Sports

2016-17 European football leagues – analysis

After skipping last year’s recap article – due to the Euros (very conveniently I take off in World Cup and Euro years, which essentially means that I publish posts like this every other year :D) – I’m back to dissect this mundane, yet topsy-turvy, season.

[all snapshots courtsey 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. Scratch that. That was the line from 2 seasons ago. Chelsea won its 6th title, with 1 game to spare. After finishing 10th last season, Chelsea bounced back like a cat on a trampoline. 1st-10th-1st. That one game to spare turned out to be an awkward homage to John Terry’s last game in a Blues shirt. Spurs finished 2nd two years in a row, and managed to finish over Arsenal in 22 years. Arsenal was 5th, consigned to the Europa league next year. In fact, I have never witnessed Arsenal outside the top 4 in my 20 years of seriously watching and following European club competitions, that incidentally matched their longest top-4 finish. The saving grace for Arsenal was winning the FA Cup, beating Chelsea, who by the time the final rolled in were in warm beaches, at least their minds were. Leicester after the fairy tale run last year settle into 12th place not before scaring everyone with a potential relegation.

Harry Kane continued his fine form by topping the scoring charts for 2nd consecutive year. Lukaku flourished under Koeman with Everton. The rest are usual suspects.

My prediction for 2017-18

It’s hard to see both Arsenal and ManU not improving upon this season, though even harder to see how they can dislodge the teams above them. Wenger staying on at Arsenal could actually bode worse for the team. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him sacked if there is a spell of few losing games. He’s on thin ice, I think. Conte has won the league the last 4 times he has coached a club (Juve 3, Chelsea 1). Would be foolish to count them off. Liverpool under Klopp is coming together nicely, missing only a few pieces. Guardiola will be in his 2nd seasoan as coach of City. This campaign was the only time in his entire career that he hasn’t won the league as a coach.

My top 6 for next year: Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Man United, Arsenal, Tottenham.

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German BundesligaThe German top flight has become a one-horse league. Munich won their 3rd 5th straight title, 2527th 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. [copied pasted from the article 2 years ago]. Leipzig, newly promoted last year, finished a distant second. With Robben and Ribery not getting any younger, though you wouldn’t know that by watching the last 2 games of the season where Robben scored absolute scorchers; Mueller not playing up to his erstwhile golden standard; Lahm and Xabi Alonso (two of the behemoths of the game) retiring – it will be interesting to see how Ancelotti shapes up this Munich team. Dortmund has a young, pacy, exciting team. The strange thing was their coach Thomas Tuchel was sacked after Dortmund won the DFB Pokal (German Cup)!

Aubameyang and Lewandowski continue to score for fun and old warhorse Mario Gomez still is hunting. Incidentally Lewandowski was the leading scorer heading up to the final game day, where Aubameyang scored 2 goals and Lewandowski scored none, and later complained that he was very angry at his team mates by not giving him opportunities to score!

My predictions for 2017-18

Whoever takes the reigns up at Dortmund will inherit a technically talented team with young, speedy players. The US teenager Christian Pulisic has put in impressive performances for club and country and will only develop more. Munich will NOT finish lower than 2nd place. The rest are just guesses; not educated guesses, just guesses.

Top 4: Dortmund, Munich, Monchelgladbach, Werder Bremen

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Italian Serie AMuch like the Bundesliga, Juventus has turned the Serie A into something they own. The Bianconeri won their 46th title in row, 31st33rd overall, and they won the Scudetto with 41 game to spare [copied pasted from the article 2 years ago]. Even a slew of high profile departures such as Tevez, Vidal, Morata, Pogba has not prevented them from bossing around the league. Mandzukic and Khedira have reinvented themselves while the Argentinian duo of Dybala and Higuain have a tremendous chemistry in front of goal. BBC (Bonuci, Barzhagli, and Chielini) hold up fort at the back, with the very sprightly 40-year old Buffon in goal.  Roma and Napoli had a concerted challenge throughout but it was quite evident that they were jostling for the 2nd place. Atalanta was a surprise finishing as high as 4th, while both Milan and Inter failed to land any European action next season. Milan is so pathetic that it is embarrassing. Hopefully the new Chinese buyers will get on the path to restore a semblance of the old Milan of lore, whose sheen has been worn out by previous owner Silvio Berlusconi (yes, the disgraced ex-Prime Minister of Italy) and longtime GM, and godfather lookalike, Adriano Galliani. Totti ended his 25 year career with Roma.

Juventus though couldn’t attain the treble by losing the Champions League final to Real Madrid.

Edin Dzeko, formerly of Man City, was the surprise lead scorer and both he and his Roma team Mohammed Saleh (Chelsea) are having a great resurgence. The diminutive Dries Martens filled in the void left by Higuain at Napoli, with Calderon and Insigne picking up a fair amount of goals as well. Higuain’s move to Juve gave him the 4th place.

My predictions for 2017-18

Hard to predict against Juve. With Totti now retired, I think Roma will flourish more without having to fit in the 40-year old. Napoli should be in the mix as well. Milan will still flounder.

