The table may read 3/38ths, but the Premier League cannot officially begin until Arlo White assumes his position on The Gantry. America’s favorite Kasabian fan and impartial Leicester City observer returned to our loving arms after being on Olympic duty in Braw-zeel (Davo voice), where he called the USWNT’s campaign and Brazil’s Gold Medal triumph. In this edition of Three Questions, we ask Arlo about the difference between covering Olympic and Premier League football, Leicester City’s season ahead, and the Summer of Arlo.
MiB: The Olympics are football’s equivalent of an Instagram story. A short burst of entertainment. The Premier League is more "The Night Of," a drama-laden slow burn of a series. Talk about the difference when preparing for and calling the two.
Arlo: The key difference is that I was essentially focused on one team at the Olympics. I always enjoy time with the USWNT. My preparation was very different from a normal Premier League weekend, because of the access we were granted. U.S. Soccer were excellent in arranging one-on-one time with the protagonists during the build up, so we found out much more information first hand. Jill Ellis was incredibly helpful the day before each game. We would get a good sense of how the U.S. intended to play, and what the aims were for each match. Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn, Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, Mallory Pugh, Crystal Dunn, etc. were all a delight to talk to, and provided personal nuggets and insight. It's such an advantage when telling the story of the game. It was sad to see their run end before the medal rounds because the audience was building towards four million viewers per game, and we had so much more to tell.
It may take a while before Jose Mourinho summons us backstage after a press conference to explain his tactics and starting XI before a big Premier League match. That would be announcer nirvana!
MiB: A difficult start for Leicester. Talk to us about your early impressions and what you believe is success for the team this season. Does part of you fear relegation?
Arlo: I don't fear relegation for Leicester, nor do I take the club's Premier League status for granted, however winning the Premier League was almost certainly a glorious one-off now that the big boys have re-asserted themselves. This team, with its new additions, will improve dramatically from that opening day debacle at Hull. The globe trotting pre-season schedule was always going to deny them the key fitness work they needed, and that showed. Keeping hold of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez was an enormous boost, and losing N'Golo Kante was a blow. I wonder if Musa and Vardy can form a partnership or whether Mendy can cover enough ground in midfield. Also, look out for the emergence of Demarai Gray, Bartosz Kapustka and Ben Chilwell. Three terrific young prospects. Coming off the unprecedented euphoria of winning the Premier League, maintaining their wonderful spirit will be vital, so I think a top eight finish with progress beyond the group stage of the Champions League would be a pretty solid 'season after'.
MiB: Anyone who follows you on Instagram knows it was a busy summer for Arlo White. Euro 2016. A family trip to America. And covering the Olympics in Brazil. Give us your favorite football and non-footballing moments of the summer.
Arlo: It has been an epic summer, I've travelled far and wide, from Marseille to the Maracana, with many stops in between.
Two favourite Football moments stand out: Gareth McAuley's header for Northern Ireland vs. Ukraine at the Euros in Lyon. I travelled to France as a fan with an Irish pal, and after spending almost a week with the Green Army I knew how desperate they were to see a goal, and a win. They experienced both that day, and they partied hard afterwards (again!).
Neymar's penalty in the Gold medal game. For a start, just walking into the Maracana Stadium was a thrill, but to then call Neymar's winning penalty in the shootout to give Brazil their first ever Football Gold Medal, that was on a different level.
My favourite non-Football memory was walking across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco on our family vacation, and suddenly realising that Humpback Whales were surfacing in the bay below. It's not something you tend to see in the East Midlands, and I know my daughters will treasure that memory.