The summer of 2004 saw the arrival of Jose “The Special One” Mourinho into the EPL (to coach Chelsea) at a time where the league was being dominated by Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United, Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal and Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool. Between 2004 and 2010 these teams were branded “The big four”. These four teams were always at the first four positions in the league. At 2011 Manchester City joins in with its financial power by signing top players .Now let’s move on to today the 2015/2016 season where we see Leicester city at the TOP of the league with 3 months to go and they don’t seem to be losing ground.
Led by the beasty Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, Leicester city have kept every football fan around the world asking one simple question. HOW? The answer to that is quite simple actually. Forget the top players listed above for a minute, Leicester city as a team have incredible work rate, every player is doing his job almost to perfection.
You can see the drive to prove a point by every single player. I remember watching Leicester City VS Chelsea Football Club earlier this season and they really took the game to Chelsea, high press, winning every first ball and not allowing players like Cesc Fabregas enough time on the ball. Go just a little back to the 2010/2011 season where when a team like Arsenal is playing away to Stoke City , they know Stoke will seat back and defend HARD. It is not that way anymore. The so called small teams are hungry for success and they are letting their intentions known. You either bring your A game or you LOSE. West Ham United, Tottenham, Stoke City, Southampton, Watford, Everton, Crystal Palace and even Bournemouth have shown exactly why the premier league is the best in the world. I also have to say that the coaches of this teams have done a fantastic job. Extra hours on the training ground and pushing their players just to go the extra mile to do more. One particular Coach I admire is Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham) he deserves a special post just for him alone.
Moving on to the “big” teams, I will start with the most disturbing and quite shocking club CHELSEA FC. This time last year, Chelsea where comfortable at the top of the League (which they ended up lifting), they had arguably the best manager in the league (Jose Mourinho) and THE best player in the league (Eden Hazard). Things couldn’t be better for a club like Chelsea.
Then comes the 2015/2016 season and in a space of 3 months, Chelsea looked a shadow of themselves, there was no urgency from the players when playing, some of the players looked fatigue and also there was bad luck too. By December, Chelsea were 16th positon which is alarming to see. Some said the players were not giving their all for the manager, some said there were problems within the club, some said it was because they failed to sign players over the summer, some people even went as far as saying Cesc Fabregas was leading a coup against his manager (which I found very funny). But regardless of what people said, the truth was that Chelsea were in trouble.
I think Mourinho should not have been sacked. He could have turned things around. It wasn’t as if they were going to go on relegation anyways so why sack your best ever manager? Well Post-Mourinho has been good so far, they are currently unbeaten and are making progress game after game but the problems earlier in the season are still a mystery to me.
Next up is LIVERPOOL. Well Liverpool’s problems started a long time ago (I will go into that in another post) but with Jï¿½rgen Klopp there are signs of hope. The problem I have seen them have this season is CONSISTENCY. Liverpool’s last 6 games in the league are as follows 2 Wins, a Draw and 3 Loses. Just when you think things are getting better for them, the fall again. Never fear Liverpool fans, there’s light at the end of the tunnel (it might just take a while to get there).
ARSENAL, oh gunners when shall thou surprise me? Of all the so called big teams, Arsenal are the most complete in terms of squad depth and talent. They are by far the most entertaining side in the league and for the most part of the season, favorites to win it BUT as always, they choke under pressure! It is like they never learn from past seasons because I always predict between the months of February and April, Arsenal will let the title slip from their hands and they always DO. It doesn’t really surprise me anymore actually. In the last weeks, Arsenal have gone from being on the same points with 1st position Leicester city to 4th position. It’s been 11 years since they won the EPL. When will things change for the gunners?
THE MANCHESTER CLUBS (MANCHESTER UNITED & MANCHESTER CITY). I’ll will start with Man City. Rich, quality players, great fans and a wonderful stadium but is it just me or does everyone feel like with Man city, there is always one slip up around the corner. Man city’s last 6 games have been DWDWDW. Just like Liverpool, Man city’s problem is consistency. Although the have lost Vincent Kompany for most part of the season, I believe they (man city) can survive without him. I expected Man city to have taken advantage of Arsenal’s slip ups and gone past Leicester city but for some reason unknown to me they haven’t. The club announced that Pep Guardiola will become its new coach as from next season which I’m sure City fans will be excited about. But that’s the future and Man city have to focus on NOW. They still have 4 Titles to fight for. Good luck City! May the odds be in your favor! (Or not)….
Now to The Red side of Manchester, The Red Devils. Ever since Sir Alex Ferguson left Old Trafford, it has been a slippery slope for Man United. First the David Moyes era then came Louis Van Gaal (LVG). LVG has been heavily criticized for the lack of goals (attacking football) which the Old Trafford crowd are accustomed to and I don’t blame them when they let their frustrations known. I personally admire Man United (they are not my team though) mainly because of their history. Man United is built mainly or building up young talented players capable of playing in the first team and playing ATTACKING FOOTBALL.
This season has seen them turn into a team with more possession. The problem about Man United’s possession game is that, it is not in the opponent’s half but instead theirs! So where do you fix it all for the Red Devils? Do you get rid of LVG and appoint Jose Mourinho? Do you put Ryan Giggs on the Hot seat and risk it all? Or do you splash more cash on players? Whichever one is done, it has to be done soon before they get left behind.
Who knows, maybe we are about to witness a power change in the league. One thing is for sure, I will enjoy every single moment of it. So my question still remains “ARE THE “SMALL” TEAMS GETTING STRONGER or ARE THE “BIG” TEAMS GETTING WEAK? I would love to know your opinion of the topic. Please kindly comment below. Thanks
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