Expect another close EPL-title race

Antoine Caron, The Triumph of Mars
“With the Premier League season kicking off Saturday, here’s what the next nine months might have in store …” (SI)

Premiership season predictions
“With a week to go before the season begins, here is my read on how the 20 Premier League clubs will finish, with the caveat that rosters could still change because we’re in the midst of the transfer window.” (SI)

Fergie squanders Ozil money on Oliver Twist
“The new season is nearly upon us and Off The Ball will be scratching around the underbelly of professional football for some bizarre and often inexplicable revelations every step of the way. This week, we have Manchester United spending £7.4 million on some bloke from the Portuguese third division, Steven Gerrard claiming Joe Cole is better than Lionel Messi, Patrice Evra’s attack on Lillian Thuram and a referee running for his life.” (ESPN)

Pretenders eager to kick-off after poor pre-seasons
“It was a stroll in the sunshine, a chance to introduce new players to an appreciative audience. That, historically, was the role of the pre-season friendly. Now its definition has changed. It can become part of a global PR campaign, winning new friends and cementing distant allegiances. For the biggest clubs, it can be a lucrative interlude before the official start of business.” (ESPN)

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