League of warriors

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A new season in the English Premier League is upon us. Nothing breeds more optimism in football than a season starting afresh. The euphoria of winning the title and the dejection of relegation are indeed intense emotions, but end-of-the-season feelings aren’t common for all the 20 clubs concerned. Hope is, however, pervasive before a ball is kicked. The dreams may be disparate but a clean slate gives every club the right to dream.
After nearly three months of pain and frustration, football fans across the world will resume their normal life from Saturday, August 17. The football world would forever be indebted to the English for codifying the rules of the game and then setting up a league for clubs. What started off modestly for mainly clubs based in northern industrial towns of England is now a veritable monster across the globe. Football owes its most passionate form of competition to the English.
Club football may have lost some of its charm to the rampaging advance of commercialism but it is only par for the course. What is more important is its enduring appeal that has helped it overcome the test of time. Football is the only universal language of an increasingly divisive world. Steven Gerrard is an Englishman playing for Liverpool. People supporting the Reds all over the world also own a bit of the midfielder, emotionally speaking. That’s the beauty of the club variety.
A Tunisian street vendor who immolated himself in 2011 is said to have sown the seeds of the Arab Spring but the places absolute rulers dread most are football grounds. At the height of Franco’s fascist rule in Spain, the terraces of Camp Nou were the only platform for Catalans to voice their views. Football is more than a sport in many countries.
Away from history, the EPL will miss a person who had been an integral part of the glitzy league since its inception. It will be weird to realise that Alex Ferguson has retired. His giant shadow hangs over Old Trafford as fellow Scotsman David Moyes attempts to continue his great work. There will be no shortage of fireworks in the new season as Jose Mourinho has returned to the club where he is loved. And, there is no end in sight for the Luis Suarez circus.
The title race certainly appears more open this term. But life can be mundane without sticking the neck out. Here is how the top of the table might appear at the end of the season: 1. Chelsea, 2. Manchester City, 3. Manchester United and 4. Arsenal.

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