Work! It’s what we’re celebrating in the United States right now. It’s Labor Day and it’s also an international break. Essentially, a break from work during a holiday is created to celebrate work and the spoils gainful employment provides.
But what kind of work lies ahead for our boys? Are they truly fit? Mentally and physically? Are they ready to face new challenges from old rivals? That’s the kind of work I wonder about, so I decided to compile a quick list of matches that will be the most and least amount of work.
Let’s talk about the schedule. Who has done this to our REDS?!!
They manipulated the schedule so that hungry Leeds; indignant Crytal Palace; and upstart Ricochet Rabbit team Brentford come at us one after another! How fair is that?
Have you seen Brentford play? You had to watch when they decimated Arsenal to kick off this season. Are you that confident about our chances?
I don’t know why the 21-22 season has me starting off in negative space, but it has me worried. I’ve seen a lot of money and talent head to the Manchesters’.
I’ve witnessed precision from Tottenham (really!), and there are a few signs of life from Everton and Chelsea. Where we end up is anybody’s guess – and we’re still in contention – because as I bang the keyboard, we sit in fifth with Everton on our heels, just a single goal behind us. What is the world coming to?
Well, here’s what I think is happening. And as an illustration, I’ll break down the next four matches. If I’m correct in my notes, as I’m certain I will be, I’m going to need an emotional support goat or something to keep my spirits up.
These are not ‘predictions’, but more opinions on where I see the team as they face a pretty balanced slate between this coming weekend and the next break on October 4. The ties as they come up are: At Leeds; Crystal Palace; At Brentford; and home against Man City to close out this stretch.
At Leeds – Sunday, September 12
While they’ve yet to win a match this season, Leeds is on the upswing. A loss out of the gate put them behind the eight ball. And it didn’t help that Bamford hasn’t contributed much. See the 5-1 loss to City. But Bamford was precise and energetic on Sunday last for England and should be a bit more worrisome. I think this could turn into a draw if we don’t make any mistakes. At home and hungry is not the Leeds team we want to face.
Home sweet home vs Crystal Palace – Saturday, September 18
Crystal Palace have two draws and two points and they’ve sitting at -3 goal differential. What’s that tell me? We better not look past them. This is a match that will either end 2-0 or 6-3. I don’t see Palace backing down. Big factor is the weather as anectdotally I think Palace play better in foul conditions. Since you can’t control that, we’ll need to be mistake free.
At Brentford – Saturday, September 25
I once lived on a street that was very similar to the word Brentford. This proximity and life experience allows me to tell you right here and right now, this match could be our first loss of the season and we have Manchester City the following week at home. Seldom do I buy into the mania of calling games ‘must-win’ contests, but if there are any must-wins in this section of the season, Brentford is it. The rest of the fall and right up until the flood of matches over the holidays, all depend on this one match. Hyperbole, sure. A little sarcasm, yes. But a healthy amount of fear. C’mon boys, this one matters.
Lastly, Anfield for Manchester City – Sunday, October 3
Also as I write this, the trio of Fab, Firmino and Allison are ruled out of this week’s match. What the heck FIFA?!! OK, had to get that out. Now to City. They are stacked, but my belief is that you CAN have too many stars. And like Man United in 2018, I suspect there’s going to be some tussling over penalties, playing time and even locker-room learship. To that end, this match is still early in the campaign and City hasn’t imploded yet. Game at home, complete focus. We escape 3-2.
Then it’s on to another break. But the work is going to be real and relentless this season. I know i’m excited for some semblance of normalcy. And I’m definitely ready for the distraction of football.
How about you?