The battle for Europe’s top glory is over and the dust has now settled. But the barren run of non-football days won’t be too long. The Barclays Premier League returns next month and the agonising wait has an air filled with excitement for the fans. They are expecting an even more exciting finish to this year’s campaign after the last kick of the last match decided who won the title.
The season will live in everyone’s memories, especially Man City fans, as they ended a 44-year wait, living in the shadows of their rivals before finally dethroning them in a way which we have seen being done by Man United themselves over years and years. The noisy neighbours have painted the city of Manchester in blue and have become a force to reckon with after being injected with fresh funds.
On the other hand, Chelsea FC, the club which finished sixth in England, went to claim the best club tittle in Europe while continuing with their monopolistic domination in the FA Cup by winning it four times in the last six years. So Chelsea’s gain was Tottenham’s pain, which, despite finishing fourth, automatically got disqualified as Chelsea took their spot to compete in Europe as the defending champions.
Will this affect Tottenham’s season this year? Will Manchester City continue their domination in England? Will Chelsea aim to be the best in England or to retain the tag of being the best in Europe? How will Manchester United respond to their heartbreaking loss on the final day as City snatched the title away?
Here’s an analysis of the clubs who will be aiming for glory this season:
Being crowned the champions last season, fans will expect the team to flourish in Europe this season. But they will try to hold on to the league title as tightly as they can or at least see to it that rivals Man United is not the team to take it away from them. Having spent a fortune in the last two-three years, Man City haven’t added to an already star-studded squad but they have secured their title-winning manager Roberto Mancini for five more years. This will make the City fans happy. But it remains to be seen how much faith the owners will have on him if somehow he fails to win anything at all this season.
After a disappointing start with Andre Villas Boas last season, Chelsea finished the league campaign on the sixth position — the lowest in the Abramovich era. But all was forgotten when they became the European champions under interim manager Roberto Di Matteo, beating Bayern Munich in their own backyard and also claiming the FA Cup by beating Liverpool. Di Matteo secured a full-time job at Chelsea. But star striker Didier Drogba, whose decisive penalty won the champions league for Chelsea, left the club for Shanghai Shenhua after his contract expired. Abramovich made up for it instantly by signing two enormously talented wingers in Eden Hazard and Marko Marin from Lille and Werder Bremen, respectively. So it remains to be seen how the team shapes up with young blood coming in. Euro golden boot winner Fernando Torres, who thought his career was in jeopardy, can now carry the weight on his shoulders, something like what Drogba did for the last eight years.
The worst possible end to the season was faced by this club as their noisy neighbors stole the trophy in the last minute of the last game with the final kick into the net by Sergio Aguero as United players stood stunned in the Stadium of Light. They thought they will make up for their early exit from the Champions League but they left it too late. Now they will start their season with revenge on their mind — a feeling of redemption and getting back their lost respect after a trophy less season. They secured the signing of Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund who has immense talent and has won two Bundesliga titles with his old club. They are monitoring Luka Modric to dictate their midfield and possibly another defender as Rio Ferdinand is way past his prime. Also, captain Vidic is recovering from a long-term injury.
The chokers of the Premier League as the footy fans call them now. For the past seven years, Arsene Wenger has been trying his level best to replicate his ‘invincibles’ but has failed to do so or even win a trophy for that matter. Even though star players like Fabregas and Nasri left Arsenal last year, it did not affect the club’s performance as Wenger was quick to replace them with Arteta and Rosicky. But again, it comes down to trophies. If you work so hard for a year and end up winning nothing, then there is a problem with the moral of the team. This has taken its toll over their captain Robin Van Persie, without whom Arsenal would be in serious trouble. It seems inevitable that RVP will leave the club as well after he denied signing a contract extension. Fans were expecting a RVP-Podolski partnership which itself sounds menacing. But now it seems new boy Giroud has a lot to prove & form a partnership with Podolski to get the goals for them.
Even though they finished fourth last season, Chelsea’s dramatic penalty shootout win automatically disqualified them from their spot as the defending champions have to compete in the competition despite not being able to qualify in the top four spots in the league. Harry Redknapp was sacked after it was largely alleged that he was keeping his eye on the England job which meant a dismal end to the season for the London club behind their rivals Arsenal. New manager Andre Villas-Boas who replaced Redknapp has said he would be more consistent in his approach to the title and will also play a stronger team in the Europa League, a competition he won in 2011 with Porto. This is one club which doesn’t lack in ambition and is probably one of the most balanced squads in the league at the moment not lacking in any department. But after a heartbreaking finish to the season, it would take a lot of motivation for the young players to play at their best and try to be in the top four again. Their only signing till now is the dynamic Swansea midfielder Gylfi Siggurdson who had a fantastic season at his old club last year, but he will have to prove himself in training before getting a chance in the first team with the likes of Van Der Vaart, Bale, Lennon and Modric.