The Premiership hasn't even started but already there's a lot to say about this season's football in the capital. Tonight sees most of our professional clubs in competitive action as the six Football League sides are joined by Arsenal playing their Champions League qualifier away to Dinamo Zagreb (live on ITV, 8pm) minus the 'keeper (suspended) and half the defence from their appearance in the final three months ago as everybody continues to work out a way that Ashley Cole can actually start playing for Chelsea. Goalscorer Sol Campbell, who wanted to play on the continent, may have to make do with day trips from Portsmouth or a voyage up the Ship Canal after training with Manchester City much to Arsene Wenger's surprise.
While waiting for Mr Tweedy Chelsea have allowed new Italian citizen Hernán Crespo (pictured) to rejoin Inter Milan for nothing after they paid the Nerazurri around £17m for him three years ago. In a slightly puzzling deal the league champions announced that "Hernán Crespo has joined Inter Milan on a two year loan, but a clause in the deal allows Chelsea to call him back after one year if we need him." Crespo's Chelsea contract runs out at the end of this season, so who exactly is doing the loaning after next July baffles us a bit. Manager Jose Mourinho faces a conundrum of his own in trying to fit Frank Lampard and Michael Ballack into the same midfield while playing games in different countries almost every other day. His Globetrotters went down to a US league all star team at the weekend, losing Joe Cole to a knee ligament injury in the process, and now face Feyenoord in Rotterdam tonight, Celtic at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday (no tickets available to non-members) and then Liverpool in the Community Shield in Cardiff on Sunday (tickets on sale to non-members visiting the ticket office). Meanwhile, William Gallas joins Ashley kicking his heels on the sidelines.
The London highlight in the domestic programme tonight is the clash of League One newcomers at Brisbane Road where relegated Millwall visit promoted Leyton Orient, a game which sold out to O's fans in six hours. The capital's third team at that level, Brentford, will hope to follow up Saturday's 1-0 win with another good performance at Northampton.
Up in the Championship Crystal Palace host fellow first day victors Southend United and Queens Park Rangers, without a win so far under Gary Waddock, will be hoping to put that right at Loftus Road against a Leeds United side who have lost their opening midweek fixture in the last two seasons.
Rangers have barely been out of the news in the last couple of weeks as director Dunga left to manage Brazil and chairman Gianni Paladini gave interviews strongly refuting allegations of unrest at the club and announcing the £300,000 signing of mystery players. Then on Saturday came the news that former chairman and chief executive Bill Power and Mark Devlin, along with Devlin's son and others, were lucky to escape alive after a light aircraft crash on Saturday night travelling back from Hartlepool where they had been watching their current club Swindon (hosts to Barnet this evening). Londonist remembers watching Chelsea lose to Bolton in October 1996 before waking up to have football put into perspective by the terrible news of Matthew Harding's death in similar circumstances and we join with QPR in wishing all those involved a safe and speedy recovery.
Photo of Hernán "I'd walk to Milan in flip flops to play for Inter!" Crespo via Eric Farka's Flickr stream.