What’s Really Happening Around In Europe?
As they say.. The Business End of the season is finally around the corner.. Things over the course of the next couple of months may yet just make or break one’s party for once and for all.. It’s now or never time for the Best in the European peninsula.. Either perform now or perish. Not only do we frequently see and hear constant references to the frightening scenarios about the european juggernauts cooked up in the media.. But on the pitch too things are certainly getting hotter than ever.. Merely just illustrating the sheer importance of this critical phase of the season.
And in the midst of all this chaos.. We ll now take an introspective glance at the current scenarios at some of the BIGGEST NAMES in all of Europe.. And of course we ll talk about the incredible chain of events about ’em too that had even the purists turn their heads in awe.
Now without further ado.. here’s is where the real business starts for the elite. So.. Buckle up n fasten your seat belts folks because we ‘re gonna have one rollercoaster of a ride.
SOMEWHERE IN TURIN..
We drop off in italy n what better place to start with than TURIN itself.. Where the so-loved darlings of italy.. Of course none other than Juventus. Still unbeaten in the serie A.. They ‘ve delivered during the season some dazzling stuff(Remember?.. 3-3 away to SSC NAPOLI.. 2-1 win at UDINESE.. or more recently.. 5-0 mauling of ACF FIORENTINA!) , delivered at breakneck speed. Their turnaround in fortunes that seemed so unthinkable after two years of massive underachievement.. Their astounding resurgence has been nothing short of extraordinary, bordering on the brink of unreal.. Given the catastrophic events of the unfortunate Calciopoli scandal that rocked the floor under their legs not so long ago.. Antonio Conte really deserves much plaudits for providing the Bianconeri the stimulus for a remarkable fightback out of nowhere. But as of late.. Their improvement has stagnated dramatically. Ugly draws resulting from their inability to put the game to bed.. They are lacking the cutting-edge so desperately at times this season. An ineffective Alessandro Matri.. Lack of creative influence up front.. Some mind boggling decisions by club general director Giuseppe Marotta(Take for instance the signing of Marco Borriello!).. N some recent tinkering in formation n tactics by Conte have cost the record italian champions the lead they held for so long. Even stark comprehensions of enduring similar fate to 1978-79 Perugia side have also been drawn to surface.. But as Antonio Conte put it best as he asserted.. title or no title, this was surely to be Juventus’ season.. Yeah mate I agree too.
OFF TO THE FASHION CAPITALE..
We now head to the italian capital n go right away to the biggest club in town(as we all can guess already..!) .. Sitting safe atop the standings with a comfortable 4-point cushion over Juve.. The Devils of Lombardy are finally hitting their strides n oozing confidence that lacked a few months back. They ‘re in rampant form of late and look set to clinch their 19th serie A title barring any serious comeback rally by the trailing Bianconeri that looks more n more unlikely with each passing day. Boasting an arguably better roster than the rest in the league.. N with top marksman Zlatan Ibrahimovic banging in the goals at will.. They ll believe those slim juventini hopes of any title shot have been finally laid to rest. But they too themselves can ill afford any let-up in the hunt as evident from a horror show at The Emirates as they embarrassingly went down 3-0 against The Gunners in the Champions’ League last 16 second leg. But still.. They are well n truly the masters of their own destiny now.
CHANGING THE COLORS..
We now turn our attention to the blue half of Milan where everything looks grim. Ageing process has bitten down hard on the Nerazzurri while the entire squad is fraught with issues on n off the field. Current crop are well beyond their use-by date whereas a rebuilding task of mega size proportions is the call of the Curva Nord. A strikeforce of Diego Milito n Diego Forlan are not just up to the task while Giampaolo Pazzini has hit a bad patch lately. An immoblie midfield crux is swamped with 30-somethings that that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Some baffling decisions by the club hierarchy like the signings of Mauro Zarate n even Forlan(But.. Let’s not name names, shall we?) raised a few eyebrows n evidently sabotaged their progress(if any..!) and club president Massimo Moratti needs to cover these terrible facets if The Pinetina are to return back to glory days of old. N unfortunately there are no quick fix strategies here Massimo! You ‘ve gotta do it the hard way.
