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Pauly's Premiership Preview!

Eton Blue at the Chelsea Megastore

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Well here it is again friends, an exciting build up to the premiership with 3 or 4 new rich clubs, copious transfers, and some big managers moving about.

Has this off-season seen the top 3 move closer together (liverpool/man utd/chelsea) and the race for 4th become a real battle between 5 great clubs and great managers? I think so, and those managers are martin jol's high pressing tottenham, harry redknapp & sven goran eriksson's finely built squads, sam allardyce bringing logic and rational signing to newcastle (despite smith taking his striker tally up to 6) and of course arsene wenger, all launching a proud attack on 4th place.

The off-season has been dominated by squads, the building of squads- (well, everywhere except chelsea where chaos appears to be the order!) and so it should be. At Newcastle, Man City, Manchester United all the precautions are being put into place for rounded squads that injuries can't hurt and that are flexible and ready for the rigors of a premiership season. A football squad is a lot like a meeting time- you set it up before you go, there's no pressure on you (unless you believe ferguson/curbishly stories about having no money), you get to pick the time or the players at your leisure, and if you can't make it then you're a f**king retard and you shouldn't look for sympathy when you show up any more than 8 and a half minutes late to an empty parking lot, or when you end up with 2 centerbacks and a silly confounded arm shaking look about you.

yes. my premiership preview is more hate-filled more bitter more jaded this season.

People will say man utd have pulled further away but I disagree with that. Mainly on the grounds of the word "further". Apart from our wonderful 2 center back 2 striker 442 needless formation change season, i don't think they had a better side than us before the year began, and i don't think anybody could have predicted what cristiano ronaldo did- so I will say, now, with the signings of Hargreaves, Nani, Anderson, Tevez, they have a squad that doesn't need the luck, the "no serious injuries" ferguson is always talking about, or the freakshow out of reasonable expectation performance of one player to do what they did last year again. I think the proof of that comes from the champions league where they were eventually found out, as admitted by ferguson, for their squad size, tiredness and options. Liverpool i think have moved forward slightly again- moreso with the return of Kewell and the maturing of Kuyt who i think is a superb player and Agger, and the farewell of Zenden! They needed no more of a squad and have therefore gone for a big first 11 signing in Torres, who i know nothing about, but i think it's a move in the right direction- I expect Kuyt to be their principal striker however.

As for Chelsea.. I'm searching in vain for any idea, any pattern or plan that there is in Mourinho's transfer system- the only one i can find is that he seems to pick up players he wants with a one year delay, and then, as if in a paradigm of some kind, change system once he has done it. Whether it's signing strikers and playing one up front, then wingers and no strikers for a switch to 442 diamond, and now that 8 central midfielders are in it looks like we will play with 2 and a flat 442.

I am searching in vain for an hint of where JM got this idea to play a 442 with wingers? Where did it come from? Does he pick his formations from a giant hat?


Give me back my formations... Mr. Ginsberg

I guess it's possible that he is just less methodical/structured than other managers in general and just wants a big squad and isn't really worried about 2 for each position or upset players and all that. At least he has dealt with the problem at center back and signed more than 2 strikers if we do intend to play 2 up front, but if you ask me, within 5 weeks of the start of the season we will be playing that defensive 433, deep midfield, and the problem will show its head once more with 4 strikers and one place.

My view on Mourinho and Chelsea is one of smiling frustration leading to exasperation building up to a laugh and then watching on to see this manegerial trainwreck continue and all my theories about how JM is a man that manages other people's squads to perfection in 2 years but when he makes them his own his lack of any real idea of what he's doing in making an attacking team comes through. I think many should thank jebus for what our coaches have done with Drogba. I don't doubt for a minute that JM will get us into the CL quarter/semi final and a premiership chance, but what happens from there is a lottery/game of attrition with his style of football.

I would in fact say that there has never been a time for chelsea where JM has intentionally played a system properly- with a balance between attack and defence and/or succeeding in any other way than his very own style of attrition and 1-0 gallas inspired, lucky, wins. Football is a tricky game, and you win however you can, but in the end strengths and weaknesses, be they in squads, managers, fixture lists or anywhere else, will come out. That's why it's a great game.