My top 6: Roma, Napoli, Juventus, Inter, Milan, Lazio

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Spanish La Liga – Real Madrid won their first league title after 5 years. Think about it for a moment. The richest club in the world, with all the Galacticos, could not win the league 5 years in a row. This was their longest streak since 1980. Barca gave them a tough fight till the end but their one extra loss in the whole campaign (4) compared to Madrid’s was the deciding factor. Messi’s superlative performance in the second El Classico was a performance for ages but ultimately that win could not make up for ground lost earlier in the season. Sevilla and Atletico had something resembling a challenge going on but those aspirations faded by April.

Messi with a tally (*mediocre* by his lofty standards!) of 37 goals was the Golden Boot winner in Europe. The big guns from Barca and Madrid filled up the top slots, though Neymar not featuring in the top 5 had some bearing on Barca not winning the league.

My predictions for 2017-18

Atletico will sell their best player (Griezeman), Madrid will add a couple of more Galacticos, Ronaldo and Messi will keep on scoring. The same, the same …

Top 4: Barca, Madrid, Atletico, Villareal

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French Ligue 1 – Monaco has got to be this year’s Leicester! The brand of fearless, attacking football played by their young squad, epitomized by Mbappe and led by the written-off Falcao, was a treat to watch. Unay Emery’s first year as coach of PSG can only be described as a failure, though there are reports that he will get another year. To be pipped by Monaco by 8 freaking points is nothing short of a catastrophe! And Monaco made it further in the Champion’s League as well.

Cavani continues his domination of the minows in Ligue 1 and needs a ton of scoring opportunities to actually score. Lacazette continues his impressive run and is bound to be snapped up by top clubs this year. Falcao has risen like a proverbial phoenix.

My predictions for 2017-18

With Monaco selling their prized assets (their and Atletico’s off season game plans are very similar) to bigger clubs, it will be hard to repeat this season’s triumph. PSG will reclaim their throne, and also continue to falter in Europe. Nice was the another surprise package this year; should not be repeated again.

Top 4: PSG, Lyon, Monaco, Marseille

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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

World Cup focus: Belgium

With the World Cup in the summer of 2014, and the teams that will compete in the WC becoming clearer, I’ll try to publish profiles of some exciting teams. This week – Belgium. Belgium qualified for the World Cup on Oct 11, 2013 by virtue of their win over Croatia, which landed them top spot in Group A of the European qualifiers.

Now, Belgium is not a team that is repeated in the same sentence as “World Cup contenders”  (in fact, at the time of drafting this post, they aren’t even guaranteed a spot in the World Cup. Currently they sit atop Group A in the European qualifiers, with 2 games to go. If they can get one point from their remaining 2 games, they will finish top of the group and automatically qualify. If they finish second, they’ll be drawn into a 2-legged playoff and can potentially miss out), but this current team is full of promise and talent. Take a look at this formation of the Belgium national team.

belgium team formation

Let’s start the back. In Simon Mignolet, the Liverpool stopper, they have a towering presence in goal. Mignolet is probably the best keeper in the Premier League right now, and has already made some superb saves for his new club. As a replacement, Thibaut Courtois is having a pretty good run with Atheletico Madrid.

In defence, Vincent Kompany – the Manchester City captain – leads this exuberant team. Kompany is easily the most experienced player in the team. Thomas Vermaelen, the now-fit-now-not-fit Arsenal captain, partners Kompany in central defence. If Vermaelen stays fit, this pair can be the bedrock on which the attack will be built on. Jan Vertonghen, of Tottenham Hotspurs, fills in at left full-back, and Toby Alderweireld from Atheletico Madrid at right full back. On the bench would be the veteran Daniel Van Buyten of Bayern Munich.

The midfield is a 3-man zone, with Moussa Dembélé (Tottenham) and Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United) providing the cover for the defence and Kevin De Bruyne (Chelsea) playing the role of the link up between the forwards. Backup in midfield would be Steven Defour (Porto) and Axel Witsel (Zenit). The midfield is probably Belgium’s weakest link. De Bruyne, though full of promise, haven’t had too much playing time under Mourinho. Both Hazard and Mirallas (mentioned below) could be brought in to strengthen the midfield.

It is in the attacking third that Belgium has an embarrassment of riches. The starting eleven would feature Eden Hazard (Chelsea) in a wide left position and Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) in the center/right forward. Romelu Lukaku (Everton) would be the focal point of the attack. All three have been in the prolific form in the last and current season. Ready to take the field as substitutes would be Kevin Mirallas (Everton), Nacer Chadli (Spurs), Dries Mertens (Napoli), the latest sensation Zakaria Bakkali (PSV Eindhoven).

Note: The latest latest sensation Adnan Januzaj (ManU) hasn’t yet agreed to play for Belgium.

What would your Belgium team look like?

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Football, across the pond

Jason Sudeikis, from SNL, as an American coach of the English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspurs.

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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

Inspirational

A couple of stories that I found to be profoundly inspirational.

