So here we go. Not long now until the Premier League hype machine is fully warmed up and ready to start messing with your head. Prepare yourself for 9 months of ecstasy and heartache, proportions yet to be advised.
Our campaign starts at tea-time on Saturday evening at the Sports Direct Arena Newcastle where AVB gets his first chance to show us that his time at Chelsea was just a blip and he is in fact the tactical and motivational genius we knew he was all along. Even a man who has the qualities that Daniel Levy clearly thinks the new coach possesses needs resources though and it’s fairly obvious that we’re short at the moment. The main problem is of course the lack of options up front & that won’t be remedied by the weekend.
Defoe needs to start the season with his shooting boots on if we’re going to avoid playing catch up. We can hope for goals from Bale, VdV and Sigurdsson, but which of these can be squeezed into the line up simultaneously is debatable. In fact predicting our first XI for Saturday isn’t straightforward at all given AVB’s history at Chelsea where sometimes it was felt that he’d make changes to prove that he was a master tactician rather than for the good of the team. Jenas has been playing a lot pre-season though….
Newcastle were in many ways the surprise of last season. A lot of very useful attacking buys, Ba, Cisse & Cabaye for example, allowed them to build on the familiar good work of the likes of Tiote and Taylor. Coloccini, Gutierrez and Obertan weren’t the chumps they normally appear to be and Tim Krul did very well indeed. They have a few injuries, Ben Arfa, Coloccini, Cabaye, Tiote and Ba, but most, if not all, will be fine for Saturday I’m sure.
The Geordies have a tough start with trips to Chelsea and Everton for their first two away games sandwiching Aston Villa at home after playing us. As a confidence builder they’ll be wanting a good result in this one. We though have the disappointment of Munich still fresh in the memory and so should be aware that every point counts from the opening day of the season until the last. Top three or bust!
It’s a tricky opener, especially with Martin “semi final ghost goal” Atkinson marked down to officiate. I’d take a draw personally, together with some evidence that Villas-Boas has a plan and that it looks like a viable one. COYS.
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