After months of rotting away, looking at a blank TV screen (seriously, that’s what BPL fans do during the off season, we wait for BPL to start again), the BPL is FINALLY back. And holy smokes does it look to be one of the greatest seasons ever. This season, the BPL once again welcomes a household name in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who claims he’s the God of Manchester United. Not only that, we also have the likes of arguably one of the best midfielders right now, Paul Pogba, joining our ranks. And what about the legendary managers Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp and the master tactician, Pep Guardiola. What sort of havoc are these guys gonna create?
How will the reigning champions Leicester City perform? Will Claudio Ranieri and his Foxes do it two years in a row? Or will they be facing relegation instead? Well, whatever happens, this will undoubtedly be one hell of a title chase.
Arsenal fans are disappointed though. As a Gooner through and through myself, it looks to be another disappointing season for the Gunners with meaningless signings and Arsene Wenger’s giant ego. Drama drama drama! What a time to be alive. What a time to be a BPL fan.
Here are the top 15 talking points from the first week of the BPL.
15. Leicester City Loses Opening Game
Leicester City winning the 2015-2016 season of the Barclays Premier League will go down in the history books as one of the greatest footballing stories every told. Manchester United was suffering from a managerial crisis in Louis Van Gaal, Chelsea was performing horribly under Jose Mourinho, Manchester City was doing okay and Arsenal was being Arsenal. Meanwhile, a small club in Leicester City was slowly climbing up the ranks. They performed brilliantly from day one, but most people (myself included) wrote them off. I mean, we’ve seen it before. A small club will try to hang with the big boys for a short period of time, but by the end of the season, the status quo will remain unchallenged. Leicester City was having none of that though, as they kept going and going and didn’t look to slow down. By the end of the season, the eyes of the entire footballing world were on them. Were they gonna do it? Yes!
It was exciting to watch Leicester City’s journey towards winning the BPL title. As it seems, it’s gonna be more fun watching them get relegated this season. I know, I know, it’s only been one game. But this past weekend, Leicester City broke the BPL record in being first reigning champions to lose the opening game of their title defence.
14. Where Are The Arsenal Signings?
Over at Manchester United, after abysmal seasons under the guidance of Louis Van Gaal and David Moyes, the club finally brought in one of the most celebrated managers in modern football, The Chosen One himself, Jose Mourinho. Mourinho’s style is simple. He comes in with a plan and a bunch of players in mind and he stops at nothing to bring those players in. And bring in players he did – Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and Mkhitaryan. And, while teams like Chelsea and Man City did not make Zlatan-esque signings, they did bring in top calibre managers in Antonio Conte and Pep Guardiola respectively.
Now, who on earth did Arsenal add to their Arsenal (pun definitely intended)? Still in our (I say our because I’m a huge Gooner) midst is Arsene Wenger, a manager stuck so high up his own rear end, he actually believes he’s doing a great job when fans are booing him out of the stadium match after match. Plus, no signings at all? I mean sure, we have Granit Xhaka, but what’s Granit Xhaka compared to the almighty Zlatan Ibrahimovic?
13. Granit Xhaka
Since I’ve already written something about Granit Xhaka in my blog, I’ll just quote myself. Yes, I’m gonna quote myself cause I’m that awesome.
Arsenal’s biggest signing this season plays worse football than those stupid yellow and blue stickmen on the foosball table. Granit Xhaka came on in the 68th minute, wobbled around awkwardly, attempted six tackles, four of which were fouls and did not win the ball in any of those occasions. Here’s a not so fun fact: Xhaka managed more fouls than any other player did, over the entire premier league opening weekend. This is Arsenal’s top signing of the summer we’re talking about! – Dedpewl
Seriously this guy is Granit Xhaka is absolute rubbish (so far anyway). The bigger question is, what compelled Wenger to sign him in the first place, since the only thing on his resume is missing a penalty in Euro 2016.
12. Resting Ozil, Koscielny and Giroud Because of Euro 2016
While I personally don’t think Ozil, Koscielny and Giroud are GREAT players who would have made a huge difference in the clash against Liverpool this past Sunday, the fact remains, they would have brought some much needed experience and gravity to the cotton-soft Arsenal side. Nope, instead Arsenal went in without both their centre backs (to be fair, Metersacker is injured), their first team striker and an experienced, creative midfielder.
Sure, injuries are unavoidable in the sporting world, especially a sport that is regarded one of the most dangerous ever, and it’s hardly fair to blame Arsene Wenger for that. Here’s the thing though, these players weren’t injured, but rather being rested. No, they’re not being rested cause of injuries either.
