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2014-15 European football leagues – analysis

After skipping this exercise last year – World Cup year – we’ve come to our 3rd annual Krishanu’s analysis and predictions of the top 5 football leagues in Europe: England, Germany, Spain, Italy, France. Here are the pieces of from 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons.

[all snapshots courtesy goal.com]

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English Premier League – Chelsea won its 5th top flight league title, the first in five-year, at the beginning of May, with 3 games to spare. There was a point where Arsenal were challenging City for the 2nd place, but slots from 2nd to 6th neatly fell into place without much drama, except for Liverpool’s 6-1 hammering by Stoke, which saw them slip to 6th and lose out on a Europa league spot to Spurs. I think this is the best thing to happen to Liverpool! Without Europe lurking mid-week, they should be able to do better in the league next year.

Premier League table 2014-15

Premier League top scorers

Harry Kane was the surprise package with almost claiming the Golden Boot before Aguero took matters in his, well, own feet. It is amazing how Spurs keep on producing world-class players and then sell them off.

My predictions for 2015-16

It will be hard to dethrone Chelsea with the squad they have, and especially with The One as their manager. Mourinho has to be in the top 5 best managers ever in club football. Under LVG, United should see the renaissance continue next year. Arsenal is just 2 signings away (a defensive midfielder and a defender) from launching a legitimate bid to the title. Hard to say.

This would be my top 5 finish next year: Chelsea/Arsenal, City, United, Liverpool.

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German Bundesliga – The German top flight has become a one-horse league. Munich won their 3rd straight tile, 25th overall. Dortmund’s challenge has fallen off and no other team even thinks, let alone look, to fight for anything higher than the 2nd place spot. Wolfsburg – where Kevin De Bruyne has had a superlative season establishing him as one of the top midfielders of the world, and Bas Dost, who came from nowhere to score 16 goals, had an excellent campaign –  made the 2nd spot their own. Dortmund were languishing at the bottom of the table at the start of the year, but managed to finish 7th. They could have claimed a Champion’s League spot by winning the DFB-Pokal (the German cup) but De Bruyne was there again to inspire Wolfsburg to the title. It was a disappointing year for Schalke but they will take consolation from finishing above Dortmund.

Bundesliga table 2014-15

Bundesliga top scorers

My predictions for 2015-16

With Jurgen Klopp departing from Dortmund, it would hard to say whom the club lands up with, and that will in turn have bearings on where they end up next year.

This would be my top 5 finish for next year: Munich, Wolfsburg, Schalke, Leverkusen, Dortmund

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Italian Serie A – Much like the Bundesliga, Juventus has turned the Serie A into something they own. The Bianconeri won their 4th title in row, 31st overall, and they won the Scudetto with 4 games to spare. But the Italian League is in decline and has been for some years. Nothing encapsulates this decline better than the exploits of  38-year old Luca Toni, who finished as the top scorer. My Milan finished lowly 10th, and the reason I had to extend the table! Lazio and Napoli had a last day skirmish where the winner (Lazio) got the Champion’s League play-off spot. Juve also won the Coppa Itallia (Italian Cup) and were on course to win the coveted treble with the Champion’s League against Barcelona (which did not happen).

Serie A table 2014-15

Serie A top scorers

My predictions for 2015-16

Until something dramatic happens, Juventus will continue to steam roll opponents. Rafa Benitez leaving Napoli can only mean good things will happen to Napoli. God help Real Madrid! There has been a lot of talks about Milan being sold to a Mr. Bee or a Chinese consortium. Whatever happens, a buyer with a cash infusion will be the best thing to happen for Milan in the past few years. Berlusconi is mad, Galliani is incompetent, the coaches (Seedorf, Inzaghi) were great players, the club needs money to buy quality players in every single position (except maybe for keeper).

