Four things to watch out for following the International break in the EPL
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 22:10
One of the most irritating things about international soccer is that it breaks the rhythm of league soccer just when it starts to get interesting. Add to that the host of injuries that players come with after the matches, and it is just a buzz kill.
“What the national coaches are doing is like taking the car from his garage without even asking permission. They will then use the car for ten days and abandon it in a field without any petrol left in the tank. We then have to recover it, but it is broken down. Then a month later they will come to take your car again, and for good measure you're expected to be nice about it.” – Arsene Wenger, Coach – Arsenal FC
Everyone likes a nice build up. So let me build up to some mouth-watering clashes, old reunions, local rivalries and return from injuries when the league starts.
1. AVB vs. Chelsea – after being unceremoniously thrown out of Chelsea by the owner, AVB will have a point to prove when the league leaders visit Andre Villas Boas’ Tottenham. Tottenham are in form after defeating Manchester United at Old Trafford (will be remembered by AVB’s I-just-won-the-league celebration). It will be interesting to see how Chelsea manages to keep up with the Spurs’ wingers. Chelsea has shown a particular weakness handling wing play and you can expect Gareth Bale to run like Forrest Gump against them.
2. The Tyne-Wear derby - this is the only game in the Premier League that sees rowdy crowds. (Though this is nothing compared to the 12th Man ;)). Although one can’t expect a goal fest, this certainly has all the makings of a humdinger.
3. The Weekly London Derby – London is the capital of England and it is definitely making its presence felt with the sheer number of London derbies that we are watching. Although Arsenal and Chelsea are the top two teams, you can expect Tottenham and Fulham (if Berbatov remains injury-free) to challenge their stronghold on the capital.
4. The return of Jack Wilshere – touted to be England’s next big thing, and why not? At the age of 18, with a stunning first full season in the Premier league for Arsenal, he caught the world by storm. Then like all Arsenal young stars, he fell into the injury trap and was out for the entire season. His never-say-die Arsenal spirit, the ease with which he integrates the attack and defense, his ability to stretch the pitch both vertically and horizontally, and his ball-winning ability, and all of this at the age of 20. Arsenal is just starting to show form and with Wilshere’s return, we may see Arsenal being able to challenge for the title. Just imagine an Arsenal midfield with Wilshere, Diaby, Arteta and Santi Cazorla, all fully fit. I just got Goosebumps writing this.
I must also add that the international fixtures are not all that bad as they are made out to be. A new look France is set to take on the World Champions, Spain on Tuesday. That is a mouthwatering clash by any standards. After all, representing your country must be the goal of every footballer.