Thrashings, scraps and sacking after sacking after sacking: How the 2014/15 Premier League will unfold
In what can only be described as a flying start to the season, Arsenal set the early pace in August, top after three games with a 100% record, 43 goals scored, 13 goal of the season contenders and 76 self-satisfied selfies posted online. Despite being a clever man who's been here before, Arsene announces this could be the start of something special. "This could be the start of something special," he announces.
West Brom hit early problems when the Premier League neglect to send a referee to their home game with Sunderland, having forgotten they exist. “This was a regrettable error and we have written to apologise to the manager whose name temporarily escapes me,” says Richard Scudamore. “This will not happen again.”
Less happy goings on at Turf Moor, where new boys Burnley react to the 3-1 home defeat to Chelsea in their opening game of the season by sacking manager Sean Dyche. "We'd like to express our gratitude to Sean for helping us reach the Premier League against all odds and every expectation,” reads a statement. “But now we are here we understand that this is the sort of nonsensical knee-jerk reaction we should be making." They replace him with some costly foreign cat we've never heard of.
Aware that the transfer window closes at the end of the month, Manchester City's Yaya Toure complains again that his club has been neglecting him. "Would a few statues of me be too much to ask,” he harrumphs to Paris-based periodical Le Football. "I am but a slave on my £250,000 a week net plus generous bonus scheme."
And having failed to land Edinson Cavani from PSG, Chelsea sign Ricky van Wolfswinkel on loan from Saint-Etienne, where he is on loan from Norwich.
Three games into the new season is long enough for the knees of power-crazed plutocrat owners to start trembling, but with more than half the managers teetering on the brink, it's hard to know who gets chopped next.
The shadowy Far Eastern syndicates' money is on West Ham's Sam Allardyce and Aston Villa's Paul Lambert, with the miserable Scot a shoo-in if Randy Lerner offloads the club to a rich man who dreams of mid-table mediocrity. But nobody's safe and unless Newcastle's Alan Pardew, Southampton's Ronald Koeman, Swansea's Garry Monk and whoever's managing West Brom this season make convincing starts to the season, and all evidence suggests they won't, then they too can expect the big brown box before September's out.
Meanwhile, Yaya Toure turns out for Manchester City's game against Arsenal in a Paris Saint Germain shirt, Frank Lampard neither scores nor even plays in the Manchester City-Chelsea game because it was only ever a muscle-flexing publicity stunt, and on the back of a six-game unbeaten start to the season, Louis van Gaal erects a large statue of himself to stand out front at Old Trafford. It features a lucky groin that glows gold when polished.
Over at The Hawthorns, West Brom’s game with Crystal Palace is called off when the referee fails to show. Richard Scudamore promises this won’t happen again but admits there’s a lot of the season still to go.
Manchester United's impressive start to the season ends with a muscular dismantling by Chelsea, who leapfrog Everton and Liverpool at the top of the table and likely stay there for the rest of the season. The Louis van Gaal statue is swiftly dismantled and for the first time this season, the auld ghost of Mr Ferguson appears back in the stands.
Elsewhere, with this being October, Arsenal’s treatment table will be filling up nicely by this point, which will derail their title charge. Not entirely unconnected, Arsenal possibly lose 6-1 at Chelsea this month. And Yaya Toure turns out for Manchester City's home game against Tottenham with a heavy ball and chain on his ankle. "My agent says it's a metaphor but I don’t know what a metaphor is " he shrugs, before scoring four times in a 5-0 rout. Sergio Aguero adds a fifth but breaks both legs and in the process and is ruled out for the next six months.
Purely out of habit, by November Daniel Levy has sacked Mauricio Pochettino, despite the Tottenham boss making steady progress rebuilding a squad ruined by AVB's largesse last summer. Mr Levy later admits he did it pure for the buzz, man, or words to that effect, and drafts in QPR first team coach Glenn Hoddle and Top Of The Pops sidekick Chris Waddle to see it through to the season's end.
Meanwhile, overseas, Barcelona’s dangerous new striker Luis Suarez finally makes his long awaited debut against Almeria in La Liga and scores 12 times. "This is the best league in the world," he lies, "and I belong here, la."