OVER TO MANCHESTER..
We arrive in Manchester where the title race gravitates ever so swiftly towards a fascinating finale. Manchester United’s recent form has given further credence to claims of Sir Alex being one of the best managers around. On the face of it.. The two horse race for the title looks to go down to the wire while certainly The Red Devils look to have gained the upper hand for now, latching onto some scratchy results from their noisy neighbors by trumping ’em to second spot. But better yet.. Manchester City too have played some of the most aesthetically pleasing football in the English top tier in years n are more than capable of giving United a run for their money. Because The Citizens reckon they ‘re closer than ever to ending their purgatorial hell with a first title win in almost 44 years. The season-defining crunch game for the title race awaits come 30th April.
We ‘re in the English Capital where the ongoing drama just leaves you mystified and flabbergasted at the absurdity of this thing we call football. We fly to south west where we behold the sight of a side maddeningly inconsistent in terms of results this season. Long gone are the days when an air tight water proof defense combining to deadly effect with a lethal strike force that used to toy with their opponents with sublime ease n crush ’em into submission. They still have some catching up to do to stay in the European places while a profligate Fernando Torres needs to extricate the goal-scoring monkey off his back soon enough before he suffers the ignominious wrath of their billionaire Russian oligarch for whom sack is the favored official tool for control(Ask.. Andriy Shevchenko!). Elsewhere in the northern region, Arsenal’s headless chickens are finally gelling to wonderful effect n delivering the goods after some early season hiccups. Wins against Chelsea(5-3!), Tottenham(5-2!) n AC Milan(3-0) have the Gunners jostling with glistening new confidence while skipper Robin Van Persie remains something of an enigma. Arsene Wenger’s methods surely takes time and consistent effort to work best as the tetchy fellow suggested himself.. They are merely a perception that things ―could‖ go wrong – but that doesn‘t mean they will. In Arsene we trust.. don’t we?
AN EVENING IN SPAIN..
It‘s hard really to believe that anyone could be so afraid of success (isn‘t success usually a good thing?). But REAL MADRID CF seems to be pertaining to this disease quite stubbornly. The proliferation of fears is as limitless as the human imagination as many of us know. But why just they always seem to be scared(!) of their eternal rivals the Los Cules?.. That’s the big question here. Fears often relate to situations and events that leave us feeling vulnerable and defenseless as in The Blancos’ case(3 draws n 4 losses in last 7 clashes against The Catalans).. And to lash out at others(Referees.. that is!) when a possible failure is imminent doesn’t tangibly suit the profile of a club of such eminence n prestige. What Jose Mourinho fails to realize here is the mindset that you most often hold that really makes the difference at the big moments in the marquee matches. All it takes is a simple shift in approach.. Mind you they are still at the pinnacle in LA LIGA(though last week saw their lead dwindled to six points) n they are REAL MADRID CF.. The most successful club on the continent.. That should be just about enough. Now across the divide in Catalunya.. Where football on the pitch seems more PlayStation than real life.. The Blaugrana are at the peak of their powers. Though the odds don‘t seem to be stacked up in their favor in the liga.. Still they ‘re firmly in the driving seat in Europe n Copa Del Ray while on the road setting unprecedented feats that may yet stand the test of time for years to come(See.. 7-1 demolition of Bayer Leverkusen).
So at the end of the day.. From the viewpoint at this level, the world suddenly looks a better place indeed.
No more topsy-turvy rides.. No more footballing cliches.. All we do need now is a sumptuous cup of coffee n a replenishing break!!
That’s the end of our beautiful journey across Europe folks.. Hope you enjoyed the journey just as much as I did.
See you again.. Godspeed.