Time to start the new thread, since the Community Shield kicks off imminently, and the Premiership starts Friday.

I don't see much change at the top this year with City and Liverpool to renew their battle for the title. Early points will be important, as there are many first-choice players in both squads not quite fit after summer exertions. City likely with the stronger squad to weather the storm until the first international break.

Spurs to finish third, and the usual hokey-cokey of Arsenal, Chelsea, and United challenging for the final CL spot. Maybe one will actually want it this year. Will be interesting to see how Chelsea cope with losing Hazard and having a two window transfer ban. Sure, they've got Pulisic, but Lamps is going to need to play some of the kids and hope for the best. Arsenal are a complete shambles at the back, especially with Koscielny downing tools (even though he has aged and had a number of serious injuries last year). They'll be heavily reliant on Auba and Laca, and will need to try to win every game 4-3 at this rate.

Relegation ... I'm expecting Brighton to go down after last season's escape. Sheffield United and Villa to go down with them. Although Newcastle may be in serious trouble and drop into the Championship after losing Benitez and their goals from Perez and Rondon. Also: Steve Bruce.

Predictions:

1. Man City

2. Liverpool

3. Spurs

4. Arsenal

5. Man United

6. Chelsea

----

Relegation:

18. Aston Villa

19. Brighton Hove & Albion

20. Sheffield United

Original Post

ManUre continue to be the biggest spenders in the EPL. The only positive aspect of that is most of their purchases turn out to be very poor value for the money and the Maguire deal should continue that tradition. In fact that deal makes the Wan-Bissaka look like a screaming deal, which it wasn't.

As for the new season, I don't see any reasons why the top 2 from last season won't be there again, but I think it will be reversed. City's defensive backs are more of a question mark for me. Of course they could spend their way out of that problem although they showed restraint in the bidding for Maguire.

It's very hard to predict what Chelsea will look like this season, other than younger, which is good afaic. The hole Hazard has left is a big one and I doubt Pulisic will fill it so soon, if ever. Their defense is also a big question mark. Christensen and Zouma are going to have to be solid. I do like what I'm reading about the attitude at the club and that counts.

Attitude is something Spurs don't have unless you're talking bad. Out of the top 4 this year. Unfortunately that opens the door for either United or Arsenal. As Fut said, the latter have unaddressed defensive holes, yet they keep signing forwards and big money ones at that. I'd much rather see a dark horse finish above both of them. Leicester City? Everton? They should both be pretty good this year.

1) Liverpool

2) Manchester City

3) Chelsea

4) Arsenal

Relegation is the future for Sheffield United, Brighton and Norwich City.

First manager to get sacked. So much hate for Steve Bruce. I'm going with Solskjaer.

Now that I've picked myself up off the floor from laughing so hard about Arsenal signing David Luiz I have to ask, is Harry Maguire worth £72 million more than Luiz? My feelings about Luiz's defending abilities are well known here, but there is no way Maguire is that much better.

Speaking of ManUre and their continuing financial misadventures, they are set to lose £20 million on Lukaku. Yes, I realize the above mentioned Luiz was not exactly Chelsea's finest financial dealing either, but they do that less frequently than United and are improving. United otoh seems to take a loss on just about every player they sell these days.

Season (EPL) starts tomorrow and transfer window closes tonight.

I'm actually waiting for Luiz to play before I say what a great pick up he is (or isn't).  Crazy.

Luckily Aubemayang saved Arsenal on Sunday.  I'm actually quite excited to see how this season turns out.  Losing Ramsey sucked, but Ceballos is a quality player and while not as gifted offensively as Ozil, he may provide the tracking and defensive work rate that Emery is looking for (and that Arsenal need).  I like the front three of Aubemayang, Lacazzete and Pepe. Hopefully the Gunners get enough out of Torreira/Xhaka/Guendozi to support their still crap back line, in which Luiz is the leader...

Any comments on the disallowed City goal against Spurs? I think it was ridiculous. VAR out of control. Not a fan.

It looks like this could be a long season for Chelsea, although there are some positive signs. I'm willing to wait for the future with a younger team.