In his second game, Barcelona's dangerous new striker Luis Suarez bites the referee’s ear off during the defeat to Sevilla, then falls to the floor holding his hamstring. He's stretchered off to the mad house.
In better news: Woop woop! It's the official Christmas party season for the Premier League's finest, and at the official Manchester United XXX-mas Bash, professional party planner Chris Smalling plays host once again. Fancy dress is again the theme, but Smalling leaves his hilarious suicide bomber outfit in the closet and comes dressed as a footballer instead. Giggsy arrives dressed as his brother, Wayne Rooney as an overgrown baby and Louis van Gaal turns up late, dressed as himself and with steam billowing from both ears. Party – and indeed season – over.
Also this month, in football, Arsenal possibly lose 6-1 at Liverpool.
New year, same old story. At the behest of Sky Sports News 4D HD, QPR boss Harry Redknapp spends most of the month 'doing a David Pleat' – i.e. crawling along in his car with his window wound down (younger readers, ask your dad, but don't let your mum hear). "I ain't got no plans to sign no-one or nuffink in the window, y'know, cor blimey guvnor," barks Arry's marf. "Fellas I'd tell you if I did, dontchaknow, gorblimey 'er indoors and so on."
Meanwhile, as the transfer drawbridge slowly lowers, Southampton sell every member of their squad and replace them with their under-16s. Peter Odemwingie drives Yaya Toure to Paris to sign for PSG, but nobody answers the door so he drives him home again. As part of his radical rebranding of Stoke City, Mark Hughes swaps Peter Crouch for Lionel Messi.
And at the stroke of midnight it's confirmed that QPR swooped late to sign 27 new faces, including 12 players they sold last January. "Just to freshen fings up, y'know," says Arry.
Also this month, in football, Arsenal possibly lose 6-1 at Manchester City.
During another emergency board meeting to discuss a tail-off in performances, Alan Pardew accidentally tells Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley to "shut your noise you f****** old c***", then accidentally headbutts him to the ground. “I did not mean any damage to the guy,” he shrugs, rearranging his quiff. “I tried to push him away with my head but I should not have done that. I apologise to everyone. I should not have got involved.”
To the business end of the season, and the month starts with Arsenal winning yet another piece of premium silver – this time the Capital One Cup, with Arsene’s men coming from 3-0 down to beat Shrewsbury on penalties. Arsene is beaming. "This could be the start of an exciting new future for this club," he says, pausing only to suck on one of Jack Wilshere's crafty snouts.
We fully expect Chelsea to have officially sewn the league title up around now, with Ricky van Wolfswinkel scoring 38 times. Sealing the title away at Liverpool on March 21 would be fitting, purely to witness Jose Mourinho running down the touchline in his underpants at the final whistle.
Elsewhere, in Europe, the Champions League is cancelled at the quarter-final stage and the trophy sent to Real Madrid, just to save time. Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini is therefore sacked for having officially failed, but Sven makes it known he's available.
Meanwhile, back in the Premier League, and after a long and tasteless legal battle, Hull City owner Assem Allam is declared free to change the club's name to whatever he fancies. So he changes it to Hull Tigers, then in the dead of night changes it again to Assem Allam AFC, accompanied by a new club crest depicting Allam wrestling the tiger with his top off.
West Ham's Andy Carroll is finally declared fit in time for the final game of the season, a meaningless time-filler away to Newcastle United, but his return lasts all of six minutes – a dislocated pony tail ruling him out until December. The final Premier League table is confirmed, with an impressive Everton finishing second behind Chelsea despite Romelu Lukaku scoring no goals all season.
Manchester City finish third and Liverpool steal the last Champions League place ahead of Arsenal and Manchester United – at which point, Louis van Gaal announces he can no longer be arsed at his time of life, but Sven makes it known he's available.
At the bottom, Burnley, West Brom and Leicester are all relegated. Or Burnley, West Brom and Swansea. Or possibly Burnley, Swansea and Aston Villa. Or QPR. Definitely Burnley, you have to fear, and probably Swansea.
And Yaya Toure is rewarded for his loyalty with a new 12-year deal at Manchester City.