Fergi vs Big Phil, round 1

by Dexy Longshot

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

Let the war of words commence

Fergie just can’t resist a bit of cerebral gymnastics. Mind you, he hasn’t exactly been at the top of his game in recent times. Mainly because his toughest sparring partner Arsene hasn’t been identified as his prime rival in the hunt for the Premiership crown. In the meantime, the great Scot refused to indulge in psyche-outs while he continued his love-in with Jose Mourinho – maybe there was something in the wine. And he couldn’t really try any mind games on Avram Grant. It would’ve been like trying to pull some psychological tricks on Herman Munster, it’s just a waste of time.

A new dawn

Now Big Phil’s in town, and Fergie’s testing the water to see if Phil’s naïve enough to fall the way of Keegan and Wenger and rise up to his psychobabble, in the meantime unsettling his squad and tripping up just at the right moment. He’d love it, he really would love it.

The context of his comments can be the subject of consternation, though. Ferguson seemed pretty self-assured that Chelsea’s talent consist of thirtysomethings well past their best. To turn Alan Hansen’s statement on its head, you’ll never win anything with oldies. Strangely, though, the comments come days after Claude Makalele bid a fond farewell to the club, who had for his twilight years in his playing career provided a living model for the role of defensive midfielder.

Maybe Ferguson is taking a soft dig at Deco, who is probably set to make Chelsea his last major club before the midfielder’s dwindle begins. But he is just one man, and he’ll be taking his place in what is a massively powerful midfield, regardless of age or whether or not Lampard’s still around. As for the rest of the transfers Chelsea are lining up…well, we can but wait and see.

One final barrage of statistics to mull over. The average age of Manchester United’s starting line-up when they played Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last season is at the time of speaking exactly 27 years old. Ryan Giggs, 34, was the oldest man to take to the pitch at kick-off. Chelsea’s line-up, whilst missing the aforementioned Messers Makalele and Lampard, were a strong and robust side that beat the eventual Premiership champions on the day 2-1. Not only is the Blue’s average age of their starting XI a fraction younger than Manchester United’s (26.72 years), but their most senior player Mr. Ballack (31 years old) grabbed both goals that sank them.

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  • Timmy

    Fergi is the main man, he has crushed all before him.

    Wenger RIP
    Jose RIP
    Benitez RIP
    Keegan RIP

  • dexylongshot

    I think it will be even tighter this year, remember it was only 2 points separating the blues and the reds. Drog & Frank were out for much of the season so Chelsea didn’t have thier 25 goal a season man unlike the reds who had a one man goal machine in ronny. Thats without another injury hit time for cech and Terry at the back.
    The gooners (2pts behind Chelski) were missing Van Persie and Eduardo for much of the season so again, after the brilliant early season form, they lacked firepower at the end once Ade peaked mi-season. The mancs have been pretty lucky injury-wise. Neville has not been missed with Wes Brown performing well and recording the lowest goals against record in the Prem.
    If all 3 teams fielded their strongest teams for much of the season, i think it could be anybodies crown.

  • http://aloadofcobblers.blogspot.com Danny Brothers

    You could argue that had Morinho stayed in charge,Chelsea may well have pipped United to the post last season. Fergie is probably just bored and sees Scolari as a new threat to his crown. It’ll be interesting to see how Arsenal come back this time after they drifted away at the end of last season.

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    As an Arsenal fan I have faith in Arsene Wenger, but I do wish he would spend some money. We need a new keeper, a new center back, a new centre midfielder and a new forward. Yet he still refuses to admit we lost the title due to lack of depth in our squad. Righto, this season will be a big test.

    Our starting 11 is quality yet the squad is very very thin.

    Deep down Fergi is loving it, he must be thinking title number 11 here we come.

  • Stevie

    What about Sven vs McClaren? That would be a battle and a half! Two charismatic heavy weights!

    Toilet roll vs Washing powder

    Arsenal squad is thin like your hair DArren

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