Monday, May 23, 2011
The E.P.L.: The Final Curtain
by Bagga Wilks
Contrary to the fake prophesy the world did not end at 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 21, 2011. As per usual, the sun rose on Saturday, May 21 and unperturbed the sun went about its business and unobtrusively ventured into the perennial sunset. The English Premier League for 2010-11 was not as kind. On Sunday, May 22, 2011, the sun set on the English Premier League.
Unfortunately, as the Darwinian custom three teams from the English League were relegated and three teams from the Championship League will be promoted to the E.P.L. Birmingham, the team that defeated Arsenal in the Carling Cup, West Ham and Blackpool will be relegated. Some teams are relegated and bounce right back. Other teams, deprived of lucrative television revenues and devoid of their better players, find it extremely difficult to return to the Premier League.
The race for relegation came to the last match of the season. This is a reflection of the competitiveness of the English Premier League. It became abundantly clear during the first half of the season that on any given day, the less well-endowed teams could defeat the more well-endowed teams. As the season progressed, the sheep separated themselves from the goats. The truism is that the weaker teams gave up too many goals and scored too few goals.
Even though Manchester United had sewn up the E.P.L. before the last game of the season, they waited for that finale to take their victory lap. The game against Blackpool was a classical example why Manchester emerged in 2010-11 as the champions and why Blackpool has been relegated. Blackpool had the lead at one stage of the match but the relentless Manchester forays led to Blackpool scoring an own goal and the consequent collapse of Blackpool’s ability to defend.
The E.P.L. is a done deal for Manchester United but this weekend they face a formidable challenge for victory against Barcelona in the finale for the Champion’s League. The Champion’s final throws two of the best teams at this juncture in the world into the lion’s den. Both teams have exquisite match winners in Messi, Xavi, Inesta and Villa for Barcelona and Giggs, Rooney, Hernandez, Valencia and Park for Manchester United.
The Champion’s League game will be the final curtain for the 2010-11 season and the match-ups could not have been more entertaining. For the off season, we have Copa America which begins on July 2, 2011. The horse trading has already begun and what occurs in that market will determine whether backsliding teams like Inter Milan, Arsenal and Bayern Munich will return to their yesterday pedestal. For international soccer enthusiasts, the hibernation begins at the sunset on March 28 but unlike the doomsday prophesy, the sun will rise on the E.P.L. in August, 2011.