Ha ha. Barcelona paid something in the order of €125 million for Coutinho 18 months ago and now they loan him to Bayern Munich for €8 million. Well done.

I'm thinking my pick of Norwich City to be relegated may have been a bad one.

Steve - IFAB changed the rules on handballs to whenever it hit someone's arm or hand, even accidentally, it's a foul. City got screwed by the rule change. VAR, which I think should only be used for goals, showed the arm getting hit. I don't like City (anyone who buys trophies I'm against), but they should have won.

I realize the IFAB changed the rule as of June 1 to read

‘It is an offence if a player gains possession/control of the ball after it has touched their hand/arm and then scores in the opponents’ goal or creates a goal-scoring opportunity.’

What I didn't realize was the word "their" doesn't only apply to the goal scorer (Jesus in this case). It inadvertently hits Laporte's arm on the way by so it's handball. However, it could have inadvertently hit a defenders arm and not be a penalty. Poor rule change imo and then add VAR of which I am not a fan on top of it and I think City got screwed. That said, I like the 2-2 draw better than 3 points for City.

steve8 posted:

I realize the IFAB changed the rule as of June 1 to read

‘It is an offence if a player gains possession/control of the ball after it has touched their hand/arm and then scores in the opponents’ goal or creates a goal-scoring opportunity.’

What I didn't realize was the word "their" doesn't only apply to the goal scorer (Jesus in this case). It inadvertently hits Laporte's arm on the way by so it's handball. However, it could have inadvertently hit a defenders arm and not be a penalty. Poor rule change imo and then add VAR of which I am not a fan on top of it and I think City got screwed. That said, I like the 2-2 draw better than 3 points for City.

Exactly - and if it worked the other way and Man C avoided a loss with a similar call, I would have been yelling bloody murder so . . . 

steve8 posted:

I realize the IFAB changed the rule as of June 1 to read

‘It is an offence if a player gains possession/control of the ball after it has touched their hand/arm and then scores in the opponents’ goal or creates a goal-scoring opportunity.’

What I didn't realize was the word "their" doesn't only apply to the goal scorer (Jesus in this case). It inadvertently hits Laporte's arm on the way by so it's handball. However, it could have inadvertently hit a defenders arm and not be a penalty. Poor rule change imo and then add VAR of which I am not a fan on top of it and I think City got screwed. That said, I like the 2-2 draw better than 3 points for City.

Far from intentional.  Should have allowed the goal.  New rule requires better definition.

Intentional handball isn't the rule anymore. Any handball is the rule. I agree that it's ridiculous. They tried to make the rule cut-and-dry, and swung the pendulum in the complete opposite direction. Watch Lloris talking to the ref during the VAR decision. Lloris just shakes his head in disbelief - and the decision went in their favour! He even said that the goal should have stood in an interview after the game.

They'll need to adjust the rule again next year.

futronic posted:

Intentional handball isn't the rule anymore. Any handball is the rule.

So am I misunderstanding what I read about the rule? There can still be unintentional for a defender. The new rule applies to the attacking team. So had the ball hit the defending players arm instead of Laporte's, the goal would have stood.

I was planning to post something this morning about your new central defender but you beat me to it Azwiese. So far it looks like £8 million for Luiz wasn't such a bad price after all...for us!

Definitely enjoyed watching ManUre lose to Palace and Rashford missing the penalty just added to the enjoyment. Knives are already out in the red side of Manchester.

As for Chelsea, I didn't see the game but glad to see Abraham and Mount played well. It may take some time, but the kids will be alright.

Speaking of kids, it's good to see most of the EPL teams giving their youth a chance so far this season. City seems to be the exception.

My pick of Chelsea to finish third is looking very optimistic. Lampard needs to find the right back four, but he doesn't have that many options. Need Rudiger back and Azpilicueta needs to find his form.

So I guess both Arsenal and ManUre have thrown in the towels on the Sanchez-Mkhitaryan swap. I like the fact the latter has to pay £215,000 of Sanchez' £390,000 weekly salary.

 

Hopefully the CL loss to Napoli yesterday will help bring Liverpool back down to earth so they don't run away with the EPL. Does Napoli have the team to win Serie A this year?

