Sunday, December 15, 2013

EPL 2013/2014, It might be the most difficult and unpredictable league in the world for last decades

In the early season, as Chelsea Fans, I thought it would be easy for Chelsea to win the Title of Premier League. It has been 3 years since the last time we won that title, so we should win the title this season (2013/2014).

In the pre-season time, whenever I used to discuss it with my friend, I always said that there were several reasons and prediction that used to make me confident to say Chelsea would win EPL title this season, in the early season:

          1.         The comeback of The Special One
Everyone in Chelsea loves Jose Mourinho caused by every nice memory was built in the past. This season Chelsea has so many potential young players that need a principal figure to teach and lead them to their glorious days. With bitter-sweet experiences that he has been undergoes in several countries, Mourinho is the right man to be Chelsea’s Manager today.

          2.         The transition of the Red Devils
We all know that this team has big tradition and big name in EPL. Magnificent histories were created by The Man in Honor, Sir Alex Ferguson, during 27 years of his careers in Old Trafford. No matter how big The Stars that left Old Trafford, he always created the new one. Even though Eric Cantona, Peter Schmeichel, Paul Ince, Roy Keane, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez, Edwin Van Der Sar, etc left United, but This Man always has a lot of ways to find their replacement.
However, this season, United should be compliant to face the reality that The Man in Honor is no longer their manager. This season should be difficult for them even though they have superb players like RVP, Rooney, etc. It would take times to realize that The Man in Honor is no longer United Manager. Brace yourself Manchunian!

          3.         The Dismissal of Roberto Mancini.
Manchester Blue became one of the contenders to win EPL in recent years. The fund support and the signing of a lot of quality and talented players fashioned them became another new supremacy in EPL. And Roberto Mancini is the manager who brought the EPL title to them in 2012, first time since 44 years past. Mancini is the one who crafted City’s players become unity and mentally strong. However, this man had to leave Etihad Stadium due to the dismissal by City’s owner in the end of last season due to his failure to bring any trophies to The Citizens last season (2012/2013). Because of that, at that time, I thought, it might be hard for City’s players to lose their boss who has brought glory to them.

          4.         Another inconsistent season from Arsenal and Liverpool
Without any good transfer in the most of summer transfer period, I thought both of this team would only follow their form in recent years that is ONLY competing for UCL’s ticket. That was my prediction in the early season for both of this team.

As the time goes by, and now here were are in the middle of December, which mean it is nearly entering the middle of the 2013/2014 season. What happen in EPL now is really contrast to my reasons and predictions mentioned above (as shown picture). Arsenal leads the standings, followed by Chelsea, City, Liverpool Everton, Newcastle, Spurs, etc. And where is United? They stay on 9th position by the way.

There is difference between what I have predicted and what happens nowadays. I would like to give several analyses why this condition can be happening beyond my predictions.

According to what happened, I have tried to invent several logical reasons what happen among EPL teams and cause the today standings.

·         Chelsea is Facing Their Own Problems.
As one of the team that was predicted as main contenders for title winner, till now, Chelsea showed beyond the expectations of all people this season. Even though The Special One is already stayed in Stamford Bridge, but this season is pretty different compared to the first year of Mourinho in 2004. Now, Mourinho is facing three serious problems. Even if Chelsea has already loaded by several talented players across Europe and Americas, but still they cannot show their true class as their hidden potential. I have several analyses to these problems:

1) Mental Problems
For several occasions, Chelsea experienced the bitter lost due to last minutes goal after finding difficulties and frustration while they tried to score goal. But I think, it is natural due to Chelsea has so many young players today. This mentality of this team is not stable yet. And I am sure that this problem will be solved after the team has experienced several decisive matches in the future.

2) Still in the middle of research to find the best scheme for game play.
With no longer Didier Drogba’s as Chelsea Front man, there is no old scheme anymore, such as lob the ball directly from the defensive line to forward or early cross from wing direct to penalty box. Different striker should be treated differently. Because of that, the game style should be different as well. So, since last years, Chelsea has been trying to build the game by utilizing the potential ability of their creative attacking midfielder.

Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Oscar, Willian, Andre Schurrle, Kevin de Bruyne are the young-talented attacking midfielder in Chelsea squad for 2013/2014 season. We cannot deny that these players are really precious investment for Chelsea’s future. With the depth of the squad, it is also good to face tense competition after the winter break. However, with a lot of players playing as Attacking Midfielder, Mourinho hasn’t found the best scheme for Chelsea. And also, he has no winning team composition yet because he is still finding the right man for the right places by rotating all of those players regularly. With the rotation, sometimes Chelsea had to suffer bitter defeat for several occasions.  And again, this transition needs times.

3) Bareness of Didier Drogba’s Legacy
I think this is the biggest problems in Chelsea at the moment. We all know that Didier has already become legend in every single heart of Chelsea Fans since he left Bridge in 2012. He had ever become the Iconic Chelsea’s Front man who is well-known with his pace, strength, power, and tireless-effort to help the team. This man was eminent as a Game Changer as well, which is needed by Chelsea, today.

Now, Fernando Torres, Demba Ba, Samuel Eto’o try to continue The Legacy of Didier as Chelsea’s Front man. However, till now, they still cannot replace Drogba’s status as The Best Front man for Chelsea All of Times. They are still struggling with their games and try to adjust their game to Chelsea’s new style of play. Those strikers only created 5 goals during 16 games in EPL. That is really far below compared to what Luis Suarez (Liverpool), Wayne Rooney (United), Sergio Aguero (City), and Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea’s on loan striker to Everton) have done for their teams.

