Premiership kicks off

As a die-hard Chelsea fan I have to admit that there is only one team that I want to win all four major trophies this season. Sadly, it’s definitely not going to happen for the Londoners in the Premiership because, just like last term, they’re going to start the season severely disadvantaged by a catalogue of injuries.

Stamford Bridge has more walking wounded than an army hospital and that means Manchester United are likely to be so far ahead by Christmas that the bookies will be paying out soon after.

The facts speak for themselves; there were so few senior players fit enough for a training session on Tuesday that the club issued an apology on its website. Captain John Terry (knee ligament) is out for a month, as are Ballack and Bridge. For Chelsea’s opener at home to Bolton on Sunday there are injury doubts on Drogba, Robben, Kalou, Makelele, Ferreira and a whole bunch of other first-teamers. With Florent Malouda the only big signing so far this summer I’m already starting to sing the blues. Hope Abramavich hasn’t tightened his wad in light of his expensive divorce. At least we’ve still got Frankie Lampard. He needs to get his magic boots on again after indifferent form last season.

Ah well, hopefully by the end of the year we’ll still be in the Champions League and injury worries will be over. Now that’s something really worth winning.

Man Utd are still hoping to capture Carlos Tevez from West Ham and even if they don’t they’ll be sizzling again, assuming Rooney, Ronaldo, Ferdinand, O’Shea, Scholes et al don’t have long-term injuries or bans. How come Ryan Giggs has been around forever and still doesn’t slow down? It’s just not fair. Fergie was written off as past his sell-by date not so long ago. There’s still a lot of life left in the old dog, unfortunately.

Liverpool are due to finally get their Premiership game on and seriously challenge the top two for supremacy. Getting rid of bad boy Bellamy to West Ham was a shrewd move and two big signings in Yossi Benayoun and Ryan Babel is a plus.

Sorry Arsenal, this is the year you guys are usurped by bitter north London rivals Spurs, who have been fifth the last two seasons. Without Thierry Henry and Freddie Ljungberg moving east to West Ham the talented – but often hot-headed – kids are not going to have the steadying influences they need. (Come back to Chelsea Gallas, all is forgiven!)

As for the teams that came up; Sunderland will survive under Roy Keane’s steely glare (does he ever smile?) and Birmingham have enough savvy to stay up but Derby will return from whence they came accompanied by Wigan and Fulham.

PREMIERSHIP FIXTURES

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Aston Villa v Liverpool, 17:15 (GMT)

Bolton v Newcastle, 15:00

Derby v Portsmouth, 15:00

Everton v Wigan, 15:00

Middlesbrough v Blackburn, 15:00

Sunderland v Tottenham, 12:45

West Ham v Man City, 15:00

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Arsenal v Fulham, 12:00

Chelsea v Birmingham, 13:30

Man Utd v Reading, 16:00

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Tottenham v Everton, 20:00

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Birmingham v Sunderland, 19:45

Fulham v Bolton, 19:45

Man City v Derby, 19:45

Portsmouth v Man Utd, 19:45

Reading v Chelsea, 20:00

Wigan v Middlesbrough, 20:00

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