Major cup finals were on show this last weekend as England, Germany and Spain played host once again to some fantastic football on display. France and Scotland also had cup finals to negotiate but I think many of us could have predicted Celtic and PSG winning their games (even though Barcelona was also another obvious favourite). It was a great football weekend, and even better for me because of the following reasons:
Wenger Got to Stick It To His Critics…Again
Going into last weekend, I read so many previews for the FA Cup final and trust me, any Arsenal fan would have felt like he/she was reading an obituary. Very, very few people gave the team a chance (even Arsenal fans were drafting jokes about a mauling to post once the match was done). I thought about Wenger and how badly he’d want to beat Chelsea to ruin it for many people. In the end, that’s exactly what he did. From the kick-off, it was clear that the Arsenal players wanted the win WAAAY more than the Chelsea players. It wasn’t a rout but it should have been (Damn you Ozil) and there was no one happier than Mr Wenger himself, especially when he faced the press afterwards with the smug face you could tell he had saved SPECIALLY for this occasion.
Enrique Got The Send-Off He Deserved
Okay, he didn’t win the league this time but he ran really close (even though I’m glad Zidane and Real won it) and he’s been a fantastic manager for this team since he came in. Winning a treble in your 1st season in charge speaks volumes about him and I felt really bad for the criticism he got this season when the team hit some really rough patches. Winning the Copa Del Rey felt like a consolation for a poor season (from Barcelona’s perspective) but at least he leaves as one of the best coaches to ever coach Barcelona…and that is no small feat. By the way, isn’t it weird that he’s doing the same thing Guardiola did in 2012? Quitting the job because of fatigue after just about 3/4 years? Is the job really that hard? The next coach is in for some tenure.
Dortmund Are In For A Tricky Summer Transfer Window
Transfer window is open. The best teams around will start looking for the players who can improve their squads for next season. As usual, good teams are likely to be picked apart by better and richer teams. Teams who have managed to put together young, energetic and talented squads will now struggle to keep their best players as the bigger teams will swoop in. Monaco, Tottenham, Ajax and Dortmund will be targeted for their players. For Dortmund, it will be tougher for them because next season doesn’t promise much. The gap between them and the rest of the Bundesliga (excluding Bayern) is now closed. Now, they are like everyone else (again excluding Bayern…those guys are legends). This will make it easier for their best players to be lured away to bigger clubs. Aubameyang, Dembele, Pulisic (I love that guy), Weigl, and Castro are now endangered species. How they make it through till September will be fun to watch.
PSG And Celtic ALMOST Made it Interesting
It was easy not to notice that cup finals went down in France and Scotland. A big reason was that there were better matches to watch (lol), but then again you could probably guess the likely winners. PSG up against Angers and Celtic up against Aberdeen are really easy match-ups. I actually predicted routs for both PSG and Celtic. However, I was very wrong…about the routs (of course both teams won). Both teams left it really late before winning the game. Celtic even conceded the first goal and PSG took forever to get going. It’s like they forgot that they were to actually win the match BEFORE collecting the trophy. For much of the matches, it could have swung either way but pride (and quality) came to the fore and the usual suspects had their prizes at last.
It Was All About Getting That Consolation Prize
Much of this last weekend’s finalists were teams looking to salvage their seasons by winning the domestic trophies up for grabs. Arsenal, PSG, Dortmund and Barcelona were looking to win something as consolation for what was a fairly indifferent (maybe poor) season for them. Arsenal are NOT playing Champions League football next season, PSG did NOT win the Ligue 1 this time and Barcelona did NOT win more trophies than Real Madrid this season. Even Dortmund did NOT come close to being on Bayern’s level this term. Consolation was needed and all the named teams got their prizes by winning the domestic cups. Not enough for many fans but it’s better than nothing.
Whatever emotion you may have experienced this last weekend (I’m aware of some devastated Chelsea fans), you have to admit that it was awesome to be alive and watching. Doesn’t happen many times that you get that much action on television in one weekend…and we still have the Champions League Final to come.