I could understand that the process could take quite times as well. But still, time limitations should be set before everything goes worse. If the time is up, we should find another way / somebody else to carry on The Didier Drogba’s Legacy. And until that time, All of Chelsea fans should be patient and lay trust on The Special One.

·         Ozil Changed The Face and Soul of Arsenal

I am sure that, Mesut Ozil’s transfer from Real Madrid to Arsenal never crossed in every Gooner’s mind, as well as Madridista. Based on his magical performance in Real Madrid since arrived in 2010, it seemed impossible for him to leave Santiago Bernabeu. But, that is football, everything can be happened. His landing on Emirates Stadium on August 2013 shocked European Football.

His arrival was really what The Gunners need after RvP left in the summer 2012. Not only as a team composer, but also he gave spirit to the whole team, soul, trust, and he became the new icon of Emirates Stadium as well. Started from that point, Arsenal became new born team with full of confidence to face the new season. As the result, now Arsenal shocked every football predictor by standing on the top of 2013/2014 EPL. Even though there is still another half of season, if they could stick to their form as what they have shown recently, it is really possible for them to end their title drought during these 9 years.

·         The “Unrestrained” Liverpool and “La Bestia” Suarez
The form of Liverpool this season also shocked me, it was beyond my prediction. Even though this team was not really active in the summer transfer, by maximizing their potential player and improving the way their game, they showed up differently in this season. It seems Brendan Rodgers has already found the best way to lift Liverpool’s performance.

And don’t forget about their explosive striker, Luis Suarez. This guy is really something. What he saw to us in recent matches put his status in the same caliber as Gabriel Batistuta, Thierry Henry, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Didier Drogba as a natural striker who could make differences whenever he is needed by his team. All of those strikers have ability to execute scoring from long distance, scoring from tight angles, diving header, free kicks, impossible finishing touch, etc.  I have to admit that, Luis Suarez is the only explosive strikers that exist in the EPL nowadays. Luis Suarez really boosts Liverpool’s spirit after he came back from his banned suspension.

And it needs to be noted that, this season, The Reds is only competing in domestic competition. They don’t compete either in UCL or Europa League. It means, this team can concentrate their energy to intimidate the big four or even the title challenge. This team is really really Unrestrained!!
Now Liverpool is standing on the third place behind Arsenal and Chelsea.

·         Magic Touch of Pellegrini
At first, I thought it would be a problem for Pellegrini to carry on what Mancini has done to The Citizens. And again, I was so wrong in this case. In thise season, he decorated The Citizens with Spaniard Touch, by bringing Jesus Navas & Alvaro Negredo to the team. And he can blend them with the rest of the squad nicely. Apparently, his magic touch with Malaga last season still could be continued with City. Till now, City still remains as one of the contenders for title challenge by standing in the big four and destroying some of big teams like United (4-0), Spurs (6-0), and the fresh one, Arsenal (6-3). And also, this season he brought City to the UCL knockout phase for the first time. It is really interesting to wait what kind of surprise that he could show to us in UCL and EPL this season.

·         Gareth Bale’s Exit
Last season Spurs really one of serious contenders out of big fours, even what they got last season was better than what Liverpool had. Unfortunately, Gareth Bale, the guy who always ignited Spurs in the every single game last year, had to leave White Hart Lane last summer. Even though spurs bought several new players due to Bale’s income, still, they cannot show what Bale had shown last year, yet. Now, Spurs still is struggling in the mid standing with Everton, Southampton, and United. I hope AVB could deal with the club’s problems so Spurs could be back on the track where they could be the one of the serious contenders as UCL’s representative candidates.

·         The middle class team, they are evolving!!
Due to EPL is the most commercialized professional league in the world, it is not surprised if every team in EPL is pretty healthy in their financial club. Furthermore, the crowded in EPL is always supportive and always fills every seat in the stadium even for small club such as QPR, Cardiff City, Crystal Palace, etc. It also attracts the foreign players to come to EPL to feel the heat of the league. The upper middle class players from all over countries come to EPL such as, Emanuele Giaccherini, Pablo Osvaldo, Miguel Michu, Jonathan de Guzman, Romelu Lukaku, Kevin Mirallas, Yohan Cabaye, Mathieu Debuchy,  Asmir Begovic, Tim Krul, Hugo Lloris, Christian Eriksen, etc. It is really different if we compare it to Other Top European League which prefer fill up their teams with original countries players than foreigners. Even though this condition slightly obstructs the maturity of English Players, but this condition really heat up this competition.

We never realized it, slow but sure, they have formed a solid team among the middle team in EPL. They could make every big team in EPL to meet difficulties and it has already proven for several occasions. Till this day, Everton lay on 5th, Newcastle lay on 7th, and Southampton 8th. All of them surpassed Man. United as the holder of the EPL! Today, facing the ‘weak’ team in EPL is no longer easy as what happened 10 years past.

With the combination of those reasons explained above and the tight of their domestic and European competition, EPL produces very competitive and the most unpredictable league compared to other League in the World. It seems, in the EPL season 2013/2014, we need to wait until the last game of season to know which one will be the winner, and which teams will go to UCL and Europa League, and which teams are going to Championship League as well.

Shown Table below will give you description how tight EPL is, compared to Other Top European League.

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