As THE Barclays Premier League comes to a close this weekend, I must admit I am a little disappointed at how it all panned out. The top four teams failed to meet certain expectations. Chelsea fans will hate me for saying this, but I felt the Blues dominance was a little detrimental to the league’s brand.
In any sport or league, if one team is dominating, then it kills the excitement and entertainment.
I also found Chelsea’s style of play a little boring, but as José Mourinho keeps reminding us, “Boring is 10 years without a title.”
Jose was taking a jibe at Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, whose side was great to watch at times, but to win the Premiership, you need to also win games even though you are not at your best – something Arsenal is still trying to figure out.
Liverpool kept using Luis Suarez’s departure as an excuse for why they went backwards this season, but good football clubs always evolve, and Liverpool is a great club. I remember King Kenny once said, “Nobody is bigger than a football club.”
As for Manchester United, where do I start? Twitter is a constant reminder that there are a million and one Manchester United experts out there who know what is best for the club. During the course of the season, #LVG #clueless was a frequent set of hash tags. A little unfair I thought, but like I always say, everybody is entitled to his opinion.
But I thought two teams who gave us great football drama, on and off the pitch, were Aston Villa and Leicester. During the first part of the season, they both struggled.
Then all of a sudden, Nigel Pearson was fired and, 24 hours later, he was reinstated.
Aston Villa finally said enough was enough and let Paul Lambert go. On Valentine’s Day,they appointed jacket-throwing Tim Sherwood – a man who is a little in love with himself – as manager of the club. Love him or loathe him, noisy Tim managed to turn it around for Villa. He got the best out of Christian Benteke and started using young players such as Jack Grealish, who had an outstanding game against Liverpool in their FA Cup semi-final.
Another man with a strong personality, Nigel Pearson, is not a fan of ostriches; he managed to get his team out of the sand and played some great football when it counted. At the end of March, Leicester were stone motherless last with only 19 points and had 9 games remaining. The Foxes then went on to win 6 out of their next 8 fixtures to ensure premiership survival.
We must also give credit to Burnley and QPR for giving it a red-hot go. The Clarets were a team with a minuscule budget and it was always a tough task to ask of them.
My prediction for the team that will be joining them in the relegation drop is Hull. I admire Steve Bruce, but it’s the survival of the fittest and they are not good enough.
This season, football-wise, was nothing much to shout about but in many ways, it was exciting in the area that we don’t really pay much attention to – the bottom of the League table.
My wish list for next season is for Chelsea to play a slightly more exciting game, Arsenal to find a way to grind it out when things aren’t going well, Pep Guardiola’s name not constantly being mentioned when City lose, Everton to make the top four, and Manchester United to play like the days of old – expansive and entertaining.
I know I am a dreamer, but it would also be good to see 12 teams fighting to avoid the relegation drop.
The season will be over after this Sunday. I personally will look forward to spending some time with my family during the break, as I was Singapore-bound every weekend during the course of this season.
As I always say on Fox Sports, “Selamat malam, Malaysia” and until we meet again,don’t forget next season starts a little earlier. Enjoy the break!