The Premier League is back! Finally! And, if we’re honest, we expected a little bit more.
We know that we’re being ungrateful, but after all of this waiting, the preseason buildups, the transfer sagas that make The Lord Of The Rings trilogy look like an unfinished short story and seemingly everyone having a ticket on the managerial merry-go-round, we wanted bigger things from the first day.
Yes, of course, we couldn’t bank on Aston Villa beating Arsenal (mainly because the bank is currently full of Arsenal’s unspent millions). And with Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez not playing and Wayne Rooney only coming on as a substitute, each of their own transfer epics still look to play out for their full scheduled duration of eternity.
Considering how much excitement we invested into the start of the season, we feel a little shortchanged by the EPL opening weekend. So we’re outlining what have been the seven biggest letdowns of Week 1 of the 2013-14 season.
With all of this talk of who Arsenal haven’t signed, their one solitary new boy didn’t even make an appearance for Aston Villa’s cakewalk to three points on Saturday.
With Arsenal fans yelling “Spend! Spend! Spend” like they’re trying to shift their shares in a chemical company before it announces it tests its poisons on puppies, we wanted to see the player we have heard so much* about, who took a whopping chunk of zero out of Arsenal’s reported £70 million war chest.
With talks of Wayne Rooney, Luis Suarez and Gonzalo Higuain all coming into Arsenal over the summer Sanogo must be delighted that he still can’t make the first team even though none of them have actually signed.
Without doubt, one of the greatest acts of a football club trolling its own fans in recorded history was this summer’s decision by Assem Allam to rename The Artists Formerly Known As Hull City AFC to “Hull City Tigers” locally or “Hull Tigers” nationally.
Allam said, “It is about identity. City is a lousy identity. Hull City Association Football Club is so long.” However, despite those claims, everyone seems to keep on calling Hull Tigers, “Hull City."
More people should have referred to them as “Hull Tigers,” and if someone had said “Hull City” by accident, everyone should have sincerely scrunched up their eyebrows and asked “Who?”
This isn’t like P. Diddy, who changes his name every week; this is the first (and, considering they have hit the nail on the head with the “Hull Tigers” rebrand, only) time Stevie Bruce’s endangered army have attempted a new moniker, and we should all take it seriously and embrace it fully.
If Brian at work decides to start coming in wearing a dress, wig and high heels and wants to be called “Alice”, you wouldn’t keep calling her Brian, would you? Even if she does keep forgetting to shave and is 6’8”.
Get with the times, Premier League. Hull City didn’t lose comfortably to Chelsea. Hull Tigers did.
For all of this talk of the winds of change bellowing through the halls of Old Trafford like the howls of a dying hound and the talk of Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement marking the end of Manchester United’s domination of the English game, they were sadly clinical and efficient.
Manchester United took a strong-looking Swansea City side to pieces without ever really stepping out of second gear in a performance that was akin to, well, Sir Alex Ferguson era Manchester United.
They were ruthless in front of goal, they put four past the Swans, and even their want-away fake-haired striker Wayne Rooney came on and put in a good shift.
We were geared up for a complete, Britney Spears-off-the-wagon style, Manchester United meltdown. We’re talking Swansea up 4-0 by halftime, Sir Alex Ferguson having to take over during the break while David Moyes just sat in the stands to “think about what he’s done,” and United then declaring they would refuse to sell Rooney to Arsenal as they “expect both sides will be competing for 12th place.”
But, disappointingly, United were good. Really good. The spoilsports.
When newly promoted Cardiff City announced the huge coup of securing Sevilla’s Gary Medel, we were all very excited, not just because a quality player has moved to the Premier League, but because Medel promises to be real entertainment value, entertainment value of Luis Suarez proportions.
With Joey Barton in the championship, Mario Balotelli back in Italy and Roy Keane still retired and glaring at Gareth Southgate with unadulterated hate in his eyes, the Premier League was lacking a headline-grabbing, unpredictable, turbo git.
Then Cardiff splashed the cash on the man who earned himself the nickname the “Pitbull of Seville” (“Pitbull of Cardiff” doesn’t have the same ring to it) for his hardman antics in La Liga. So we were expecting fireworks (literally fireworks, we’ve been spoiled by Balotelli) for his debut against West Ham United on Saturday. But, it passed without event.
Not even a yellow card. Nothing.
Cardiff should want their money back.
With Sam Allardyce’s West Ham United signing two of Liverpool’s big-money British flops in Andy Carroll (who signed with Liverpool in January 2011 for £35 million) and Stewart Downing (who signed with Liverpool in June 2011 for £20 million) we can only assume that back when Kenny Dalglish was spending all of that money for relatively little reward in 2011, Big Sam must have sat at home thinking, “This jammy sod is making all the right moves.”
So keen does Allardyce seem to replicate Dalglish’s golden age of underachieving that we assumed that West Ham would come out in the Liverpool’s 2011 kit.
Either that or a PR disaster—one of similar proportions to the accusations of racism against Luis Suarez—is around the corner for Allardyce and Co.
Or worse, West Ham could sign Jordan Henderson.
Come on, be honest, we were all hoping that Hull Tigers would get a result at Chelsea. Or at least take an early lead.
We had all composed a tweet simply saying “#MourinhoOut,” and we had it ready to send.
We had all tried registering the domain name “HasJoseBeenSackedYet.com”.
We had all made up a parody press release announcing that until Mourinho’s replacement could be found, Rafa Benitez would step in as Chelsea's “interim manager."
But we didn’t get that pleasure. Chelsea scored early and never looked like losing (albeit, they didn’t do anything to really terrify the two Manchester sides or the two other London sides most likely to mount a title challenge, Spurs and West Ham), so we didn’t get to make any “The Special Gone” jokes, as Jose Mourinho had a pretty comfortable start to his second spell at Stamford Bridge.
Albeit, he couldn’t get Fernando Torres on the scoresheet. He’s The Special One, not The Chosen One.
After an absolute masterclass during the preseason on how to appear in the media to be as mad as a tumble dryer full of rats, we had high, high expectations for Joe Kinnear in Monday’s Manchester City vs. Newcastle United game.
After spending the summer insulting Newcastle fans, getting his players’ names wrong, undermining Alan Pardew and Graham Carr and lying about his own achievements despite football being a sport with a very well-documented history, we were hoping Kinnear, whose official role at St. James’ Park is “Director of Football and Agent of Chaos," would ruffle some feathers during his side’s 4-0 mauling by Manchester City.
We were hoping for either:
a) Kinnear leading the Newcastle team out, complete with captain’s armband.
b) Kinnear making substitutions from the executive seats, his first change being Pardew off, Kinnear on.
c) Kinnear reading out the Newcastle United team sheet over the Etihad’s public address system, not getting a single player’s name right and announcing that “the team’s manager for this evening” is Joe Kinnear, except he pronounces his own name wrong.
d) All of the above.
e) All of the above and a Newcastle United fan punches another horse.
What were your biggest disappointments from the opening day of the season? Tell us in the comments below.