Tag Archives: contenders

The Champions League – What Makes a Euro Giant?

When you think of the football clubs that would be the equivalent of a footballing superpower, there are certain clubs that spring to mind.

For good reason too. Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich are the three that are top of the tree when musing upon which club has the most clout, the most illustrious history and crucially – the biggest haul of silverware.

This years European Cup has now separated the wheat from the proverbial chaff, and the rollcall for the knockout stages has the same familiar faces of previous years. The aforementioned trio of Euro behemoths will be taking part as they always do, but they won’t have everything their own way.

There are a host of clubs with liberal sprinklings of stars within their team that can hurt the conglomerate that is Real, Bayern and Barca. The odds for the potential winners of this years Cup is interesting reading, and shows that in terms of stature, the chasing pack are catching up.

What exactly sees a successful club transform into a giant? To start, the respective number of European trophies would be top of the list. Any club that can boast of European honours can show that they not only earned the right to play in Europe by beating their domestic rivals, but they also overcame the cream of the continent. So what club has the most European honours?

No surprise to see Real Madrid and Barcelona in the top 3 of the list, with 19 and 14 respectively, but Bayern Munich have amassed 10 and are 7th on the list. Above them are teams such as Ajax, AC Milan and Liverpool – teams who have failed to maintain a constant presence in Europe’s premier competition.

Do former glories count as much as the present? If so, then Liverpool would be able to claim some part of the dominion that Real, Barca and co currently hold. Ditto AC Milan, who in the 90’s – and were a pretty big deal in the noughties – alone held Europe within their tight grasp. 

These clubs though, have faltered on the domestic front. Liverpool especially have been unable to jump over the first hurdle to ensure their membership for the ‘Giant Club’ is not revoked. The Merseysiders, Milan and Manchester United more recently, have not been able to make a dent in their home countries league. Liverpool have not won a title since 1990, can they really claim to be part of the European heavyweight scene?

Some part of the equation is financial heft. Like it or not, Chelsea and Manchester City have muscled their way into the scene and now compete on a near equal footing to the Barca’s and Bayern’s of this collective. They regularly lift silverware on the domestic front and now have European delights firmly within their reticule. Do they now qualify as a giant even though their previous decades were far from glorious?

Other variables should warrant a mention too. A global fanbase generates interest around the world and more importantly, it ups the amount of income a club gets. If this is included, then Arsenal, United, Real and Barca can renew their membership cards to the Giant Club. 

The only clubs that can really tick the boxes on all of these comprising factors is the first three clubs I mentioned. Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Barcelona have trophies in their past, present and more than likely, their future. They contend every year at the top, they have more than enough pulling power in terms of fiscal amount and they can look upon their trophy cabinet with a smile and an empty can of polish.

This season will be no different, as will the next. If a club truly wants to elevate their standing, they need a glittering history, a well stocked trophy cabinet, a revenue stream that allows the club to duke it out in the transfer market, and a regular presence in the Champions League.

Which club will make that leap this season? The Champions League is wide open, but rest assured if any team has genuine aspirations, then they will surely have to beat one of the big three. 

Tale Of The Tape – Premier League Contenders

The international break has once more snuck up on us, bringing with it boredom, a restless eye on matches only to make sure the players who play for your club stay clear of injury – and also a penchant for shuddering to a halt any rhythm the club you support had built up.

But fret not, as the lull in Premier League proceedings isn’t all bad. It does give you an opportunity to take a step back and take in all the events that come with a flurry of results. All the variables that either boost or hinder your team can be scrutinised and enable you to gauge whether it will be a season of pain or triumph.

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Arsenal 2-1 Everton – Match Review

Geeing up a squad after one of the most heroic European performances in our recent history for a return to league action could have proved to be a difficult task.

Maintaining that a title tilt is the club’s main focus, would suggest that Arsene Wenger pressed upon his squad the importance of this tie. Everton are more than capable of upsetting odds and with players of the ilk of Deulofeu, Lukaku, Coleman and Barkley, it is safe to assume they turned up at The Emirates looking to rectify their last result and reassert their own European ambitions.

The Toffees certainly appeared an entirely different side to the one that was mauled 3-0 last weekend by Manchester United. They harried and gave it everything in an effort to disrupt Arsenal’s passing but thanks to the Gunner’s first half display especially, it was all in vain.

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Arsenal Vs United – Preview

The pizza stains may have long faded from Sir Alex Ferguson’s blazer. The vitriol shared between Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira may have fizzled out enough for them to share a documentary together – hell, even Arsene Wenger’s finest adversary since his own zipper ( I’m talking about Fergie of course ) has left the fiery ashes of this fixture behind.

This match though, will always captivate both sets of fans and the neutrals alike. The managers may differ, the playing staff may vary, but the opinion that this match is a powderkeg of action still remains.
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Champions League – In It to Win It or Just Enjoy the Show?

The competition for Europe’s top club accolade has taken on more than a passing semblance of a nursery during playtime of late.

A kid bigger than you has taken possession of bucket and spade whilst you both sit in the sandpit. Without the aforementioned sand-digging equipment, you are left prone and with the sandiest of fingers. You look around for another activity to amuse yourself with until it’s time for milk and cookies. Yet another child who has a larger physical stature has the fire engine. YOU want that fire engine. Will you be able to go toe-to-toe with him? Last time resulted in a Lego Brick hurled at you and being dumped unceremoniously on your nappy-clad behind. You won’t be trying that again.

You are surrounded by colleagues who dominate playtime. Whatever shape your whim moulds to, you can rest assured that there will be another who has their grubby mitts clasped greedily around it.

The Champions League is that nursery. Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Real Madrid are those big kids and thanks to an influx of cash, more big kids are on their way. Playtime is over for Arsenal.

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