Here in the states there’s a going to be a lull in meaningful competition with the weekend offering nothing except for regular season basketball and exhibition games in football and hockey. Now while the intrigue of a 3-on-3 All-Star Game sounds like a real take with the wonderment of gorgeous up and down frenzy by the most skilled players in the world, in the end it remains a meaningless game. The Pro Bowl is the most boring, pointless football game there is, and to be honest I’d rather watch Brian Urlacher’s CT Scans at Northwestern Medical.
On the other side of the Atlantic the beautiful game is in full swing and the parity and parody of it all is something to behold. The top of the table has a few familiar clubs, but the leaders of the pack and the most surprising team in Europe has to be Leicester City who’re tops in the EPL with 47 points carrying just two losses in the campaign. Leicester City is led by two forwards who’re at the top of the league and near the top of the league in scoring with Jamie Vardy (16 Caps) and Riyad Mahrez (13 Caps). Top tier teams like Manchester City, Arsenal, and Tottenham are close on their heels, but the boys from Leicester have scored the third most goals in the league with 42 and have a goal differential of +16 again third in the league.
That parity isn’t lost on the rest of the table as teams that are annually expected to be competitive have fallen short of their benchmark to reach European competition the following season. The top three teams in the EPL are allowed to go up against the best clubs in the Europe in the Champions League. The Champions League has been talked about exhaustively on this site before so there’s no need to go over it again. The top three teams this year are Leicester, Arsenal, and Manchester City which if the season ended today would be the representatives from England to advance to continental competition. Tottenham at four would have to play additional games against other on the cusp teams in order to gain entrance.
The disappointments have clearly been clubs like Liverpool, Manchester United, and of course Chelsea who will be spoken about in greater detail later in the article. Swansea’s a personal disappointment, but nobody except for the author cares about them so they’ll have to be left at the door in order to speak of the clubs that are more well known (We are out of relegation after two consecutive results within a weeks time… Just sayin!).
All of this is how many teams can be placed in continental competition is determined by what is known as the UEFA Coefficient which takes into account the previous five European Competitions (Europa/Champions League). All of this being judged on a point system based on how teams faired from each country. Currently Spain and Germany are one and two understandably, but Russia recently jumped ahead of England with Italy rounding out the top five. Those would be considered the top five soccer leagues in the world for 2015/2016.
Now while the top of the table continue to jockey for a league title and wealth for their clubs’ owners
(the top three teams earned a merit bonus of a combined 100 Million GBP on top of the 54.1 million they each receive for being in the EPL. In addition they all receive money based on how many times they are shown as a marquee game both domestically and abroad like on NBC in the states)
the biggest disappointment in all of Europe and soccer as a whole is Chelsea who last season ran away from the rest of the league and won with little resistance. Chelsea proceeded to lay another egg in the Champions League and now the ship has pretty much sunk for the Blues. Players who’re making millions and millions of dollars have completely checked out, and while Chelsea is nowhere near relegation which would be an embarrassment of unspeakable terms, they’re currently 13th in the league with nine losses and a goal differential in the red. Diego Costa has eight tallies this year through 23 games. Last year he finished with 20, a very good young midfielder in Eden Hazard finished with 14 goals a season ago, he has one this year. Chelsea’s on their third manager of the season after Jose Mourinho was sacked. They won’t be making it into any competitions outside of England and many expect a lot of shakeups to the roster after the year. Mourinho seems to be just the start with many players more than likely being sold off after the disappointing season.To say the least Chelsea is a abomination to their fans and the laughing stock of English Sport tabloids daily.
English Soccer will be full of games in both the FA Cup and EPL this weekend and throughout next week.