Appreciating the Rivals, a really rare article!
I am going to start by casually informing each and every one of you that this is not a ‘white flag’ sort of article, and that as the title suggests, it is indeed going to be a once in a blue moon type of thing. Well, you could say I was feeling a little generous towards our rivals today and wanted to let them know that, yes, my world would had been incomplete without you! A few years back I would have had my work cut out as there were only three big name rivals for Chelsea, and till last season there were four, but this season Liverpool seems to have sorted themselves out, and yes, this season is going to be massive with a total of six big guns going against each other for the title, and no I am not talking about Everton. In what ever position they may be, we all know who the big six are at the moment, starting with Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspurs from London, Man City and Man Utd from Manchester and yes, the current leaders on the table, Liverpool. Welcome back among the elite group Liverpool!
In this article I am going to take some time to appreciate each of our rivals, for some obvious reasons, and, err…some not so obvious ones too. Also we will look at the best player in each of the team, the most promising one, the one I respect the most, the most underrated one, and…and what? Nothing more! That’s more than enough!
(PS: The ones I respect the most are also the ones I’d love to have in our Chelsea team)
Well, it will all be in my point of view after all, and like always, I will tell you, you are entitled to one of your own, so don’t come at me like I am wrong or something here and there!
I’ll start with our London rivals. Arsenal seems to be in a fantastic form, and all seems to be because of their man of the moment. Mr. Mesut! Ozil has really lightened up the premier league after his arrival from Real Madrid, and like promised, there were loads and loads of assists to his name already! Umm, 3 in the PL to be precise, but yes, he promises many more in the long run for the club. I have always been an admirer of this German since his days at Werder Bremen, was not the keenest follower of the league, but then I like putting my bets on rising talents now and then (Marin was my other bet, we are yet to see the outcome on that). And who surprised me the most was Oliver Giroud. The Psych lead’s (James Roday) doppelganger seemed to be among the flops of the season last season but this time around he is rarely putting a foot wrong, scoring 4 goals in the process in the PL.
Another player I’d like to point out is the almost always unlucky man, Koscielny, or Koss, as gunners like to call him. He has been a victim to unfair sending offs since a while now, and this season too the trend continued. But the time he is on the pitch he makes sure that he gives his 100% for the team. He isn’t really afraid of getting into rash tackles and also comes up with an occasional winner now and then. A silent guardian he is for the gunners! I think people need to appreciate him more often. And I will also take out time to pay respect to Mr. Wenger. One of the few coaches in the world that I respect the most! I hope the PL will enjoy your presence for a long long time now. And finally, Aaron Ramsey seems to have quit his part time job as a death reaper and finally pay more attention to scoring goals, without casualties ofcourse.
If Wenger somehow manages to be lucky enough to avoid player injuries, only God knows how high this Arsenal side can be at by the end of the season!
Welcome back to the Premier League Mathieu Flamini!
Best Player: Mesut Ozil
Promising Player: Aaron Ramsey
The Player I respect the most: Koscielny
The most Under-rated Player: Koscielny
2) Tottenham Hotspur
Now let’s move our focus to our other London rival, the Whites. Led by our former coach Andre Vilas Boas, this season might be just it for Spurs. Finally they have a squad which is aspiring and balanced in almost every department. They have the mighty Lloris in the goal, which according to me was one massive achievement as they managed to lure him to White Hart Lane. New recruit Paulinho seems to have a fit in just perfectly and is in every perfect sense a massive upgrade from Sandro. At rightback they have one of the most promising young professionals by the name of Walker, who ironically is more of a runner. Get it? Walker? Runner? Bad joke? Okay, I get it!
You might say I should hate Vertongen for his antics against Torres, which in the end caused in the dismissal of the Spaniard, but you cannot disagree with the fact that he is one hell of a defender! Like Luiz, he isn’t afraid of going ahead and scoring now and then, and he was on a streak last season at a point of time, but I will go on and say he is sort of a better and composed, I mean consistently composed defender. Luiz is better at attacking though!
I am a big fan of both Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe since long. But somehow both seem to lose out to spot light every now and then. Lennon often got lost in the shadow of the mighty Bale last season for Spurs, and lost out to Walcott for England. I wonder whom is he going to lose out to for Spurs this time around, Lamela maybe? And Defoe, well the man is plain unlucky. For me he is the best attacker that Spurs have. Despite the miniature structure, the man is a beast on the pitch! But Spurs prefer to put in the old fashioned striker, Soldado in before the tiny Englishman. Christian Ericksen seemed to have lost the price tag that he had a few seasons back, but certainly didn’t lose his quality! (Can you believe that he was worth atleast 40-45m a few seasons back?)
