We have a very experienced squad with not a lot of young players. Due to the cost of young players in comparison to older players, it was not possible for me to bring in young, up-and-coming talent this season.
While we do have few natural players in the wide areas in both defence and attack, there are players who are more than capable of slotting in those positions and performing. Danny Mills and Kevin Griffiths spent the majority of last season playing out wide rather than up front. This versatility will be invaluable for us this season.
With the exception of four or five players, we have little Premier League quality in our squad. We will struggle every game and every point will be a blessing. Survival is almost beyond imaginable but we will never stop trying to achieve it.
Let's have a look at who will be challenging for the Top Four in the Barclays Premier League this season. But, before that, I want to show you guys the league table from each of the previous six seasons. A lot went on which may surprise you, including some very interesting high-placing teams.
Manager: Massimilliano Allegri Captain: Sergio Agüero Key Player: Miguel Barboza Predicted Finish: 1st Last Season: 1st
Manchester City have won the league twice in the six seasons and have moved from strength-to-strength in that time. Sergio Agüero and Joe Hart are the only players who remain from their first league title winning campaign back in 2012. Attack is City's only thought and why not when they possess players of the quality of Barboza, Kovacic, Isco, Berardi, Volland and many many more. They are the current, reigning champions of England and it will be difficult for anybody to knock them off their perch.
Manager: José Mourinho Captain: Romelu Lukaku Key Player: Eden Hazard Predicted Finish: 2nd Last Season: 2nd
José Mourinho enters his eighth season in his second spell with Chelsea and he will be looking to win his third league title in that time. Big signings have come in in the summer including Mattia De Sciglio and José will be hoping that he can go one better than second place this season. With Diego Costa out injured for a potential two months, there will be more pressure than ever on captain Romelu Lukaku (who was re-signed from Everton years ago) to score more league goals than the 12 he did last season. He has more than enough assistance, however, with Eden Hazard, Oscar, Thiago and Tielemans behind him in midfield. The title race might be a two-horse chase, if Chelsea can keep up with City.
Manager: Joachim Löw Captain: Kevin Strootman Key Player: Adnan Januzaj Predicted Finish: 3rd Last Season: 4th
Both of Manchester United's Premier League victories in the last six season came under van Gaal, who retired after 2017. Since then, they have struggled under Jorge Jesus, Antonio Conte and Laurent Blanc, who all eventually got the sack, the latter leading them to just fourth last season. This time, Joachim Löw is the manager and he has brought in two high-profile players in Gerard Deulofeu and Alessio Romagnoli. These two will link up with the best player in the league in Adnan Januzaj, along with Luka Jovic, Antoine Griezmann and Christian Eriksen. The German manager will be hoping to push for the title but will the board show him patience if he falters, or will he follow in the footsteps of those who have failed at Old Trafford before him?
Manager: Brendan Rodgers Captain: Jordan Henderson Key Player: Raheem Sterling Predicted Finish: 4th Last Season: 7th
Brendan Rodgers has no right to be happy with his team finishing 7th last season, despite winning the FA Cup. Despite this, he brought in nobody for his senior squad but will need to get his attackers firing in full cylinders again if his team is to make a top four charge. On their day, an attack of Luciano Vietto, Raheem Sterling, Mario Balotelli, Philippe Coutinho, Salomon Rondón, and more, cane take on and overwhelm anybody but they need to find form. Their early season form has been their bane in previous seasons, can they start strong this season and push for Champions League qualification?
Manager: Gerardo Martino Captain: Aaron Ramsey Key Player: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Predicted Finish: 5th Last Season: 3rd
Arsenal is the last club with a true chance of finishing in the top four. Despite finishing third last season, they are not favoured all too well to be in the top four this season. They are not the same Arsenal as they were 15/16 years ago. They have become fragile, weak, and very beatable. If you take away key players Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Óliver, there are not many players who make you jump out of your seat. It's a sad reality for Arsenal but they are diminishing rapidly in to mid-table obscurity.
José Mourinho Mocks Whitehawk's Slim Odds Of Avoiding Relegation This Season
Chelsea manager José Mourinho has spoken of his confidence of beating Whitehawk at The Enclosed Round in his team's opening game in the Barclays Premier League season this weekend. The Blues manager laughed off any chance of his side falling to complacency against a side who's total wage budget adds up to just 2.5% of his side's wages, a remarkable figure for a side hoping to avoid relegation from the Premier League.
José Mourinho:"Is there a chance (of losing to Whitehawk)? No. Not at all. We have very good players and we play very good together at this moment and we are happy with how we want to play. We lost to Real Madrid on penalties in the Champions League final last season which was very sad for us but we want more this year. This year we want trophies. We must start the season well to do this. We know we cannot be complacent and we will not lose this game. Our best players will play and they know what they have to do to stay in my team. Winning is the only option."
