European Giants Face Hard Times!
This week’s Champions league encounters sprang loads of surprises at us all, though it should have been expected, the obvious fact is there, and European giants are struggling, why?
The “lesser” clubs are now updated in the “how to win ugly” modus software; fierce but constant physical play are included in their game plan, that spares them the inferiority complex against these Giants and lately the giants are having problems coping. Better defensive structuring and this style of play makes up for the lack of world class players in their roaster.
Physically all the European Giants are struggling and if not for improved medical science and club doctors we would have been nursing several more star injuries by now(they might be on the way).These star players of these giant clubs lack the necessary freshness due to the congested calendar of matches, lack of adequate rest carried over from last season, little break (It was a summer of European championship, south American world cup qualifiers) and ever since July till date these clubs are stringing chains of matches one after the other.
The obvious reasonable thing to do would be that the Giant clubs would sacrifice some championships in favor of the most important ones like the Champions league and league title right? But no! Financially these rich clubs have a heavy salary and expenses burden that they need every euro they can get from every possible game and championship.
The end result is that till they all start getting eliminated from some of these championships, we should expect below par performances from them.
Barcelona’s defeat was overdue. In as much as I love to watch them play, it is clear that they are not so sovereign at the moment like they were under Josep Guardiola their former Coach/Manager. They needed a last second winner to beat relatively lowly Celtic at the first leg in Barcelona and had trailed 0-1. They concede more goals more than ever and the injury to star defenders like Carlos Puyol and Gerard Piqué is telling on their defending!
Arrogance and real lack of team cohesion is the bane of Real Madrid coupled with the above stated points. Clearly Cristiano Ronaldo is unhappy and in my opinion deservedly, but we know Mourinho was arrogant but good from birth, but the level he is at now is clouding his competency. These days he is rarely seen dishing out instructions but rather just standing with an air like to his players: “what are you waiting for to finish off our opponents?” The team is not playing like one and as we saw vs. Dortmund, when Ronaldo is muscled out by a very well organized team defense network like Dortmund?s Real Madrid suffer.
Arsene Wenger needs a rethink and I do believe that his tactical and managerial limitations are beginning to show clearly now! Arsenal spent a lot of money this year but they are far from title contenders in my opinion. They lack that winning do or die hunger and they desperately need a striker that scores out of nothing for them. Though vs. Schalke defensively was where they fumbled the most. What a shame for their passionate and loyal fans. I say loyal because where else will fan still stand behind a manager of a giant club like Arsenal who have gone 7 whole years without any form of silverware, not even the lowly Carling ton cup?
Ac Milan is desperately struggling in Europe especially due to the obvious depletion of their quality players. The loss and non replacement of players like Clarence Séedorf, Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva amongst others is clearly a major reason why they are struggling!
Although I still do not consider Manchester City a European Giant by Silverware, but by wealth and quality players they are arguably up there and their problem lays a lot around the short sightedness and way of management of their Coach/manager Roberto Mancini! How dare a coach blessed with so much talent still spend his time always whining about need for re-enforcement and new players? How does he expect to get team unity and results out of the players there now that he is insinuating are not good enough?
Having said all the above, I still have the belief that come the closing stage of the European season we shall have again “the Usual Suspects”(these Giants) conquering Europe. The Christmas break will do them a lot of Good short of the English clubs who play all through it!
The European Giants could be struggling now but I strongly believe it is a temporary issue. Though difficult they should mostly qualify for the next stages of the Champions league and dominate the end stages!