11. Guardiola, Tactical Expert?
With 14 trophies under his managerial belt, Pep Guardiola is known as one of the best managers in modern football, joining the ranks of Sir Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger (he was great, once). Here’s a list of his accomplishments:
– La Liga: 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11
– Copa del Rey: 2008–09, 2011–12
– Supercopa de España: 2009, 2010, 2011
– UEFA Champions League: 2008–09, 2010–11
– UEFA Super Cup: 2009, 2011
– FIFA Club World Cup: 2009, 2011
– Bundesliga: 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16
– DFB-Pokal: 2013–14, 2015–16
– UEFA Super Cup: 2013
– FIFA Club World Cup: 2013
It’s not just what Guardiola has accomplished; it’s how he accomplishes it. Guardiola’s tiki taka style of football has caused footballing fans from around the globe to label him as the “master technician.”
But in his first BPL match against Sunderland, it was merely a narrow victory for City, one that required a penalty and an own goal at that. Can the master technician prove his worth in the most exciting league in the world? Only time will tell.
10. God Has Arrived
Since Thierry Henry left Arsenal back in 2007 and Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure from Manchester United in 2009, the Premier League didn’t feel the same. Sure, it remained the most exciting league in the world – seriously, Leicester City won the league last season – but something felt a little off. Top notch players such as Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar, Ribery, Benzema and the likes were scattered in various leagues across Europe, but the BPL desperately lacked a household name. That is, until now.
GOD has arrived at Manchester United and boy is he a blast to watch. Zlatan Ibrahimovic may have only played a couple of games for Manchester United thus far but his performance has been the kind that is simply a joy to watch. This isn’t just about him playing top quality football, but about his swagger and overall presence. Zlatan brings to the pitch what BPL hardcores have been wanting to see for a very long time – class.
9. Alberto Moreno
On one end, you have a swagger-filled, God in Zlatan Ibrahimovic. On the other, you have what can be considered the biggest laughing stock of the weekend (besides Arsene Wenger of course) – Alberto Moreno. Somewhere, deep down, there’s a good defender in Moreno. The problem is, most of the time, he behaves like a 6-year-old suffering from ADHD. He’s extremely impulsive, rarely maintains focus and is oftentimes reckless.
Moreno cost Liverpool a goal and could have easily cost two, if it weren’t for Theo Walcott’s brilliant penalty taking abilities. In the 28th minute, Walcott was the victim of a poor challenge by Moreno inside the penalty box, giving the home side and excellent opportunity to take the lead. But of course, being the genius that he is, Theo Walcott missed the penalty. A poor shot and an easy save by Mignolet. Best part is, moments later, Moreno was well out of position, allowing Theo Walcott to capitalize and score the first goal, redeeming himself in the process.
8. Ibrahimovic Scores Debut BPL Goal
Watching the Manchester United match, I couldn’t help but have a smile on my face every time Ibrahimovic had the ball, and I’m not even a Manchester United fan. As an Arsenal fan, naturally, I was rooting for United to lose, but at the same time, I really wanted to see some Zlatan Ibrahimovic magic. So, I told myself, “a nice 2-1 scoreline would be great. Bournermouth to score a brace, with Zlatan scoring a consolation.” Of course, that didn’t actually happen as Manchester United went to trash Bournermouth 3-1.
But at least I got half my wish. While Zlatan did not score a 300,000-yard bicycle kick as I hoped, he still scored a pretty kick-ass goal. Zlatan is bringing something to Manchester United that many top clubs have been lacking in recent years – BALLS. These days, most top clubs choose to focus on minimizing errors. Rarely are long range shots taken, with players choosing to make simple passes instead. But this is Zlatan we’re talking about. And of course, he scored a cracker!
7. Chamberlain Solo Effort
As a Gooner, this is a tough pill to swallow, but Arsenal was, unsurprisingly, absolutely rubbish this past weekend. Seriously, the depth in our squad is comparable to a kiddy pool, after a fat kid jumps in it. We may have scored the opening goal (after an abysmal missed penalty by Theo Walcott), but it all went downhill from there. At one point, Arsenal was down 4-1. Gooners around the stadium started jeering loudly “WENGER OUT!” while the rest of us at home were ranting on social media.
One consolation did come out of the match though and that is Chamberlain’s goal. Chamberlain, just like Walcott, started his career at Arsenal with much promise. But as seasons passed, there was no growth and just like Walcott his standards fluctuate. One minute he’s a great player, the next minute, he makes you wonder if he has ever played football in his life. For that short moment against Liverpool though, Chamberlain showed the world what he’s capable of, with a marvellous solo effort dribbling past what felt like 200 Liverpool players before finishing it swiftly.
6. Coutinho’s Free Kick
While chorus of boos rang around the Emirates due to Arsenal’s horrible performance, Liverpool had the time of their lives. Under Jurgen Klopp’s management, Liverpool is finally starting look like the beasts they once were all those years ago. Here’s a fun story. Once upon a time, Liverpool was the most dominant club in English football. And then, they sucked.
