There is always a collection of sure-fire signs that the Premier League season is looming. Arsenal are trying to hold out for the best deal possible for their star player, England are playing a friendly and Jeff Stelling is getting ready to hit the screens on Saturday afternoons. After the breathless finale to last season's Premier League, the most excitable broadcaster cannot wait to get back into full flow.
After a sporting Olympic break, Stelling is ready for his return to Sky's Soccer Saturday and he believes that managerial situations in London could be the most intriguing plotline running through this season's show.
If results are not quickly forthcoming at White Hart Lane, Stelling believes Andre Villas-Boas could be dismissed before he can say Special One, while the presenter also thinks Roberto Di Matteo faces an impossible task at Chelsea. Unconvinced that Di Matteo should have accepted the job in the first place, Stelling said: "If I was him, I would've said 'stick your one-year contract, I've just won the Champions League. There are plenty of clubs across Europe who would take me right now, as a successful manager, with a three- or four-year deal. I'm not going to be a stop gap while you wait for Pep Guardiola to come along.'
"But he signed it, and I fear for him because how do you follow winning the Champions League? It's absolutely impossible. I hope Di Matteo does really well because I was so impressed by him last season, but it is a big ask. Roberto is in a precarious position before a ball has even been kicked."
Stelling also questioned Chelsea's strikers, and that is something Villas-Boas may also be losing sleep over. Jermain Defoe and Harry Kane are the only forwards currently at Tottenham. "I see Spurs being mid-table," Stelling said. "AVB won't get long if things don't go well; Daniel Levy has never been noted for his patience. There were so many difficulties relating to players at Chelsea and, if you go and ask fans whether they would rather have Harry Redknapp, I reckon 80 to 90 per cent would say yes. They still have some fine players, but are desperately short up front. I don't see them being as successful as last season unless they spend significantly, and I don't think Levy will do that."
Saturday's game at St James' Park between Spurs and last year's over-achievers Newcastle United looks set to be a fascinating encounter and Stelling believes the Magpies will finish fourth. "I'm sure a lot of people see Newcastle as one-hit wonders but they have the potential to do better this time," he said.
Jeff Stelling was speaking on behalf of the free to play Sky Sports Soccer Saturday Super 6 game. Correctly predict six scores for this Saturday's fixtures online at super6.skysports.com for the chance to win the £100,000 jackpot
How do you follow the Champions League win? It is absolutely impossible - he is in a precarious position