Ross Barkley took charge of that penalty kick for Chelsea yesterday brushing off Jorginho and Willian. Way to go Ross...tool. Lampard's sub of Giroud for Zouma just moments before the Valencia goal looked like a bad decision. And while quiet yesterday, Tammy Abraham leading scorer in the EPL so far. We need Kante and Rudiger back though.

Oh yeah, the sweepstakes for the first manager to get sacked is already over. Seemed harsh to me, but Watford did bounce back to draw the Gunners.

VAR IS RUINING FOOTBALL!

Every week in the EPL there are cases in which VAR is not making game better. At least two of them on the weekend, this time Spurs and Chelsea being the victims with the former being the most egregious. VAR cannot possibly determine with total certainty that Son was offside on that play, but there is no benefit to that kind of measure anyway. This isn't long-jump, shotput or javelin. Goal line technology provides the only real measure required in football. There were not even protests from either Leicester City or Liverpool players on either goal. I don't expect the EPL to drop VAR this season but let's hope the voices against get louder and it goes away next year.

That aside Chelsea's defense is a problem. I used to think Christensen had a bright future on the team, but he's not looking good this year or last for that matter. They might have to bring Ampadu back from loan in January, assuming they have that option. I did like the way the Blues played in the second half and they showed that Liverpool have weaknesses, as Napoli showed last week in the CL game.

West Ham are looking pretty good so far. Another ManU loss was satisfying. Good comeback from the Gunners with 10 men, but they have problems too.

Ha ha, ManUre lose again. Solskjaer is in big trouble. Had Watford not been so hasty in sacking Gracia I would be in excellent shape to get the first sacked manager prediction correct. Tomorrow morning?

Spurs...wtf??? Pochettino might not be far behind the exit. Shocking loss to Bayern in the CL and equally so against Brighton.

Even thought the season is young, it might be very difficult for anyone to catch Liverpool and honestly, nobody looks even close to being as good they are playing right now (in the EPL).

In Serie A today, Conte v Sarri. The former seems to be doing a good job at Inter.

steve8 posted:

Ha ha, ManUre lose again. Solskjaer is in big trouble. Had Watford not been so hasty in sacking Gracia I would be in excellent shape to get the first sacked manager prediction correct. Tomorrow morning?

Spurs...wtf??? Pochettino might not be far behind the exit. Shocking loss to Bayern in the CL and equally so against Brighton.

Even thought the season is young, it might be very difficult for anyone to catch Liverpool and honestly, nobody looks even close to being as good they are playing right now (in the EPL).

In Serie A today, Conte v Sarri. The former seems to be doing a good job at Inter.

Can't believe that ManU is a few points away from relegation Zone.   Need new coach and possible some good players.  Get Bale in from Madrid

flwino posted:

BM sucked Saturday.  BMG  at the top of the league.

The Bundesliga table is different looking from usual. Dortmund in 8th even though they've only lost one game. Wolfsburg in 2nd, undefeated and some change from the team who was almost relegated two years ago. Of course, it's still early.

steve8 posted:

Ha ha, ManUre lose again. Solskjaer is in big trouble. Had Watford not been so hasty in sacking Gracia I would be in excellent shape to get the first sacked manager prediction correct. Tomorrow morning?

Spurs...wtf??? Pochettino might not be far behind the exit. Shocking loss to Bayern in the CL and equally so against Brighton.

Even thought the season is young, it might be very difficult for anyone to catch Liverpool and honestly, nobody looks even close to being as good they are playing right now (in the EPL).

In Serie A today, Conte v Sarri. The former seems to be doing a good job at Inter.

Where to start, where to start ...

With Juve, obviously.

I was very disappointed that they threw away the game to Atletico by conceding a stoppage-time goal. An away win would have been a great start to the campaign. An easy win last week leaves them in good stead to qualify for the round of 16.

Their win against Inter in the Derby d'Italia was good and showed the guile of an experienced team. That said, I am a bit concerned about the lack of pace, especially at the back, to defend against teams like Inter. If there was a little more experience on that front, it may have caused more problems. This may pose a problem yet again in later stages of UCL.

