For all the accolades and spectacles during the season, you cannot deny the climax of the Top 4 battle held the spotlight. So it turns out that after weeks of expectation and apprehension, the top 4 teams would remain the familiar quartet – Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal.
It’s over; the relief and elation that emanated from the victorious teams’ quarters was best represented in the gusto with which Wenger punched the air and also the wholehearted cheers that greeted Rafa at the Bridge. AVB’s side was left in defeat but the Spurs fans subtly conveyed the trust and hope they have in their team and coach.
However, for the future of the 3 London clubs to be firmly founded, urgent measures must be taken by each team to sidestep the troubles of the season just gone
8 years without a trophy, still counting, and we don’t know what agenda the Arsenal board has set out for the team nor are we sure about Arsene’s state of mind in that setting. Belief is that as long as the Champions League spot is achieved, the Board is satisfied. If that’s the case, then Wenger must be feeling the heat that convenient spot could soon be taken over. The fact that Gunners have qualified for 17 consecutive Champions League’s is commendable but with Spurs and even Everton hot on their heels, next season’s Champions League could well be the end of that qualifying streak.
Arsene knows time and luck is running out for him. It’s only right fans are getting increasingly impatient with him and with the top 3 teams switching managers, the idea of trying out something new might begin to play on the Board’s mind. The progress of team is dependent on that pivotal decision the Board is dallying on.
It’s now almost certain that Jose Mourinho is returning home after Real Madrid announced that both parties would part ways at the end of the season. In spite of all the cynicism about his player management style and how self-centered he gets at times, there is no doubt that Mourinho is still one of the three best managers around. He won a Super Copa out of four major trophies and that’s been labeled a failure. This belief itself it’s a testament to his managerial proficiency just as Rafa’s Europa triumph and top3 finish is deemed credible.
If, as expected, he comes back to Chelsea, then it would be a great opportunity to redress the factor that has gotten us 11 trophies in 10yrs, but in essence, deposed our relevance on the home front. Cast your mind back to last year, only a miraculous night at Munich bailed us out from missing out on the Champions League. This season again, though we finished 3rd, it was a last-ditch rally by the team that rescued us from the ignominy of returning to the Europa League, even if we ended up winning the trophy. As we all know, the factor that’s repeatedly threatened to wreck the club’s status as a foremost side in England has been the ceaseless chopping of managers.
Mourinho’s (impending) return, with time, should restore Chelsea’s reputation as one of the very best sides in Europe and if only we can finally decide that Jose, no matter what circumstances arise, would be our manager, for a very long duration, then I see Chelsea setting the pace in England and Europe.
Not for lack of trying, Spurs best shot at the Champions League, for the second year running has been undone by last-minute effort by their two London rivals. They’ve come so close that only Chelsea’s triumph robbed them of the 4th spot last year. This season also, they lost out to Arsenal with just a point adrift and that coming on the final day of the season.
Since Harry Redknapp’s departure, Spurs have upped their game a notch under AVB’s guard. Unlike at Chelsea, AVB’s been able to build and blend a team off Harry’s team. Bale’s marked rise has been tremendous under AVB but taking a look at the team, it’s hard to point at another outstanding player in their rank. The acquisition of Sigurdsson, Verthorgen, Dembele, Holtby wasn’t a bad move, they are all decent players who will blend into the team eventually. Yet, the over-reliance on Gareth Bale has played it’s part in their failed quest for Champions League.
Spurs haven’t had much luck either getting their most sought after players, they’ve fallen short of players like Willian, Coutinho, and you wonder how impactful those players would have been for them this season. Soon, the transfer window will open, you get the feel that Spurs won’t baulk in getting 1 or 2 promising players this time and if they do, maybe their toil for a Champions League spot will finally end.
By Salako Aramide