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Why the 2018-19 Premier League season won’t be same

Zaid Pathan
CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
4.06K   //    23 Jul 2018, 17:40 IST

If the club friendlies don’t arouse your curiosity and the International Champions Cup isn’t your thing, then you don’t need worry at all. The new Premier League season isn’t far away. The most tangling league in the world will explode into action in less than three weeks’ time. With transfer season in full swing and several clubs have already completed some high-profile signings. It’s just about the time when the English fans will be divided again, Jordan Pickford and Jordan Henderson will head opposite sides of the Merseyside. The club rivalries will resume once again.

It’s been almost a week since the World Cup wrapped up. While the French players are still in the party mood the others are taking their time off after a strenuous month in Russia.

You might be aware of the inflow of several big names already. But, there are some personalities which won’t be seen in the Premier League. That means the coming season won’t the same as before. Here we will look at two such personalities who served in the Premier League for a considerable amount of time-

Arsene Wenger

The man needs no introduction at all. Longest serving manager in the history of English top flight after Manchester United’s Sir Alex Ferguson. Wenger revolutionised the football that was being played in England. During his tenure of nearly 22 years, he won three League titles, seven FA cups and seven FA Community Shield. Also, he played an integral role when Arsenal moved from Highbury to the Emirates stadium in 2006. In the process, he produced one of the most adorable teams ‘The Invincibles’ in the 2003-04 season, which eventually was the last time when they won the league title. While he may not have won the league title since then, but Wenger made it a habit of always finishing in the top four. But lately, since the last two seasons, Arsenal failed to finish in the top four.

And many at the Emirates were not pleased by it. Then, we started seeing banners like “Enough is enough”, “Arsenal needs a change” and of course “Wenger Out”.

Finally, the shock announcement came earlier this year in April that he will step down as the manager of Arsenal football club at the end of the season. The fans sprung in the Emirates stadium with ‘Merci Arsene’ banners after his final home game which Arsenal won 5-0 against Burnley.

Huddersfield Town v Arsenal - Premier League
Arsene Wenger greets Arsenal fans after his final game in charge against Huddersfield Town.

Although Arsenal got a propitious replacement in Unai Emery and how good he will he do is at the Emirates is a whole different story in itself. But, Wenger brought distinctive uniqueness with him which no other manager had and now it will be missed along with his humility and uncomplaining nature. Besides his long… long coat!

Wayne Rooney

Chances are there that Wayne Rooney might be your idol particularly if you are a Manchester United fan. And if you’re not even then, you just can’t stop applauding the overhead kick he scored in the Manchester derby in 2011.

The young boy from Merseyside was destined for greatness since day one. The Evertonian joined Manchester United in 2004 and perhaps it’s one of best business United has ever done. Rooney didn’t take much time to settle in the squad. He became the definition of goal for Manchester United. While his other striking partner kept on coming and left the club, Rooney stayed despite interests from other top clubs.

Once renowned as the most deadly and complete striker in the world, you’ll see him score all kinds of goals- flicks, tap-ins, volleys, headers, long rangers, curlers. ITV commentator Clive Tyldesley once said about him:

“Not just a great goal scorer but a scorer of great goals”

A kind of player around which the teams are built. But as they say, nothing lasts forever.

After 13 lustrous years at United and umpteen number of records to his name which includes all-time top scorer of Manchester United (with 253 goals) and second most goals in the Premier League history only behind Alan Shearer, when everyone thought he’s declining. He went straight to his roots. Probably he went to Everton at the wrong time as they were going through their own struggles. The goals dried up as he sacrificed his original position and started playing a bit deeper.

Rooney must’ve thought that the age is catching him up and it’s not going to work out for him at Everton and he won’t be able to maintain the physicality the Premier League demands. So, the best option was to move on and he followed the footsteps of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and decided to join the MLS. But instead to LA Galaxy, he chose DC United.

Vancouver Whitecaps v D.C. United
Wayne Rooney secured his move to D.C United in the MLS.

So, the coming season of the Premier League will mark its first season without these two personalities. It creates a hole when managers and players of such stature leave. Arsene Wenger and Wayne Rooney were not only icons for their respective clubs, but they were the icons of the Premier League too. They not only belong to the history of their clubs but the history of the league too.

If you’re a modern football fan, it seems Arsene Wenger and Wayne Rooney were around forever. While the new season will always bring the excitement, optimism and new expectations with new managers and players but the old ones at least those who were around for such a long time will never stop resonating our minds.

It’s like your childhood days when you had new toys, but you still think about your old ones. It’s a feeling like something’s still missing, an awkward emptiness, the feeling of incompleteness. The departure of Arsene Wenger and Wayne Rooney from the Premier League will change it forever, for good or for bad that’s not for us to decide. And when their return is preposterous then, there are only memories to be cherished.

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Zaid Pathan
CONTRIBUTOR
A football enthusiast from India who believes that football is the best medium of escape from daily hustle and bustle.
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