by Asjad Nazir
The action-packed football season kicks off this week with fixtures that will captivate fans from around the world. If you are looking for a form guide or don’t know much about the 20 teams in the Premier League then help is at hand. There are striking similarities between the teams and Indian film actors. With that in mind, here is a rough guide to the teams in the 2017/2018 season using Bollywood stars by way of analogy.
Manchester United – Shah Rukh Khan:
Ruled the 1990s and early 2000s with major milestones and countless trophies, but has been overtaken in recent years and is no longer the force from before. Still boasts the biggest global fan base, is feared by rivals, definitely the richest and has the ability to win big trophies at any given moment.
Liverpool – Amitabh Bachchan:
Was the undisputed champion back in the 1970s and most of the 1980s. An entire generation grew up admiring the impressive titles and have remained loyal ever since. Although no longer able to win the top title, will always be able to pull off huge wins and enjoys a huge global fan base.
Manchester City – Ranbir Kapoor:
Had some impressive financial backing, undeniable world-class talent and is great to look at, but has been blowing hot and cold in recent years. Has all the ability to become champion in the coming year, but will need some luck and opponents to falter to reach the world-beating potential. A big signing will help.
Everton – Jacqueline Fernandez:
Relies very heavily on the two big lads up front. Will be nice to look at, but won’t have the strength and depth to challenge for the very top. Will have to settle for being in a mid-table battle with others who are in the same position and trying to break through.
Swansea City – Sonakshi Sinha:
Was threatening to do big things some years back, but has since started sliding downwards despite having some major financial backing. With only mid-level signings looking likely, it will be hard to turn around the flagging fortunes. Will ultimately be a lower table player hoping not to be relegated from the top flight.
AFC Bournemouth – Taapsee Pannu:
The rank outsider who has surprised big names with winning performances in recent years. Doesn’t have the power or influence of bigger names, but is exciting to watch and has used a unique way of performing to good effect. Will battle against the odds and beat bigger names to remain a solid mid-table player.
West Bromwich Albion – Nawazuddin Siddiqui:
A mid-table performer who relies heavily on tactics, hard work and thinking out of the box. Not pretty to look at, but is very much capable of delivering unexpected wins against the toughest opponents and causing plenty of upsets. Although respected, is consistent and will also have some misfires along the way.
Southampton – Varun Dhawan:
Has used great signings and a strong work ethic well in recent years to find success. Is well respected by rivals and has a strength in depth to stay towards the top end of the table. Perhaps doesn’t have the experience to reach the very top, but definitely won’t go unnoticed and will be feared.
Chelsea – Aamir Khan:
The current champion won by a big margin last season and is using heavy-duty financial backing to make big signings. Despite being an undeniable force of nature, very rarely delivers a major blockbuster two years in a row, so perhaps won’t reach the great heights of last season, but will still be respected by opponents and the most feared.
Watford – Emraan Hashmi:
Is capable of pulling off some big performances and isn’t afraid of causing upsets, but needs to get over the inconsistency and odd signings of recent years to really make a big impact. Will do just enough not to get relegated and survive another season in the top bracket.
Leicester – Shraddha Kapoor:
Emerged out of nowhere not long back and took everyone by surprise with amazing table topping wins. But poor choices and not so great management resulted in a steady slide downwards. Although unlikely to challenge for the top, will be nice to look at and will play with a fearless approach.
Arsenal – Katrina Kaif:
Although great to look at and playing with a sexy flair, has been on the slide in recent years and not been at the great heights of previous seasons. A new-found determination will result in a strong challenge for the top again in the coming year and so will be feared by rivals. Has enough backing to win trophies, but needs to use it wisely.
Newcastle – Akshaye Khanna:
There were high hopes back in the late 1990s, but was never able to match up to expectations despite bursts of brilliance. Is now coming back in the top tier after being out in the wilderness for a while and hoping to not be relegated again. Will largely be a support player.
Tottenham Hotspur – Alia Bhatt:
Has used youthful energy to full effect with exciting table topping performances that have taken more established names by surprise. The incredible momentum generated in recent years has resulted in dizzying heights and immense power. Lacks experience, but is now on the verge of taking the title and will perhaps be the one to watch
West Ham United – Saif Ali Khan:
Has fallen away from the top pack despite having big financial backing, because of poor signings. Will be hoping to turn things around and head back towards the top with an out-of-the-box approach, but is likely to remain around the mid-table. Has a dedicated fan base, but is ageing and will run out of steam.
Crystal Palace – Parineeti Chopra:
Looked like being the next big thing a few years ago, but has since fallen away badly and failed to impress due to poor management. Is capable of world class performances, but bad decisions and poor signings have led to an unexpected fall. Will have to think out of the box to keep up with rivals, but is surely capable.
Burnley – Sunny Leone:
A perfectly proportioned package with a strong rear line and exciting attackers up front. Has had some flashy moments in recent years that have won many male admirers, but they haven’t translated into major success. Will be worth watching for an eye-catching and sexy style of play.
Huddersfield – Fatima Sana Shaikh:
Interesting newcomer who took everyone by surprise last season with a huge win, which resulted in being elevated to the top tier. Will be hoping to build on that unexpected success with a strong work ethic and fearless approach. Will use an element of surprise to gain success, but ultimately will be happy not to get relegated.