The John Horgan column: Premier League will keep us going until the GAA returns

The John Horgan column: Premier League will keep us going until the GAA returns
Manchester City's Sergio Aguero (centre) sees his shot hit the post leading to Phil Foden (not pictured) to score his side's third goal against Arsenal

THE famine has ended so now lets the feast begin. That in a nutshell, sums up the Premier League which began last night with Arsenal taking on Manchester City and Sheffield United squaring up to Aston Villa.

Over the past number of months we have had to rely on the archives for our entertainment, games from the past that captured our imagination.

However, it’s not the real thing and there’s only so much time you can devote to looking back.

After all, we knew the outcomes, they certainly weren’t going to change.

But from last Wednesday night onwards we are going to be boggle eyed with all the live games, on most days at least two, on other days three and four.

They will fill in nicely before the GAA season gets up and running again at the latter end of July when the clubs get the first bite at the cherry.

Liverpool are about to begin their lap of honour with their first title in 30 years, a title they will deservedly win because of their phenomenal achievement of having lost just one game going into the Merseyside derby on Sunday night.

Apart from the imminent coronation, there are so many other issues to be sorted out with many bosses maybe falling on their sword if things don’t work out the way they want them.

One of the pivotal games to be played in the season that remains takes place at White Hart Lane tomorrow with Spurs facing Manchester United.

In many ways both sides have
benefited from the extended break. It gave both of them time to get key players fit, Rashford and Pogba for United and Kane for Spurs.

Both teams are in a battle for a Champions League spot next season, United four points ahead of their rivals and a win tonight would give them a huge advantage with eight games left.

United were on a hot streak before the season closed down, going 11 games unbeaten. So far in his managerial career at Old Trafford, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been defined by winning streaks and equally losing runs.

The critical games at the top and the battle for Champions League spots and at the other end the relegation issues are going to come thick and fast.

The fact, of course, that five substitutes are going to be allowed in the remaining games is going to ease the burden considerably.

Another issue will be, how will clubs fare out playing in empty stadiums. The home advantage that some clubs might have benefited from when a game is in the melting pot is now gone.

It does not matter to Liverpool now but in past playing at Anfield was a huge advantage if they found themselves trailing in a game. Enter their fanatical support that had the capability of putting the ball in the net for them.

There used be a time when that was the case with United too, the Old Trafford crowd getting in among the players to drive them over the line.

We don’t know whether Manchester City will be allowed compete in the Champions League next season but if they are, you would have to put your money on them, Leicester and Chelsea joining Liverpool in Europe.

However, if not, then the battle to take their place will be intense with United, Sheffield United, Wolves, Arsenal and Spurs all in the chase.

Wolves and Sheffield United have been a godsend to the Premier League this season but the question to be posed, is can they take up from where they left off before the season was suspended.

If one or both force themselves into the Champions League it would nearly be as be as big an achievement as Liverpool winning the league.

At the other end the relegation issues to be resolved could prove to be equally as fascinating with at least six clubs hovering around the drop zone.

Relegation means, of course, that the manager of that club finds himself in a very vulnerable position and may not survive the chop.

West Ham are one of the clubs in a very precarious position and relegation could be disastrous for David Moyes and it could well mark the end of his tenure as a Premiership boss.

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith is in a very difficult position too with his team and if they are relegated Jack Grealish is surely on his bike. He’s a quality player and Old Trafford would be the perfect destination for him.

It all started up again last night and it’s going to be some rollercoaster ride now to the finish.

Liverpool however, can saunter their way to the finish line in the knowledge that the famine is over, looking down from their lofty perch.

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