Rabu, 11 September 2013

England’s top division rolls in for its long awaited return this weekend

Premier League fans across the country have waited just under three months (90 days to be exact) for their teams to start competitive football once again, and now, with the squads having fine-tuned their rosters and finished with their pre-season friendlies, we’re ready for an explosive start to the Barclays Premier League this Saturday as Liverpool take on Stoke City in the first match of the new season. Clubs such as Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal have travelled around the world during the summer break, giving their global fan bases a glimpse of their heroes and when they return to their respective cities this weekend, they will be given heroes welcomes unmatched by any country, truly letting their players know they are home again. The connection fans have with their respective clubs goes far beyond any emotion known to man as they can love and hate their team, they can cry and cheer during the same match, and these are emotions that have been dry since May 19th when the previous season drew to a close. There have been calls for the Premier League to conduct a winter break – much like other European leagues – but would fans really welcome that much time away from the game? The ferocity and speed of the Premier League is much like a train heading to a single destination, one that if stopped would take a while to start up completely again. Meanwhile, with the transfer window still open and rumours still in full swing, it’s certain that more players will come and go until the deal-making deadline finally closes on September 2nd. Last season’s champions, Manchester United, kick off their new campaign against Swansea with manager David Moyes taking on the hot seat after Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement. After 11 years at the helm of Everton, Moyes was unable to claim a winner’s medal in any competition but still gained plaudits for making Everton a top side that competed in Europe on many occasions, all while on a budget that would have had clubs around them struggling. However, things began for Moyes in fine style, picking up his first trophy since winning the Football League second division with Preston in 2000, by beating Wigan in the traditional season curtain-opener, the Community Shield this past Sunday. Away from the champions, Jose Mourinho – the ‘Special One’ – has returned for his second spell managing Chelsea after spells at Inter Milan and Real Madrid, and will set his sights on claiming the title upon his return. The newly-promoted clubs – Hull City, Crystal Palace and Cardiff City – have the extra incentive of establishing themselves as Premier League sides and will hope to avoid relegation so soon after promotion. But the League is more than just the sides at the top and bottom. The start of the season gives traditionally mid-table clubs such as Fulham or Stoke City an opportunity to build upon their successive finishes and break into the elusive top positions, providing a gateway to European football and larger revenue streams. Throughout the division there are teams that on their day can beat anyone, making the Premier League one of the most fascinating and unpredictable football leagues in the world. Come Saturday, fans can finally breathe a sigh of relief – top-flight football is back.

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