- England: Manchester City
- Spain: Barcelona
- Scotland: Celtic
- Italy: Juventus
- Germany: Bayern Munich
- France: PSG
How did they do?
You’ll probably know exactly who did what, but allow me my moment of glory as I go through them all…
Manchester City won the League as predicted, and the FA Cup and League Cup. Manchester United in sixth place missed relegation by 32 points. They also missed being champions by 32 points. It suggests that the sixth placed club is what in the past would have been called a mid-table team, but such was the dominance of two clubs, that sixth spot was in fact mid-table, if you see what I mean.
Arsenal, despite the endless nay saying in the media, missed the Champions League by only two points – ie one win. The draw with Brighton was what did it for us.
Commenting on City’s FA Cup win, the Guardian carried a piece headlined, “Manchester City’s sky blue smashing of Watford proves football is broken,” which was pretty much our point when we made the predictions. There are few doubts in Euro football these days.
Barcelona won their league with a goal difference of double that of their nearest rival. And once again the team in fourth – a champions league position – was closer to relegation than they were to the club at the top of the league.
|17||Celta de Vigo||38||10||11||17||53||62||-9||41|
Celtic won the league in Scotland by nine points, and indeed completed the treble treble (ie winning the two cups and the league in one season, three seasons running) which rather suggests that our guess of them to win the league was not that much of a punt.
Celtic won the league by nine points and were 20 points ahead of the club in third place. 33 points ahead of the club in fifth…
Meanwhile in Italy Juventus spent the whole season out of sight of everyone else and ended up once more still out of sight. With one game to go it looked like this…
In Germany it was a much closer race than of late after Bayern made a poor start but even so they still came back to win the league right at the end. That is eight times in a row, as with Juventus, or something like that. Counting these up I am losing the will to live…
And again we got it right. And PSG were so far out of sight they also almost got a goal difference of double the team that came second.
So, without any particular insights and certainly no special knowledge, we predicted who would win six European Leagues and got it right each time.
Which raises the question: what does that tell us about these six European leagues? My answer is simple: that they are utterly predictable. We’ll do the same predictions again for next season and again get most of them, if not all of them, right. At least I suspect we will. It doesn’t tell us that football is fixed – but if football in these leagues were fixed, the results would be as we see now. The same team winning the league season after season.
Now the people who don’t buy into this philosophy argue that in England and Germany Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund ran the champions close. And of course that is true. They did. But even so the predicted champions still won.
In England the media spent the whole season telling readers, viewers and listeners what a wonderful team Liverpool were, but even with what was, we were told, the best Liverpool team this century they still couldn’t win the league. The last time they won was 1990.
And they told us it was the most exciting title race in years because… well, it is always the most exciting title race in years.
And that is how football goes. It is now, at the top, predictable, because money always wins. As I tried to point out in a recent article, sometimes the unexpected happens, but not often. In fact, in terms of the champions this year, not at all.
- Arsenal has let in one more goal than at this stage last season, and that’s a disaster
- Arsenal continue to make more progress than the rest of the big seven
- Arsenal v Tottenham; the team and some rather jolly recent history
- We are running out of referees, and the reason is the PGMO.
- Arsenal v Tottenham: the key fact the media won’t to tell you – and why they won’t