By Abriel Vieira
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 7 of VARSITY.
This June-July break, people around the globe flocked to their television sets and even paused their lives to fly extravagant distances to the 2018 World Cup in the beautiful Russian summer. In the wake of the tournament, I heard several comments by many sporting lay-people that are along the lines of “I don’t like football, but I do like the World Cup.” Even the most passionate football purist can understand the sentiment. The World Cup is the pinnacle of football and even of sport in general. This one alone, with its storyline full of underdog triumphs, beautiful goals and incredible final, is enough to get the most indifferent spectator to clear his (or her) schedule for the next game. After that treat one might ask, can I get more of that?
Unfortunately, not. Nothing comes close to the World Cup so four years is the sentence. However, for those so hooked that they want to give this football thing a try but don’t know where to start, here’s a briefing on the Premier League’s new season where you can see a year’s worth of footballing drama.
The Premier is the most competitive League in Europe. It consists of 20 teams, and 38 games. If you’re not from England you should steer clear of backing teams that generally inhabit the lower table as they will probably be fighting not to get relegated (the bottom three every year lose their premier league status). Teams like newly promoted Wolves and perennial strugglers, Crystal Palace will be spunky and might even cause a few upsets, but you need a lean appetite to support them as they probably won’t be doing much chowing.
Next, there are the teams whom we can classify as mid-table. They probably won’t be too close to relegation but also won’t be chasing much better than a fifth-place finish and Europa League play. These are teams like Everton, West Ham, and, if we’re being generous and hopeful of their new manager, maybe even Arsenal.
Occupying a space of their own is Liverpool, with their murderous Pharaoh heading a much- vaunted attack, and Tottenham (“Spurs”), with the deadliest English striker in years, Harry Kane heading a highly talented squad. Both can play stunning football on their day and it’s hard to see them not making top four. However, history says they won’t win. So be a fan at your own expense, you will have performances to be proud of and feel “lots of pressure” but expect a Karius-like catastrophe to end a season trophy-less.
Finally, the real title challengers. The favourites will have to be the Guardiola-managed Man-City who swept the league in unprecedented style last year. However, a rejuvenated Chelsea will want to forget their horrid end of the season that saw them miss out on Champions League and they have the talent to do it. As for the other Manchester team, with its huge talents, a number of whom lit up the World stage will be again searching to topple their rivals for a first title in the post-Ferguson era. They will have to improve on last season greatly though.
All-in-all, the Premier League season will be full of drama and beautiful football to enjoy and is all worth the watch. If you are lucky and pick wisely, your team may even make a CL semi-final… before indubitably being knocked out by a Spanish club of course.