EPL and Pompeys - 10 Days Away

Ten days is all that remain for the English Premier League to start. The agonizing wait will be over on August 16th, but I'm sure the coming ten days will be very, very long. Especially because of the lack of activity in the transfer market, and also because I've registered in every fantasy football site possible in the internet and there's nothing else to do other than wait for the show to begin.

I still remember the day I walked away depressed after we drew against Bolton, and United lifted the trophy. When I look back, I can't believe it was about three months back. Moscow delivered another blow soon after that. The Euros, the pre-season friendly matches and the transfer rumors meant the focus was still on football during the summer.

The transfer window until now has been good for the Blues'. There was a general feeling among the fans that we may get another "Grant" as the manager. But the surprise appointment of Scolari during the Euros was a huge relief. The player signings has been good as well. The pre-season tour helped some players like Anelka and Malouda in getting back to form. And more importantly, with the signing of Scolari as manager, Chelsea were able to hold on to players like Carvalho, Lampard and Essien who could easily have been lured away by Mourinho.

With ten more days to go, I believe there won't be much transfer activity now. There maybe a few transfers out; Pizzaro, Belletti, Wright-Phillips, and we may see the arrival of Robinho. Real's signing of Van der Vaart and an injury to Sneijder has certainly complicated matters. This, in some way, will decide where Ronaldo and Berbatov play next season. So we might still see a bit of transfer action there, where one deal could initiate the signing of a few more deals.

Scolari will have lots to think about in the matters of squad selection and formation as well. Anelka proved a point in Moscow and so it would be difficult for Scolari to replace Drogba with Anelka, though a fully fit Drogba would suit the Chelsea formation a lot better. Anelka will have his chances in the first few matches when Drogba will be out injured. The participation of Kalou in Olympics mean Malouda also will get his opportunities as well. It will be difficult to accommodate Deco in the midfield unless he is played in a defensive role, in which case Mikel will warm the bench. Another possibility is that Essien plays as a right-back till Bosingwa is back from injury.

So, moving to Premier League news, The Football Association on Tuesday launched its "Respect" campaign, a program aimed at improving the behavior of players at all levels of football in England. A much needed thing in the Premier League I would say, where respect for referees and opponents seem to be on a decline. Team captains will have the added responsibility of helping referees maintain discipline in the pitch.

I'm off for now, but will be back when something write-worthy happens, maybe something like Chelsea's Robinho bid getting accepted.

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