Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
We’ve had some knockabout fun in the Premier League this season, no question, but for all those eager for a change to the established order the table is taking on an all too familiar look.
Best Premier league season ever? It looked like we were heading that way, thanks to Liverpool’s flabbergastingly bad form, United’s post-Portuguese predicament, Chelsea’s baffling inconsistency and Arsenal’s eerie ability to conjure defeats and draws from matches they should have walked. William Hill even announced that the series of upsets involving the Big Four had helped them restore their profit margins at the expense of punters.
But with 16 or 17 matches left to go, look at the table now. For all their ragged performances, Arsenal, Chelsea and United have pulled away at the top, and even Liverpool, desperate, woeful Liverpool, are a point off fourth place having won three and drawn one of their last four. Arsene Wenger says it’s ludicrous that his team are back at the top, but really it’s anything but.
The problem, I think, is that in their eagerness to sell the story of financial woe at Manchester United and Liverpool, the media have exaggerated the decline of the two teams on the field.
Real Madrid and Barcelona lose their opening matches in Spain, Bayern Munich have to wait until their third game to taste victory under Juergen Klinsmann, AC Milan lose while Juve and Inter can only draw in Italy and three games in, not one of the big four in England’s Premier League can muster a 100 percent record…
It would be nice, wouldn’t it, to read something in to all this.
Smaller clubs that are nimbler in the transfer market have made a series of astute buys while we were watching the Olympics and the soccer superpowers were trying to prise away each other’s big stars, you might say. Once great names like Atletico Madrid, Schalke 04, Lazio and Manchester City are at or near the top of their leagues and are ready to rise again!