While Arsenal had a poor game against Liverpool overall, our first half was half decent. After all, we were leading 1-0. All that changed right before the half time whistle. Liverpool won a free kick right on the edge of the Arsenal penalty box and Coutinho stepped up to take the shot. What a beautiful free kick it was from Coutinho, right into the top corner, equalizing for Liverpool. It was the kind of free kick that not many keepers, if any, would have saved. Brilliant stuff. Arsenal may have been the “better” side in the first half, but Liverpool were going in level.
5. Walcott’s Beautiful Penalty
Here’s something else I have to quote from my recent blog post.
Four-year extension and a pay raise for THEO F**KING WALCOTT?? Walcott earns as much as Ozil and Sanchez. Why? What on earth does he bring to the pitch? If you tell me loyalty, then you can join Wenger and drown in acid. Walcott isn’t staying because of loyalty. He’s staying because no other club in the world wants him, not even those sh*tty American retirement clubs. Let me just put things into perspective, guys. Forget starting eleven, if Theo Walcott were a Man Utd player, his job would be cleaning Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s boots for a buck an hour.
To be honest, players do miss penalties every now and then. Heck, watch the match between Italy and Germany in Euro 2016 and you’ll see a bunch of world class players missing one penalty after another. It happens and sometimes it’s forgivable, but not when you’re Theo Walcott. Theo Walcott is rubbish and fans are always going to find more reasons to hate him.
Want to know what the worst part is? Walcott was arguably the best player of Arsenal in the match against Liverpool. You know your club is going places when you have Bastian Schweinsteiger as your reserve player. You know your club is going to a sh*t hole when Theo Walcott is your best player.
4. Rooney Misses Zlatan’s Assist
C’mon Rooney, get your act together. When God passes you the perfect ball, you damn well better score. You see, Zlatan may be capable of magic tricks, but he’s also a philanthropist. He could score ten goals per game, all season, but he’s a kind hearted soul. He wants his teammates to feel good about themselves too. And so, Zlatan passed and inch perfect ball to Wayne Rooney and Rooney squandered it. Get a grip, Rooney. You should count yourself blessed to be able to play with the almighty ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC!
Jokes aside, Wayne Rooney continues to draw criticism for his fluctuating performance. While he does sometimes put in 200% effort running box to box for Manchester United, sometimes he sort of doesn’t do anything at all, playing like he belongs in West Brom. It wasn’t the case this past weekend though. While he did miss a brilliant pass from Zlatan, he also scored a very difficult header from distance.
3. Zlatan Misses Free Kick
Okay. I’m honestly running out of things to say about him. Any more and his wife will begin to feel threatened. So instead, here’s a list of one-liners Zlatan Ibrahimovic has said in the past.
– Once upon a time, Zlatan almost secured a move to Arsenal, but Wenger insisted he did a trial first.
To that Zlatan said: “Zlatan doesn’t do auditions.”
– When a reporter questioned Zlatan regarding a rumour that he had bought a Porsche, Zlatan said:
“Absolutely not. I have ordered a plane. It is much faster.”
– There was a time where he also said “I can’t help but laugh at how perfect I am.”
-When John Carew claimed that some of Ibrahimovic’s skills were pointless, Zlatan said:
“What Carew does with a football, I can do with an orange.”
– Perhaps his best line yet, came when Sweden lost to Portugal in the play-offs for the Brazil world cup.
2. Bicycle Kick Opening Goal
The Premier League is special. It’s also absolutely ridiculous and oftentimes senseless. Most importantly, it is exciting. Since the inception of the BPL, the reigning champion has never lost the opening match of their title defence. Also, Hull City spent the entirety of last division playing in the second division of English football.
The opening match of the Barclays Premier League was between Leicester City (last year’s champion) and Hull City (a newly promoted side) and Hull City beat Leicester. That’s right, the age old BPL record has been broken by a newly promoted side.
It doesn’t just stop there. This is the BPL we’re talking about! Not only did Hull City score the opening goal, breaking the record in the process, they did it in such style, with a phenomenal bicycle kick by Adama Diomande.
English teams may not have been doing well in the Champions League in recent years, constantly getting knocked by the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, but that opening match between Leicester and Hull proves just why this is the greatest league in the world.
1. Snodgrass Shines Against The Champions!
While Diomande scored a fantastic opening goal against Leicester, Snodgrass was undoubtedly the glue that held Hull City together. Heck, he was one of the best players of the entire weekend. Again, this is Hull City we’re talking about. A newly promoted side.
Once, Leicester City equalised via Jamie Vardy, it was Snodgrass who got the lead back for Hull through a cracking finish. Snodgrass is definitely a player to look out for this season. If he keeps up his performance, he might just be one of those players that big clubs start hunting for.
Here’s a brief history on Snodgrass:
Robert Snodgrass is a Scottish footballer who plays either as a midfielder or a forward. In June 2014, Hull City signed Snodgrass for a fee of roughly 6 million pounds. However, Snodgrass suffered from a knee injury shortly after and had to miss out on the entire 2014-2015 season. But judging by his performance against Leicester, it looks as though Snodgrass is finally back to full fitness.