MONDAY’S BIG STORIES

Where to start?

There is nothing quite like the opening weekend of the Premier League. Or more specifically, there is nothing quite like that delighted or sinking feeling you get after your side wins or loses their first game of the season. So, without further ado, let’s jump to some very early conclusions*…
Premier League
'No question' - Ferdinand makes Haaland Ballon d'Or prediction
17/09/2022 AT 17:14
Erling Haaland! At this rate, he’ll score 76 league goals this season, and already has Alan Shearer’s all-time Premier League record in his sights. 260 goals, you say? We’ll give it five seasons, by which point he’ll have helped Manchester City significantly close the gap on Manchester United’s record PL haul of 13 titles.
Tottenham! They’re destined for second, did you see the way they responded to going a goal down? And Son Heung-min or Harry Kane didn’t even score. Imagine when that duo are firing as well. Antonio Conte is a genius, and Spurs will be fighting for the title until the final day.
Fulham! They’re staying up. Definitely. They’ll press and they’ll press and never run out of energy and treat every match as if they’re facing Liverpool. Heck, they could even draw every game and still survive on 38 points, with Aleksandar Mitrovic scoring at least 20 and making his way into every Fantasy Premier League team by the end of this week.
Callum Wilson! If it wasn’t for Haaland, he’d have his hands around the Golden Boot trophy already, but still, he’ll be firing Newcastle to the Champions League before getting his hands on that trophy as well next season. There’s no stopping the Toon’s takeover.
Jesse Marsch and Bruno Lage! Are going to settle their differences in the ring, on the undercard of some YouTuber fighting a 50-year-old former world champion in Las Vegas. The smart money’s on Lage, but don’t rule out Marsch fighting in front of a home crowd.
Man Utd! Are doomed. Erik ten Hag will be gone by Christmas and the former Manchester United players will be queuing up for the three-month role that turns into three years. In fact, it’ll be Sir Alex Ferguson, with Cristiano Ronaldo his player-assistant, and finally United fans will accept that parody is better than trying to take it seriously.
Bournemouth! Flying. Aston Villa! In a state. Chelsea! No more drama. Everton! Haha not but seriously, doomed as well.
And that’s enough of that.
*Please don’t take any of these seriously, except maybe the Haaland one, because seriously, who actually knows.

Haaland announces himself to the Prem

We have to delve into Haaland’s performance a little deeper because, well, what a performance. “Unplayable,” said Gary Neville, and he’s about right. Two goals against West Ham on his Premier League debut, and as many expected the Norwegian has hit the ground running.
Of course, though, given Football Twitter has taken over the narrative of Football Life, Pep Guardiola still felt the need to say this…
"One week ago, he could not adapt in the Premier League. And now he is alongside Titi Henry, Alan Shearer and Cristiano Ronaldo."
…but for those who actually watch football and don’t feel the need to troll or bash a player for one miss, it was clear Haaland was ready-made for the Prem, that he is wired differently to your average player, and that he is in fact a goalscoring machine programmed to do the game’s most important skill in the most devastating fashion.

Messi!

And that takes us neatly onto Messi. He’s back? Did he ever go away? Well, either way, he scored a third of his 2021-22 Ligue 1 tally in the opening game of the 2022-23 season, producing a performance so special that even the home Clermont fans were chanting his name.
The overhead kick was of course delightful, but let’s talk about that assist. Was it a miscontrol? Was it a purposeful flick?
It seems almost sacrilege to question whether the best player this sport has ever seen actually meant something, but we’ll leave that for you to decide…

IN OTHER NEWS

Oh, Man Utd…

We can’t just leave United with one whimsical paragraph, they need their own section, although really what is there to say? It feels like déjà vu over at Old Trafford, for apart from the man in the dugout, it’s the same old problems, with the same old players, and the same Roy Keane and Gary Neville comments afterwards.

'Have to learn from that' - Ten Hag on Man Utd's loss in his first PL game in charge

Of course, it’s not Keane or Neville’s fault, they’re just saying what they see, but after the early promise around Erik ten Hag’s arrival – where for a fleeting moment there was seemingly the prospect of him actually changing the culture of the club – it could hardly have got off to a poorer start when it actually mattered.
Ten Hag will have known the size of the task when he agreed to join. Louis van Gaal even tried to warm him off it. But it could soon dawn on him now that it may well be mission impossible.

IN OTHER OTHER NEWS

Like, seriously, there’s too much going on, but we don’t want our Monday’s Warm-Up to go by without addressing the fact that LAFC are absolutely tearing it up in the MLS.
Top of the Western Conference and on a five-game winning streak, it started with victory in El Traffico over LA Galaxy, and most recently saw Gareth Bale stroll through the park in their 4-1 win over Real Salt Lake this weekend just gone.
And you would think that Haaland or Messi or Bale or Lage-Marsch would have produced the moment of the weekend, but frankly we can’t stop thinking about Giorgio Chiellini playing volleyball…

IN THE CHANNELS

We present to you a Match of the Day double. Firstly, because bravo Ian Wright…
And secondly, because we’ll stick our neck on the line and say this is pretty hilarious from Shearer. Ultimate dad joke, but quality.

COMING UP

West Brom at home to Watford in the Championship tonight, and then you’ve got some Carabao Cup and Champions League qualifying action in midweek.
Also, Real Madrid against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Super Cup on Wednesday. You see, Klopp is really glad they lost that final, cos it means one less game this season.
Premier League
Haaland gives 'hope' with ability to score goals 'out of nothing', says Ferdinand
17/09/2022 AT 11:47
Football
‘Doesn’t let you breathe’ - Alves describes Ronaldo as his toughest opponent
15/09/2022 AT 20:19