My top 5 finish for next year: Juventus, Roma, Napoli, Inter, Lazio

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Spanish La Liga – Atletico Madrid claiming the league last year was such a punch in the face for Barcelona and Real Madrid that it couldn’t be allowed to happen again! And, by the way, Atletico’s achievement was so big that Diego Simeone should have won the Coach of the Year Award (instead of Joachim Lowe of Germany’s national team). Barcelona righted that wrong from last year. With MSN (Messin, Neymar and Suarez) hitting 122 goals combined in all competition, there could be only one Campeones! Madrid had a streak of 22 wins in all competition at the end of last year but Luca Modric’s injury and subsequent lay off showed how important he’s to the center of the field. Having won the Copa Del Ray (Spanish Cup) and the Champion’s League, Barcelona has achieved the treble.

Primera Division table 2014-15

Primera Division top scorer

In any other league around Europe, Neymar’s 22 goals would have landed him the Golden Boot. Not in La Liga. Messrs. Messi and Ronaldo have very different ideas on how to win the Pichichi.

My predictions for 2015-16

Barcelona and Madrid are still too strong for anyone else. Rafa Benitez will conspire to bring Madrid down and will probably be sacked mid-season. The new coach will get Madrid up to top 3 with Atletico claiming 2nd.

My top 5 finish for next year: Barca, Atletico, Madrid, Sevilla, Bilbao

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France Ligue 1 – PSG were in a spot of bother in April and going out of the Champions League against Barcelona was the best thing that happened! Under pressure from Lyon and Marseille, they managed to win the important games at the business end of the season. Ibrahimovic was carrying PSG for most the season until Cavani decided to justify his price tag last summer. He score the bulk of his goals at the end of the season to hand PSG a domestic treble: League, League Cup and French Cup (Coup de France).

Ligue 1 table 2014-15

Ligue 1 top scorer

My predictions for 2013-14

Lacazette is very fast rising star and I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes a move to a club in the top 4 leagues in Europe (Ligue 1 is 5th). With Lacazette gone, Lyon will find the going tough. Monaco has done tremendously well after the sell-off of last summer. They will continue to improve. Gignac would have shone with Marseille, but he has signed for Mexican club Tigres. PSG is 3 pieces away from European glory: a goal keeper (Sirigu is solid but makes some key errors), a creative midfielder, and a Thiago Silva-class defender (David Luiz IS a liability, in any team he plays for).

My top 5 finish for next year: PSG, Monaco, Marseille, Lyon, Montpellier

Categories: Analysis, News, Sports | 2 Comments

No change in DJIA for the day!

DJIA_Apr 24, 2014

I’m not sure how many days like today has there been, but this seems pretty incredible to me!

Categories: Economics, News, WTF | Leave a comment

2012-13 European football leagues – analysis

Another season has drawn to a close. There were some predictable results, and there were some tectonic shifts.

As a contrast to last season, where the top 2 in each league were very close, this time around the top spot in each league was wrapped up far before the last day of the season. In fact, Munich won the Bundesliga with a whopping 6 games to spare!

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English Premier League – United won its 20th title end of April, with 4 games to spare. City was unchallenged to the 2nd place, though never in contention for the top spot. Arsenal managed to pip Spurs to the last, and much coveted, Champion’s League spot.

courtesy: premierleague.com

  • 11 point difference between top 2 team

Robin van Persie, unsurprisingly, won the Golden Boot second year in row, with Gareth Bale coming of age in this season.

courtesy: premierleague.com

My prediction for 2013-14 season:

Top 3: Chelsea, City, Arsenal (not in that order – I don’t know which order!)

4-5: Spurs, Liverpool

5-6: United, Everton

With Sir Alex now gone (and Scholes and Giggs too), I see a mighty upheaval at United. Rooney will leave (too much differences with Moyes) and RVP will not able to carry the team on  his shoulders alone. Mourinho will work his magic at Chelsea; Wenger will actually spend money; City will be calmer under Pellegrini; Rodgers will try his best, but with Suarez gone, it will be an uphill task; Villas-Boas might coax out a top 3 finish for Spurs.