The first piece is about Dawn Loggins, a teenager who was abandoned by her parents; homeless; endured extreme poverty and abuse; worked her way through and came out with a scholarship to Harvard! How absolutely incredible is that?!

The second story is about LeBron James’ standout performance against the Boston Celtics in game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Now I’ve never been a basketball fan. I only start (and stop soon) following it around the conference semi-final/final. I was introduced to King James in 2007 when I went to Cleveland. This was when James was still a Cleveland Cavaliers guy. My cousin, who was 10 years old then, was an ardent follower of the game and I guess, more than an ardent follower of James. I still remember his incredulous face, when I said,  “I don’t know who LeBron James is”! I have since then followed his career – his alleged “treachery” in moving to Miami, the decidedly absurd announcement on ESPN, the subsequent commercial showing his human side, the heart-break last year against Dallas.

Throughout everything, one thing remained quite apparent to me: LeBron James is one of the greatest basketball players. I cannot comment on his greatness with respect to past and future eras, but currently he’s a colossus. Another thing, which might not be that apparent to many, about him that I find true of a champion is the measured, and sometime pretty humble, words that he has to say. Having watched live interviews, read printed article on him, he seems to be guy who just wants to play. And win. Badly.

Dispatching off the Celtics in seven games, Miami Heat are currently leading the Oklahoma City Thunders 2-1. Two more games, and 2 more wins, and LeBron James will surely join the ranks of all time greats.

Categories: Life and Times, Loves, Sports | 3 Comments

European football season 2011-12

Out of the big four European leagues, three – English, Spanish and Italian – ended yesterday, with the German league being wrapped up last weekend.

From some interesting facts and numbers from around Europe, one thing is very clear: The disparity between the top 2 teams in each league and the rest is getting to be too great a chasm for the rest to catch up. The top 2 teams in all the 4 countries seemed to be playing in a league of their own!

Have a look at the standing of the top 6 in each country.



English Premier League – City clinched win with 2 late stoppage time goals to draw level with United on points, on the last game day, and win the championship on goal difference!

Difference between 1st and 2nd placed team:

  • 0 points
  • 8 goal difference

Difference between 2nd and 3rd placed team:

  • 19 points
  • 31 goal difference



German Bundesliga – Munich’s fight ended when Dortmund clinically rode to a solitary goal victory over them on matchday 30

Difference between 1st and 2nd placed team:

  • 8 points
  • 0 goal difference

Difference between 2nd and 3rd placed team:

  • 9 points
  • 25 goal difference



Italian Serie A – Milan’s capitulation to city rivals Inter on the penultimate game day was the last nail in their coffin, though Juve controlled their own destiny

Difference between 1st and 2nd placed team:

  • 4 points
  • 7 goal difference

Difference between 2nd and 3rd placed team:

  • 16 points
  • 24 goal difference



Spanish La Liga – Nowhere is this great divide more apparent than in Spain. Barca’s 4th straight championship dreams were dashed by CR7’s poised finish on matchday 35

Difference between 1st and 2nd placed team:

  • 9 points
  • 4 goal difference

Difference between 2nd and 3rd placed team:

  • 30 points
  • 70 goal difference


Anyone who still says that money can’t buy you trophies?!

[All snapshots courtesy Goal.com]

Categories: Demystify, Sports | 3 Comments

Extremes

Last January I had a post on an 80 deg change in weather – that was a change from Kolkata (in West Bengal, India, Asia) to Minneapolis (in Minnesota, US, North America). Understandable, right. Now consider this scenario, and judge which is worse:

This Tuesday – January 10th, 2012 – we had a high of 53° F (12° C), an all time high for this date ever recorded in The Cities. After a high of a breezy 38° F on Wednesday afternoon, we hit a low of 19° F at night. By Thursday, we were back to a normal(!) 12° F (-11° C). A 41° F change in temperature in the course of 2 days. Not in 2 continents, or in 2 countries, or in 2 states, or even in 2 cities in the same state. In the same freaking city.

Talking about extremes, the mortgage rate for 30-year old loans fell to 3.89% in the US on Thursday, January 12th. This is the lowest on record dating to 1971. Refinancing, anyone?

Another (soon going to ‘record’) low: Team India, after falling to 161 in their 1st innings against Australia in the 3rd test in Perth in the current series, are well and truly on course to their 7th straight loss (and 8th as well, taking the 4th Test in consideration) in away Test matches. After their record 17 straight loss in away Tests from 1959 to 1968, this current streak is the longest. Anymore talk about the ‘golden generation’ is unadulterated balderdash. The IPL killed the Test-star (sing it along the tune of Video killed the radio star).

Now a personal extreme: This week was the 1st 5-day work-week for me since the week ending December 9th, 2011. We might see a 42° F change in 2 days, in the future; the way the mortgage rates have been dropping, another new record low might be just around the corner; Team India might touch new lows. But for me to have 4 consecutive less-than-5-day work week …now that is some record that would be hard to beat!

Categories: Economics, Rant, Sports, Weather | Leave a comment

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