Weekend Preview: Matchday One: The Quickening

Match Day One. Just say it to yourself. Let the words form and roll off your tongue. It feels right. It's the verbal equivalent of washing away the worries, the pain, and equally, the successes of the previous season, to replace them all with the sunny optimism and equality that comes with a new campaign. Everyone starts on equal footing on Match Day One.

Of course, that's really just a mindset. Looking ahead with our more cynical glasses on, we can't see comparing the likes of Burnley with the likes of Liverpool, or Wolves with Chelsea, can we? Equality is in the eye of the beholder.

I've been scouring the intarwebs all week, but there's been precious little actual news to comment on, be it transfers or otherwise. Instead, as is the way with the close-season (which, as of this writing, we're still in, remember), fact is replaced by rampant transfer speculation and injury news. So, while the football world has given me precious little to work with, let's look at the Premier League as it stands before MATCH DAY ONE: THE QUICKENING

Liverpool sold the player that I felt was the heart of their team last season (apologies to the Steve Gerrard fans and apologists out there) in Xabi Alonso to Real Massive Debt, for 30 million. Pounds. Rafa Benitez turned around and brought in Roma midfielder Alberto Aquilani to step into the void. Unfortunately for Rafa, even more unfortunate than his facial hair, Aquilani promptly picked up an ankle injury that will keep him out for eight weeks, leaving the Scouse faithful with little more to pin their hopes on than hatchet-man Lucas in the interim. Luckily for our favorite hubcap thieves, the Scousers Aug/Sept. schedule contains one match that looks semi-challenging from the outset, Aston Villa, and that's at Anfield. In fact, Liverpool don't face another big four team until Oct. 4th, at Chelsea, and they may even have Aquilani back then. Unfortunately for Liverpool, his eyes will still be so close together that he will lack peripheral vision.

Injuries and Arsenal seem to go together like skin and poison ivy: the more you wish it would go away, the more you seem to get. In addition to the already problematic injuries to Nasri and Tomas Rosickhamstring, which are at least compensated by relative depth at their positions, Arsene Wenger announced that the club would be without defender Johan Djourou for a month and # 2 goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski for 2 months. In addition, Theo Walcott will begin another season out injured (back). The most concerning of these, to me, is Djourou, because it means any injury to center back pairing William Gallas and Thomas Vermaelen will see *shudder* Silvestre starting in the Arsenal central defense. I can say without hyperbole that I think Martin Keown could come in off the street today and do a better job than Mikael Silvestre. Silvestre is slow, old, mistake-prone and loses focus far too easily for someone who's been a professional this long. On top of that he's a manc c*nt with a big stupid fish face. TalkSport had reported on Wed. that Arsenal would be signing Fulham's Brede Hangeland, but the player has rubbished those rumors, so we're back to square one, with little-to-no depth at central defense. Gooners, if you pray, pray for the continued health of Gallas and Vermaelen. It's a long season. Thankfully, we still have our Russian Lord and Savior.

United will be without GK Edwin Van Der Sex for about 2 months, meaning Ben Foster will take over between the sticks. Which means tragedy to United supporters and high comedy to everyone else, in equal measure.

Chelsea don't seem to have any major injuries at the moment, but it's only a matter of time before Ballack falls in the bathtub and breaks his hip. Luckily, he recently signed an endorsement deal with Life Alert, meaning if he falls and can't get up, he just has to press the button on his necklace to summon health care professionals. So it's up to the rest of us to wish reeeeeeally hard that he falls on his chest and crushes his Life Alert along with some ribs.

On an extremely uneventful transfer front, Mark Hughes won't take no for and answer on the sale of Jolean Lescott. While Hughes' behavior remains limited to the transfer market, one can't quite say the same for his players. And all of Man City's fans are going to feel like they've been raped in the face the first time Adebarndoor misses 10 easy sitters. And each subsequent time. And fair play to David Moyes for telling City to fuck off. Lescott's his player, Everton are much closer to breaking the strangelhold on the top 4 than City are, and he's not obligated to sell a player with a contract. And if he does, I hope Everton bleeds them dry.

Speaking of Manchester City, Fuck Manchester City.

Congratulations to Hammers fans, who will be happy to know that Radoslav Kovac has signed a permanent deal. While I don't see this making as much of an impact as the rumored transfers of Luca Toni and Eidur Gudjohnsen, he's an experienced international in their midfield, so keeping him around can only help.

Pompey have signed retired Arsenal forward Kanu to a one month contract. The state of attacking options at Portsmouth must be in dire straits if they're pulling a Rent-A-Center deal for a retired forward... He's not retired? Really? Are you sure, because he's like 47. Whatever, I guess if Romario can announce that his old wrinkly balls are making a comeback, anything's possible.

Finally, David Rat-Faced-Chav Bentley has apologized for a drunk-driving incident in which he wrapped his car around a lamp-post. Bentley says this has been "a wake-up call" for him. I'd like to think if I woke up to discover that I was a rat-faced c*nt who played football for the eleven sisters from the Seven Sisters Road, I'd be exploring the bottom of the Thames in concrete Nikes. My good friend Andrew Bennett said it best: "He couldn't even do it properly and kill himself." This is your year, Sp*rs fans!

Well I don't know about you, but I can't wait to get up nice and early and get my drink on in celebration of MATCH DAY ONE: THE QUICKENING. It's a new day, for whatever team you support. Except spuds, you lot are still going tits up.

Until next time, you stay classy, Gooner nation…

-B, a Gooner.