You just have to wonder what the point is – you take two weeks off proper football for several matches that do not even look like a poor imitation of the game. The games lacked genuine excitement.
This weekend, we welcome back the English Premier League, in all its glory and spectacle. And there is a lot to look forward out. Before the break, several players arrived at different English clubs and this is the first glance we will have a glimpse of them.
That starts with the early kick-off between Manchester United and Crystal Palace at Old Trafford. David Moyes has so far pretended that a certain Shinji Kagawa is not a United player and spent the past three months shopping for an attacking midfielder. After failing in his quest, he turned to his former player Marouane Fellaini at the very last minute. The languid Belgian doesn’t exactly offer the creativity the Red Devils lacked, as they succumbed to a more purpose Liverpool side the last time, but Tom Cleverly can expect to lose his place. Kagawa scored for Japan against Ghana and all eyes will be on the team sheet, especially with Wayne Rooney still out. Whatever the first 11, a victory for the home team is expected.
In the 3pm kick-offs – and they are a lot of them – Mesut Ozil is expected to illuminate the Stadium of Light. The German playmaker also arrived on deadline day from Real Madrid, to trophy-winning jubilations from Gooners all over and injury picked up by Tomas Rosicky, leaves room for him to start, as the Gunners hope to continue their decent run over Paolo Di Canio’s out-of-sorts side.
Their North London rivals Spurs, will be aiming to put the derby defeat behind them as they host Norwich City. Fulham will take on West Brom Albion at Craven Cottage, while Cardiff City travel to Hull City. Manuel Pellegrini will be eyeing all three points as they visit Stoke City.
In Saturday’s late kick-off, Everton will host Chelsea. Martinez has not won any league game since he took over at Goodison Park, while Mourinho will be looking to keep up with Liverpool. Southampton will welcome West Ham on Sunday in the only game of the day, before the ‘Brendan Rodgers’ derby’ on Monday, which will see the away side intent on keeping their 100% record.