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German Bundesliga – The German top flight has become, much like the Spanish League, a two-horse league. Munich and Dortmund were at least a body length ahead of rest of the 16 teams, with Munich being head and shoulders ahead of Dortmund. Even the Champion’s League final were contested by these 2 teams! Though it was a lively, free-flowing match (the CL final, that is), with both sides getting a lot of scoring opportunities, you always got the feeling that this was Munich’s year. With a treble (league, Cup, and CL) Munich IS the team to beat next year.

bundesliga

courtesy: espn.co.uk

Look at the table and try to take in the significance of Munich’s achievement.

  • Had a 25 point gap between 2nd placed Dortmund
  • Had a +80 goal difference
  • Won the league (22nd title) in beginning of April, with 6 games to spare (well, to be fair, you can’t infer that from the table!)

HOLY INCREDIBLE!

german top scorers

courtesy: free-elements.com

Now, another blow-your-face-away stats. Even though Munich scored 98 goals, their top scorer, Mandzukic, was only 6th on the list with 15 goals. The whole effing team is full of goal scorers! Müller, Robben, Ribery, Pizaro, Gomez. Not to mention Schweinsteiger and Alaba!

My prediction for next season:

1. Munich

2. Dortmund

3. Schalke/Leverkusen

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Italian Serie A – Juventus managed to hold on to the top spot (their 29th/31st Scudetto – depends on who you ask), relatively with ease – 3 games to spare. Milan started horrendously, but still managed to get the last CL spot,  leaving Fiorentina frustrated, due to a) Unbelievable effort by El Sharawy at the beginning,   b) a late surge inspired by Super Mario,  and  c) Pazzini’s workhorse-like effort throughout

italian table

courtesy: soccerstats.com

As you’ll notice, Inter Milan is not in the top 5. They finished 9th,  a great fall from the time they won they treble just 3 years ago.

Edison Cavani almost pulled off a “Maradona”, inching Napoli closer to the Scudetto.

serie a top scorers

My predictions for 2013-14:

1-2 – Juventus, Milan (not in that order). Allegri’s staying at Milan heralds good news. They have a lively, young squad and if Balotelli can be “managed”, great things will happen!

3-5 – Inter, Udinese, Roma (not in that order)

6-7 – Fiorentina, Lazio

(A lot depends on the Cavani saga though. If Napoli manage to hold on to him, I’d give them a top 3 finish. If not, they’d be lower than 7.)

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Spanish La Liga – Barcelona wrapped up their 22nd title with 4 games to spare in middle of May. They had actually opened up a 9 point lead over Real Madrid going into the new year, and never let it drop. In fact, they just built on it, eventually ending with a lead of 15 points over 2nd placed Madrid.

la liga table

courtesy: eurosport.yahoo.com

The real shocker (or maybe, by now, it’s not a shocker any more) lies in the goals ratcheted  up the 2 current best players in the world.

In any other league, Radamel Falcao would have been the top scorer, but not in this one.

My prediction for 2013-14 season:

1-2 – Barcelona/Madrid, no dislodging these two. Who will come out on top will  depend on  a) If Ronaldo stays at Madrid  b) How Neymar links up with Messi  c) How leaky Barca’s defense will be

3-5 – Malaga/Athletic Bilbao/Athletico Madrid

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France Ligue 1 – With PSG being bankrolled by the oil money from Qatar, and elevating it to stratospheric level in just 1 year, Ligue 1 needs to be counted among the continents elite. Now Monaco, being promoted to the top-level and fueled by fertilizer money from Russia, showing signs of similar promise, the French league should be very interesting.

ligue1 table

courtesy: eurosport.yahoo.com

Unsurprisingly, Ibrahimovic was the runaway leader, with no serious contenders. The 2nd top scorer in the league didn’t even break 20 goals. It will be interesting to see the duel between Falcao (who moved to Monaco) and Zlatan next season.

french top scorers

courtesy: eurosport.yahoo.com

My predictions for next season:

1 – PSG

2 – Monaco

3-4 – Marseille/Lyon

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Munich’s thrashing, a 7-0 aggregate win over 2 legs in CL semi-final, of Barcelona signals a shift in continental powers. This is not to say that Barca is a finished power, far from it. Barca needs to heavily invest in a couple of physical center backs, but looking at their summer signings till now, it doesn’t look like they learnt their lesson. Munich on the other hand have an abundance of riches, and are still looking to “strengthen” their squad. Not sure where this will lead to.

