Friday, August 7, 2009

The 2009/10 Barclays English Premier League Curtain Raiser: Manchester United vs. Chelsea

Finally, the Barclays English Premier League season is one week away! Before the season kicks off officially, Manchester United and Chelsea will contest in the customary season opener known as the Community Shield.
Although the Community Shield rarely attracts much attention, this season is a lot more different from other seasons. With high profile names departing the English game, I have found myself wondering if the league will retain its status as the most watched league in the world. This traditional season opener will, no doubt provide a platform to prove once again that, the English Premier League is indeed healthy and progressing.

While watching this season opener come Sunday, I will be looking forward to several questions that I am confident will be answered.

I will be curious as to how Sir Alex Ferguson intends to change his tactic as he has openly mentioned. Will United revert to an orthodox 4-4-2 or will they try to accomodate all three of their forwards of Berbatov, Owen and Rooney? How Manchester United will cope with the loss of their most talented forward will be utmost on my list. Will Mickey Owen revive the memorable and goalpoaching times of Ruud Van Nistelrooy? Manchester United had an unbeaten and useful preseason. Owen and Valencia are gelling very well with the rest of the team. The midfield still remain an area of worry for United, as they currently have possibly the third best midfield quartet in the country. Does United have enough depth in the goalkeeping department considering that Edwin Van Der Sar will be out for ten weeks?

Similarly, Chelsea also had to get used to new tactics and ideas of a new manager. Out went the excellent Guus Hiddink. In came the more pragmatic Carlo Ancelotti. For me, Ancelotti has a lot of the Mourinho trait and likes to set his team up defensively first. However, Ancelotti has publicly declared that he will set the team out to play attractive football and this match will lend proof to that claim. Needless to say, the Chelsea faithfuls will be out in droves this Sunday to see if Ancelotti is the man to lead Chelsea to more success. With John Terry staying, this Chelsea team is unchanged and thus remain as strong as ever. Winning the inaugural World Football Challenge against tough competition would have helped Chelsea. They too had a great unbeaten preseason tuneup. To many of the over-30s in the team, this season looks to be their last chance for glory but can Chelsea be considered as favourites for this season's league title?

With all these questions to be answered, this season opener has come at an opportune moment. As said, all will be revealed come Sunday and so, LET'S GET IT ON!!


Jim said...

1) The season-opener was tonight: Middlesborough 0-0 Sheffield Utd. There is more to the English game than SkyPrem, y'know.

2) I assume you got a bit distract by the prospect of Owen and Rooney together - but who the fuck is Mickey Owen?

3) Charity Shield games have historically proved absolutely diddly-squat about the destination of the League title, or indeed anything else.

TheFlatBackFour said...

Hi Jim!
Yes I am refering only to the Premiership. I don't spend too much time looking at the Championship and below except in the cup competitions.
However I will be checking up on Nigel Clough and his exploits with Derby this season.
Yes I am enthralled by the Owen-Rooney partnership, I just think it's either fantastic or bust - there is no in-between.
Historically I agree with you but this season I think it's gonna be different.
Great to have the football back!

Anonymous said...

"Manchester United had an unbeaten and useful preseason."

Apparently they were. Beaten in Munich, in the Audi Cup finals by Bayern Munich.

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