With the start of the season fast approaching, I thought it time to get another viewpoint on the summer and the campaign ahead, and with United and Liverpool fans for brothers (yes, I know), who better than to kick off this new feature?
This will hopefully be the first in a series of interviews throughout the season, getting the viewpoints of both clubs regarding how their season is going, and how they view Arsenal from the outside. So, without further ado, welcome tripli00, lifetime Liverpool fan, to give his thoughts.
Thanks for joining me today. First off, how do you think the summer has gone for Liverpool so far?
Before losing Alonso (which was coming all summer) its not too bad. This summer seems not to have been the summer to be adding players – but not losing them to other money rich sides. Sorting out the club’s finances with our owners was good as well.
This season will mark twenty years without a league title if Liverpool fail to win it. After coming closer last season than you have in years, do you think you’ve got what it takes this season?
As a fan of course I am going to say yes here – but after last season we are without doubt in with a chance of the title. The season will come down to two important factors – Torres’ hamstring and Gerrard’s groin. Without the two of them we are not title winners, and one down really hurts us.
Last season, much of your success was built on the strength of your midfield. With Alonso gone, an injury prone Aquilani in, and Mascherano itching for a move, are you worried that foundation might not be maintained?
Well Alonso – who was a lovely passer of the ball – is gone and Aquilani comes in to replace him with several million profit. Both have injury histories (remember Alonso’s foot being broken by Frank Lampard) and both wouldn’t and can’t play a whole season – but who can in that kind of role? Mascherano – he would be a big loss but I don’t see him going anywhere now – the rest of the Premier League midfielders will be looking forward to him pressuring them.
The foundation of the team is the central spine – and not much has changed. Aquilani remains unproved and unknown in England yet – but so was Alonso when he came over. Not worried – unless we have another long term injury. Just hope someone has taught Lucas not to concede penalties this summer.
Glen Johnson. £18m well spent?
Tricky question. Good player, good buy, will really help the team forward and back and I am sure will benefit from Carragher. But 18 million? Welcome to English prices. But he is a good international player – part of solid back fours who can cross, overlap and score the occasional stunner, and will play most games. Glad to see him here.
Do Gerrard’s and Torres’ groins and hamstrings have to hold all season for you to stand a chance of winning the league?
In a simple answer, yes. Tweaks we can handle – a tear means time out with it then 4 weeks to get back to the level of making us go wow again.
Who in the squad do you think might surprise people, or come of age this year?
I would like to think that Lucas will surprise a few – he has got better each season. Insua looks a solid left back and I think one of El Zhar or Voronin will get a few more goals that we think.
You could make a case for the whole top four getting worse this summer – United have lost Ronaldo and Tevez, Chelsea have seen an aging team get older, Liverpool have lost Alonso and Arbeloa and Arsenal have sold Adebayor and Toure. Which of the four do you think have done the best, and worst, with a few weeks to go before the window slams shut?
United have got worse – Ronaldo is a huge loss for them – but Sir Alex is too wise to let that upset him. The back four is still solid (oh for an injury to a centre back). That’s the biggest loss. Chelsea – no big signings – but they have collected them already. Injuries hurt them last year and I think that they will be a better side this season but can they continue? Arsenal have had the usual cut and slice of anyone not on enough money or approaching maturity. Again they are an injury away from trouble – and especially at the back! Liverpool – as already stated – losses and gains – a no movement summer.
How do you see Man City doing this season? Will they prosper and threaten the ‘Big Four’ or will they implode?
No imploding – they will challenge whoever struggles in the top four. They put a good season together last year despite having no idea away from home. If they can get that then you never know. They have yet to show themselves as a solid side – and that’s what leaves a top four side a top four side.
Moving to Arsenal, there is little doubt, as with you getting £30m for Alonso, raising £40m from the sales of Adebayor and Toure is good business. How do you see Arsenal doing this season without the African contingent?
Good business – especially when you miss those players in Jan. They were experienced and Adebayor will be missed as a solo striker which he was good at. Its only good business if the money goes somewhere useful. The Carling Cup side will be great again this year – the best depth young squad as usual – but somewhere it will go wrong this season like last etc.
Who in the Arsenal squad do you think can make the step up this year?
Well not a surprise but a fit and free Walcott will have a good season, Arshavin will have a good one till he tires – and Gibbs will slowly cement as a left back.
Do you think re-signing Vieira would be a good move, or should be avoided?
I think nothing to lose there. He is not the player he was so don’t fall into that trap – but really who else is going to hold the central midfield together? Fabregas is wasted (and a little childish) in that role and no one else would get others moving the ball quickly.
Finally, let’s have a prediction – give us your top five for this season? Who do you think will go down, and are there any dark horses to keep an eye on?
Top five – well that’s easy but the order isn’t. 5 Man City, 4 Arsenal, 3 Chelsea, 2 Man Utd, 1 Liverpool (that’s injuries to Chelsea and Man Utd and not Torres and Gerrard!!)
Birmingham to do a lot better that we think – Aston Villa to not.
Bottom three – Wolves, Hull, Portsmouth
Thanks for your time.
So that’s that – he’s optimistic for the future, but expects the top four to remain as they are, City taking a little longer to break in. Agree or disagree, feel free to leave your comments, but he is family, so no abuse please!
Coming soon…interview with a United fan.