If your reading this 2nd blog thank you for sticking with it! Apologies it has been so long coming, i planned on doing another blog over the weekend but it wasn't to be!!
So much has happened this season around Europe, Barca breaking the record points total in La Liga, Inter actually having to fight off a real challenge in Serie A for once (although it was partly there own doing), the Premier League going down to the final day, Bayern making a brilliant recovery in Decemeber to be all but crowned champions for the 22nd time after fighting of Schalke's challenge, Ligue 1 having a few surprises and isn't the Lyon dominated league it once was, Portuguese Liga had some twists as well with Braga & Benfica locked in a battle for the title and Porto surprisingly not being in the title hunt either.
The first league I want to look at is the Dutch Eredivisie and the brilliant story of Steve McClaren taking the relatively unknown Twente Enschede to title winners over the traditional powerhouse's of PSV, Ajax & Feyenoord as well as last season's winners AZ. Having not won the league since 1926 (under the name Sportclub Enschede) last season's amazing success in finishing second was considered nothing short of spectacular but this season the media labeled 'wally with the brolly' managed to do the unthinkable and bring the title home - beating an Ajax team who ended the season winning their last 14 games and having a goal difference of +86 (106 goals for 20 against). Ajax's form kept the race going to the last game but a 2-0 win away to NAC Breda on the last day secured the title. A special mention should go to Bryan Ruiz the Costa Rican striker who has scored 24 goals in the league this season. Sadly at the start of this season they drew Arsenal in the Champions League qualifiers and were knocked out but next season they will be in the draw and could be a tricky opponent for most teams, however it looks like they will be making this journey without McClaren who is hotly tipped to take over at Wolfsburg in the next week or so. I personally think its brilliant to see and English coach achieving great things outside of the UK and hope he can achieve great success in Germany
Speaking of the Bundesliga with 1 game left Bayern are 3 points clear but with a better goal difference of +17 more than Schalke they are effectively champions, but it hasn't been easy salling. On Tuesday 8/12 after 19' Juventus were 1-0 up in Turin and Bayern looked to be crashing out of the Champions league and Louis van Gaal going out of a job after a very public courting in the summer. However in this game they came roaring back, winning 4-1 and going on to not only win their 22nd League title. After the disappointment suffered with Jurgen Klinsmann as manager this is exactly what the Bavarians needed to show they could still compete and now they have a great chance of doing a domestic double this season (they face Werder Bremen in the DFB-Pokal final on 15/5) and then have the Champions League final as well - Man Utd where the first team to do a treble like this, winning that memorable final in '99 against the Bavarians and now Bayern have the chance to do the same themselves.
La Liga has also been an interesting league, just as you'd expect after spending nearly £300m between the top 2 teams this summer - obviously Real went money crazy (if you live under a rock Ronaldo £80m, Kaka £56m) and Barca spent a cool £46m (+ Samel Eto'o) for Zlatan Ibravimovic to strengthen an already incredible team. It was expected for these teams not only to rule La Liga but Europe as well - as everyone knows both these team's crumbled, Real at there usual 1st knockout hurdle against Lyon and Barca losing to Jose's Inter but in La Liga they have just got stronger - Barca are 93 points with 2 games left and Real 89 points with 3 games left - Barca already breaking the previous record they set in 96-97 season (in a 22 team league!) with Real setting there own record as well. Real have a tough game against 4th place Malorca tonight who are trying to claim a place in the Champions League for the first time ever with the game at the ONO Estadi which can be a hostile place to visit. Real will need all Ronaldo's skill and flair to help sneak this one i think. Barca on the weekend have a tough game away to Sevilla and will be hoping Messi can keep the magic coming in another tough away game
Serie A has had its ups and downs this season, in January Inter Milan were 12 points clear but some how Roma pull it back....well, the somehow was Inter's spectacular implosion, at one point actually falling behind Roma but Inter now lead by 2 points after Lazio lost to them in some of the strangest circumstance's seen in football with the Lazio fans booing there own goalkeeper for making saves and chanting at the team 'if you win we'll beat you up' which, sadly, could be believed!! Inter also have there won fan & player problems with the explosive Mario Balotelli rubbing both the fans and his own team mates up the wrong way. After he came on as a substitute in the 1st leg of the Barca game he spent his whole time sulking and really not running with the Inter fans booing him - at full time in the tunnel and the dressing room the Inter players apparently vented their frustrations at him as well. he's had clash's with everyone at Inter so far and its widely expected he's going to leave in the summer (apparently Man City is his preferred destination). However the accusations of Balotelli's wheel's being unscrewed on his car by fans is just going over the line and these sort of things just don't make sense to me. It's a shame as he's such a good player but he clearly irritated the fans when he was recorded wearing an AC Milan shirt - never going to warm you to the Inter fans doing something like that!!!
To stop this blog from going on to long I'm going to leave things there, i will be back after the mid-week games tonight to review the other leagues i mentioned at the start, as usual any feedback mail me at Buster_5265@hotmail.com, tweet me Buster_5265 or follow this blog and leave me a comment below (if you use igoogle etc you can just sign in with that user name & password)
thanks again for reading!