Well, we’re not even at the end of July and already the mind games have started.
This promises to be a fascinating Premier League season. Luiz Felipe Scolari has barely hung up his suit on the back of his office door at Chelsea and already he has been given a pleasant ‘welcome’ to English football by rival Sir Alex Ferguson.
While Fergie’s Manchester United currently have the upper hand over Chelsea after pipping them to both the Premier League and Champions League in May, his comments must be taken with a pinch of salt.
Fergie says he’s not worried, but I don’t believe that for a second.
Under Scolari, with his limited experience of managing in Europe, Chelsea, for now, remain an unknown quantity. But with Deco settling in nicely at Stamford Bridge and key duo Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba looking like they are staying at Stamford Bridge for the time being, this looks a pretty useful Chelsea set-up to me and Ferguson need look no further than the Kings Road for his main title rivals this season.
Yes, the likes of Lampard, Ballack and Deco may be the wrong side of 30, but they’re hardly pedestrian and past it, and Ferguson would surely make way for all three in his United set-up given the chance.
United too, have aging stars such as Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs – a trio who are a lot further down the line than Chelsea’s so-called wrinklies.
For Ferguson, this is his way of welcoming a new rival to the Premier League to let him know he’s there. There’s nothing wrong with that and Scolari showed in his press conference yesterday that it hasn’t come to a great surprise to him and that it certainly won’t faze him.
This week, all top four sides have been preparing for the new season in all four corners of the globe. Whether it be United in South Africa, Chelsea in China, or Arsenal and Liverpool in eastern Europe, these are PR exercises at the moment, but you can be assured that come the next couple of weeks when the season looms large, things will start getting serious.