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. 08:35am Saturday 18th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    Sorry Sarah but the EPL is not as good as Spain's La Liga or Italy's Serie A.

  2. Touch of grey08:52am Saturday 18th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    La Liga and Serie A are two horse races, yawwwn. Whilst EPL is nowhere near as good as former 1st Div it has, at least got 4-5 teams that COULD seriously challenge.

    1 Reply
  3. 08:53am Saturday 18th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    Get ready to watch more fake injuries , gobby mouths , racial slurs and a bunch of over paid primadona's prancing around the field like ballerina's and when scoring an own goal , the mass orgy of guys flopping on each other with their shirts over their heads-just another day for the English POO League. Note the average soccer attendance is 35000 not the 60000 that Wharfie states-aye WOOFIE

    5 Replies
  4. Colin09:08am Saturday 18th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    hey phillip wheres yea best mate sam resting after all the rubbish he had on here yesterday.

    2 Replies
  5. esteban09:33am Saturday 18th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    phillip, you are such a coq with your unenlightened rants against football. Have you ever left your mothers house let alone the country, you myopic gimp with an overdeveloped pocket action.

    2 Replies
  6. 09:46am Saturday 18th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    Tell me one thing that didn't happen in last seasons EPL " more fake injuries , gobby mouths , racial slurs and a bunch of over paid primadona's prancing around the field like ballerina's..." Is there anything there that did not or does not occur, please enlighten me.

    1 Reply
  7. Sam09:48am Saturday 18th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    The players took full advantage of the olympics by brushing up their skills. It was evident with many of the players paying special attention at the Olympic Dive Pool. Soccer - The Sport of Drama Queens, well done poofball, well done.

    1 Reply
  8. Sam09:49am Saturday 18th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    EWWWW! and the kissing! Gross!! Soccer - The Sport of Queers, well done poofball, well done.

  9. GCSB09:53am Saturday 18th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    You tell e'm Sam

  10. Sam09:54am Saturday 18th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    Greatest SHOW is right. It is just that, a SHOW, as good as any broadway production. Soccer - The Sport of Fake, well done poofball, well done.

    3 Replies