I think of a 442 diamond that doesn't use either its main strengths- that rather than imposing itself tactically on the game and using the fact that it can support a trequartista in the middle (this is in fact it's principal point), he seems to just want to make this wall, always, with his 3 midfielders in front of the defense and so we finish with:



or the 433 once it finished with its initial glorious beginning as a formation that pushes high up the pitch and uses these triangles to press the opposition, it too became a formation where the midfielders drop 40 meters from the strikers and play this horrible defensive line in the midfield leavng shevchenko useless and isolated.

and... if he had an idea about these formations- then i'm curious to see how he plays one he has no idea about and has probably never used- this 442.

So there are my predictions for us: a failed 442, a return to a deep 433/451, and shevchenko continued to be wasted with joe cole/lamps a million miles from him, whether andrei is on the pitch or not.

Other notable obviousnesses:

Arsenal demise- no chance they will challenge for the title despite the brilliant van persie- they have 17 outfield players and several of them are 18 or less. A lot depends on rosicky.

everton unable to challenge tottenham/newcastle/portsmouth/arsenal for 4th.

West ham look like they will find themselves challenging for the last uefa/intertoto place probably with that group of everton/blackburn. and Bolton look like the big losers this season.






Tottenham -> all within a few points of eachother

Arsenal /


Inter to do nothing, Rijkaard to pray for an eto'o injury so he can fit those 4 into his team, liverpool to do very well in the CL with benitez's one game tactics and Loz to have another child.

yours faithfully,


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yes, well, newcastle in fourth is too optimistic.

an interesting alternative to the bpl would be a race to see if csr members could "out-adopt" loz- basically a race to see who has gained the most children in one year. loz is working on quintuplets who he plans to tour the country with, possibly with a camel in tow.

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perhaps- there are a couple of assumptions because of the time. I assume newcastle will sign quality centerbacks and also that ferguson will play a 442, if either of those fail to happen things would be a lot different imo

It's clear newcastle/tottenham have weaknesses in central defense while arsenal don't- but 17 players is not enough especially considering it's a fairly lightweigh squad of technical players that people just love to tackle!

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It shall be a travelling circus, full of vibrant colour, a dog called 'Merry' and a gaggle of golden egg laying geese. We shall travel the land, our feet protected only by strips of leather we bartered our souls for and the kids and I shall keep our spirits high by signing ditties about golden maidens and we shall quench our thirst with nothing but the finest Olde English cider.

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Well Pauly, as Sir Alex would say??Thank you for that??with the emphasis, of course, on the ?that?. Your previews are always a joy in everything but a literal sense, delivered as they are with the subtleness of a Latin Luddite on Mourinho?s prowess formation-wise. Such a contrast to the greatness of Jol, Redknapp, Eriksson and, lest we forget, Big Sam. At this point I began to wonder if we were all in wind up country, but no, Arsene brought up the rear and the talk was of a proud fight for 4th place, so it has to be regarded as serious assessment.

Heaven knows what these managerial marvels would make of the praise heaped upon them, especially as it culminates, in terms of predicted league position, in their teams being the trailing carriages on the train wreck that is Chelsea. Don?t beat about the bush, Pauly, if you think the coming season for us is a crash waiting to happen at least have the courage of your convictions and put us down a notch or two from the runners-up spot. Also, it is a little disingenuous to say that United won?t need luck to do again what they did last time, presumably because their recent signings answer all their problems, yet Jose is accused of being in a paradigm of some kind when, restricted as he obviously now is, he has to cut his cloth by comparison with United spending this season.

Personally, I think Fergie will regret not strengthening his defence this time around, Heinze or no Heinze, and if the argument is that his array of forwards will be enough to salvage any situation in the Premiership (not Champions League, as you rightly point out) it is a haughtily dismissive one, clearly based on an inflated opinion of some other league?s standards compared to our own. You probably won?t deny the bias, Pauly, as evidenced by your opinion on Kuyt (a superb player), whereas I?m of the view that he needs to be a prolific goal scorer (or at the very least get his fair share) to be even talked of in the same breath as, say, Didier Drogba or Sheva in his easier to play in Serie A days.

