Get ready for the Greatest Show on Earth

Sarah Williams, Yahoo! New Zealand Sport Updated August 18, 2012, 7:50 am

So we've had the Euros, the Olympics are done and dusted so now it's time for the return of the tears, tantrums and the sublime skill of the Greatest Show on Earth, otherwise known as the English Premier League.

After last year's tense finale, where Manchester United were handed defeat from the jaws of victory thanks to bitter blue neighbours Manchester City, things are sure to get explosive very quickly - because if there is one thing Sir Alex Ferguson hates more than running out of chewing gum on match day, it's losing,

And with just a few days to go until the big kick-off Ferguson has delivered a message of intent to the rest by signing want-away Arsenal striker Robin van Persie for over GBP20m.

Former Gunners skipper Van Persie has grown to be a hugely influential player for the London side, scoring 96 goals in 194 appearances since joining from Feyenoord in 2004.

Fergie will be hoping Van Persie quickly becomes the Robin to Rooney's Batman, while many non-United fans are hoping he will instead be the Donkey to Wayne's Shrek.

Despite a few more key signings and more young players coming of age, many remain unconvinced United will be able to retake their place at the very top of the Premier League this season.

And while many Arsenal fans will be crying into their sports pages after seeing yet another star leave the Emirates, it could turn out that Van Persie's exit could be the breath of fresh air the club so desperately needs.

For once Arsenal have all their houses in order with Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla all ready to show what they have to offer in place of the sublime, but also injury-prone Dutchman.

Reigning champions City had been in for Van Persie but realistically the blue side of Manchester could probably live off their talented squad (Tevez, Balotelli, Aguero etc) for the next year or so without having to pay out a penny.

Instead Mancini has plumped for defensive midfielder Jack Rodwell for a reported GBP12m from Everton, and while Rodwell is by no means the finished product this could prove to be a fantastic move for both player and manager.

After finally ending their League title drought it will be success in Europe that will be at the forefront of the Sky Blues’ minds this season.

Another club looking to claw their way back to the heady heights of the Champions League is Liverpool.

After suffering one dismal season after another since the departure of Rafa Benitez, Liverpool fans will be hoping they finally find their feet under new manager Brendan Rodgers.

There is no doubt that Rodgers faces a mammoth task in getting Liverpool back into the top four but there is an air of freshness around the club with fans looking forward to seeing more of Rodgers' thoughtful football at Anfield.

And while lack of firepower has been one of Liverpool's biggest weaknesses in the last few seasons, it is hoped new signing Fabio Borini will link up with Luis Suarez making the Reds a force to be reckoned with once again.

Now more than ever this famous club needs to look forward, rather than forever looking back.

Tottenham and Chelsea will also be looking to make their mark again this season.

Spurs have a lot to prove after a decent start last season paved the way for their iconic mid-season meltdown, and it remains to be seen whether axed Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas will be able to handle the North London side.

One thing AVB does need to get a grip on quickly is a new striker, with talks still ongoing with Emmanuel Adebayor over a return to White Hart Lane this coming season.

After finishing a lowly sixth last season Chelsea also have a lot to prove.

After a troubled start to the season under Villas-Boas, Champions League and FA Cup winning boss Roberto Di Matteo will be expected to fly in his now-permanent role.

It does seem that Di Matteo has succeeded where plenty have failed in getting the Chelsea players to play for him, although he still has a long way to go before finally getting rid of the long-lingering ghost of Jose Mourinho that seems to forever hang over Stamford Bridge.

New signings Eden Hazard, Oscar and Marko Marin may make a difference to the side this season as plenty of the Golden Generation starts to falter, while many Chelsea fans will be hoping this is the year expensive flop Fernando Torres finally starts hitting the mark, instead of the woodwork.

As for the rest of the teams, expect more of the same.

Everton will be the perennial overachieving team who never quite achieve anything; Newcastle will continue to impress and new-boys Reading, Southampton and West Ham United, starring New Zealand's own Winston Reid, will all be hoping to turn Roy of the Rovers into reality by staying put for another season.

Let the fun and games begin!

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  1. Russell04:04pm Sunday 19th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    sam and phills a pair of dills ,bum chums from the scrum.

  2. 12:11pm Sunday 19th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    Phillip... ...your attempt to be funny has sadly fallen flat yet again and you've completely missed the point. There is no point in telling me how you think the EPL isn't "the greatest show on earth" because I agree with you. The fact of the matter is that Rugby is barely a pimple on bottom of world soccer and not many people in this world share your strange on contrived opinions on the sport. They don't want to know about Rugby and they don't share your appreciation of "big hits" or your weird and unique definition of "skill". Try all the lame insults on me you want, you're wasting your time. Even if you weren't some loser Maori from Auckland I'd still never take you seriously.

  3. 11:20am Sunday 19th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    Inbred Son of Sibling Person-Go Train Spotter!!!!!!!!Besides I think you could play the part of Prince Siegfried , the young strong man while Wharfie would play, obviously , Princess Odette THE DUCK and I the evil genius Rothbart the antagonist . How the ballet starts off is ISSP and Wharfie are swanning around playing footsie , I then enter rugby tackle and smash the bejesus out of you two ...ballet ends. ACT 1-4.Rugby is the winner on the day and is "The Greatest Show on Earth"

  4. 09:58am Sunday 19th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    Yahaha google what Sam? to confirm once and for all that you're a delusional head case (on top of the obvious personal flaws you display)? P.S. Phillip at no stage did I ever say that the EPL is "the greatest show on earth", in fact my opening comment disputed it. The massive margins by which you miss the point and get things so obvious wrong is the funniest thing about you.

  5. 11:23pm Saturday 18th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    Looks like Inbred Son of Sibling Person is having a soccer episode and is finding hard to accept that English #$%$ League is not the Greatest show on Earth , more like Swan Lake featuring 22 ballerina's with Inbred Son of Sibling Person playing the DUCK or Swan!

    1 Reply
  6. Sam10:56pm Saturday 18th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    Google is your friend, in Inbred Son of Siblings case - his only one. Soccer - The Sport of Queers, well done poofball, well done.

  7. 09:56pm Saturday 18th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    Poor poor Phillip thinks its normal to live in a state house.

  8. 09:39pm Saturday 18th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    Well looks like if you don't agree with ISSP about soccer, you must be of Polynesian extraction or brown skinned , including those that go to a tanning salon. "Greatest show on earth" what a load of bollocks , the average attendance for a EPL game is 35000 re Wikipedia , which your friend Wharfie stated 60000 per game. Speaking of WOOFIE has he resurfaced from a sub full of seamen???

    3 Replies
  9. 09:19pm Saturday 18th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    So when will Sam provide some evidence of this match fixing? will it be when these riots and corruption he boldly predicted for Euro 2012 will rake place ;)

  10. Paul08:50pm Saturday 18th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    more like the greatest FAKE on earth!!!!!!!!!!!!!! not much skill, and supported by the dumbest sport fanatic's on the planet........only rated as serious sport in europe and sth. america,, where the followers support of their teams is based on hate of the opposition supperters,,,,,, the game itself is like watching paint dry

    5 Replies