By Aidan Elder | Chief Sports Writer
We’ve successfully negotiated another week in the football-less summer. Granted it took a lot of pretending we care what physio’s table Michael Owen will be inhabiting next season, but we got through it and we’re a week closer to the new Premier League season.
There’s a lot of globe-trotting to be done for the Premier League team this week as preparations are ramped up. The majority of the clubs play at least twice during the next seven days with Wigan’s two games in two separate places on Saturday being particularly ambitious. Granted its being done via the semantics of a Wigan team and a Wigan XI team, but as it’s Wigan, we probably won’t recognise many of the names in either team.
There’s some interesting fixtures lined up for this week, which isn’t something you can say too often about pre-season friendlies. Spurs travel to the America’s Pacific coast for a show-down with LA Retirement Home aka Galaxy. A few days later we get a dress rehearsal for the likely ‘Battle for Sixth’ as Andre Villas-Boas’s team take on the fellow newbie appointment of Brendan Rodgers and his Liverpool side.
Fenway Park in Boston is one of the most storied and famous grounds in baseball. It’s the home of the Red Sox and played host to some incredible feats of hitting from the slightly mental Ted Williams. Andy Carroll is also no stranger to incredible feats of hitting – mainly in Newcastle night clubs – so he should feel at home as Liverpool play Roma in the back garden of club owners, Fenway Sports Group.
In one of the more transparent marketing exercises of the week, Manchester United have made the 13,000 kilometre journey to China for one game. They’ll play old foe Didier Drogba and his current sugar-daddy’s Shanghai Shenua, all the while doing the football equivalent of grabbing China by it’s legs, holding it upside and shaking it in the money falls out of it’s pockets.
They’re not the only ones at it as Manchester City and Arsenal have also made the journey to the region. Arsenal play a Malaysian selection on Tuesday before facing their transfer sparring partners from the Ethiad on Friday. The Gunners complete their whistle-stop tour of south-east Asia by taking on Hong Kong league champions Kitchee SC.
In a couple of other interesting meetings, Southampton host Ajax at St. Mary’s whilst Norwich travel to Glasgow to take on SPL champions of 2012-13 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 for a tie I’m presuming was organised when Paul Lambert was still in charge.