The consensus from the comments in this week’s transfer roundup seems to be a lot of excitement and optimism for the summer’s arrivals and the club’s resultant chances for the season. Fair enough; given the number of actual, legitmately high-profile transfers it certainly seems warranted to me. But of course the issue every August is that a busy transfer window necessarily means instability with the squad. While the continuation of Emery and the coaching staff should help to ameliorate that problem, there’s no getting around the fact that the team will be adjusting to losing its central, largest cog as well as changes along the back line, throughout the midfield, and possibly in attack. Furthermore, while the recent news regarding Fazio hasn’t yet consolidated into a transfer announcement, his late-developing move has resulted in his not even suiting up today, so whether he’s transferred to Tottenham or not, he’s as good as gone for today’s game. Regardless of how’s signed to replace him before the end of August, the simple fact is that we suddenly have a full-on emergency at CB, the most problematic position last season. All of that to say, there’s going to be an adjustment period. These players, and this team, are not going to be at maximum potential on August 23rd. And the gap between the team we’re imagining right now and what we’ll see later today will be annoying. I’m not saying we won’t win or I don’t think we’ll win. I’m just saying, prepare yourself.
That makes our opening match with Valencia particularly challenging and vexing. It’s awesome we’ve got all the pieces to be formidable, and we’re playing a team we’d all love to see get stomped like so many toes under Spahic’s cleats for both emotional as well as, you know…points-winning reasons. Emery will want that especially. Banega as well, one imagines. And Monchi will want it from his seat in the balcony, and Del Nido from his jail cell, and Tim from the RSP (I’m assuming–you wouldn’t miss the opener, would you Tim?), and you and I huddled around our computer or television screens. But it’s early going, and who knows. It doesn’t seem like that long ago we started a season at La Mestalla and red card saw Kanoute sent off (seriously–it doesn’t seem that long, but that was five years ago. Wow, I’m getting old watching this team); on the other hand, it was even less time ago that Sevilla benefitted from a sending off and beat Valencia, so there’s that. All of that to say that there are really no certainties for this game, other than if Valencia gets a red card, there will for sure be some Valencia fans in the comments section venting their anger (love you guys! Keep coming back!)
Enough talk, though: it is finally game time.
(Oh! But if you haven’t had a chance to register your predictions for next season, take a minute to head over and get them set while you wait for kickoff.)