Premier League: The PreviewBy: Juan Mesa
Let’s make one thing clear: England’s pitiful performance in the World Cup is not enough reason to secede from the Premier League. The favorite weekend pastime of soccer heads will finally be back on our screens starting on August 16 and the reasons to tune in and drink a few at your local pub are plenty.
VAN GAAL’S SPECIAL MISSION: After the failure of David Moyes, Manchester United has reached out to coach Louis Van Gaal to bring back competitiveness to Old Trafford. This is a complete makeover, as Van Gaal will not be an Alex Ferguson’s Mini-Me. The Dutch tactician is known for two things: one, for building solid and winning structures in the clubs he has worked at (Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich); two, that he likes to be in total control. We’ll see how it all plays out in his first Premier League stint.
ARSENAL LATINO: It’s been 11 seasons since the last time the Gunners won the league. Beloved coach Arsène Wenger has tried his best to win a title again, but bad luck and economic disparities have gotten in the way. However, the 2014-15 season could be the one (and we know we say this every year). Financial Fair Play is somehow in place in the Premier League and Wenger has placed his bets on some Latino skills to enhance his squad. Costa Rican Joel Campbell, Chilean Alexis Sánchez and Colombian keeper David Ospina could prove to be the pieces that were missing in making Arsenal the championship-winning team everybody is expecting.
WATCH OUT FOR THE SPURS: After making a good impression by building a competitive Southampton squad from scratch, Argentine manager Mauricio Pochettino was “promoted” to the Tottenham Hotspur F.C.—a team that has been trying hard to be a permanent member of the Premier League’s contenders club. Executives will ask him to do some Moneyball with the team’s current roster and some younger talent, but he carries an ace up his sleeve: the Spurs still have some of the pounds Real Madrid gave them for Gareth Bale, so he could look for a few additional stars in the market.
NEW RICH KIDS ON THE BLOCK: Newly promoted Leicester City and Queens Park Ranger could be staying in the Premier League for a while. Both teams are owned by Asian millionaires who will be supporting the managers in their projects. They are not in the same level of Manchester City or Chelsea, but if they keep themselves grounded they could be doing some harm to the big guys and fighting for spots in one of the European tournaments by the end of the season.
PELLEGRINI AND MOURINHO HEAD-TO-HEAD: Chelsea’s José Mourinho has said that his teams get stronger in the second year. That could be true, but Manchester City’s (and Mourinho’s nemesis) Manuel Pellegrini is also a good example of improvement as seasons go by. And what does this mean? That they will spice up their rivalry as they go head-to-head again, especially with Pellegrini defending a European title for the first time in his career.
LIVERPOOL’S NEW LAYOUT: Luis Suárez was the cornerstone of Liverpool’s offense in past seasons, but the Reds had to let him go to Barcelona for a good chunk of money (and some peace of mind, we’d say). The season offers, thus, a blank canvas in the offensive line for coach Brendan Rodgers. Former Southampton striker Rickie Lambert will have his first big-team chance at 32, while the hole left by Suárez will be filled by talented midfielder Raheem Sterling, the new jewel of English soccer.
LOGISTICS: The Premier League’s, official site