This is my column for ManipalBlog and as the name suggests it is related to football, the beautiful game. Here I shall be discussing the results, controversies, tactics etc. of the previous week in Europe‘s top leagues and the Champions League.
The Handshake gate:
In recent times the pre-match ritual of handshakes has been blown out of proportion by the media. The Terry/Ferdinand and Suarez/Evra controversies come to mind. The buildup to the matches involving these players are all about ‘will he’ or ‘won’t he’ in regard to a handshake, ignoring the real deal – Football played on the field. Honestly, these so called ‘rituals’ have to be removed as they court more controversy than necessary. No one is going to talk about handshakes which take place but only about those which didn’t, which is ridiculous. Footballers are professionals and adults and it is just a foolish measure to ask them to shake hands irrespective of their will. It must be up to them to shake hands of fellow professionals at their own will, hence avoiding the unnecessary and allowing people to concentrate on football.
It is that time of the season when Europe‘s premier competition begins. It is called the best tournament in club football. In other words, playing in the Champions League is what top players want and to win it is their dream. This season the CL promises to be better than ever with new teams into the fold. The group stages of the CL itself kick off with two great European encounters in which defending European champions Chelsea face reigning Italian Champions Juventus at Stamford Bridge and Spanish Champions Real Madrid host Premier League holders Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabeu. Add to these the fixtures of CL regulars Barcelona, Manchester United, Arsenal, AC Milan, Bayern Munich to the new big spending boys in Zenit, PSG etc. Champions League football is not just football matches, it is about renewed rivalries, elite side stories, homecomings of ex-legends and about upcoming young stars. Here’s hoping for a some amazing football, unforeseen results, shocks, drama but less controversy. Only time will tell which team is going to go into the history books this season.
Premier League and La Liga:
Real Madrid continued their underwhelming start to the season with a 1-0 loss to Sevilla which sees them 8 points adrift rivals Barcelona who made it 4 victories in 4.Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho is said to be unhappy at the team’s concentration levels and commitment. In the Premier League, league leaders Chelsea dropped their first points away at QPR in a 0-0 stalemate. The top 4 consists of Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City and it is widely expected of them to finish in the top 4 (in any order). Meanwhile Tottenham registered their first victory under new manager AVB with a 3-1 win over Reading while Liverpool continue to struggle without a win in 4 games. Elsewhere Juventus continued their unbeaten start to this season and are now unbeaten in 42 league games and are at the top of the table alongside Napoli and Lazio (both 3 wins in 3).