About the rivalry, I know why you hate us so much Spurs, we all know why right? (Hint: Season 2011-12)
Best Player: Jermain Defoe
Promising Player: Paulinho, Ericksen
The Player I respect the most: Jermain Defoe
The most Under-rated Player: Jermain Defoe
Finally the red side of Merseyside can take their rightful place among the big guns of the PL. The Kopites might argue that Liverpool might have been a little too unlucky in the past few seasons, with some dodgy decisions going against them. But if you look like that almost every team could make a point like that! But we have to respect the fact that they didn’t give up, and finally this season they seem to finally have achieved it! Currently at the number 1 rank, having played a game more than Arsenal, Liverpool have already fended off bitter rivals Man Utd in the PL, only to lose out to them in the Capital One cup. But yes, they are in the right direction forward.
Marshaled by former Chelsea coach Brendon Rodgers, Liverpool seems to have finally moved on from the excuse of losing out Torres to us and Alonso to Real Madrid as the reason for their failure, and built a new impressive crop of players to do the job for the team. The likes of Coutinho, Sturridge, Gerrard and ofcourse, Suarez is going to be a nightmare for defenders this season. The young Brazilian, coming last season from Inter Milan already seems to be one of the most promising young players in the league, and there is a breeze of magic in him that not many can deny.
Sturridge, hate him or love him, has to be one regretful decision by Chelsea. He seems to have found his foot in the squad, forming a fluid excellent relation with his new Liverpool mates, and is currently the top scorer in the league, with 6goals, which is funnily enough 6 goals more than any striker we have at the moment in the Premier League. Maybe it is the system that they play, or maybe it is the individual talent and hunger in the players, who knows, just another debatable topic!
When it comes to respect, one man in this team can hardly be hated by anyone, and I, in all my senses title that minority as clear idiots! No I am not talking about Luis Suarez, the man goes by the name Steven Gerrard. Like our very own Frankie, Steven has been a revelation in the Premier League, one of the best captains for both club and country, and a very ideal idol to look to for the younger players. An epitome of loyalty, Chelsea had made multiple bids to try and lure him, Real Madrid had too, but he decided to stay with Liverpool itself. And though he might be getting older and older now, you still cannot deny the importance of his on the pitch, he still motivates his team to go all out and give a good fair impressive performance week after week!
Luis Suarez might be one of the most hated professional in the Premier League, even hated by his own Liverpool fans this summer for a while, but it hardly affects his performance. On the pitch he is a menace for the opponents for the entire 90 minutes, constantly pushing them to their limits! And even after spending such a long time on the sidelines serving his ban he doesn’t seem a bit rusty, he just came in like nothing happened and kept continuing gracing the fans with what they want to see, goals that is!
Victor Moses, please do us all a favor and show your best performance at Liverpool, ofcourse only to ditch them and come back home, to Stamford Bridge the next season!
Best Player: Luis Suarez
Promising Player: Sturridge, Coutinho
The Player I respect the most: Steven Gerrard
The most Under-rated Player: Martin Skrtel, Jose Enrique
4) Manchester City
They might have bought the league the season before the last, but is it really against the rules to purchase players that can win them wonders? I say no! Chelsea had done the same thing when Uncle Roman had come home, and yes, I am very much proud of having an owner who doesn’t want to keep the money locked in his pockets, and infact wants to invest more and more, just to see his club grow in stature! City fans might be proud of that too.
Always under the shadows of Man Utd, City has finally grown to such a position that they don’t make it surprising to the viewers when they thrash their rivals by more than 3 goals, ahem, I am not going to spell out the exact number. But there is still that shortcoming somewhere. Even though they seem to be impressive on the pitch, they fall short of something now and then.
Yaya Toure has been a vital part of it all. The tall man might look like he is high on dope when on the pitch, well his expressions seems doubtful at times, but he is a man who can be fairly put up as the best midfielder in the PL at the moment. Good in defense, excellent in attack the man can do everything you want him to. He is that backup plan for his manager that when things are not working, push him into the attacking midfield position from his usual defensive midfielder role, and he gets you goals and results in no time! Certainly the best signing City made!