Categories: Analysis, News, Sports | 1 Comment

Roundup of May

Not having one particular topic to focus on, today’s post will take a look back at the important happenings in May.

Flickr, Yahoo’s photo storage/sharing service recently expanded their space to 1 TB, that is, 1 Terra Byte, which equals 1024 GB. If this isn’t a game changer, I don’t know what is. Surprisingly this news was overshadowed by Yahoo’s buying out Tumblr, which seems as epic a deal as Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram. (Tangential point: Instagram’s founder Kevin Systrom, was not only included in TIME magazine 100 most influential people for year, but also given a full-page coverage, whereas the CEO of Samsung, Kwon Oh Hyun and the CEO of Huawei, Ren Zhengfei, were given 1/3rd page coverage!! Is it just me, or does anybody sees the national (forget the global) significance of a guy who’s claim to fame is to let you apply bad filters to your already crappy cell phone photos?!)

May was the month where 30-year residential mortgage came close to going over the psychologically debilitating, and actual 4%, mark. If the upward trend continues, the days of über cheap mortgages might be drawing to a sharp close.

mortgage rate graph

courtesy: Zillow

 

Sir Alex Ferguson, the manager of Manchester United, retired after 27 consecutive years in charge. He is, inarguably (and yes, this is one of those times that inarguably is correctly used), the most successful manager of any professional sports team, anywhere in the world, of all time. And this is coming from an Arsenal fan. If you don’t know who Sir Alex is, or what he has done, my first question to you would be: under which enormous rock have you been hiding, for the last 20 years? Any number of links I insert in this post will not be enough. Search, and you’ll be answered.

 

 

Categories: Economics, News, Rant, Sports | 1 Comment

Google Nexus 4 – availability and shipping

Just wanted to put this post out on the “newest and hottest” phone out there today. Key word in the last sentence is “today”. The mobile technology is changing so fast that a phone ‘new’ today becomes ‘old’ in a couple of months.

A friend of mine from India asked me to get this phone. Since this is an unlocked phone – that can be used on any GSM network (any provider that uses a SIM card) in the world – it is not bound by any contracts in the US, and can be used anywhere.

The only 2 available buying options were either directly through Google Play or T-Mobile. The latter option is automatically ruled out as it would involve a contract with T-Mobile. When I first checked up on Google Play, the 8 GB model was sold out and there was a 5 to 6 weeks delay on the 16 GB model.

Nexus 4

I put in the order on December 11, last Tuesday. And magically received the phone on December 13! Those elves were working real hard.

Now today, December 17, I went in the Play store and checked – both the 8 and 16 GB models are sold out. My friend, we were in luck (and operating in a very short window of opportunity).

Categories: Demystify, News | Leave a comment

Affairs of the defense

Two pieces of seemingly unrelated news came in through the news today, late on a Friday evening.

Or are they?

Decorated General, CIA director David Petraeus resigned after admitting to an extra-marital affair. Why did he admit? Anybody’s guess …

Christopher Kubasik, incumbent CEO of Lockheed Martin resigned after admitting to an improper relationship with a subordinate.

Let’s see. Lockheed Martin is one of the biggest contractor of the Pentagon. CIA is the clandestine organization within the Department of Defense. Somehow both these chiefs resigned on the very same day, due to eerily similar reasons, after admitting to their failings, not caught red-handed or accused by someone else.

How coincidental is that?!

Categories: Life and Times, News, WTF | Leave a comment

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