The Football Gods are funny overlords. They really are. Have you ever seen a cat toy with an insect? The cat will first follow the insect's directions out of curiosity but with deadly intent. The insect may be moved this way and that way before being dissected slowly and carefully with feline precision. Misery will end for the insect but only when the cat decides it's time to swallow this tiny little thing and move on to more pressing matters such as furballs and string. It is comforting, in the most morbid way possible, that Liverpool fans aren't the only insects powerless in the face of a greater force.
ETW thinks our omniscient Football Gods placed the summer transfer window as a powerful force to ensure that all would understand the reality of life through the buying and selling of commodities, otherwise known as football players. Liverpool fans now understand that a squad can be built at a reasonable price. However, the past cannot shape one's status in the present if there are others currently taking centre stage. Tottenham fans understand that nearly reaching the Promised Land is commendable and will bring its own respect until you have to compete with those bathing in the land of milk and honey.
Omnipotence is a useful thing for sporting celestial beings to possess. It means that managers can suffer as much as fans do and football's deities try to avoid discrimination whenever possible. Brendan Rodgers may manage a club of a certain standing but his own reputation doesn't quite match up to the current position on his LinkedIn profile. Steering a club or company back to former glories is difficult enough but moving in haste will be futile if speed is not the only criteria for progress. Rodgers is right to focus on improving the team as much as he can but he alone does not run the club.
David Moyes is in a similar corner of the classroom but enjoys privileges that Rodgers cannot yet call upon. Working for a machine in its prime and part of an exclusive club is gratifying but David Moyes is still David Moyes. He may be the manager of Manchester United but he's not a winning manager. Yet. Both managers have to put the reputation of the club before them when conducting transfer deals along with any perks such as a highly regarded league, a club of international renown, European competition, an attractive philosophy, and enticing wages. Not many managers can place all these factors before players and that's why other elements such as supportive owners, a canny dealmaker, and a strong scouting system can all provide untold advantages to confound even the worst plans of these unearthly titans.
Maybe this all explains why Jose Mourinho has been smiling all summer. After all, he is the Special One and looks like the cat comfortable with the order of things irrespective of whether they were afforded to him by a club with the status needed to excel, bestowed upon him by an ambitious benefactor, or earned through years of glorious victory.
- Europe isn't on Liverpool's agenda this season but there were some interesting European games. It was good to assess Liverpool's probable competition. Swansea, those potential usurpers, were in Europa League qualification battle against Petrolul Ploiesti. The Romanian side proved to be less than formidable enemies and were destroyed 5-1 at the Liberty Stadium. Wayne Routledge was particularly lively and scored twice while the signing of last year, Michu, added his contribution with a goal. Swansea will face Tottenham Hotspur this weekend and AVB's troops travelled to Dinamo Tbilisi to "tiblitz" them with a five goal victory. New marquee signing Roberto Soldado did what he usually does and scored a couple of goals but Danny Rose scored the pick of the goals with a fabulous long range goal that's worth searching for on youtube. Both Premier League sides will surely participate in the group stages of the Europa League.
- Arsenal were in crisis after one game so it was time for Fenerbahçe S.K. to show Wenger that he didn't really know. The problem is that when it comes to the Champions League and qualifying for it, Wenger knows. He has done it for nearly two decades without any interruption and holds an impressive record in Champions League qualifying matches. Fener could boast some experienced names such as Dirk Kuyt, Raul Meireles, Joseph Yobo, and Emre Belözoğlu who all tasted the hustle and bustle of the English Premier League. A close contest? Hardly. Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey were superb in midfield as Arsenal gleefully stuffed a clean sheet and three goals into Wenger's pockets. The return leg will provide an opportunity for some rotation but looking at Arsenal's threadbare bench in midweek, it might be difficult for Wenger to drastically alter a winning side.
- David Moyes and anyone else who wants to complain should look at what Paul Lambert has on his early Premier League menu. Arsenal away, Chelsea away, and Liverpool at home. That's a full plate for Aston Villa but it's one they've met with considerable enthusiasm and planning. An opening day away victory at The Emirates couldn't be replicated at Stamford Bridge as Kevin Friend, I mean; Branislav Ivanovic scored a powerful header to grant Jose Mourinho a second consecutive victory on his return to English football. Maybe the Football Gods were tired of exacerbating the Special One's self-inflicted wounds at Real Madrid and used Kevin Friend as their vessel to bless Mourinho's return. Aston Villa don't prioritise possession but abide by an energetic midfield with swift counter attacks. Rodgers you have been warned.
So this week's been a convivial one hasn't it? Here's a bit of extra fun to keep us smiling.
Brendan Rodgers Impression (Darren Farley) (via TheDarrenFarleyShow)