Well, the soccer season is underway at last! Can any team pull off what Leicester did last season?
There has to be another outsider lurking on the wing… or will the big boys have it all sown up before Spring?
Well, as we saw at The Euros, anything can happen in the beautiful game – although were the Euros that beautiful? We were deprived of Ronaldo’s brilliance in a lack-lustre finale to a generally bland championship. Let’s hope some of our England stars can shine a little more brightly than they did in France……
For starters 888Sport have a great treble your odds offer to new sign-ups, so if you haven’t already got an account with them, the start of the football season is just the time to take advantage.
The two leagues that arguably draw the most attention, the Premier League and La Liga are now only weeks away. Season 2015 to 2016 saw Leicester outsiders (given huge odds of 5000 to 1 at the start of the season to lift the title) win the Premier League and bring jubilation and pride to the people of Leicester. However, in that typical British way, most of the football fans in the country were also rooting for them as their ‘second- team’. The underdogs, the ones written off before the season, finally achieved the impossible and lifted the title for the first time in their history.
Can they do it again this season? We think not. Leicester’s success was not simply down to big hearts and determination. As is often the case, keeping a preferred first eleven each week is the target every manager aims for. Claudio Ranieri’s succesful management was helped in part by some ground breaking physiotherapy away from the pitch. These techniques, including freezing chambers, were used to deal wth injuries so swiftly that problems normally associated with several weeks rehabilitation for the player, were reduced to less than a week. The manager kept his choice eleven time and time again.
Of course, news of these techniques travels quickly around football circles and we will undoubtedly see other top clubs embracing them to the same effect. Leicester’s feat may never be repeated. On that basis, It seems likely that the usual candidates will rise to the top this season also under the guidance of new management and new determination to re-establish their positions at the top of the tree. Who would bet against Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City or Arsenal?
Meanwhile, La Liga starts shortly and eyes will be focussed as ever on the two stars Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo. Will Messi’s recent court case lead to a drop of form and affect the fortunes of Barcelona? The difference between the top teams, Real Madrid and Barcelona are tight enough to prevent even the thinnest of bank cards to be inserted between the two, let alone wide enough to allow dropped points via the form of a top player affected by off the field incidents. He could go to prison for tax fraud but we do not think so. The salary he earns is massive compared to the tax amount in question. It needed to be pointed out by the courts but put away arguably the top player in Spain and deny a football-mad nation their star? No way Jose!
Let’s not forget the player of the moment however, Ronaldo. Love him or hate him he is a powerful influence both for his nation, Portugal, recent winners of the Euro 2016 tournament and his team Real Madrid. His peacock feathers will be well and truly raised and he is bound, injury permitting, to be strutting his stuff around the sun-drenched stadia of late summer Spain wearing the Real Madrid shirt (if he can keep it on). Meanwhile, always waiting to predate upon any slip-ups from the Barcelona or their arch-rivals Real, Atletico Madrid will be like greyhounds out of the trap. You can never write them off. With a massive work ethic and a fanatical manager that makes Attila the Hun seem like ‘the bloke next door’, Simeone will be smarting for success.