Serie A

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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Opinion blog post; It pays to be loyal

As mentioned in a previous blog post, we have approached that part of the season, that happens in every season, well for as long as I can remember this has happened.

I am of course talking about the managerial sackings. So as mentioned in a previous blog, Thomas Tuchel, Tony Pulis and Slaven Billic have lost their jobs.

Since the last blog post about this topic, there has since been two further managerial sackings, both in Scotland.

In this blog, I want to talk about the need to give struggling managers time, step forward Messer’s Moyes and Hasenhutl.

In the case of Southampton manager Hassenhutl, the former RB Leipzig manager, a 9-0 home defeat to Leicester, at any other club, would have been the final nail in the coffin.

A managerial sacking would have been a 110% certainty, but this is Southampton a well run football club.

The faith shown by the Saints board, has been rewarded. The South Coast club in fact, would go on to accumulate more points than The Foxes, it’s amazing how life works sometimes.

This feel good, the optimism feeling has ben carried on to this season. At one stage of the season, Southampton, actually went to top of the Premier League, which was something that hadn’t been done in their history before this year.

So there’s an example of the rewards you can get for keeping the faith. Southampton to their credit, have only been losing managers as they’re getting poached by bigger clubs (with the greatest respect).

Another team in the Premier League team who have arguably reaped the rewards in this regard, have been West Ham.

The Hammers who, narrowly avoided the drop looked certain to sack David Moyes, but the board kept faith with the Scot, and to their credit West Ham have impressed this season.

The last example, of the benefits of being loyal to the manager has been that of AC Milan.

Italian giants Milan, looked certain to part company with former Inter manager Stefano Pioli. Speculation was very intense, it seemed a matter of when and not if Ralf Ragnick would be in the San Siro dug out.

To their credit, AC Milan, ended up not pressing the sack button and, like everyone else have watched in awe as the Rosaneri have stormed to the top of Serie A.

The Italian giants have achieved this, with the youngest squad in the league. You see, sometimes it pays to be loyal.