What’s new with equipment?
There’s a new ball in town. Besides the actual goals and assists he generated, the Uruguayan’s intelligent runs created space for the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Sterling.
City splashed out $76 million on winger Raheem Sterling, although the better value deal might have been midfielder Fabian Delph’s $12 million capture from Aston Villa.
Has Wenger, however, misfired by not signing an experienced defensive midfielder and striker in the class of Aguero, Costa or Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney?
Will Mourinho and Wenger ever shake hands?
Mourinho and Wenger don’t like each other, and more confirmation of that came when the Frenchman refused to shake Mourinho’s hand after Arsenal’s 1-0 win at Wembley Sunday.
Mourinho, who last year labeled his managerial counterpart a “specialist in failure” and was once pushed by Wenger on the touchline, claimed he didn’t have a problem with the snub.
Meanwhile, the emergence of another promoted side, Bournemouth, ensures a south coast derby with Southampton. Germany’s Bundesliga has long staged games on Fridays.
Here’s some of what its manufacturer Nike had to say about the ball: It “features Nike Aerowtrac grooves and a micro-textured casing for true flight, accuracy and control.
“A fuse-welded construction and carbon latex bladder deliver excellent touch and responsiveness during intense competition.”
Sounds impressive, but TV viewers may be put off by the ball’s multiple colors that could clash with the green pitch. The Cherries advanced to the top flight in England for the first time. It’s a title they haven’t won since the “Invincibles” in 2004.
But this year no global men’s tournament filled the void. Like Costa, Aguero is prone to injury. Striker Christian Benteke and attacking midfielder Roberto Firmino were bought for a combined $94 million, although the shrewdest of signings might have been midfield workhorse James Milner on a free transfer from City. Since the money spinning Premier League began in 1992, United has by far been its most successful club, winning 13 titles. The usually standout defender Vincent Kompany struggled and midfielder Yaya Toure failed to match his fine 2013/2014 form.
One thing is for sure: Those Liverpool fans wouldn’t mind seeing Sterling flop. Consistency has been an issue, for example, for the likes of the similarly hyped Theo Walcott, Aaron Lennon and Wilfried Zaha.
But United and everyone else are currently chasing Chelsea.
In Europe, City stumbled again as Pellegrini’s tactics came up short against Barcelona.
All the fans, though, aren’t completely chuffed.
The rising price of tickets — Arsenal’s season ticket is the most expensive — continues to annoy supporters and on October 3 and 4, some are planning to protest as part of what the Football Supporters’ Federation is calling a “weekend of action.”
“Over the past 25 years money has flowed into football enriching players, owners, executives and agents — we think it’s about time fans saw some of the benefits too,” FSF chief executive Kevin Miles said in a press release.
“Nine out of 10 fans feel that football is too expensive but fans’ loyalty and commitment to their clubs is being exploited.”
Is living in London an advantage for the fans?
For those who do fork out cash to watch games, London doesn’t lack in Premier League fixtures.
“I don’t think a manager has to shake hands with another if he doesn’t want to,” Mourinho told Sky Sports. The reason? Police in the area will be keeping an eye on a march by far-right group the English Defence League on the Saturday.
Rodgers can’t afford a poor start, which begins on Sunday at Stoke City — 6-1 victors against Liverpool on the final day of last season.
Is Sterling worth the money?
In that 2013/2014 season playing with Suarez, Sterling scored nine goals and added nine assists in 24 league starts.
From the start of the 2016/2017 season, though, Friday night football will be a semi-regular occurrence in the Premier League. The Steven Gerrard saga lingered, and an increasing number of manager Brendan Rodgers’ buys, especially Mario Balotelli, didn’t impress.
Will cheats go punished?
Mourinho’s Chelsea, particularly, has been accused of diving. Last season in 34 league starts, his numbers dropped to seven goals and seven assists.
The loan departure of Stevan Jovetic and impending departure of Edin Dzeko mean that City commences the season under strength up front behind talisman Sergio Aguero.
