On the heels of FC Barcelona's Champions League disaster to Liverpool at Anfield, it is pertinent to talk about how Champions League results can define or derail an entire season for big clubs outside the Premier League.
When Jose Mourinho took over Manchester United, there was a sense of optimism, and it made sense. Jose is a man with a winning mentality, and has demonstrated it through his time with the likes of Porto, Chelsea, inter Milan, and Real Madrid.
The 2018/19 season has been a whirlwind of emotions for Arsenal fans and players alike. With impressive wins against Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspurs, and Chelsea, alongside draws against Man U, Spurs, and Liverpool, there's been a lot to celebrate. Unai Emery's arrival saw Arsenal playing free-flowing football week in and week out, and a more motivated squad than that of which we saw during the latter end of the Wenger period. However, the poor away form has put a dampener on things all season, causing fury among Arsenal fans and disappointment among the players and manager as well.
For many of you who didn’t know, football, i.e. soccer, has been around for the best part of 200 years. This was when the modern football rules and codes, that we would associate with today's game, were established. Oh and FYI my American friends, do not let those pesky English wisecrackers get on your back about the word soccer! Soccer is a slang word for Association Football, that originates in the U.K., and is similar to the word fiver, which used to mean a five-pound note.
Full disclosure: I am an Arsenal fan. For those who are not into football (soccer to our American cousins), even though the game here is played predominantly with the feet! Arsenal football club and team, like any team in sport worldwide, has a nemesis. That nemesis is their near neighbours, Tottenham Hotspurs.
World will witness once more the greatest show on earth by the second week of June 2022 year. I mean the FIFA World Cup Football, to be held in Qatar. Football is celebrated as "the beautiful game" and the World Cup Tournament is considered the greatest show on Earth. It was the Brazilians who gave the epithet "the beautiful game" to the sport. Though the game had its origin in England, its popularity today is due to the Latin American teams, particularly Brazil and to a certain extent Argentina. But the Latin American teams will be languishing in obscurity if they did not have the great stage of the European football. The Europeans simply love football and they love it to distraction. Thanks to television and the modern satellite technology the whole world can watch a match just at the moment when it is being played and be transported to delirious levels of emotion and undergo a sort of catharsis in a short period of 90 minutes.
Venture south of the River Thames and you'll find the SE Dons. Before watching, anyone would think that this is a typical Sunday league club; fluctuating performances, half-decent players and a bobbly pitch that lays home to the odd wonder goal. Let me correct you there. The Dons are different.
As a child, I was always stuck in the goal during gym soccer because of my lack of athleticism, horrific stamina, and inability to kick a soccer ball. But hey, I could manage to get some lucky saves once in a blue moon. How skillful of me.
A big night at Anfield resulted in a surprising zero to zero draw between Liverpool and Bayern with Liverpool missing the big chances to put themselves in front. Sadio Mane went close in the first half for the Reds, driving a shot from the centre of the box just wide of the post. Matip also came close to putting Liverpool in front, but Sule blocked well for visitors.
Forget the tabloid sensationalism. Let’s consider the reality of football. It’s 22 men dressed up like billboards, running around, chasing a piece of leather. It’ll cost you 40 European pounds per ticket just for the privilege of spectating, countless more if you dare sample the culinary delights inside the grounds, where the beer is usually warmer than the pies. Whilst you endure borderline third world facilities, your hard-earned wages finance the outrageous lifestyles of the celebrities the game creates.
With style comes success. Great soccer players are remembered for their style and their performance in the game rather than the number of goals they scored. Ronaldinho, Zidane, and C. Ronaldo are all players who have achieved great success, yet they are known for their different playing styles. Zidane over the years has become the playmaker who opens up shots for others, does incredible moves, and when the time comes, scores a few goals.
They went from punishing teams to the point where they were seen as dirty to losing so badly that the oft-used cliche: «The Laughing Stock Of The League» was theirs from appx 2005 — present. In fact, during the past several years there was a little talk that their performance had gotten so bad that the team wouldn’t be able to support itself and would have to relocate and start over again.