Also, to conveniently plead lack of knowledge on the Torres signing is to ignore his mediocre scoring record in Spain, so we shall just have to wait and see if your predicted, if minimal, ?Pool improvement materialises. Bear in mind that we are talking Premiership football here - a fact beginning to dawn even on Le Professor, who now feels the need to use the barnstorming Bendtner in attack after discarding a more fluid striker in Aliadiere - it?s one reason why I believe you are way off beam writing off the Gunner?s chances of a top three place. Wenger?s had a reality check and it might be about time a few others had one too.

Finally, I had to laugh at the Jose jibe ?there has never been a time with us where he has intentionally played a system properly?, having regard to the fact that, whatever it is he is doing, it?s building him a terrific managerial CV in the most important area of the game - results. Sadly I guess he will never be fully accepted by you until he makes full use of Sheva?s talents and I?m just grateful that in the meantime his coaching staff have made the Drogb into a legend - my, that was lucky, wasn?t it!

I?ll close by recalling one of, if not the best, of your memorable quotes - just to give the uninitiated a glimpse into your assessment of some of our playing staff in recent seasons when, according to you we were?.

?Gaining strength obviously with Ballack (footballer) for Essien (Parker the better player) and Sheva (footballer) for Drogba (farmer).?

?and I?ll let your views on Jose?s tactical acumen measure up accordingly.



Man U

Arsenal - within a few points of each other


Tottenham - within even fewer points of each other


Newcastle and Man City a long way off this top six and in all probability in reverse order due to Big Sam?s ever growing list of suspended players.

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Good post chaps.

I'd agree with Pauly to the extent that Jose won his first 2 leagues here with Claudios players. He missed out only narrowly last season and for whatever the real reason was, he must regret not signing a centre half in January.

This year will be a measure of his management skills if he wants to wrestle the title away from Fergie. Fergie has seen off all others down the years, will this season be Jose's turn?

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Well there is nothing like being definitive before the start of the season, and with still 3 weeks of the transfer window open.

My hope is that Chelsea's seemingly modest signings will allow a side that last season showed the determination and courage that great clubs always produce, to play with our usual defensive solidity and yet still score more goals.

The community shield did not show up our attacking ability in any great light. Of course Joe Cole is not exactly renowned for his lone striker prowess but I did hope to see more shooting situations created by the midfield.

How is it that with less than a week to the start of the season our 3 main striking options, DD, Sheva and Kalou aren't available? Surely the gods are not smiling favourably upon us. It seems that someone in the Chelsea hierarchy, possibly Robben's dad, has offended the gods and we must seek their approval via a worthy sacrifice.

In advance of that my questioning of the Delphic Oracle has brought forth the message that the team with the best supporters, the most luck in close games, and the greatest will to win will triumph this season. On that basis it seems clear that it will be Chelsea first and daylight second.

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Mourinho as Ginsberg...(presumably pre '55)...interesting allusion.

& agree with Dorset, Pauly, you're underestimating the arse/overestimating big Sam's influence on that perennial graveyard.

Otherwise, great reads as always.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Dearest Dorset,

apologies for having not replied so far- i began a response but was too busy to finish it and now suspect it might not be relevant due to an apparent JM shift in mentality! however the general theme was that what is underneath inevitably comes to the top and not the other way around, playing a season with 2 center backs and 2 strikers had consequences, playing with an unbalanced, overly defensive lineup and flat midfield had consequences (0-0 draws, penalty shootouts!) and in general i think we take the same results as evidence of opposing conclusions...

it's not a response though really and i will hopefully have time to expand over the weekend.


So busy i didn't even have time to write my own full name

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Dear Pauly,

I suppose I shall just have to content myself with thoughts of you expanding over the weekend, although I can?t help but think that you are merely waiting to see if the Scousers inflate (or deflate) your Mourinho tactical preconceptions. Meanwhile, I have to say that he pulled a lucky tactical rabbit out of the hat on Wednesday, didn?t he?! It should be really good to watch when he eventually gets to play these systems properly or, indeed, intentionally. icon_wink.gif

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