Hurray for the return of the GAA national leagues, which mark the proper start of the inter-county season. Along with the Six Nations, they usher in the sporting year: a time of renewal and reawakening and of getting out of the house, writes
Tempting and easy as it would be to write off the chances of either of these London rivals in next month’s Wembley final against Manchester City, there will still be a worry in Pep Guardiola’s camp that Arsene Wenger is not a spent force yet.
If there were any suggestions that Manchester City’s solo waltz to the Premier League title would take all the drama out of 2018, then Arsenal and Chelsea provided the perfect riposte with a wonderful match full of skill, resolve, and scintillating football — from two teams who know they cannot win the big prize.
In what is shaping up to be a golden age of strikers for the Premier League, Chelsea’s match-up against Manchester City today, the first real title six-pointer of the season, is the kind of game which will decide whether the hype surrounding the likes of Alvaro Morata is justified.
Ander Herrera says Manchester City’s summer spending makes them Premier League favourites, with Pep Guardiola’s trophyless first season meaning they currently have a greater obligation to win titles than Manchester United.
The opening weekend of the season may be too early to talk of a crisis, but the mood music around Stamford Bridge is not good and Saturday’s humiliation by Burnley was not out of character from a club that has appeared dysfunctional since before becoming champions last May.