The sacking of Luiz Felipe Scolari indicates how precarious the situation has become at Stamford Bridge in the absence of trophies.
Three managers in the space of two years is a statistic no club is proud of. However the impatience of not winning trophies has clearly turned out to be a vital issue.
But the West London based club is not the only capital side to have sought for a change in management as non-capital based clubs are ruling the roost everywhere.
Or as it seems at least in the so called “Big Five” leagues of Europe.
Be it in England, Germany, Italy, France, or even Spain .
Capital sides are struggling everywhere. Real Madrid, Atletico, Hertha Berlin, PSG, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, or Roma. You name it and they are quite equally tactless of their footballing displays.
The ongoing season of these clubs in their respective leagues exposes their weaknesses against other non-capital clubs.
Larger in number non-capital clubs might be, but football is quite an even level playing field for all teams.
A closer look on the leagues of the “Big Five” gives a much clearer picture.
Premier League : REDS And DEVILS .
The English Premiership has five clubs from the capital this season. The lowest number in the Premier League but unusually a high number of representatives from a capital in any league around the world.
Arsenal and Tottenham in the North.
Chelsea and Fulham in the West.
And West Ham in the East.
But the rosy picture ends here.
For the first time no London club could feature in the top three thanks to the resurgence and rise of non capital sides.
While Chelsea and Arsenal look to consolidate lost ground for the title race, West Ham and Fulham are striving to achieve a decent mid table position. And the battle for survival continues for Tottenham as they try to avoid the drop from top flight football since their promotion to the 1st division in 1978.
As Liverpool and Man United take their rivalry to the next level another non-capital side, Aston Villa, is in a marvelous position to claim the third spot. This would mean an automatic qualification for Villa to the Champions’ League group stage of 2009-10, their first since their 1982-83 European triumph.
Even in terms of trophies Man United and Liverpool have together amassed 10 trophies in total since 2004-05, which is better than the combined seven of all London clubs during the period.
However one event is quite interminable—with the exception of Arsenal FC—which has been the appointment of managers.
15 managerial changes have been effected by the London clubs—who are still in the Premiership—between the period of 2003 and to the current season with the sole exception of Arsenal.
A statistic London club sides wouldn’t be proud of.
LIGA BBVA : Barça “The Catalan goal scoring machine”
Consider the following numbers: 21, 16, and 12.
No these aren’t the La Liga, Copa del Rey, Supercopa de España, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, Inter-Cities Fairs Cup or European Super Cup titles that Barça have kept in their trophy cabinet at Camp Nou.
These numbers are the goals scored by Samuel Eto’o, Lionel Messi, and Thierry Henry in the Spanish League alone.
So Barça are undefeated in their last 23 matches, have scored 68 goals—just eight short of last season’s 76 in 38 matches—and have a 12 point lead over 2nd placed Real Madrid.
This would bring any person in the world to the conclusion that other teams should start playing for other positions in the league table except No. 1. But then there are 15 more matches to be played.
Pity is the right word that is felt towards teams entering Camp Nou.
But the trend is similar to last year’s Madrid’s 31st La Liga title. It seems as if out of the two—Barça and Real—are destined to plunder each other and the league every consecutive season.
Both sides have earned two titles each in the past four years and have been either winners or runners up for the past ten years (Real Madrid CF have won it four times , FC Barcelona have won it three times , Valencia CF have won it twice and Deportivo de La Coruña once).
The gap created by Barcelona, this season, is quite anomalous.
However Real are not only the capital side that’s struggling. Atlético Madrid have just won one trophy—the 1995-96 La Liga title—in their last thirteen years while Real have safely tucked away five trophies in their cabinet for the last five years.
Compare that to Barcelona’s five(2 La Liga titles, 2 Supercopa de España and UCL once), Sevilla’s five (2 Uefa Cup , 1 Copa del Ray , 1 Supercopa de España and 1 European Super Cup title) and Valencia’s four ( 1 La Liga , 1 Supercopa de España , 1 Uefa Cup and 1 European Super Cup title).
Another statistic that Madrid side clubs wouldn’t be proud of is the number of managerial changes they have effected in the past five years.Real Madrid have alone changed managers a record nine times in the last five seasons (Vicente Del Bosque to Carlos Queiroz in June 2003, Carlos Queiroz to José Antonio Camacho in May 2004 , José Antonio Camacho to Mariano García Remón in September 2004 , Mariano García Remón to Vanderlei Luxemburgo in December 2004 , Vanderlei Luxemburgo to Juan Ramón López Caro in December 2005 , Juan Ramón Juan Ramón López Caro to Fabio Capello in May 2006 ,Fabio Capello to Bernd Schuster in June 2007 and Bernd Schuster to Juande Ramos in 2008).
And the story doesn’t end there with Atletico also not far behind with five managerial changes.
It's quite an unending story for Madrid based clubs.
FUßBALL-BUNDESLIGA : The Hoffenheim Story Continues.
Yes, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim were playing in the fifth division when FC Bayern Munich were racing towards a record 16th Bundesliga title during the season of 2000-01.
