The Premier promised a triumphant year. Powered by the impressive hand-in-hand between Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and Pep Guardiola’s City, it should engulf the world hand-in-hand with a financial vitality unrivaled anywhere in the world. With the league in crisis after the ravages of the Covid, Germany admiring itself in the mirror of its one-horse career, Italy in purgatory, France exporting players (except the most desirable…), the European Super League in the abyss, it was lacking only the arrival of Saudi capital via Newcastle in late 2021 to confirm English aspirations for enduring supremacy.
Yes, City clinched the title in the last breath yesterday thanks to a spectacular comeback, challenging the national supremacy Liverpool were aiming for after winning the FA Cup and League Cup. And on Saturday, the highlight of the year awaits Liverpool with the Champions League final in Paris against the dreaded Real Madrid. A final that Pep Guardiola aimed for, whose last-minute collapse at the Bernabéu will allow the birth of a cataract of theories and explanations on the influence of the absurd in football. Or the mental temperament.
In any case, despite the disillusionment he experienced yesterday, it’s hard to argue that this was Jurgen Klopp’s season. In seven years at the helm of Liverpool, Klopp has won two Premier Leagues, an England Cup, a League Cup, a Champions League, a European Super Cup and a Club World Cup. A huge record considering Liverpool had not won the league for 30 years prior to his arrival, 16 without winning the cup, 10 without winning the League Cup and 14 without winning the Champions League. In his six years at City, Pep has won four league titles, one cup and four league trophies. Not bad for a team with very little money in the case.
But the brilliance of this two-horse race does not allow to hide the fact that the premier was halfway in Europe in football and unexpected storm clouds (a single finalist, even in the Champions League, is little for a league that enjoys absolute European hegemony claimed). formed in other matters. The ouster of Roman Abramóvich has not only brought Chelsea to the brink of collapse, but also represents a very serious wake-up call to the viability of a financial model that, despite its undeniable strength (the PM is awash in television rights and remains a magnet for investment from overseas) relies too much on the vanity of some of his club owners. Including political and geostrategic vanities.
The blackest cloud of all, however, was the sudden resurgence of ’70s and ’80s-style Pitch Invasions, as Huddersfield eliminated Luton in the playoff semifinals to gain promotion to the ’70s and ’80s Premier; when Nottingham Forest qualified at home to Sheffield United in the other semi-final; when Mansfield Town eliminated local Northampton Town for promotion to League One; in the other semi-final between Port Vale and Swindow Town and when Everton confirmed their consistency with their comeback (3-2) against Crystal Palace.
All invasions have featured provocations and aggression towards visiting players and coaches, including Palace manager Patrick Vierira, who kicked the air to defend himself. A Forest fan has been sentenced to 24 weeks in prison for brutally spewing a Sheffield player.
A worrying phenomenon that is difficult to stop and that some experts attribute to the increase in crime in general and a drop in discipline among football fans in particular following the restrictions imposed by the Covid. Of course, City fans also stormed onto the pitch to celebrate the title.
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