Not far behind him will stand Sergio Aguero. The Argentine seems to have fairly negligible hater, that’s owing to the low profile he prefers to keep on and off the pitch. But as an attacker, he is an assassin! Always shows up whenever City need him, and his fluid playing style means that he can form a partnership with another striker, or even lead the attack line on his own as the lone man upfront! Clearly a man I would have loved to have in Chelsea any day!
Samir Nasri and Silva, now along with Jesus Navas just keeps proving that City will not lack in the department of flair, ever! Nasri might have had a slow start to his City career, but now he is an absolutely important part, and Silva, well we all know Silva, need I talk much about how great he is? And the incoming Navas just brought in more quality competition!
One odd decision by them was to sell off Carlos Tevez, he was a great personality on the pitch, that is when he didn’t refuse to get his ass off the bench! But then, fair business, they sold Tevez and Balotelli, and now have Dzeko, Aguero, Negredo and Jovetic!
Best Player: Yaya Toure, Sergio ‘Kun’ Aguero
Promising Player: Jesus Navas, Negredo
The Player I respect the most: Yaya Toure, Aguero, Silva, Kompany, Dzeko ( I know too many here, no need of pointing it out!)
The most Under-rated Player: Kompany, Zabaleta
5) Manchester United
Well, we are finally here! The club who never fails to get on my nerves! As much as I hate them, I won’t deny that is owing to the fact that they indeed are our most tough rival, our most intimidating rival too! There is no relaxing in any game against Man Utd, as you know, they will bring the battle on, and it is war when they come! Phewww, that was indeed hard to let that out!
This current Man Utd side seems to be the weakest Man Utd side, and surprisingly, swapping positions with the current coach’s former club Everton, or even of Everton’s Merseyside rival’s position! The current Champions of the League seems to have lost their way after the departure of Alex Ferguson, and David Moyes seems to be losing faith in himself these days. But in the end I know that they will manage to pick up the scraps and get themselves to a respectable position, much owing to their never say die attitude on the pitch!
RVP and Wayne Rooney are certainly one of the, if not the most intimidating duos in the Premier League. Rooney has adjusted himself to the game of his striker partner, like everytime, and moulded himself for the better of the team. And Persie did better, than what he did at Arsenal during his last season. And on their best day, either of them can be a headache for oppositions, just a reason why I was so damn crazy to dream about Rooney joining Chelsea this summer.
David De Gea, has been a wonderful underrated keeper in the league. Though he has let in a few blunders in the past, you cannot argue that he is not one of the best in the league! But then God knows what goes through his head when he occasionally chooses to give his own side a scare when he oddly goes for a save with his legs rather than his hands! When the save is successful, well it is impressive!
Javier Hernandez seems to have fallen out of favor to RVP, Rooney and even Welbeck, but still he never manages to disappoint anyone when he is on the pitch. Coming up with his tap in, you could argue that he is just lucky afterall, but to get in those positions you need to have the senses of a predator!
Nemanja Vidic has been a wonderful servant for the club for long now. And he is the reason that his partner Rio Ferdinand somehow looks good! Strong in the air, strong on the ground, a commanding captain, he just is the total package!
Maroune Fellaini might have not taken the Man Utd fans by a storm, much owing to his scoring record at Everton, but has been a decent addition to the team.
They are currently 9th in the table but could fall to 10th if West Brom manages a win!
Best Player: Van Persie, Rooney
Promising Player: Rafael, De Gea
The Player I respect the most: Nemanja Vidic
The most Under-rated Player: De Gea, Carrick
Like I said, this was going to be a damn rare article, I am not used to praising our rivals, more accurately, I am uncomfortable doing that! And even though I would love to see each of our rivals fall down and get relegated (yes, I am a dreamer, best case scenario), I will admit that in the end, without them it would be so darn boring in the league. They bring in the banter for us, and also bring out the better from us! And there, I will say it one more time, I am proud of the Premier League, owing to you five, plus Chelsea ofcourse!
I respect many players that are not ours, but that doesn’t mean much in the end. It is a game I love and I am bound to respect some players which are not ours, but there is a wide difference between respect and love, isn’t there? KTBFFH!
Do leave your thoughts and views below, and also do let me know if you had any refreshments in between reading this ridiculously long and exhaustive article! I didn’t bother proofreading for grammar errors, finishing this article is in itself seen as an achievement by me! I’d still love to hear from you!
Follow the writer: @T_L_Kuzhi