We are only a week or so before the 2016/16 fantasy football games open their doors. Meanwhile the transfer window is fully open and despite many of the big moves of the summer being ahead of us, there have been some interesting moves already.
Nathaniel Clyne to Liverpool
There has been plenty of debate on this transfer. A particular Liverpool fan was quick to point out that while at Southampton Clyne had two big minders in Morgan Schneiderlin and Victor Wanyama covering for him during his bombing runs. The theory is Pool lack the defensive midfield protection to cover him and that would mean his defensive skills would be under much more of a test at Liverpool. Pool play very attacking football whilst the Saints are a classic counter attacking side also adding to Clynes upcoming defensive duties.
Positionally the signing should see the end of Brendan Rodgers tinkering with defensive systems. You would think he now will go back to a back traditional back 4 and a certain Mr Can must be happy about that.
For me Clyne has been an impressive full back and is full of potential. His predecessor Glen Johnson has looked shot for a couple of years and Clyne looks a similar player ready to step into his shoes. With Liverpools very tough opening schedule Clyne may have a steep learning curve playing for one of the big boys. For the first time in his career he faces the pressure of the expectation. We saw with Luke Shaw at Manchester United how tough it is to step up under that focus. I'm thinking both could become star full backs but both moved at times their new clubs are underperforming. Lots for a young player to deal with.
From a fantasy view he should enjoy more time in the attacking 3rd and he has a goal in him. I see Clyne as a stronger option than Johnson and I think it's a decent signing for Liverpool.
Mikel Arteta signs a new contract
In a sign be taken that Arsene Wenger will challenge for the title with what he has, Arteta has signed a new deal.
My Gunners mate is adamant he wants to stick to last seasons squad and unusually for a modern day fan doesn't actually want any new names to unsettle the squad. Pretty sure if I offered him Arturo Vidal that it may be different but it's an interesting opinion.
I however need convincing on Francis Coquelin. He was excellent in the second half of last season after being on loan at Charlton FC. As it stands that is one of the greatest turnarounds in EPL history. Maybe the penny has dropped, maybe he has suddenly developed. Arsene more than any other manager has great faith in his players but It just seems a gamble to me not to add to this area or look to improve it. Arsenals system of play leaves the CB exposed at times and a world class defensive midfield player could be the difference between challenging and winning the league.
Even if I'm wrong and the player maintains the standards he cannot play all the season. Winning the league takes some doing and it is a big jump for Arsenal. As it stands they are my pick to challenge Chelsea. Settled squad, no known egos in the squad and wonderful attacking options. A world Class keeper added they just look one player short to me.
Am I right or wrong?
Radamel Falcao to Chelsea
Jose Mourinho is a master of the mind games. Whether you love or hate him you have to admit he just doesn't miss a trick.
Perhaps Man Utd can challenge for the title but their manager couldn't get the best out of one of the best forwards from the last 5 years in Falcao. Jose is betting he can.
Many think due to his severe injury Falcao's best days are gone. He made little impact at Utd and the Copa America just past. At utd last season he seemed to me to have his confidence shot away. His first touch and hold up play was awful and he snatched at most of the chances he did get meaning often he was then subbed early. Worse for a forward the manager just never gave him a run of games, something a forward any forward has to have. At that's the problem at Chelsea. Unless Diego Costa has a long term injury or those yellow cards turn red, when will he get run of games?
I still think it is a decent roll of the dice by Chelsea. He won't be their lead forward, something he may have thought he would be at Old Trafford. But I do think his supply of chances will be greater in 2015/16 at Chelsea than he received in 2014/15 at Utd.
It has been pointed out that Jose failed to get the best out of Fernando Torres and Andriy Shevchenko and that is true. Why is it then as a Utd fan I hope he isn't in the match day squad when we face Chelsea!