Champions League Week 1 – Recap

Chelsea vs M. Tel-Aviv – 4-0 Chelsea

A comfortable win for Mourinho’s men. They played a squad that doesn’t normally see the pitch and it worked out quite nicely, we’ll have to see if this translates to the Premier league. Hazard still doesn’t look up to snuff and his first half penalty miss proved that. However the other 10 players played well and finally gave the Chelsea faithful something to cheer about.

Chelsea won’t have a problem exiting the group stage this year.

Dinamo Zagreb vs Arsenal – 2-1 Dinamo Zagreb

Arsenal qualified for their 18th consecutive Champions League group stage, and Wenger’s men working looking to make quick work of lesser opposition Zagreb. However an early Oxlade Chamberlain own goal followed by sending off of star striker Oliver Giroud left Arsenal seriously shorthanded. A late goal by Theo Walcott couldn’t save the visitors. Wonderful game for Zagreb and encourages them to move forward in what is a semi-difficult group.

I see Arsenal coming back.

Manchester City vs Juventus – 1-2 Juventus

Another season, another difficult group for Sky Blue fans. Week one featured a giant clash between the front runners to exit the group. At home City had a chance to really prove their intent this season and they really didn’t show us much. Yes they had possession and controlled the play quite easily, however on the counter they look vulnerable and Juventus  took advantage of that. Buffon also played like only he can. Pure class.

City will hope to rebound in week 2.

PSV vs Manchester United – 2-1 PSV

Memphis didn’t have to wait long to have a return game at his former ground. However his former team had a nasty surprise for him. The Atmosphere was wonderful, such a loud and beautiful stadium. The game began with United showing their prowess and control of play, They were dealt a real blow 30 minutes in when Luke Shaw was stretchered off, it’s a big loss for United. Memphis didn’t have to wait long to find the net, a beautifully worked move and a tidy finish say the red devils take the lead. It didn’t last long and when the half time whistle blew it was 1-1.

The second half showed a more confident PSV side. The late goal only spurred them on, and they no longer looked afraid of the giant across the pitch. The match ended and PSV secured on of the larger upsets in recent memory.

United have a reasonably easy group, so i’m expecting them to bounce back and more then likely take tops of the group.

Financial fair my ass.

This is but a small taste of the disparity between teams in the English Premiere League, this analysis is done by Transfermarkt.com and only evaluates the player worth on teams, it doesn’t take into account other factors ( sponsorships, attendance, brands, jersey sales, TV rights etc ). This is up to date as of Sept.1/2015

1 – Chelsea – 531.75 Million

2 – Manchester City – 480.85 Million

3 – Arsenal – 402.25 Million

4 – Manchester United – 377.25 Million

5 – Liverpool – 330.25 Million

6 – Tottenham – 288.00 Million

7 – Everton – 194.30 Million

8 – Southampton – 185.75 Million

9 – West Ham United – 165.00 Million

10 – Newcastle United – 157.50 Million

11 – Swansea – 129.25 Million

12 – Crystal Palace – 116.75 Million

13 – Stoke – 116.25 Million

14 – Sunderland 113.25 Million

15 – Aston Villa – 105.55 Million

16 – West Bromwich Albion – 93.50 Million

17 – Leicester City – 89.90 Million

18 – Watford – 82.5 Million

19 – Norwich City – 72.65 Million

20 – Bournemouth – 52.55 Million

No wonder its only a 6 man fight with these gaps. Financial fair play is trying to close the gap, however there are too many loop holes in the system and like baseball its far too late to impose a salary cap.

Manchester City F.C.

After a rather disappointing season, the Sky Blues are back on top. It seems as if the wear and tear of that 2014 World Cup seemed to hinder many of their players, however now with adequate time off and a chance to dispel all those nagging aches and pains the squad is back on form and look as dangerous as ever.

Big money spenders, Last summer it was their rivals in red that splashed the cash this year the Citizens returned the favour. Bringing in Raheem Sterling from liverpool and a late move for Kevin De Bruyne really showed their financial muscle. Not to mention a well known centre back in Nicolas Otamendi and some midfield depth in Fabian Delph.

Manuel Pellegrini who looked to be on his last two legs last season has been given new life, a squad with all the capabilities to compete in all competitions. However i have a feeling no matter how well the team does domestically it won’t matter. The sponsors are clamouring for victories outside of England, and without that we’ll see a coaching change next summer.

Perfect. Thats how City have started the season, not only that but they’ve yet to concede a goal & have scored prolifically thus far.

David Silva looks like he’s literally on fire this year, we’ve all known how special he is but this season. .  the man is a lunatic, creating goal scoring opportunity after another.

I hate to say it, especially this early but this is looking like a one man dash. Hopefully for the good of the league and fan entertainment they slow down and we have a proper title clash.

Prediction : Safe – 1st 

Crystal Palace F.C.

Since departing Newcastle last January, Manager Alan Pardew has found success unlike anything else in his career. He returns to Selhurst Park, no longer a player but as manager of his once beloved club.

A full season under Pardew will be good news for Eagles fans and Selhurst will again be a challenge for any team, no easy wins there.

Not many new faces were required this summer, the club already had a nice base to work with. However a few fresh faces are never bad, and what a face they brought in. Club record signing Yohan Cabaye returns to the Premiere League after his rather unsuccessful stint in League 1 with giants PSG. He has already proved his worth. Bringing in young but promising striker Connor Wickham from Sunderland was also a good addition, Wickham will only progress.

One loss on the season and to Arsenal it was maybe to be expected. However three other victories put the Eagles in a very nice position four weeks into the calendar. An away win at Chelsea was most unexpected, but will prove pivotal later in the season.

I’m expecting a slight regression from the team but nothing to be ashamed of, the league is just to competitive and sides with more talent will eventually work their way up the table.

Prediction : Safe – 10th

Leicester City F.C.

My fairytale team of last season has survived the relegation battle and came out of it looking stronger then i thought possible. The fans at the King Power Stadium must be on cloud nine this season, what a promising start. Two wins and two draws sees them third in the table. Back to back wins to start the season and an affirmative draw vs Tottenham shows us just how much promise they have.

The emergence of young midfielder Riyad Mahrez has been something special to watch, the quality he displays is almost mind bending, how top clubs missed this young man is beyond words, lets just say Fox fans best enjoy it white it lasts ( which won’t be long ).

New coach Claudio Ranieri has started life well at the club, after harsh criticism before the season started, he’s really showed why he’s here and here to stay.

Leicester’s 2014-2015 player of the year defence anchor Esteban Cambiasso has departed and has left a hole in the middle of the park, they’ve managed to sign Gokhan Inler from Napoli, but were yet to see if he plugs the hole as well.

I’m expecting this wonderful form to drop off eventually and see them slide quite a ways down the table ( i wish they didn’t ).

Prediction : Safe – 13th