No, Hoffenheim have not featured in the Fußball-Bundesliga before since it's inception in 1963.
So, a team that hasn't played in the highest football league of the nation and featuring for the first time in it, would have been a relegation favorite.
But unfortunately former Hoffenheim alumnus Dietmar Hopp's—Founder of SAP—financial backing has reaped huge rewards for the Baden-Württemberg side.
They were the Autumn-Champion or "Herbstmeister" before the winter break for the current season and are currently leading the league table by a point over 2nd placed Bayern Munich.
Although they are without their Bosnian sriker Vedad Ibišević—who has scored 18 goals (highest goal scorer till now , 2nd placed Patrick Helmes has scored 15 goals) and had seven assists to his name—for the rest of the season, they are still winning matches.
Even if debutants like Hoffenheim are leading the table, capital side Hertha BSC Berlin are also not far behind. After years of mid table positions or near misses Hertha are just two points behind leaders Hoffenheim.
Although going by their last five years positions—10th , 10th , 6th , 4th and 12th—a decent position would be quite a good result.
And while Munich have been filling their cabinet ,of not only regional but, with European titles Hertha have little to show for—2 German league titles in 1930 and 1931, one Uefa Intertoto Cup in 2006 and three times DFB Ligapokal winners—even though they are the only capital side in the League.
Bayern's quest for another Bundesliga could get tougher as Hertha Berlin, VfB Stuttgart, Bayer Leverkusen, and SV Hamburg look to consolidate good finishes.
Although Leverkusen's 4-1 hammering of Hoffenheim at Rhein-Neckar Arena could have made the task of going to the top easier for Bayern but they still have to play a determined Hertha side at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin.
With 19 more match days left, The Hoffenheim story continues.
LEGA CALCIO SERIE A TIM : A "Milan" Affair.
Remember the year of 2006.
Serie A scandal, Italy World Cup winners and Juventus (the most famous and successful Serie A club with a record 27 Scudettos) for the first time since 1929 were not playing in the top flight division.
Everyone in Rome was happy especially fans, players and everyone associated with Associazione Sportiva Roma or simply AS Roma. The general feeling being that the following 2006-07 season was theirs for the taking.
But far north of Italy somewhere near the central region of Lombardy in a city named Milan some club association was having a different view of the following season.
And no it isn't Associazione Calcio Milan I'm talking about (who had to start the following season with a negative balance of -8).
F.C. Internazionale Milano were preparing a stellar idea to take full advantage of this priceless opportunity. The Nerazzuri would promptly seal one of the most comprehensive title winning displays in the history of Serie A.
30 wins, 7 draws, 1 loss and 80 goals scored meaning title won with five games to spare.
And since then the Nerazzuri haven't lost this habit. They have won two Scudetto's in a row and look to tighten their grip on a 3rd in as many years.
With the arrival of Jose Mourinho the Black-Blues have accrued a seven and eight point lead over 2nd placed and 3rd placed Juventus and AC Milan respectively.
While Roma have still to make up for the lost ground—after being placed outside the Champions League spot at 40 points—Juventus and Milan look to at least have a say in the title race.
But Roma have been consistent with the trophies arriving to their cabinet with 2 Coppa Italia and 1 Supercopa Italiana along with decent Champion's League runs in the past 2 seasons.
On the contrary the Milan city has witnessed 3 Scudetto's, 2 Coppa Italia and 3 Supercoppa Italiana titles from Inter and 1 Scudetto, 1 Coppa Italia, 1 Supercoppa Italiana, 2 Champion's League titles, 2 Uefa Super Cups, and 1 Club World Cup title from AC Milan in the past five years.
With non-capital sides like Genoa and Fiorentina surging towards a decent spot in the top five, Roma will have to overcome such colossal challengers.
Whatever the outcome of this week's Derby della Madonnina , the Scudetto could definately head to Milan.
Ligue 1 Orange : The "LYON" ic Tide
The following Equation is valid for Ligue 1 :
Ligue 1 - Olympique Lyonnais = no league champion between 2002 to 2008.
Yes, Les Gones have won the Ligue 1 title a record seven times in a row.
And whats even more surprising is that they have achieved this with four different managers: Jacques Santini in 2002 , Paul Le Guen from 2003 to 2005 , Gérard Houllier from 2006 to 2007 and Alain Perrin in 2008.
So a four point lead over 2nd placed FC Girondins de Bordeaux under a new manager is not surprising.
But after years of struggle capitol side Paris Saint-Germain or PSG look to be in a good position to have a shot at the title.
And the newly formed capitol outfit (PSG was re-founded in 1970 ) are managed by none other than former Lyon boss Paul Le Guen.
Other than that the two times Ligue 1 ( in 1986 and 1994 ) have won Coupe de France twice ( in 2004 and 2006 ) and Coupe de la Ligue once in the last five years.
Not bad for a capitol side.
With just 2 points separating 2nd from 5th position only time will decide the Ligue 1 Champions.
But for the moment it's a Lyonic tide.
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