Onside & Offside — August
A mere two rounds played this EPL season, yet the banter flying across the office photocopier is spicier than ever. Forget the pure fanatics and the obsessive-compulsive, the fair-weather fan is chiming in with gusto, as to who are the early champs and chumps this season.
A 4-0 drubbing from League One side MK Dons fell right into the hands of Manchester United naysayers envisioning a repeat of last season's catastrophic campaign.
Louis, we know that rebuilding a team, implementing a new playing philosophy and ensuring your 200,000 pound a week Argentinian settles in will take time, but in a results based business you don’t have much of it. Fielding five full internationals who failed to turn up to the match left opposition manager Karl Robinson in shock and Man City striker Edin Dzeko probably in peals of laughter as he took to Twitter.
They walked away from Goodison Park with a point, but at the completion of Round 2, the Gunners are a soldier down, and it’s a fairly important soldier at that. Olivier Giroud proved the difference while scoring the equaliser against Everton, but it appears his ankle injury will have him out until early 2015. It may be time to secure a striker Arsene… Danny Welbeck perhaps?
Striker Samuel Eto'o makes the move to Everton on a free transfer, getting the chance to link up with former Chelsea team-mate Romelu Lukaku. The Cameroonian striker hopes to quash any rumors of a fall out with Jose Mourinho by hopefully facing Chelsea and laying on a defeat in the first week at his new club. After a positive first season with Roberto Martinez, if Everton can tighten up their defense and run for the full 90 minutes, I think they will be a force to be reckoned with.
It’s been debated across the British media: Super Mario or Stupid Mario? This will be the greatest gamble Brendan Rodgers has taken yet, but with a 16 million pound price tag in a highly inflated transfer market – why not? His moments of brilliance can rapidly turn into moments of madness on and off the field, but despite a huge dip in form after a stellar start at AC Milan, 30 goals in 54 games cannot be ignored… there will be drama… and there will definitely be yellow cards – lots of them!
A-League team Western Sydney Wanderers progress to the Asian Champions League Semi Final after an aggregate win over Guangzhou Evergrande. They face FC Seoul on September 17th.
Tara Rushton is a football presenter for Fox Sports Australia, as well as am ambassador for the upcoming 2015 AFC Asian Cup.