Month: September 2013

EPL Season Preview – The relationship between Arsenal, Full Meals, Rivals and Transfers

Mor kozhambu rice, fried spicy potato curry, fried appalam, followed by rasam rice and some Boost milk. A lot like my diet plans, Arsenal not only broke but absolutely obliterated their record transfer fee paid for a player. Mesut Ozil has signed for GBP 42.5m! Thats almost 3 times the money they paid for their last record transfer, Jose Anotio Reyes(GBP 16m).

Everyone knows this and Arsenal has been the butt of all transfer window jokes. Arsenal had a ridiculous transfer window this year till deadline day, while having 180m cash balance in the kitty(atleast 80m of which is available for transfers) Arsenal had spent zilch. However, all of this was made up by one big swoop, for a player that is absolutely, 100%, certified World Class and Super Super Quality. For once, Arsene Wenger lived up to his hype regarding quality; and while I feel Arsenal lack depth in certain areas of the squad, Ozil is going to bring a lot in terms of mentality and a lot of comfort to players looking at Arsenal, who will and should realise that Arsenal are still playing with the big boys(much like Bergkamp’s arrival from Inter Milan at that time).┬áIt seems a bit early to speculate if Arsenal will be title contenders during the course of the season, but one can comfortably say that they should definitely be around the top 3 cometh May, 2014.

There is a lot of fluidity in the Arsenal attack and movement so far this season and while players seem to have improved their understanding between one and another, they have always lacked a person who is composed enough to control the midfield and handle the important central midfield role with panache. Ozil brings with him all these attributes to the table a serious challenge to teams who have normally finished above us in the table. Im looking forward to seeing Ozil and Walcott link up and trouble defences.

Mesut Ozil infographic

There has been a lot written about Ozil and Arsenal away from here, so Im going to focus on Arsenal’s rivals.

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The Champions – Manchester United

Key Cunt for Manchester United

Manchester United finished last season as the Champions of the EPL and said goodbye to one of the greatest managers in football history. It always seemed like the squad was not good enough to challenge for the title, but their manager worked his magic to get them over the line in the last few years.

So now, Sir Alex has departed and the new manager comes in with some reputation behind his name and lot of well wishers but with lesser experience and lesser attraction for a lot of the big players around Europe. This might explain a frustrating transfer window for the Red Devils. However, they still remain a strong team and the signing of Fellaini should add some grit to their midfield, though Im still baffled as to where he could play. His best position seems behind the striker where he can play as a target man, but RvP remains one of the best target men in the league and his creativity shines through his hold up play. Without which, Man Utd lack a creative outlet(if Kagawa continues to sit on the bench).

Prediction: 3rd or 4th

I believe Manchester United will be thereabouts fighting for the title but will eventually fall off the pace and finish 3rd or 4th

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Manchester City

Key ups: Veteran manager, balanced squad, quality players, depth

Key downs: Too many egos, lack of defence cohesion

Key player: Aguero

Expected Finish: 1st or 2nd

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Chelsea

Brazilian Mozart

Key ups: The Special One, creative outlets, experienced heads

Key downs: The Special One’s ego, mismatch in playing style and strengths of attack

Key player: Oscar

Expected Finish: 2nd or 3rd

I believe Mourinho’s ego might cost Chelsea this season, coupled with the fact this isnt the squad he wants. He will need another year to work his magic to win, if he does.

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Liverpool

Ups: Depth, quality and balance of squad, huge underdogs, quiet and respectable manager who is tactically sound

Downs: Lack of mentality in squad, lack in depth in attack or a cancerous striker in the squad(however that saga pans out now)

Key Player: Phillipe Coutinho or Daniel Sturridge

Expected Finish: 5th or maybe even 4th!!? Liverpool have a very balanced squad this season, if they can sort out their striker issues, they can be serious UCL contenders

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The Spurs

Ups: Best squad depth, young sensible tactical manager, creativity

Defence will be critical to help the attack bed in over the season

Downs: Revamped squad – lack of cohesion, lack of striking options, expected problems between players or players and coach due to too much depth, poor mentality

Key Player: Lloris/Vertonghen

Expected Finish: 5th or 6th

The Spurs team is great. They’ve got bags of quality, but I think the fact that most of the players are new and will have to learn each other and find the right tactical niche for the team and the players, coupled with the fact that its a very young team could lead them to finish off the pace, away from where they expect to finish.