On this, the eve of the 2014-15 Barclays Premier League season, we welcome once again our roving footie correspondent, Fat Guy in a Speedo, who offers a preview as comprehensive as any of our usual crap.
Chelsea - Owned by free-spending, Putin-light oligarch, they will have gelled under second year wundercoach Jose Mourinho who has won many titles with many teams from many countries. Despite his enormous success, he quits/moves/gets fired every other year because he is an insufferable twat who plays boring, "ugly" football, i.e., meaning defensive, low-scoring matches. He should win the league this year with Chelsea as they will have had a full season to be accustomed to this lack of style. Chelsea fans everywhere celebrate this as they too, are a brio-less lot of lumpenproletariat.
Arsenal - Like Chelsea, they are a London-based team, this is all they have in common. Arsenal play free-flowing, open football under long-standing French coach Arsene Wenger. Wenger has enjoyed tremendous success at Arsenal, unfortunately, all of this success is a 90s, early 2000s memory. Wenger has eschewed the vast sums spent on the modern footballer over the past decade and is proof that you get what you pay for. His only silver over the past 9 seasons is an FA Cup trophy last May. Buoyed by this windfall of glory, Wenger has uncharacteristically spent $50M on Chilean Alexis Sanchez amongst others. It will be interesting to see if this group of bridesmaids can finally take it to the next level. Unfortunately for fans of the Gunners, the answer will be 'no.'
Liverpool - Like Arsenal, they are still chasing past glory, unlike Arsenal they have spent 100s of millions of pounds to achieve this over the past decade to no avail. Liverpool had an amazing run last season and failed to heed the ABCs of life, they couldn't close it. You can pinpoint the second it all ended, top of the table and 3 games left, Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard lost possession in midfield and conceded the goal that changed their fate. (Editor's Note: Last year was my daughter's first as a Liverpool fan. Gerrard is her favorite, natch. And this really bummed her out.)
Additionally, chompy Luis Suarez has been sold to Barcelona, for all his innumerable faults, he was the greatest player in the world last season. Despite his 10-game ban for biting Chelsea defender Ivanovic in 2013, he scored 30 goals last season. At that pace he would've been on the amazing tally of 40 if he wasn't an absolute sociopath on the pitch. Without him, Liverpool and his fans can be prepared for another disappointing season.
Manchester City - What's left to be said about the 'noisy neighbors' of Manchester United? Still owned by Arab billionaires who knew nothing about soccer prior to purchase, still spending 100s of millions of pounds a year on the world's greatest players, still clamoring for approval despite winning the league last year, their lot will be the same this year. They might win it, they should win it, but no one except the Gallagher brothers will care if they do.
Louis Van Gaal's nickname is the Iron Tulip and after leading the Netherlands national team to third place this World Cup, United fans are hoping to see similar results this coming season. United have won all 7 pre-season friendlies under Van Gaal, fans are so enthused that this will continue that it will be great fun for all non-United fans to watch them stumble to mediocrity when the season commences. Van Gaal has never coached in the EPL and it is a different entity from what he's used to. The fact that United will have no European football (Champions or Europa League) during the season as they didn't qualify should help them get back on track. They will win the League. (Editor's note: No, no they will not.)
Fulham - Second to last place last season saw them drop down to the Champions League for the upcoming season. Rob will have a hard time finding them on the telly this year. Predictions, Fulham take second and are back in the Premier League next season and Rob gets 3 viruses watching them on dodgy Russian feeds. (Editor's note: Fulham lost their first Championship Match, so things are already going swimmingly.)