Premier League Returns To The Pitch

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Robin Van Persie's transfer to Manchester United shook up the Premier League, which promises to have another thriller of a season. (AP)
Robin Van Persie's transfer to Manchester United shook up the Premier League. (AP)

This weekend, at such quaintly named soccer venues as The Hawthorns, Old Trafford and Craven Cottage, play begins in England's Premiership. ESPN's Roger Bennett was giddy with anticipation, and he joined Bill Littlefield on Only A Game to talk about it.

Manchester United has acquired Dutch star striker Robin Van Persie, last season's MVP,  from Arsenal for a hefty sum. It's a big deal for United, but perhaps a bigger deal for Arsenal, who lost their captain.

"It's a move that would make Benedict Arnold proud," Bennett, who co-hosts Grantland's "Men in Blazers" podcast, said. "To move from Arsenal to Manchester United is like Tom Brady going to the Jets or Aaron Rodgers going to the Bears."

United has also been in the headlines for its financial machinations, which involve a recent stock offering.

"I'm not a financial advisor," Bennett said. "I have taken great relish in watching the stock price slump slowly and sag throughout the week."

The team on the other side of Manchester, Manchester City will defend their first Premier League title in 44 years, which was won on the last kick of the season. City manager Roberto Mancini, meanwhile, predicted his team will be third or fourth-best this year.

"He [Mancini] is overseeing a loony bin of ego," Bennett said. "I admire the way he can say, with a straight face, that there are three or four teams better than his."

This segment aired on August 18, 2012.


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