As we edge towards the World Cup, let us recap on what has happened in the leagues around us:
Arsene Wenger won his last match against Huddersfield. Finally a win! Mikel Arteta is one of those slated to replace him, and it could be a reality, seeing as Arteta has been learning from one of the best in Guardiola. Arteta also fits the bill in getting a young youthful manager to energise the old players, and he also holds some clout in being former Arsenal captain. Of course, it could be because none of the big names like Max Allegri wanted the Arsenal job. Rafael Benitez, in staying with Newcastle these past few years, is really one of the rare big names to stay with a mid-place team.
It has been reported that Arteta has even discussed his pay package and coaching staff and that Santi Carzola could be part of the backroom staff. Carzola, once part of Arsenal’s creative force, has not recovered from the Achilles infection and the Gunners have missed his presence and leadership in midfield.
Are the Gunners management moving towards a trend of ex-players taking over? They may be taking a leaf out of Manchester United’s book, when Ryan Giggs and other ex-players held the fort after David Moyes was sacked as United manager.
Moyes latest entry on his CV would be the “was” West Ham manager after he was dropped for the next season. He did pull the Hammers out of relegation, to his credit, but unfortunately is not seen to be the man to halt the decline since that magical season when Dmitri Payet played for them before he upped sticks to Marseille.
Marseille lost to Atletico Madrid in the Europa League. Payet lasted an hour before he had to be replaced. Was Atletico’s place as champions ever in doubt? I wrote a while ago that the road to Europa glory goes through Atletico, so while Arsenal harboured hopes of making it through, their Spanish conquerors saw them off quite easily.
Returning to Europe, Liverpool have a chance for glory against Real Madrid. While a lot of the focus is on Liverpool, I dare say Madrid have a lot to play for. Lose and they are, by virtue of their third-placed league position, in the Europa League next season? La Decima champions playing in the lower tier? That’s worse than Cristiano Ronaldo getting a zit on his face. Slightly.
The summer is approaching so what does it bring? The World Cup.
Now, if you are slightly overdosed on football as I am already a bit – there are other avenues of distraction. There is the Royal Wedding.
Just kidding. Summer is the time of traditional beach parties, dancing, enjoying the sun, and music. If outdoor music is not your kind of thing, and you don’t really like the blaring music festivals, you can try something new. A piano teacher in Crouch End, London N8 suggests that you take the time to learn new skills if you have the time. And why not? Playing the piano is something that can give you some sense of joy, when – and this is tongue in cheek – your favourite team is going through a bad patch and losing against lesser teams, or teams are playing defensively and parking the bus, when the game is a dead rubber. Hell, you could even be playing on your keyboard while watching a match. Especially one of those where it is pass forward, pass back, pass side, pass, pass, and there is no decisiveness in the final third. Sounds like a team we know?