celtic

The hangover

This season has been an unprecedented season for so many different reasons. As previously discussed in my blog post, which can be found here; https://ayyazmalik.com/2021/01/09/a-season-like-no-other/. This season has been an unusual one to put it mildly. In the English Premier League, there has been some normality that’s returned as Manchester City seem odds on to win their third title in four seasons.

Across Europe, Real Madrid/Barcelona neither of them are leading Laliga, it’s Atletico Madrid who seem to be running away it, but a surprise 2-0 home loss to Levante, means that the gap has closed at the top to just three points, but Diego Simeone’s side do have a game in hand.

In Germany although usual league leaders Bayern Munich are still top, ever since they returned for a successful and triumphant Club World Cup, The Bavarians have conceded 31 goals already this term, one less than they did in the entire 2019-2020 season. Their 2-1 defeat against Eintracht Frankfurt means that the Bundesliga is more competitive this year.

With the example of Bayern, the Champions League winners have been far from flawless. In France last year’s Champions League beaten finalists PSG, have been suffering from indifferent from and they too aren’t have thing their own way in Ligue 1 as they trail league leaders Lille by four points. This is the same that could be said about Italian champions Juventus.

Juve, who have had a strangle hold on the Scudetto for a past best part of a decade, trail league leaders Inter by a massive 11 points, it must be noted that The Old lady have two games in hand over The Nerazzurri in Serie A. Regardless of this fact, even Juventus haven’t had things their own way.

This bug, shall we call it has travelled to Scotland too. Celtic who were looking to complete the ’10 in a row’, have been thwarted by a resurgent Rangers who are just seven points away from a first trophy in the Steven Gerrard reign. Covid, has affected us all and here’s to thinking that May can’t come quick enough.

But there’s some good things to have come out football being the way that is due to Covid, it’s not as boring and predictable as what it has been across Europe. That is a good thing, here’s to hoping that next season will be something similar, but I am not holding my breath.

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Rangers, within Range of title after Old Firm win

Rangers, took a massive step towards winning this year’s Scottish Premier League, with a battling 1-0 win over arch-rivals Celtic, which opens up a 19 point lead at the top of the Scottish Premier League (all be having played three games more).

The Gers have been in sensational form this year, domestically and in Europe.

In fact the 2-0 defeat in quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup against St Mirren, has been the sole blemish in what has been a relentless season of excellence.

Steven Gerrard’s side coming into this game, have conceded just five goals in 22 games this season.

Not to downplay the impact the Gers have had at the other end of the table (56 goals scored before Celtic game) , but in a game like Saturday’s early game, their water-tight defence proved crucial here.

It was more to the performance of goalkeeper Alan McGregor, who made several world class saves, most notably the save from Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths, whose effort he tipped on the post.

The Hoops, had the better of the first half, and McGregor was called upon many times in the first half, as The Bhoys knowing that they needed to win this game, started the game the better.

Rangers, who have stormed to the top of the table, playing scintillating football along the way, have struggled in recent games, but unlike games of previous seasons, have been able to grind out results.

Saturday’s game against Celtic was a fitting example of that. This win for Rangers, sees the Ibrox outfit open up what appears to be a 19 point unassailable lead and arguably looks to have stopped their arch rivals winning their 10th domestic title in a row.

Rangers are quite the party poopers.