Friday, March 1, 2024

Intriguing Major leagues around the world commence

The battles for remote controls in homes are about to ignite as major leagues around the world are about to start. After three dreadful months of no competitive club football, many soccer fanantics will be glued to their screens to watch their favourite teams in action. There has hardly, at least in recent memory, been more anticipation about an impending season than the 2013/2014 seasons. The beginning of the new be-Mobile Premier League, English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, German Bundesliga, and Italian Serie A seasons provide a mouth watering cocktail for the local football audience.

For those locals smitten by the European football bug 2013/2014 has all the hallmarks of an intriguing season with at least six of the top ten clubs under new management.

For the first time in twenty-six years British giants Manchester United are under the guidance of a new manager in the form of David Moyes. Moyes has undoubtedly the biggest shoes to fill of all the new managers this season and his pre-season performance has been below par by United standards.

Alex Ferguson won 38 titles in his 26-years at the helm of United, turning the club into one of the biggest brands in the world of football. Conversely, with Moyes’ eleven trophy-less seasons at Everton, it remains to be seen if United’s winning mentality will rub off on the Scot. One thing is clear though, the spoilt United fans will never settle for anything less than silverware.

With the exception of Rooney, whose future at the club still remains unclear, and the retired Paul Scholes, United have managed to keep their squad intact.

On the blue side of Manchester, the ‘Noisy Neighbours’ are also under a new manager, Manuel Pellegrini, following the departure of Italian Roberto Mancini after just two seasons with the club. Manchester City have been known for their extravagant spending on the transfer market and this season has not been any different.

So far, they have signed the Spanish duo Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo plus Brazil’s Fernandinho. Just a couple of years ago finishing second on the EPL and making the FA cup final would have been quite an achievement. But with the arrival of their big spending Abu Dhabi owners coupled with their spectacular nail biting clinch of the 2011/2012 EPL, it is safe to say their ego has somehow been inflated; Suddenly second best is not enough anymore.

In London, Chelsea have also witnessed a change of guard with the second arrival of ‘The Special One’. Jose Mourihno, the controversial figure who brought back glory days to the Londoners is back again after four years following a successful two years with Inter Milan and a relatively not so prosperous two years at Real Madrid.

Mourinho is definitely no stranger to winning trophies. In fact, not only has he won the EPL four times he has also won leagues in four different countries with four different teams so it would be foolish to doubt Chelsea’s prospects this season .

The blues have been looking to strengthen their strike force with the likes of United’s Wayne Rooney on their radar. So far two of their bids for the player have been rejected and are reportedly preparing for a third bid BUT it remains to be seen whether Manchester United will budge.

The other London giants, Arsenal, are one of the very few top teams to have retained their manager but they look unlikey to challenge for honours. Of course, they will be a force to reckon with but they have an inexperienced squad that cannot withstand the test of the times. Already the team is in the eighth season without a trophy.

Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger, knows this more than anyone else that experienced players not only win matches but also honours. This is evidenced by his unwavering desire to beef up his squad after being linked with big name players like Liverpool’s Louis Suarez and Gonzalo Higuain.

Suarez stayed put at Liverpool while the latter has since joined Napoli. Liverpool’s glory days are also a distant memory. They have not won the league for over two decades now and their best performance in recent memory, besides winning the UEFA Champions League in 2005 with Rafael Benitez, was their 2008/09 second finish behind Manchester United.

Although they remain adamant about retaining controversial striker Louis Suarez, to expect former Swansea manager Brandon Rodgers to turn the club’s fortunes with the current squad would be absolutely delusional.

In Spain it remains a two horse race for La Liga between Barcelona and Real Madrid as both giants welcome new managers following the departure of Tito Villanova and Jose Mourinho, respectively.
Carlo Ancelotti will be expected to hit the ground running as ‘The Galacticos’ look to retain their league title and it remains to be seen if rumours of his record breaking move for Tottenham Hotspurs’ winger Gareth Bale will bear any fruit.

Unfortunately for the Italian (Ancelotti), it seems winning the league is not enough as Madrid continue their search for their first Champions League title in a decade ; a feat that has eluded even ‘The Special One’ himself.

Barcelona have uncharacteristically had a season to forget after missing out on the league, Copa Del Rey, and who can forget the 7-0 humiliating aggregate defeat to German champions, Bayern Munich, in the Champions League.

Their new Argentine manager Gerardo Martino will need more than Neymar to bring back the successful ‘Tiki-Tika’ days to Catalan.

Barcelona’s former manager, Pep Guardiola, made the perfect start at Bavaria as Bayern Munich saw off Borussia Monchengladbach in their opening 2013-2014 Bundesliga game. Other clubs to watch include PSV, Borussia Dortmund and the two Italian giants Inter and Ac Milan.

Whichever side you are on, 2013/2014 promises to be a spectacular season of football.


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