A few years ago some of ny blogging friends and I were doing some work for a businessman in Singapore. It was before the days of satellite tv and he was trying to buy favors from local business interests with tapes of the EPL. Unfortunately a local bandit, resplendent in scarves of every EPL team was stealing those tapes. We tried hunting him down but had no luck. One day, we found a local child watching an FA Cup replay between Everton and Swindon Town in a local noodle shop. You see, he’d just been seeing who was playing each other and giving the tapes away. Some men don’t actually want to watch soccer matches. They won’t sit, watch, or listen. Some men just want to see the EPL previewed.
Despite losing their coach, two of their midfielders, and a key CB from last year, the Welsh Barcelona look primed to continue their stranglehold on Welsh football. Much like their Catalonian namesake, they are suffocating Wales. Like a vacuum they suck up all the media, money, and players in the Welsh game, as suffocating to Welsh football as the bogs upon which they play. People may enjoy them now, but when Wales is like Scotland in a few years, we’ll see how much they enjoy it then. Expect them to continue to dominate Welsh football at the expense of good solid Welsh teams, like Abertillery Bluebirds and Llandudno. Oh, they’ll probably stick around the Premier League, if anyone cares about their performances in England.
It is perhaps fitting that the team named after a Shakespeare character has had the most Shakespearean summer transfer window. After an uncharacteristically decisive first few weeks of the window saw Harry Redknapp canned and Jan Vertonghen and Glyfi Siggurdson join the side, Tottenham returned to their dithering ways. Luka Modric’s transfer to Madrid, which we all know has dragged on all summer, despite the fact that we know Madrid is the only team he will realistically be sold to and it’s going to be for around 30 million pounds. Nevertheless, the move has stalled, turning every Spurs fan into Hamlet. Their existential angst has only been compounded by the fact that Spurs have been linked to every striker under the sun and signed exactly none of them. Upon realizing that Jermain Defoe is the only striker on our books, every Spurs fan has become Ophelia and had all their sharp objects taken away. If Spurs can actually sign a decent striker and CM to replace Modric, expect a top four finish. If they don’t, well expect lots of Spurs fans to start livejournal accounts.
It should probably tell you everything you need to know about the English game that the coach of the national team was plucked from “I can’t believe they haven’t been relegated” West Brom. After a year and a half of good rebound managing to get over his breakup with Liverpool, Roy Hodgson left West Brom for the arguably greener fields of the FA and the national team. In his wake, he left a defensively sturdy team to Steve Clarke, the kind of team that’s strong enough to stay up, but not dirty enough to make everyone think of Stoke. However, without Uncle Woy’s grudge matches against Eighthpool, expect West Brom to return to the Inception from which they came, where they never go away and everyone else in the league totally forgets they exist and has to play them. I don’t know how rapidly aging Asian men and Leonardo DiCaprio fit into this, but I’m sure they do.
Oh West Ham. Who thought you could become LESS likeable? You already have a fan base heavily associated with hooliganism, been the subject of one of the more annoying soccer films ever made, and given us a second year of Avram Grant? But now they have gone and done it. They’ve brought Sam Allardyce back to the premiership. If they can somehow join Big Sam and Andy Carroll together in an unholy alliance, they will challenge Stoke in their quest to ruin football for all of us. Expect West Ham to be like that scar you got because you just couldn’t stop picking at that scab on your leg like your mother told you. Which is to say, they’ll suck but they’ll stick around. Because Big Sam is like a scab and Carlton Cole is a platelet. Or something.
I love Wigan. Managed by football Houdini Roberto Martinez, this team stay up every damn year despite all logic to the contrary and let some much more awful and turgid team go down instead. With only spit, gum, and Ali Al Habisi, they stick around and play much more entertaining football than you usually see from relegation fodder, although sometimes this is due to the number of goals they let in. Expect Wigan to stay up, even if they have to play ancient chairman Dave Whelan up top.