Football gears up to make a return in Europe

Lionel Messi
File photo of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi shooting at goal as Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane attempts to block during a La Liga league match, in Madrid in March 2020.

After the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, different countries reacted towards football in different ways. Taking the top-5 leagues into consideration, France decided to end the Ligue 1 with its current standings with Paris Saint Germain as its winners and Marseille coming up next with a difference of 12 points. Kylian Mbappe won the “golden boot” with 18 goals in the league and the same number was achieved by Wissam Ben Yedder as well.

Despite tying the award between both the players for same number of goals, officials announced that Mbappe would be recognised as season’s top scorer as all his goals came from open play, while three of Ben Yedder’s were penalties. Also, the former had a better goal per game ratio of 18 goals than the latter’s ratio of 25.

However, Germany took a different approach and football returned to the ground but this time behind closed doors and with no spectators. The Bundesliga fixtures took place on 16 May followed by a clash between Dortmund and Bayern Munich for the title on 26 May 2020. The game started with Dortmund keeping an upper hand on its opponent with wing backs coming forward in the first 10 minutes. But later, the momentum changed and the game turned in Bayern’s favour when Joshua Kimmich, with five players around him started charging towards the goal aggressively. With Kimmich getting on sheet with a beautiful, outside the box chip shot, the final score settled at 0-1. With the final whistle, the stats showed a true reflection of an entertaining game of 50- 50 possession with Joshua Kimmich’s goal making the difference of 7 points between both the teams.

Meanwhile, In England, the Premier League is also showing signs of its return from 18 June. With Liverpool leading the way with 82 points, the title winners are almost decided but an interesting part would be in seeing the next five-ranked teams battling to get a better position in the table as well as a position in the Champions League. Manchester City is on second position whereas Leicester is not far behind with 53 points. Chelsea and Manchester United are battling for the 4th position with 48 and 45 points respectively. With Bruno Fernandes joining Manchester United in February earlier this year, the picture of the team has changed.

He won the Premier league “player of the month” for February with 3 goals and 4 assists. The team has not lost a single match after his entry, and has also defeated Chelsea and Manchester City with ease. It looks like he has brought a lot of confidence in the locker room. He has that winning drive which he has radiated in the team. As the premier league starts, it would be very interesting to see how the top 4 teams turn out in the end.

In Spain, La Liga is returning as well on 12 June, almost after three months. Barcelona is on the first place in the table with 58 points whereas Real Madrid is not far behind with 56 points. Sevilla is sitting on the third position with 47 points and Atletico Madrid with 45 points is in the sixth position. With only twopoint difference between the third and sixth ranked teams in the league, it would be worth to see which teams turn out for the third and fourth position in the end.

Also, in Italy, Serie A will return on 20 June. Title contenders Juventus and Lazio have only 1-point difference in between them. It will be Ronaldo vs Ciro Immobile here.

The writer is currently pursuing ‘Football Tactical Analyst’ course from Barcelona University.