There may not be a finer strategist in world football, with Mourinho often employing conservative, successful tactics against the elite — Chelsea won three and drew five in all eight league games versus Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool last term — while brushing aside the lesser ranks.
A relatively quiet summer in the transfer ranks for cash cow Chelsea still saw the arrival on loan of striker Radamel Falcao as cover for the oft-injured Diego Costa while England defender John Stones may join from Everton, giving Chelsea youth in central defense.
But will the sale of goalkeeper Petr Cech to rival Arsenal come back to haunt Chelsea and Mourinho given the old adage of “never sell a player to the competition?”
Can Manchester City recover?
Perhaps the biggest surprise in the off-season regarding Manchester City was the club not sacking embattled manager Manuel Pellegrini.
Some, though, point out he’s only continuing to warm the manager’s seat until the end of the season: Bayern Munich’s Pep Guardiola continues to be linked with City.
City fell away from the title race not long after the start of 2015 and only a late surge from Pellegrini’s men saw them see off Arsenal for second.
But the result, coupled with other friendly showings this summer, an uplifting conclusion to last season that included another FA Cup victory and the arrival of Cech are leading many to believe the Gunners — led by forward Alexis Sanchez — can seriously challenge for the title. (The Women’s World Cup in Canada was a huge success, however.) Thus, it was likely an agonizing wait to get to this Saturday. Indeed the title winners picked up two bookings in the same game — against Hull — for diving last season.
One rule change for this season aims to crack down on cheaters, though not so-called divers.
Can Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho and his men be stopped?
It’s one of 11 questions we pose ahead of what will inevitably be another intriguing season.
Can anyone stop Chelsea?
It will be difficult.
If ever there was such a thing as a one-man team, the 2013/2014 Liverpool side — which handed the title to Manchester City in the last month of the season — could have been it. Mourinho has won the league in eight of his past 12 seasons, be it in Portugal, England, Italy or Spain.
Birmingham’s Aston Villa, though, hosts Manchester United on Friday, August 14.
Not during the game, mind you, but in the days after.
The $76 million sum received by Liverpool seems like good business.
Young, English talents habitually command larger fees in the Premier League but history tells us that promising, quick wingers don’t always deliver.
Whether you agree or not with the stance, there’s no doubt handshake snubs make for great entertainment.
Liverpool kept faith with Rodgers, who got down to business in the off-season. Six teams again feature, with newly promoted Watford replacing relegated QPR.
Are the fans pumped up?
Die-hard fans weren’t all that deprived of football a year ago in the Premier League off-season, since the World Cup in Brazil limited the amount of time without any action.
And he was backed by Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore.
If a player has been deemed to fake an injury after clashing with an opponent — resulting in a red card for his apparent aggressor — officials will now be able to rescind the red card while handing out a ban to the alleged victim.
Is Brendan Rodgers living on borrowed time?
Luis Suarez’s exit from Liverpool last year was always bound to jolt the Reds.
Is Friday night football on the way?
It’s not uncommon for Premier League games to be played on Fridays, but only when they lay on holidays or during the festive Christmas period.
Still, a club with Liverpool’s proud history demands more than what happened last season — a distant sixth-place finish.
Is this Arsenal’s season?
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger finally got the better of Mourinho, even if last Sunday’s Community Shield is really nothing more than a friendly.
Desperate for a move to City after his contract demands weren’t met by Liverpool — agitating Reds supporters — Sterling finally got the transfer he wanted on July 14.
With Mourinho continuing to be at Chelsea’s helm, the Blues once again begin as title favorites.
“Shake hands if you mean it, shake hands if you want to shake hands, and if there is some enmity between you, that is for individuals and for them to decide, not me,” he said.
Ordem 3 — compared to a Spiderman design — will be used in the Premier League, as well as in Italy’s Serie A and Spain’s La Liga.
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. Every season has a handful
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