It feels like another world, doesn’t it? August! So long ago. A more innocent time.
With the Premier League fixtures this weekend mirroring those on the opening day of the season, it’s worth looking back on what conclusions we draw after that first round of games. Would we look incredibly silly? Would we look incredibly prophetic?
Fortunately for our dignity now, the Totally Football Show is not a place for knee-jerk hot takes, so we don’t look especially silly. On our first show of the Premier League season we were cautious about reading too much into Manchester United beating Chelsea 4-0, with Daniel Storey noting back then that United’s midfield needed to be strengthened significantly.
After Liverpool’s 4-1 win over Norwich, the pod raved about their attack and Andy Murray (not that one) concluded that the injury to Allison, while not ideal, wouldn’t be too much of a problem for them over the following weeks.
And on Watford, who lost 3-0 to Brighton in their first game, Matt Davies-Adams had one word: “Crikey.”
We did get a few things wrong, though. Matt Davies-Adams saw something in Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Newcastle that made him think this would be a good season for the Gunners, Andy Murray (not that one) predicted that Rodri would be a key part of Manchester City’s success after they steamrollered West Ham while Daniel Storey had a hunch that Christian Eriksen and Tottenham would put their differences behind them and muddle through until the end of the season.
On this week’s Totally Football Show, we reflected on the way we were, and what we assumed would come to pass back then.
Lynsey Hooper thought, like many did, that City outscoring City would become a familiar sight. “I thought that would become a theme, that they would outscore them in a similar fashion to the previous season when they had this very high points totals and would always be on each other’s tails. I thought Manchester City would be setting the pace.
“I remember humourously tweeting,” said Duncan Alexander, “at the end of the West Ham v City game that Liverpool had blown the title by only scoring four against Norwich, because they scored all their goals in the first-half and not scoring any in the second, and it did seem like ‘uh-oh, they’re already behind, this is going to be a long season.’”
Nick Miller chipped in: “I was at that West Ham v City game and I remember being quite dispirited as they bulldozed West Ham, just thinking ‘ah, this is just going to be the same again.’”
Elsewhere Tanguy Ndombele scored on his debut for Tottenham, hailed by all and sundry despite things not going so well since, while Jack Grealish was on the wrong end of his 19th straight Premier League defeat. “That was the angle in August,” said Duncan, “and he’s possibly gone on to have one of the best seasons of anyone in the Premier League.
“You can’t judge anything in August. Except maybe tomatoes.”
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