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Mutterings from a neutral

Naz gives his mutterings on the season ahead from a neutral point of view. Read on!
Well, like a gorgon warrior hopelessly re-beheading the same sacrificial lamb for the four-thousandth time to make the sun rise, it seems the premiership season is upon us once again. The merry-go-round of players is nearly complete, and when the pieces drop the whole country holds its breath to see who gets sacked first.

 Not that I’m being pessimistic – this season bodes well for a competitive year for the premiership. Whatever your views on Chelsea’s penny-pinching attitude to the transfer market, what their approach does ensure is that more of the world’s best players are migrating to the premiership – which for us neutrals can only be a good thing. With the title race getting closer year on year, the final standings could well depend on how well Chelsea’s galacticos settle down in the premiership. For better or worse, gone are the days when you could be a top-five club and actually lose the odd match – now every encounter is a vicious battle for the three points where a single mistake could lead to a lost title, a barrage of criticism in the press, and the poor player being flogged off cheap to a Spanish club.

Who of the chasing pack will come out on top this year nobody can truly predict. All over the country bookies are losing sleep as they weigh up the signings of Liverpoolwith their summer injection of pace and unpredictability in Bellamy, Gonzalez and Pennant; Arsenal with their world cup one-goal wonder Rosicky, and Man Utd with…um. Well.

 Man Utd fans across the world will be praying that Michael Carrick proves a sound purchase – and more to the point that the banks do not come knocking for the complex series of loans presumably taken out to afford him. With the potential of two more signings in the next week or so, there is plenty of scope for United to strengthen their challenge to the premiership, but it leaves very little time for any newcomers to bed down into the team. One prospect sure to excite Man Utd fans is the potential signing of Owen Hargreaves from Bayern Munich, a move being widely anticipated to finally plug the gap left by the debacle of Keane’s retirement. However, long term I would personally predict this to be a stop-gap solution – with his pace and versatility, accompanied with his passing prowess I would be surprised if Hargreaves does not turn into the long-term Gary Neville replacement, as the staunch trooper  for over 500 appearances begins down the slippery slope to immobility. Left therefore with Senna coming into the midfield (if he ever does) I would be greatly surprised if United have not raided the transfer market again, perhaps even in the January window. Remember – a lot can change in 4 months of football.         

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