch legend. Shades of Marco van Basten in Euro ’88 vs USSR in this goal from Peter Ankersen. Woof!