After a fashion, I guess. The World’s Most Popular Sports League resumed last weekend, and if it seems difficult to pay serious attention to sporting events in the middle of August, the creme de la Prem provided ample demonstration why. Manchester United did the business with all the fleshly joy and spiritual panache of a dockside prostitute caught in arrears with her pimp, snuffing out spirited Birmingham on a Wayne Rooney dink produced by a move I must describe as elegant, in spite of myself. United then declared the afternoon over, and thus began yet another proficient march to the championship and expanded ancillary merchandising opportunities.
Meanwhile, it would be nice to say Arsenal were at their jazzy, technical best in their 1:6 nailgunning of Everton. The losers, however, did not exactly demand high art of their conquerors. Everton looked a lot like my futsal team when we run into a side composed of Mexican high school kids who live on spinach and fish. They chopped down midfielders in desperation and failed to mark on the resulting set pieces. Arsenal barely had to think. One imagines Arsene Wenger (pictured here!) descending into a deep case of existential ennui and imagining a new version of football in which players mount the backs of centaurs, just to keep himself interested.
If Everton were revolting, at least Liverpool managed to be sort of hilarious. Oh, no—it’s no laughing matter, of course. Tottenham away is exactly the kind of tough-but-doable match eventual champions find ways to win, and it crushes the old heart to imagine, say, a three-point gap separating the Reds from Manchester United come early May. Maybe certified Spurs fan Steve Nash’s guest appearance on last night’s Entourage was some kind of weird omen, because Liverpool went flailing to their demise. Jamie Carragher set the amusing tone early on, as he collided with a teammate in the style of a Little League outfielder and proceeded to wear a vaudevillian head bandage for the rest of the game. Broad, sure—but comedy nonetheless.
As for Chelsea, I have little to say beyond acknowledging that at the rate the world is going, I’m going to end up liking them. That’s about as alarming as it gets, and that’s the take away from Matchday One.