Liverpool were lucky to pull out three points against Leicester. They aren't firing on all cylinders yet, but they've still got maximum points this season. What was more disconcerting is that the title race may already be finished and it's only October. Nuno had a great plan to handle City's deficiencies at the back, especially after only having a couple days off after their Europa League fixture. Wolves were full value for the points, and Pep must be ruing not bringing in central defenders in the close season. I know they balked at the Maguire fees, but they needed to do something, as Otamendi and Stones are failed experiments (and expensive ones at that).

flwino posted:
steve8 posted:

Ha ha, ManUre lose again. Solskjaer is in big trouble. Had Watford not been so hasty in sacking Gracia I would be in excellent shape to get the first sacked manager prediction correct. Tomorrow morning?

Spurs...wtf??? Pochettino might not be far behind the exit. Shocking loss to Bayern in the CL and equally so against Brighton.

Even thought the season is young, it might be very difficult for anyone to catch Liverpool and honestly, nobody looks even close to being as good they are playing right now (in the EPL).

In Serie A today, Conte v Sarri. The former seems to be doing a good job at Inter.

Can't believe that ManU is a few points away from relegation Zone.   Need new coach and possible some good players.  Get Bale in from Madrid

That's an absolutely terrible idea. If Woody brings in Bale, that will just continue the terrible track record of signings in recent years for exorbitant fees and even more ridiculous salaries. They sent Sanchez to Inter on loan, but are still on the hook for over half his salary (more than 400K/week, I believe). To then bring an injury-prone Bale to Old Trafford on a crazy fee of surely 100m+ and to also pay his 400K+ weekly pay packet makes no sense. Let Bale rot in Madrid. He's more than happy to spend his time at the golf course when not getting into matchday squads anyway. Real wanted to sell him in the summer after Zidane stated he wasn't in his plans, but how can they move him without Bale agreeing to a pay cut? Not a surprise that he's still at the Bernabeu. 

Ole isn't the only problem at the club. The root cause is the rot of everything that happened even before Fergie left. The focus has been on corporate revenue and turnover, not necessarily on the product on the field. Woody isn't a football person. He's an accountant. Until someone is brought in on the football side and has a budget as well as autonomy to make transfer decisions (with the input of the coach), the situation won't improve. Rumours were that Van der Sar was approached about a Director of Football position, but he's declined because he wouldn't have the power to make decisions.

Let's be perfectly honest here - what's a new manager going to do with the existing lot? Furthermore, what manager is going to want to take the job? There are rumours of Allegri coming in, should there be a vacancy, but he's not going to wave a magic wand and all of a sudden turn them into a top-four side, let alone title contenders.

And this talk of Poch going to United is ridiculous too. Regardless of the fact that Spurs are being as Spursy as they've been in years and are really up against it with Lloris' elbow injury keeping him out until at least the new year, Poch would be crazy to go to United.

First off, Levy probably won't fire him. Levy being Levy, he'll wait until the close season to have Real fire Zidane and then accept some stupid amount to release Poch from his contract. Secondly, why take a step down?

United need to get rid of Woody and completely revamp the decision-making process at the club. They need another 3-4 transfer windows to continue clearing out dead wood, and another 700m+ in transfer fees to *strategically* bring in players to build a new squad. Oh, and have fun doing that when turnover is going to decrease this year from things like their shirt sponsorship deal losing 25% of its value for being out of the top four for four consecutive years. I wouldn't be surprised to see other performance-related clauses in these sponsorship contracts.

Hell, at this rate, United will be lucky to not get relegated - that's about all I agree with in your post!

 

Ah come on Fut, don't take the fun out of it. I enjoy seeing ManU outspend every other club in the EPL and get very little for it. It would be great to see them spend that kind of money on Bale, even though part of me doesn't want to see him in a red shirt.

I wasn't aware of the sponsorship issues. That is awesome. Red devil!

I'm happy Chelsea is on a transfer ban and am enjoying the fact that Lampard is giving the young players so much opportunity. They aren't going to win the league that's for sure, but they're fun to watch, except for defensive set pieces, and the future is bright. They need to bring Ampadu back from RB Leipzig in January. He's not getting the playing time there and they need the defensive help.

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