HERE WE ARE AGAIN!
It’s back! The best series in the world calling itself the best series in the world returns to our orbit on Friday night, and The Fiver is ready. We’ve assembled the essentials – a tin hat, Tin – and we’re going to indulge in the sheer pleasure of George Clarke’s Remarkable Renovations on 4Seven so we can watch Crystal Palace v Arsenal. Arsenal have undergone a significant overhaul – pick that segue. According to our chirpy and sometimes observant nephew #5r, they have already won the preseason. We think he is referring to the market purchases of Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko, although he also swears by Fábio Vieira’s FIFA ratings.
Arsenal are top of the Premier League form table, or they would be if Bournemouth didn’t insist on calling themselves AFC Bournemouth. Arsenal won six of their seven pre-season games, scoring 26 goals in the process – strong evidence that The Fiver has lost the plot and now appears to be using friendly results as a guide on what will happen when the real thing begins. But this is relaxing times at the Emirates, even by traditional opening weekend standards, and we wouldn’t be doing our [email protected] job credibly if we didn’t admit as much. Arsenal have the most exciting young squad in the league, with just two players over the age of 25 in their likely Palace XI. No wonder his fans are trying to dream that, if all goes as planned, this could finally be the year. reach the promised land in the fourth place.
Their coach, Amazon Video sensation Mikel Arteta, shares the optimism. “We’re ready to go to a different level,” he said, revealing plans for Werner Herzog to direct season two of All or Nothing. “[Breaking into the top four] that it will not be easier, so we can focus on what we want to do, what we can do, because we cannot do everything at the same time, and we are confident that we will be able to do it. it,” he continued, as a confused Fiver searched for “Arteta” on Google Translate.
This season is Arteta’s best chance to disprove the perception that he is a top coach trapped in David Brent’s body. He is clearly excited about the signing of Jesus and Zinchenko from Manchester City, a rare example of a team selling to their feeder club. “They’ve been inspired by great players, great professionals, ruthless winners for years … and now it’s their turn to do the same. We want them to inspire our younger players … and show them what it takes to win, and the level of detail, hunger and commitment you need to keep going.”
Never mind winning – one of Arsenal’s challenges is starting to draw. Last year they lost 13 league games, more than the most absurd Manchester United team in decades. One of those was against Palace, a 3-0 shellacking in April that undermined their confidence. Friday night is Arsenal’s chance to show that, now that they’ve got Jesus, they’re a different proposition.
LIVE ON A BIG WEBSITE
Join Rob Smyth at 8pm BST for minute-by-minute live updates of Crystal Palace 3-3 Arsenal. Yes, we are hopeful.
SPOT THE DIFFERENCE
August 3: “Contrary to inaccurate reports from many media outlets this afternoon, no agreement has been reached with any club to sell Marc Cucurella” – Brighton issued a statement claiming no agreement had been reached with Chelsea for the left-back.
August 5: “Following reports from numerous media outlets this week, we can confirm that an agreement has been reached with Brighton and Hove Albion for the signing of Marc Cucurella” – if this tweet is confirming a £62m deal for Cucurella , perhaps the tone of great mockery will define the Chelsea era of Todd Boehly.
“Surely PSG would be the perfect club for Cristiano Ronaldo at this point? A club that allows him to leave work early every year, after they usually return to the league in April and often end their campaign in the Big Cup even earlier. A club that represents the city of the Sun King; and a club where the stars are stars and where coaches are selective. Cheers!” – Justin Kavanagh.
“I know this doesn’t fit the story of The Fiver, but I have to challenge Ed Taylor to win letter of the day by suggesting without a doubt that the Premiership hasn’t attracted new fans. I think Sky Sports is giving teams £5bn to provide TV coverage to the same people who were watching Division One in 1992” – Graham Haslam.
“Big Website’s analysis of the teams’ chances in the Premier League this season was interesting, but wordy. The season can be boring, but in a nutshell, as follows: Manchester City – winners; Liverpool – almost winners; Manchester Utd – underachievers; Arsenal – Arsenal; Spurs – Spursy; Chelsea – Major Cup focused; Last season’s run too – aiming to be this season’s run too; New boys – hopefully they won’t be next season’s boys. A bit obvious, but at least this season we will have a break and the best players are sweating buckets in a warm place” – John Lawton.
Send your letters to [email protected] And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s lucky letter winner is … John Lawton.
NEWS, YEAST AND BOBS
Martin Tyler has apologized after appearing to link the Hillsborough disaster to hooliganism. The Sky Sports commentator, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today program about 30 years of the Premier League, referred to “Hillsborough and other hooligan issues”. He later apologized and said: “There is absolutely no connection between the Hillsborough disaster and hooliganism – I know that, and I wasn’t implying that there was.”
Nottingham Forest have been charged by the FA for an unsuccessful pitch invasion at the end of their play-off semi-final against Sheffield United in May.
Eddie Howe has shown he can multi-task by plying his name for a long-term deal for Newcastle while warning fans that FFP will restrict the club’s spending. “We don’t have the free rein, the free hand, that the media might suggest,” he said, scrawling furiously.
Pep Guardiola has admitted that Bernardo Silva could be on his way through the door of the Etihad marked Make One. “If he stays it’s perfect and in the end if he has to leave because football is like this; the player has a desire,” he said.
Maxwel Cornet is set to swap the claret and blue of Burnley for the claret and blue of West Ham, who have hit the striker’s £17.5m release clause.
And Bournemouth have snapped up goalkeeper Neto from Barcelona.
STILL ABOUT MORE?
The Premier League is back – and so are our 10 things to watch out for the blog, baby!
There is a risk that the power of the Premier League will be reduced by another season of flux, Barney Ronay. While David Hills looks at the new (and sometimes strange) things coming down the road in the upcoming top-flight season.
Aston Villa’s Leon Bailey chats with Ben Fisher about his crushes on Usain Bolt and Raheem Sterling, his youth in Jamaica and working under Steven Gerrard.
Our final two Premier League pre-season previews, before it stops being pre-season, feature Jacob Steinberg on West Ham and John Brewin running the rule over Wolves.
David Hytner on Tottenham, Djed Spence and what the youngster’s acquisition tells us about Antonio Conte’s ambitions.
Eric Devin on the interesting things to watch out for among the 19 other non-Qatari-owned clubs in Ligue Urrrrrrn this term.
And if it’s your thing… you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!