5 things... that are reassuringly familiar about the new season


Alberto Moreno’s defending
“If Liverpool keep Moreno in the team, they can forget the top four - they’ll get relegated.” Not the words of some angry, crazed Reds fan in the heat of the moment, but the reasoned opinion of a football pundit. One of the most respected minds in the game, if not the world. Mr Garth Crooks. And even if you are not among the many people who respect the opinion of Garth Crooks (globally his fans are believed to number in the hundreds) and you think he was exaggerating, it’s nevertheless hard to make a case for Moreno being a solid left-back. After conceding a penalty against Arsenal with a needless lunge at Theo Walcott, the Spaniard was then at fault for Walcott’s opening goal. It was so reminiscent of his performance in the Europa League final, and for most of the other games he played at left-back last season, that it gave us a warm fuzzy feeling of nostalgia.

Arsene Wenger’s expression
You know the one, where the Gunners have just been booed off the Emirates pitch after a hapless home performance and the Frenchman’s face looks uncomfortably pained and strained in his post-match interview, as if he were speaking to Sky Sports direct from the toilet seat. He looks down wearily but determinedly at his interviewer, offering some kind of excuse and being the rational voice of reason, while leaving the impression he could explode - with violence, or despair, or both - but never will. The excuse on this occasion was lack of experience in his defence, which was fair enough given that he was forced to start with 20-year-old Rob Holding and 21-year-old Calum Chambers in his backline. Saying that, no one ever forced him to spend £16m on Chambers.

Watford’s manager still devilishly sexy
Watford FC is a bit like Sky Sports News - it has to be anchored by someone hot. The departure from English football of Quique Sanchez Flores was deeply upsetting for those who found him irresistible. But who’s this dishy new character replacing him in the Hornets hotseat? Although he looks nothing like Quique - not as pretty or as “hip” - Walter Mazzarri has something else. Something more rugged, yet equally intoxicating. Bearing an uncanny resemblance to Hollywood heart throb Alec Baldwin, the Italian has the air of a kinky businessman with a voracious appetite for love-making that his wife cannot satisfy. Watford is a strangely run club, but their determination to continuously appoint smouldering managers is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise barren landscape of plain middle-aged men.

Diego Costa still filthy
Linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge all summer, against West Ham the Spanish Brazilian showcased all the bits Premier League fans have come to love and hate (mainly hate) about him since he arrived on these shores in 2014. Booked for complaining to the referee over something pointless, Costa then made a wince-inducing tackle on West Ham goalkeeper Adrian - catching his fellow Spaniard with his studs half-way up his leg long after the ball had gone. He somehow escaped a second booking, then popped up to fire home a late winning goal and ran about celebrating like he owned the place. Classic Costa.

Jamie Vardy’s passion
The undoubted highlight of week one of the Premier League season was the sight of the Leicester striker literally punching himself in the face after missing a chance against Hull. He may have been to the European Championships, signed a lucrative new contract and been coveted by Arsenal, but this was the moment Vardy showed us he is still the same man who rose heroically from “banging” (not like that) all and sundry at non-league Halifax to make the big time. Even if he can’t score goals any more - which on the basis of the opening game of the season he can’t - he is still just a normal geezer who punches himself in the face (hard) every now and then.

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