As a football fan and a Taurus, May is usually a fun month for me. Celebrating an additional year of wisdom and experience however has not accompanied a real celebration for my favorite club victory in anything since 2001. This year is no different on that front, but there is always something to add flavor to my birthday cake, and there are always side dishes that no one would even come close to. So let the random rant/chat begin!
English Premier League
The title is all but awarded to Man City. It was two game-weeks ago when the Citizens were looking forward to a Liverpool gift against Man United to bring joy to their club and fans. Man United fans were not too happy with the owners, so they decided to overtake Old Traford and consequently postpone the match.
Man City moved on to knockout PSG from the UCL semifinals just to learn that their opponent in the final will be EPL colleague Chelsea, due to visit Etihad Stadium a couple of days later (Chelsea took all three valuable points back to London).
Meanwhile, Man United continued winning ways, and Edinson Cavani signed an additional one year contract. Man City fans will be glued to their TVs tonight and Thursday night hoping for their cross-town rivals to slip so the celebration can begin before the champagne goes flat. An amazingly rotated Man United is hosting Leicester right now, to be followed by Liverpool on Thursday. The Foxes have been skidding and have a most difficult run-out, so keep your eyes peeled for a last minute UCL qualification fight among a few teams scrambling for the last precious slot!
I did say this was going to be random. The Apple TV network released this series in August 2020, and it is everything a sports fan can ask for. I strongly recommend everyone to invest their time for real laughs in this comedy where an American Football second tier “successful coach” is appointed as the manager of AFC Richmond (a mid-table Premier League Club). You ask why? What and how? Here is the trailer... I cannot wait for Season 2.
Here is one of the side dishes. I am not sure if I should be happy for what happened to the lad or if I should sympathize with him. Thomas was part of Atletico Madrid squad until the last minute of the summer transfer window of 2020. Arsenal officiated the payment of the release clause to whatever body handling the transfers and had the deal with Thomas penned.
The Spanish capital club had already closed their offices that day with no anticipated deals to go through and without any intention to sell one of their key players who was one of the main reasons for Atletico’s defensive strengths in 2019-20 season. The manner in which the deal went through pains me from a sporting ethics point of view. I have come to accept (swallow) such deals a few transfer markets ago, considering the affected team has the time to bring in a replacement and we all remember that the transfer market last year ended sometime in October while the football season had already started.
Now, Atletico Madrid went through the most difficult game-week of the season with a goalless draw against Barcelona while Sevilla stopped Real Madrid from overtaking the lead. With three matches to go, La Liga’s trophy is Atletico’s to lose.
Partey’s new club Arsenal was knocked out of the UEFA Europa Cup by Villareal and is unlikely to achieve qualification to any European competition next season. Tell you what, I will feel bad for him if he stays with Arsenal next season. I’ll assume he went there for the project itself and hope for a better season next year, or I will just put him on my black-listed players if he induces a transfer this summer since he cannot participate in Europe next season.
The Old Lady
The European Super League saga continues. Following its announcement in April 18 this year, nine of its twelve clubs withdrew from the “breakaway league within 48 hours. Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus remain committed as of today.
As if the humiliating 3-0 defeat to AC Milan this weekend was not enough, Serie A confirmed on Monday that Juventus must withdraw from the Super League before it is time to register for next season’s Serie A or they will be kicked out. Inter Milan secured Serie A triumph while the Old lady is at the bottom of the UCL qualification fight with Atalanta, Napoli and AC Milan. The gap between second (Atalanta) and fifth (Juventus) is only three points with three matches to go for each team, but it can all be for nothing if Juventus does not withdraw from the Super League.
The lack of one goal stopped English clubs from occupying both UCL and EL finals seats in full. Villareal managed to hold Arsenal to a goalless draw in the semifinal return match to secure a seat against Manchester United on 26 May 2021 at the Stadion Miejski in Gdańsk, Poland. Chelsea and Manchester City knocked out Real Madrid and PSG respectively to qualify for an all English UCL final planned “so far” for May 29 in Istanbul Turkey.
The UK lists Turkey in its Covid “Red List” (meaning 10 day quarantine), causing demands for the UCL final to be moved away from Istanbul for the second year in a row.
Then the Euros are planned to kick off June 11, with Tokyo Summer Olympics looming on the horizon (maybe). Let us see how this one pans out!
Cherry on Top
The highlight of this season for me was Atalanta. The Italian club proved to be a force in Europe and is in contention to qualify for the Champions League for a third consecutive year. I hope the team preserves key players and adds to the fold for another amazing season next year. Also, look out for this guy during the Euros this Summer (Gosens).
Never Manage Alone
We are still three weeks away from season’s end, and NMA is still going strong in providing all the support our community looks for. Both EPL and UCL coverage continue during this amazing month, and then NMA will shift gears towards the Euros Cup fantasy league. Stay tuned, and let us have a great chat about the subjects above or anything else on your minds while the world cooks and brews the shape of the season final version.