Whitehawk manager Prince William Mountbatten-Windsor may have felt a little hard done by when his chairman Jim Collins gave him next to nothing to spend in the transfer window to strengthen the squad, despite the club's relatively strong financial position. When asked if he felt any sympathy for the Hawks manager, José showed no interest.
José Mourinho:"That is football. Some clubs spend a lot of money and some do not. If every club spent lots of money the league and cup would not be decided on football ability but by bank cheques and loans. Yes of course he would have a stronger team if he had more money but so would every team in England and in the world. You cannot just blame no money for not doing well in a season. Money does not win you football matches. You see this ten pound note? Does it have arms, legs and a head? No, not the queen's head, but does it have an actual head? No. It is not human.It cannot run, it cannot kick a ball, it cannot wear boots. Money does not play football. Yes it is a part of it but it does not mean everything. Tactics and players win you games. Not money."
Chelsea have three players unavailable for the weekend's fixture including Spanish duo Saúl and Diego Costa who both miss out through injury, while new signing Mattia De Sciglio is still away with the Italian Olympic football team. When asked about tactics and player choices, Mourinho gave little away.
José Mourinho:"Will I give you password to security system in my house too? Or PIN to my bank account? If I did that I would lose something. Why would I tell you who I will play and how I will play? This is a stupid question. I never give away my tactics or player choices. Never."
Romelu Lukaku Celebrates His Second Goal Of The Game With His Team-Mates
It was a cool August afternoon as Chelsea kicked off their Barclays Premier League with a comfortable 3-0 victory at the home of newly-promoted Whitehawk. A first-half brace from captain Romelu Lukaku gave The Blues a comfortable half-time lead before midfielder Thiago Alcantara put the game beyond doubt with a goal early in the second half.
5,000 fans were present at a full Enclosed Ground to celebrated Whitehawk's first ever appearance in the Premier League although they did not have long to celebrate as they were pegged back after just six minutes. The Whitehawk defence was put under a lot of early pressure as they were forced to repel wave after wave of Chelsea onslaught. Eventually, Belgian winger Eden Hazard weaved his way past two Whitehawk defenders and curled a delicate cross which was headed home by an unmarked Romelu Lukaku.
Lukaku almost had his second just minutes later but was denied by goalkeeper Elliot Parish. Chelsea midfielder Youri Tielemans picked out the Belgian striker with a delicate through ball which set him one-on-one with just the goalkeeper to beat but the Whitehawk stopper came up with the goods to produce a stunning save. He was kept busy moments after as he punched away a dangerous cross from Oscar which had the Whitehawk defence in split minds.
As the first half progressed, Whitehawk began to find their feet and almost threatened the unneeded Thibaut Courtois through Zach Clough and Kevin Griffiths. The former had broken free after his team mates had successfully defended a Chelsea corner but before he could get within 20 yards of Chelsea's goal, Oscar had successfully caught him and intervened with a marvellous sliding challenge. Minutes later, Kevin Griffiths had time and space to cut in from the left and unleash a long-range pile driver but it flew just wide of Courtois' left-hand post.
Lukaku added his second of the game just before half time in emphatic fashion. After a rare foray forward for Whitehawk was broken down, Oscar curled a magnificent outside-of-the-boot pass to put Lukaku one-on-one who made no mistake this time as he powered a high shot past Parish and in to the net to double Chelsea's lead and add to Whitehawk's misery.
Whitehawk enjoyed the majority of the possession in the game but it was Chelsea who created with what they had and they continued to put the home side under waves of pressure. Nearly an hour had passed when Chelsea found their third. Whitehawk half-dealt with a Hazard free-kick but the Belgian picked the ball up and, as he did for the first goal, blazed past a Whitehawk defender and cross, this time low, for Thiago Alcantara who volley across goal for first goal of the season.
Eden Hazard almost added his own name to the score sheet but fell just short of the mark. The on-form attacker had jinxed his way past four Whitehawk defenders to find himself inside the box but saw his vicious shot hit the side netting. Moments later, he teed up Youri Tielemans who was unable to keep his shot down and under the crossbar.
Whitehawk were unable to break down Chelsea's resilient defence as Mourinho's men marched away with the three points to kick-start their title charge. William Mountbatten-Windsor will be left wondering where he can hope to pick up any points following his side's battering.
Prince William Acknowledges His Side's Monumental Battle Against Relegation
Whitehawk FC was the victim of a ravaging by Chelsea on the opening day of the Premier League season and the next few weeks do not look much brighter for them with a trip to Anfield to face Liverpool and a tough televised fixture against Tottenham Hotspur on the horizon. Manager Prince William has acknowledged that the season will only become tougher for his Whitehawk side.
