Whether it be the muddle of a midweek fixture or the sanctity of a Saturday, along with scores
of intrepid fans nation-wide we set off, in our case to the principality.¬ As always there was
that nagging tinge of trepidation mixed with an undercurrent of die-hard hope.
Claudio Ranieri's Roma were unable to send out an early signal of their intentions to the rest
of Serie A last night as they were held by Cesena at the Stadio Olimpico. The new boys to the
league who featured Ghana's Stephen Appiah in midfield, were well worth the point they took from
last seasons' Serie A runners-up.
One thing a couple of weeks of play gives us, is a bit of form to go on. But the fact that only
two teams have one hundred per cent records so early in the campaign suggests that the top seven
places are very much up for grabs. Only two teams are yet to get off the mark, and it is going to
be very interstign to watch this division take shape in the coming weeks.
The past seven days has finally seen some big moves being made in the transfer market. It is no
surprise that Manchester City have yet again been flexing their muscles with the signings of Mario
Balotelli from Inter Milan and James Milner from Aston Villa. City have paid a reported ¬£24m for
Balotelli, who scored on his debut last night in the Europa League tie against Timisoara, with the
same figure being quoted for the James Milner deal, which saw Stephen Ireland move Aston Villa.
After working so hard last season to finish fourth in the Premier League, Tottenham will be
hoping that they can take a big step towards the group stages of the competition when they take on
Swiss side Young Boys this evening in the first leg of the Champions League qualifying round.
There is a full programme of fixtures in the Blue Square Bet Premier League on Tuesday night (17
August). Ten sides are hoping to maintain their 100 per cent record with another ten hoping to get
points on the board. York City and Crawley are two sides with lofty ambitions this season who are
looking to bounce back from opening day defeats.
The Premiership finally gets under-way this weekend and it promises to be as tight as ever, both
at the top and bottom of the table. With Manchester City spending big again this transfer window,
the pressure will be on Roberto Mancini to break into the much coveted top four, whilst Chelsea,
Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham will again be looking to fight off any challenge by the
richest club in the world.
In early July on this site I wrote about my favourites for the Blue Square Bet Premier League
title. All those sides have now finished their run of pre-season friendlies and are getting
prepared for the big kick-off tomorrow afternoon at 3pm. The league's fixture committee has done us
proud on opening day with some exciting ties to start the campaign.
Blackpool manager Ian Holloway has finally made his first signings of the summer transfer window
and, just like the weather can be on the coast, it hasn't rained it's poured, with a total of five
signings in one day! The Seasiders, like all newly promoted teams, are favourites to go straight
back down again, but they have taken major steps in bolstering their squad before the big
After the shock resignation this week of Martin O'Neill from Aston Villa, the Midlands club are
now faced with the tough task of finding a manager that can build on the foundations that have been
put in place by the Irishman. O'Neill joined the club in August 2006, finishing 11th in his first
season in charge and then taking Villa to three consecutive 6th place finishes, improving on their
points tally each time.
And then there were 21. Fabio's first squad since World Cup banality has been hit by two
resignations, but does this squad excite you? I have decided to pick my starting eleven from the
now 21 to see how it looks on paper. Things needed freshening up as the public really didn't care
for many of his World Cup squad, and now unexpectedly there is renewed interest.
After the disappointment of England's showing at the World Cup, the real action is finally here
and first up for Colchester is the long journey to the real St James‚Äė Park, the home of Exeter
City. Following Colchester United on the opening day of the season in the last few years has not
been the best experience.