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And, breathe again. After a lingering summer of cold turkey sweats and chills, of August dog days spent slurping down another spoonful of transfer window gruel, relief is at hand. As of Friday night the Premier League is back, strutting in through the double doors, twirling its malacca cane, tipping its purple fedora and doling out another hit of the most colourfully framed footballing drama on earth.
Even in a league where every season is more pantingly hyperbolic than the last, this feels like a significant point for English football’s great project. Most obviously it is an anniversary year. Bryce Harper #34 Womens Jersey Next weekend marks a quarter of a century since the first Premier League season in 1992, when the talk was of ever-escalating modernity, of self-imposed hock to the broadcasters, and of wildly inflated transfer fees for young English talent following Alan Shearer’s sensational £3.6m move to Blackburn Rovers, an amazing £0.7m uplift on Dean Saunders’ switch to Liverpool the year before.
Plus ça change, plus, well, here we are all over again. As ever the world’s most excitable league arrives in a blur of sound and light. And as ever in the Premier League the superlatives tend to centre on excess as much as excellence, a version of football where the most notable qualities are not teams built and talent nurtured but pounds spent, billions dispersed, sacks of cash hurled to the winds.
This is the other point of note for the new season. That combined £10.4bn TV rights deal has made its presence decisively felt this summer, allowing a league that was already drowning in money to become even more sozzled on its own profligacy.
Unease at Neymar’s absurdly excessive, state-backed £200m move to Paris Saint-Germain is justified on many levels but closer to home the Premier League, funded by our own aggressively fleeced commercial loyalty, is already approaching £1bn spent with three weeks of the window to run. Pep Guardiola has spent £400m on players in two years. Manchester United could have probably bought Neymar themselves at that price, arguably a superior all-round investment to a similar sum splurged on Paul Pogba, Pogba’s agent and bustling former Everton goal-hulk Romelu Lukaku.
And so it goes on. Bogged down in this kind of talk, the challenge for the new season is above all to change the conversion, to raise its game in other ways.
For all the attendant excitement it is hard to avoid the feeling of stasis in the Premier League. This is a place of interlocking but still discrete parts. Before a ball has been kicked the top six are already quite easy to call, [url=]Andrew Adams Authentic Jersey[/url] with Everton the most likely insurgents should one or two cards fall their way. Beyond this the usual sub-peloton of mid-rankers will grind their way through to 40 points. Further down it isn’t hard to identify the contenders for the usual divvying up at the bottom.
This still represents a decent level of sporting uncertainty at a time of stratification everywhere else but for a league that trumpets its competitive edge, the no-filler excellence of its product, there are still some areas that could do with improvement.
First up on the to-do list is an actual title race. Remember those? [url=][/url] Only once in the last five seasons has there been anything resembling a genuine sprint to the line. Leicester City’s giddy ride was a wonderful thing to witness but it wasn’t exactly close by the end.
This time around there is reason to hope for something more, if only because once again nobody really looks equipped to run away with it. Manchester City have the most captivating group of attacking players and a manager whose era-defining obsession with style and glory is for once perhaps going a little under the radar. This is still a club in progress though, with pretty much an entire midweek Carabao Cup team exiting over the summer. Much hangs on the ability of Ederson, Kyle Walker and the hugely talented Benjamin Mendy to add some instant ballast to a zany backline.


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