Football: what Indian fans can look forward to
- July 26, 2022
The year is big for Indian football fans. The season ended with some great results with Manchester City retaining the Premier League title and Real Madrid CF winning the champions league for a record 14th time. The latter also won La Liga Santander beating bitter rivals FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid with a huge margin in the points table.
However, the year was not great for enthusiasts who follow other clubs. The biggest disappointment came for those who were excited for Liverpool FC. The club could not become European Champions and also lost the domestic title.
One of the biggest news of this year was Kylian Mbappe staying with PSG after signing a hefty salary contract with the club when everyone thought that he will join Karim Benzema at Los Blancos. The transfer saga did not get over with Mbappe’s contract. Liverpool was again at the centre as they lost their most consistent performer Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich but signed the goal-scoring beast Darwin Nunez from Benfica for a club-record 85M pounds.
Here is what we can look forward to this year
New Season, New Possibilities
English top-flight competition is going to be very interesting this year. This season, like the previous ones the limelight will be on Manchester City and Liverpool. Just like Liverpool who signed a beast from Benfica, City bought Erling Haaland – a goal-scoring Monster. The end of the season will tell who leads his team to domestic and European glory.
Last season’s surprise package was Antonio Conte’s Tottenham Hotspurs. No one was expecting them to qualify for European topflight group stage matches for the new season as Arsenal looked extremely promising. But Arsenal bottled at the end and Spurs qualified. The Lilywhites followers would want Conte to steer the club to a competition victory and put a trophy in the team’s empty cabinet.
Chelsea under the new ownership could win a trophy in the upcoming season. In the first half of 2022, Chelsea was in the news because its previous owner Roman Abramovich looking to sell the club amid the Russia – Ukraine crisis.
The market has seen great activity in the past few days, while some were shocking, a few of them were expected. The transfer saga around Barcelona and Manchester United is not coming to an end. The latter continues to be linked with many players after new manager Erik Ten Hag took over. The change in Red Devil’s hot seat comes after their dismal performance. Xavi took over FC Barcelona last year from Ronald Koeman mid-season. Under his leadership, the team managed to finish 2nd in the league but were 13 points behind Real Madrid. The Catalan club is linked with the signing of Robert Lewandowski. Ousmane Dembele and Frenkie De Jong are looking set to leave the club with the latter tipped to join his former coach Ten Hag at United. Dembele is looking to leave on a free with his contract expiring in June. Not just Lewandowski, Xavi is looking to sign Raphinha who is also linked to Arsenal.
Arsenal could lose another player they are hoping to sign. The first one is Yves Bissouma who signed for Spurs. Yves joining Harry Kane in North London is surprising. However, Antonio wants to sign a defender and forward to compete for the top berth in the points table. The team has been linked with Raphinha of Leeds United and Bastoni of Inter Milan. Conte might reunite with De Vrij and Skriniar having worked with them at Inter Milan.
Chelsea has not been active in the market. But is linked with the signing and exits of many players. Their last year’s record signing Romelu Lukaku was poised to succeed when he joined the club from Inter after winning the Italian title. But his time there was marred with injuries and lack of playing time. Lukaku is looking to leave the club on loan with a probable switch back to Inter. The blues are interested in Ousmane Dembele, Raphina, and Man City’s Raheem Sterling.
The transfer window will close on 1st September and we have to wait to know which club makes the most out of it.
This year we had the African Cup of Nations. Sadio Mane’s Senegal pipped Mohamed Salah’s Egypt to their maiden African title. The competition had 38 players from Premier League including Liverpool duo Mane and Salah, 11 from La Liga, and 12 Bundesliga players. Riyad Mahrez of Man City was leading the Algerian attack to defend their title and the Egyptian forward wanted to win the 7th title with his country, often deemed as Africa’s most successful team. Senegal was the runner ups in 2019 when Algeria won one-nil. But this time Senegal came stronger with Mane, Koulibaly, and Mendy to win the AFCON.
We also had the Finalissima this time. The 3rd edition of CONMEBOL – UEFA CUP of Champions. It was played between Copa America champions Argentina and Euro 2020 winners Italy in Wembley Stadium, London. Messi’s Argentina won the match 3 goals to nil on 1st June 2022.
32 countries will fight for the most prestigious football trophy on the planet, in Qatar. The FIFA World Cup will kick off on 21st November this year. The year will end with a blast for the Football fans globally. Doha will be the first Arab capital to host this competition and the matches are scheduled for the first time in the Northern Hemisphere winter.
The year is going to be one of the best for football fans internationally. The European top league competition will start in August and the dates are here. Conte will start his first full season in charge of Spurs on 6 August and Klopp will play the first match on the same date. Pep Guardiola and Cityzens will start their title defence on 7 August. Nottingham Forest, the newly-promoted side will kick off their journey in England’s top flight with a match against Newcastle United, who are looking to win trophies under the new ownership of a consortium led by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia. The Magpies were sold to new owners in 2021.
We need to wait to know how effective Xavi’s and Conte’s tactics are in their first full season with their respective clubs and if Man United can succeed under Erik or if it will be a bummer just like Ralf Rangnick’s United. It will not be easy to wait for the world cup, because we want to see Benzema repeating his last season’s performance in the world cup and if Argentina is a true world cup contender. Germany also looks promising under Hansi Flick and if can he repeat his Bayern Munich class with the National Side, only December will tell.
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