Premier League began in August before taking a six-week break to allow us all to enjoy the first-ever winter World Cup. Now we’re back on Boxing Day. It seems like a good moment to provide a quick refresher for readers like this column, who may have been so preoccupied with developments in Doha that they’ve been paying minimal attention to what’s happening closer to home. Consider it born out of our amazement upon discovering that Liverpool winger Luis Díaz could be out. With the recurrence of a knee injury that manager Jürgen Klopp has described as a “real bash in the face”. Or, presumably, the knee.
Premier League Returns!
The news that Julian Ward, the club’s sports director, will leave the organization at the end of the current campaign. Barely one year after accepting the position, has also alarmed Liverpool. The announcement comes as the club’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, consider selling their cash cow. It is more of a kick in the nuts than a smash in the face. Even though we claim it’s mid-season, all 20 clubs have only played up to 15 games, so it’s not. Even though no one, least of all their supporters, seems willing even remotely to contemplate the idea that Arsenal might win the league, they still hold the implausible league leadership.
The incumbent champions of Pep Guardiola remain overwhelming favourites to win the championship. Despite their lofty position and a five-point lead over Manchester City. Newcastle, who are only two points behind them in third place, appears to be a less absurd bet to “do a Leicester” at absurdly generous odds. Erling Haaland, a Manchester City striker, has been connected to the mains for six weeks and is completely recharged. Nevertheless, Gabriel Jesus, a diligent but somewhat less effective Arsenal striker, has been sidelined for three months.
Everything changed at Bournemouth after the Premier League approved Bill Foley’s long-awaited acquisition of the club. Foley is an old billionaire from Las Vegas. Despite rumours that Marcelo Bielsa was in talks to take over as manager, the American’s first order of business was to make Gary O’Neil’s post as caretaker manager permanent. Since Foley’s acquisition, more than half of the Premier League’s clubs have minority or majority American shareholders. Some of whom continue to enjoy low support from the general public, some of whom would prefer new sugar daddies from the Middle East.