I have recently become fascinated by the talk that Liverpool are now a failed system from the loss of one player—albeit a very key player—but a player who is going to be replaced soon and with a manager who made magic things happen after only one season with a new group.
Now I know that Sir Alex is basically the king of English football right now, and how could he not be?—He has dominated in almost every facet since the 90's and could possibly be charging for a fourth straight title in the Premiership this year.
However, as most of you will recall, Manchester and Arsenal have also lost some key players this year (and Chelsea is trying yet another new coach on for size).
No one doubts Alonso's role in Liverpool, and he will be sorely missed but aren't we forgetting the losses to almost the entire big four that have occurred so far?
Firstly, Manchester United lost a player that most people had placed their future hopes and dreams on with the departure of CR7. Didn't we all see what happened in the Champion's League final when Ronaldo started to falter and fade into the background? Barcelona began to dominate and the scoring opportunities that C. Ronaldo forced in the first moments of the game disappeared.
Who will bring the heat now? Rooney and Owen? Rooney has proven himself, and could fill in for C. Ronaldo's loss almost by himself, but CR7 isn't the only hole that Man U must now fill: They also lost Tevez.
Now, most fans that I have come into contact with feel that Tevez needed to go, that he was just a mercenary who had a few decent games.
I hate to be the (red) devil's advocate here but if you all recall how close the Pool was to sneaking up on the Red Devils, during a game against Tottenham late in the season, Tevez came on off the bench to almost single handily bringing them from 2-0 down to a 5-2 victory in the second half.
Personally, for me, no Tevez meant no title last season.
Also worth noting is that CR7 and Tevez were two of the top three scorers for Man U last season. Can a very injury prone Owen fill the void they left? Time will tell.
It is also possible that the wily Scotsman Ferguson is trying to pull Benitez into another bout of mind games, and we all saw who won that battle last year.
Sir Alex recently came out and said that Liverpool basically got lucky last year and won't be a threat to the Red Devils this year, citing that Ancelotti's Blues will be his biggest competition.
Hopefully Benitez doesn't lock horns with the Man U boss this year and focuses on winning some trophies.
Which brings me to my next point, Chelsea.
Now, I know that everyone is tired of the talk about Chelsea's new coach and all of the Chelsea faithful are ready for the season to come and prove everyone wrong. With an experienced winner like Ancelotti at the helm, that is very possible...but I must say that this article is to show that every top 4 team has major holes in their campaign this season, not just Liverpool (which seems to be everyone's current thoughts right now as I read comments and articles).
Ancelotti is a proven winner, with two European Cups and almost a third snatched while he was with Milan. However, he is guilty until proven innocent at Stamford Bridge this season because every single one of us has seen coaches come and go there and nearly all of them have left the Chelsea faithful with a bad taste in their mouths.
Can he become the next "special one?"—He has the credentials to say that he can, but until he proves himself, I believe that he is as big a question mark for Chelsea as Alonso's departure is for Liverpool.
Lastly, and with the fear of making all of the Arsenal fans strike out at me for treading on very sore issues, I have to turn to Arsene Wenger's side. As they have heard time and time again since Man City began pulling pieces out of the Arsenal puzzle, will they be able to compete without their losses?
With Arsene Wenger, I believe they can, but, all of these thoughts that Liverpool has been undone with Xabi's departure are easily turned towards the Emirates and their losses.
Perhaps the only team to actually have talent waiting in the wings to replace Adebayor and Toure out of the big 4, since the rest have had to search and buy from elsewhere to fix their problems, Arsenal have had the most time to regroup and prepare for the upcoming season.
Will it be enough?—Only if they can remain healthy, and only then will they succeed.
I would now turn to Liverpool, but the mass of current articles across the web have already trod that subject far too much so I will end with a few closing thoughts: If you want to see Liverpool's problems for the season just go look at the current big articles.
With so many question marks in the big four this season, do I see someone cracking into the top four?
I don't think so, these teams, even with their problems, still seem to be superior to the rest of their competition...but this is definitely a year that anything could happen.
I don't think anyone has a lock on anything they won previously, so this could be one of the most exciting seasons any of us have ever seen. Here's to the 09/10 season, may it be even more exciting than the transfer season has.