Good news! The twitterati are largely predicting that Huddersfield Town will finish 19th in the Premier League this season, up a position from 2017/18. But if you care what Steve the mechanic who loses 95% of his football bets a year, or Callum the 14 year old who’s created his new account 'LethalLingard' think, then you’re going to be in for another long season. However, this is not that kind of preview and I certainly am not Mystic Meg.
It’s just less than three months since Town’s season ended in a hard fought defeat against Arsenal, with Arsene Wenger leaving his post at the Gunners, much to the delight of DT off the Arsenal fan TV, fam. Robbie will certainly be hoping new boss Unai Emery isn't an instant success, them ad revenues!
And a lot has happened in those three months. Football nearly came home, The Lightning Seeds raked in some cash, the country fell in love with Gareth Southgate, and waistcoats became fashionable. Little Mix ruined the pitch, Rajiv Van La Parra unfollowed people on Instagram and then followed them back again, Raheem Sterling had an Ice Cream much to the anger of Daily Mail readers and everyone calls Harry Maguire ‘Slab head’ now.
Back to Town though, and the Premier League fixture machine which gave us a difficult run in, decided to give us a difficult start, meaning that after next weekend, Town’s last five league fixtures would’ve been: Man City (A), Chelsea (H), Arsenal (H), Chelsea (A), Man City (A). How kind.
Luckily though, Chelsea are in a transition period with a new manager, new players and their star player effectively saying he didn’t want to be there, or in the kind break up message he wrote: “After six wonderful years at Chelsea, it might be time to discover something different.” We’ve all been there Chelsea fans, it’s not you, it’s Eden Hazard. The whore.
Fellow Belgian Thibaut Courtois also decided to go AWOL and force a move to Real Madrid meaning Chelsea have brought in Kepa Arrizabalaga for over £70 million, a world record for a goalkeeper, after hitting his release clause. This is usually the only thing you see on Football Manager, and yes, I’m still angered AS Monaco took Matthijs De Ligt from me on my Town save for £90 million.
Despite Arrizabalaga’s arrival, there’s a good chance that our former reserve goalkeeper and Chelsea’s home grown quota signing Rob Green may start on Saturday. Who’d have thought Chelsea would be signing players from us that aren’t Christopher Schindler?
So actually, this is probably a really good time to be playing Chelsea, as their late additions on transfer deadline day may not start, or gel in time as Stan Ternent would say, for the weekend. Equally. I may be clutching at straws.
Meanwhile, Town actually did a bit of transfer deadline day business for once under David Wagner, bringing in Steve Mounie’s pal Isaac Mbenza from Montpellier, although Steve’s acting may need some work judging by the Twitter announcement, but it’s definitely good enough for Hollyoaks.
Mbenza comes to Town on the back of ten goals in Ligue 1 last season, meaning that there may be some last minute changes in fantasy football teams before the season kicks off. And if you would like to join our fantasy football league, you can do so HERE with the code: 2963354-677564.
It will be interesting to see how Wagner looks to play tomorrow, given Chelsea aren’t in the best of places currently. However he chooses to play, it should be an intriguing start to the season. And if anyone would like to join me in a 44th minute silence for the departure of Michael Hefele, you are more than welcome too. Or alternatively look at this best bits, which we published yesterday HERE.
KNOW THE ENEMY
Enemy may be a bit strong but throughout this season, Thrice Champions will be getting the views of opposition fans, bloggers and podcasters so you know the story behind the club they know so much about.
Ahead of our opening fixture of the 2018/19 season, we spoke to Chelsea podcast 'London is Blue'.
Here's what they had to say to our questions...
TC: After last season’s disappointing defence of the title, and missing out on Champions League spot, what would class as a success for Chelsea this season?
LIB: Success at Chelsea is usually defined by trophies. Ideally we'd love to see Sarri win one of the domestic cups en route to a fourth place finish.
TC: Despite winning the FA Cup, Chelsea parted company with Antonio Conte, was this the right decision?
LIB: Yes. His position had become untenable due to the friction with the board and the players. Of course he was adored by many supporters, but they only saw a singular side of them. Perhaps both parties could have worked to a better resolution, versus the drama that unfolded, but we wish Antonio the best in his future endeavors.
TC: What is the feeling amongst fans over the appointment of Maurizio Sarri?
LIB: Highly positive. Some are concerned about his pedigree and are quick to point out his lack of associated silverware, but they are also quick to neglect the fact that he went toe to toe with a historically dominant Juventus side and earned the highest points total ever in Serie A to not win the title.
TC: Do you think Sarri will give chances to the plethora of young talent that Chelsea have brought through in the academy?
LIB: They'll get their shot. In part because there are some aging players who will still be with the squad, more on name than current quality, that will be supplanted by the youth if given a true chance.
TC: How do you feel the transfer window has gone for you?
LIB: It started slow, but ended up a bang. Kepa is an exceptional talent on a long-term deal, Jorginho would have upgraded almost any midfield in the world with his addition, and Kovacic is going to be fun to watch develop. An additional attacking option would have been nice, but unfortunately wasn't in the cards. Not losing Hazard or Kante was more important than bringing on one additional attacker.
TC: What have Chelsea fans made to the rise of Huddersfield Town?
LIB: As we are American supporters, we're happy for Wagner (even though he was a relatively unused player for the USMNT). Plus Captain Picard is a supporter! How's that not amazing? Our real question in return: is there any Terrier I should be using in Fantasy Premier League this season?
TC: Easy, Aaron Mooy. Which Chelsea player should Huddersfield fans look out for on Saturday?
LIB: If he plays, Eden Hazard. He was arguably the best player in the World Cup and he is always a delight to watch. If not, his understudy in Callum Hudson-Odoi is a star in the making.
TC: What is your prediction for Saturday?
LIB: I'm awful at predictions, but I never predict Chelsea will ever lose a game. So 2-1, Chelsea. Sorry, gents!
Dan from 'London is Blue' was speaking with Thrice Champions' Greg Marah.