With thanks to Olly's Onions for the pic
Well, it had to happen. With the bloody Community Shield out of the way; with David James letting in 3 for the 'scholar' Coppell and with Watford and Norwich playing out a blinder on a Friday night, we can all forget the horrors of South Africa and knuckle down for the new season.
But what are my thoughts, I can hear you all screaming, on the new season? For City, and for all the others? Well, as you ask so nicely, I will be happy to fill you in. It is rather depressing to look back on £100 million of expenditure on what is generously considered to be talent, when taken in the context of the current economic world scene. I will not change my view that playing well is better than winning, and for that reason am hopeful that the newly shorn Mancini (as I also fully expect) will not be at Eastlands for the whole of the coming season. Lavish expenditure does not buy success in the game (at least not immediately) and the Abu Dhabi cash has distorted the market (if such a thing were possible) even further.
For what it's worth (I felt that that needed the longhand treatment) I would forecast a slow start to City's season, with one or two 'shock' results, followed by the sacking of Mancini and then a bounce-back after Christmas, with an ultimate 4th or (more likely) 5th place finish again. I remain implacable on my original feeling that Chelsea will win the league, though it pains me to say that the Rags looked decent in the 20 or so minutes of the match I could be arsed watching today. Arsenal will also be there or thereabouts. Liverpool will do OK, and Spurs' pretty little heads will be turned by their big boys' trips abroad. This leaves a top 6 (in my ever so 'umble opinion) as follows:
City (if we're lucky)
Although Everton could well surprise us all this season. They just need to steer clear of injuries.
At the other end, aside from Blackpool, I think we'll see Newcastle and the Baggies drop back down, though Stoke also look a bit dodgy.
Overshadowing all of this has to be the fate of so many clubs (like Chester) who will undoubtedly go to the wall this season. There won't be a sniff of Abu Dhabi or Murdoch money coming their way as their fans trudge up motorways in the middle of the night, that's for sure.