Frequent contributor Jon Marthaler has written about virtually every sport in the Twin Cities, and fills in on Saturdays for the RandBall blog on StarTribune.com. He'll cover the professional soccer scene in the Twin Cities, whether at the Metrodome or at the National Sports Center.
Email Jon to talk about soccer.
Dana Wessel produces the K-TWIN Morning Show on 96.3 K-TWIN Monday-Friday 5:30am-10:00am. The show is hosted by Eric Perkins and Rena Sarigianopoulos of KARE 11. We have enjoyed hearing from him all season about the Premier League. Dana?
Well, this sure is anti-climactic, isn’t it? The tightest four-team race in years has basically sorted itself out before we get to the final matchday of the year.
There really is very little to play for. The Champions League spots are set. The relegation battles are over, and the tears have already been shed. The only thing left besides the title is a battle, if you can even call it that, between Manchester United and Tottenham for a spot in the Europa League - something neither team covets, to be frank.
Manchester City will be crowned champions with a win or a tie at home against West Ham. City are 16-1-1 at home, with their only loss coming to Chelsea, and have conceded just 13 goals. The only way Liverpool can top City is with a win and a City loss. Or, if you want to get technical, they can also be crowned champions with a win, a City tie, and about fifteen goals to make up for the goal differential.
Basically, you can go ahead and crown Manchester City. They were the odds-on favorite to win the title, and would be a deserving champion.
Liverpool have nobody to blame but themselves. They’ll spend all summer long feeling sick over that Crystal Palace comeback and wondering how they possibly let Jose Mourinho get the best of them at Anfield. Chelsea, too, only need to look in the mirror to find out why they aren’t lifting a trophy Sunday. A loss to Villa, a loss at home to Sunderland and a toothless scoreless draw against Norwich sealed their fate.
In the end, this season didn’t so much come down to a team winning the trophy as it did a pair of teams losing it. But credit to City, they were consistent all year, despite leading the league the fewest days of all the title contenders - proving for the millionth time over that this is a marathon, not a sprint.
I won’t go through the usual weekend schedule. All the matches kick off at 9:00am Sunday across ten NBC networks; even E! has a match. If you are interested in the title drama, flip between the City and Liverpool matches. If you aren’t, watch your club one last time before August.
Enjoy the final weekend. It was a season to remember, even if the final day lacked the drama we all had hoped for. Don’t be too sad, August will be here before we know it. Thanks for taking the time to read this little corner of the internet all season. I really appreciate it.
And before I sign off for the season, there is one more bit of business to take care of.
For those of you who have missed it, Patrick Reusse wrote a great post on this very site about how he recently landed on Swansea City as his Premier League team. It is a great read and I suggest you check it out.
In that same blog post, he also took time to call me, and others who are passionate about the Premier League, phonies, saying we don’t really care about the day-to-day doings of the clubs we support as much as we claim.
I love Reusse. Like everyone else who was born in this state, I grew up reading everything he wrote, and I still do. I also had the great privilege of working with him for a few years on a radio station down the dial from the one I am currently employed at. I mean it when I say the list of people I respect more than him is quite short.
I also know that the list of things Reusse loves more than getting soccer fans riled up is quite short. Lord knows, he has succeeded getting me to launch into full on defend-soccer-mode countless times over the years. Soccer fans are, by their nature, overly sensitive, and few can push their buttons better than Reusse.
But I am not going bite this time, Patrick. You almost had me. You did. Instead, I am just excited you finally selected a club.
Brit's Pub next fall for Chelsea/Swansea City? Diet Cokes are on me.
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