EUROPE: A Weekly Round-Up

XXX XXXSenior Writer IMay 13, 2008


In summation, we had the tightest title race in 40 years, which concluded with tropical rain coming down in Wigan.

Ryan Giggs, who Ferguson said is exceptional in the wet weather, was brought on to wrap up the spoils and that he did.

For Chelsea, Drogba's knee and Terry's arm are falling to pieces. Chelsea fans had better keep their fingers crossed, for Anelka is not going to carry the line like Drogba come the European Cup Final.

John Terry will pay in old age for his bravery in youth, continuing to play but having so many injections in order to do so. There will be a price. Who is going to stop that man lining up in Moscow?

The relegation battle was far more interesting than the title race. Have Sunderland set the model for survival? Frenzied buying before and during the season, then pray to the big man upstairs you get something right? Birmingham and Reading went down because they didn't spend enough.

England's financial power is clear. Recently in the top 20 earners of players in Europe, Kaka made the list. Darren Bent also made it in the top 20 best paid players in Europe. He is paid more than any other Serie A player.


All goes to the wire, as Lyon scrape 1-0 victory over Nancy courtesy of an own goal which may cost Nancy a Champions League place.

Laurent Blanc has been very good in his first season as manager of Bordeaux, but he should not be this close to Lyon with one game to go. Lyon are dying and an exodus is expected. What a sham of a season, but they yet could do the double, which has never been done before in their history.


As I said in the last roundup, Inter's match with Sienna was not so cut and dried. Their 2-2 draw takes the league down to the final game of the season. Oh Materazzi, what did you do? Mancini, bye bye...

It is all so exciting. It is between two teams for the title, Roma and Inter, and two teams battling to stay up, Catania and Parma. The last round has Roma at Catania and Parma play Inter.

My beloved Napoli took down Milan 3-1, which in turn saw Fiorentina move up into the Champions League spot. Oh Milan, what have you done? Uefa Cup is not the place to be.

Napoli, in its first season back after years in the wilderness, now sit in eighth. In two years time, the big boys will have to make room for us at the table of spoils. Congrats to all.


Oh Barca, Barca, Barca...not good enough.

Real Zaragoza are now in the bottom three after a 2-2 draw with Madrid, Zaragoza have got to win away from home to Mallorca, but having only one win away this season, it does not look good. Mallorca are within a point of a Uefa Cup place and have La Liga's top goal scorer to boot.

Four teams, including Zaragoza, are contesting the final relegation place. Any one of them that wins their final match stays up. How can this be? They are all playing each other and it all depends on goal difference via their head-to-head against one another.


Celtic beat Hibs and keep the heat on Rangers. What a run Celtic are on. Maybe it is covered up by what Rangers are doing, but it is a great run of victories.

Rangers, who beat Dundee United at Ibrox in a controversial match, won 3-1 in the end. They are now a point behind Celtic with three games to play. Celtic play one more game. For Rangers, St Mirren at Love Street will be tricky, as well as Aberdeen at Pittordrie on the last game of the season.

I must say the SPL need not take anymore beatings over the fixture debate, they have been astute and forward-thinking when coming up with a solution and have had a bad press here in Scotland.

Rangers should have presented a viable solution to the end of the season themselves, one that took in all parties' needs as well as their own. 

But yes, it is the week that sees Scotland have a team in the UEFA Cup Final once more! We hosted Sevilla at Hampden last year and now we have a team in it ourselves.

Kudos to Rangers, no matter the style of victory, the result counts more. The colossus leagues of Serie A, EPL and La Liga have no representatives in the final, but the small nation of Scotland does.

I do not settle on this alone. Let's win it and beat those Russians. I wish you the best of luck Rangers and that from a Celtic fan is really something.

Zenit are in the Golden age? Many say they peaked maybe two seasons back in terms of exciting playing style. Like Rangers, they will sit back and counter. How is this going to be? Could it be the worst final since Red Star and Real Madrid? Who cares?

Come on Rangers, and as a Celtic fan I can only say that line if I also put the next line in...come on Scotland, ha ha.

Alby Jnr


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