Prince William:"It was a very tough game for us. Every team in the world is up against it when they play Chelsea. They pushed Real Madrid all the way to penalties in last season's Champions League final, scoring three goals in the process. They did the same here today but unfortunately we couldn't find the back of the net ourselves. We weren't able to craft out the same opportunities that they were and we were beaten quite fairly in the end.
I think we played well, given the team that we are. A club just promoted from the Championship is always going to find it hard playing Chelsea in the opening game of the season but we made a good show of ourselves. We had the majority of the possession and played some nice technical football but we were broken down by world class players in a team coached by a world class manager. We're not yet at the stage where we can compete with teams like Chelsea, it was always an uphill battle for us."
Prince William admitted that Whitehawk's next two league games would not yet be a true test of where the team is, due to the ability of the opponents.
Prince William:"Liverpool and Tottenham are two very big teams who are pushing for Champions League spots and we will be up against it again when we face them. Anfield is a very historic venue but while we will be very much enjoying the occasion, we need to keep focused and perform as well as we can. If we can get a goal or two against Liverpool and Tottenham, we might even sneak a result.
I don't think you can judge this team's credentials just yet. It will take some time for the players to adjust to the intensity and the demands of the Premier League but when we do, we will start picking up a lot of points. I believe that the fans will have to remain patient because it will be a long and tough season for us but we will improve and we will survive. We might not pick up points in the next couple of weeks but we will start to click and when we do, we will show the world why Whitehawk is a team to fear."
League Match vs Chelsea (H) 15/08/2020: As you guys saw from earlier, we were quite easily defeated by Chelsea in the opening game of the season by the score of 0-3, with Belgian duo Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku on tip-top form to beat us.
League Match vs Liverpool (A) 22/08/2020: Next up was a daunting trip to Anfield to face Liverpool who went one better against us and beat us 4-0. We had gone in to the game with little of hope of earning a result and we left with our heads in our hands as we were beaten by a tactical masterclass from Brendan Rodgers. We couldn't do much as the rampaging Reds stormed past our defence time and time again.
Capital One Cup Match vs Southend (H) 25/08/2020: Normally I would have been confident of beating Southend but conceding seven and scoring none in our opening two games had left our players with shattered egos and no confidence. However, we took the lead through a Ben Hamer own goal but even that was against the run of play as we were constantly pressed back in to our own box and goalkeeper Ross Fitzsimons was relied on to bail us out of trouble on many occasions. Southend duly equalised in the second half to bring the game to Extra Time but striker Zach Clough stole the win for us as he pounced on a defensive error to score his first for the club and to put us through.
League Match vs Tottenham Hotspur (H) 31/08/2020: I was dreading this match and was fully expecting a third consecutive league defeat at the hands of Spurs. However, I was very surprised when Zach Clough got his second goal in as many games to open the scoring in the first half. Unfortunately, Eric Dier equalised in the second half and Hugo Lloris had the game of his career to deny us all three points. However, a point is a point and to get one against such a strong team will really kick-start our season. We could have gotten three points but one will do for me.
Overall: I really can't complain, to be honest. As soon as I saw the fixture list, I knew what we were getting in to. We stood no chance against Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs and I'm surprised that we even managed to get a single point out of those games! We got the win I expected over Southend so all-in-all, I'm happy with our performances this month and hopefully we can build on our last two results.
Player Of The Month
It was a hard prize to give this month, admittedly, but it has to go to Billy Roast who helped to keep the scores down significantly against Chelsea and Liverpool. He then produced a Man of the Match performance against Tottenham to help secure us a precious point towards the end of the month. He has stepped up his game with this latest promotion and his no-nonsense defending has been key for us. This is his fourth season with Whitehawk and his fourth different division with us too, which proves his ability to adapt well. He is a key player for us and his value cannot be underestimated.
Billy Roast's Season Stats Appearances: 3 Goals: 0 Assists: 0 MotM Awards: 1
Unsurprisingly, we are located in the relegation zone in 19th position. Only Southampton have enjoyed a worse start as they have been unable to pick up a single point yet in three games. We have the worst Goal Difference in the league but it is still very early days and I am not concerned about the league table just yet. There are thirty-five more games to be played before it tells the full story about the season.
On paper it is a much easier month but in reality we are still up against it as all of our opponents are a class above us, including Aston Villa in the Capital One Cup. All I can hope for is a result or two to go our way and hope for the best in the cup. The tough times have only started and it will be a while before we will find any sort of form, I fear.