There are certain things in life that make life worth living; sitting at home for two months without football has dulled my life beyond belief.
So this weekend the DSTV subscription will be up again and I will say goodbye to many friends I made over the last two months as I focus exclusively on football.
We all know certain things are permanent; Ryan Giggs will belie his old age with a last season, Fabregas will be electric if he stays, Drogba will moan and demand a transfer by August 21st, Ferguson will play mind tricks and so on.
It is good to focus on the real players who make the league great; the under-rated players, the future greats who will bless this game with wondrous moments.
These are the players I expect to step up a few gears in this coming season.
Ben Foster (GK) Man U – Edwin Van Der Sar is now 38 and sometimes prone to injury, but Foster has come in when needed and shone. The question is whether it is too soon to let him in.
Brede Hangeland – Arsenal are favourites to sign the Nordic god; it is like he was conceived by the Viking god Thor and wonder-woman. Nearly 2 metres of shear brutal force and wolf-like hunting power, at 28 he is relatively late to the Premiership but he can easily play till 35.
He should provide Arsenal with the power they have lacked since Sol Campbell left. Imagine him and Vidic manning a border-post, airtight.
Joleon Lescott – The force behind Everton’s stability at the back, a former left-back who moved inside and added goal-scoring to his game. Man City look favourites to sign him on a mega-deal; he won’t take long to adapt to a new team and can organise the back.
Kieran Gibbs – The Arsenal youngster exceeded expectations last year when he deputised for Gael Clichey; he is unlikely to dislodge the Frenchman but his attacking instincts could see him being useful down the left-wing.
Rafael – The young Brazilian dazzled for Man U but the seniority of Gary Neville restricted his appearances. His propensity for injury is the only problem he has; on his day he is often the best player on the pitch with fearless wing-back play.
Fabian Delph – A versatile midfielder who starred for Leeds in the 3rd tier of English football; he is rated as one of the best players that England has produced for a decade. He is a natural passer like Fabregas with wing-play and an eye for players’ movements.
Ashley Young – Only Fabregas has had more assists than this player; he was bought as a striker but is used in a deeper role, often switches wings and drives the game with his pace. It is great to watch direct players with flair who are unselfish; he is likely to move to Liverpool but Man U could hijack the move.
Jack Wilshere – Arsene Wenger has at last produced an English player of world-class potential; a lot of hype was placed on this “English Messi” but he is proving to be worth the hype.
He could be the greatest player Wenger ever produced or just another good youngster who failed to make it.
Lee Catermole – Middlesbrough were foolish to let him go and they paid the price; a classic tough-tackling no-nonsense midfielder who holds Wigan together, even Wenger is interested.
Gabriel Agbonlahor – He caused a family split in the house by opting for his mothers’ England instead of his fathers’ Nigeria. He started with a bang but soon his game was found out and he faded; if he could bring more variety to compliment his pace then he’d be unplayable.
Hugo Rodallega – The stocky Ecuadorian struggled to find his feet but he looks like another gem to add to Wigan’s collection of Central American rough diamonds like Wilson Palacios, Antonio Valencia, and others in the pipeline.