The greatest story ever told as described by many has come to a fitting conclusion, as 5000/1 no hopers Leicester City were deservedly crowned the kings of England following the 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge. It is an extraordinary story almost beyond belief and it is something people will still look back on in a hundred years time.
Many people criticized the appointment of Claudio Ranieri to the Leicester City post at the start of the season, and with good reason looking at the poor job he did with Greece. However, what he has done with a team of journeymen and workmanlike players is nothing short of amazing.
The image of Wes Morgan, who was considered an average Championship player a couple of seasons ago, lifting the trophy next Saturday will show that nothing is truly impossible.
Leicester City are an inspiration to clubs like West Brom, Crystal Palace and Sunderland etc, of what can be achieved when the best is made out of limited resources. Leicester will join the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Juventus in the champions pot for the Champions League group stage draw next season. It is genuinely a breath of fresh air for not just the Premier League, but football in general.
Another breath of fresh air was the passion and intensity shown by the Chelsea and Tottenham players on Monday night.
It is something that many football games seem to lack, even the major derbies. Tottenham received an astonishing nine yellow cards on the night in what can be perceived as poor discipline, but at least Tottenham did not live up to the stereotype of being a ‘soft touch’ and rolling over when the going gets tough.
The criticism of the game has been generally over the top.
There were some bad tackles and plenty of handbag stuff, but there has been much worse incidents in big football games. Roy Keane’s horror tackle on Haaland, and the attempt by the Netherlands to literally kick Spain off the pitch in the 2010 World Cup final are just some incidents that made the ‘Battle of the Bridge’ look like a tame affair.
The only flash point where serious consequences need to be handed out was Demebele eye gouging Diego Costa, which more than crossed the line – an offence that is much worse than biting or spitting and that should be heavily punished. Eye gouging is taken extremely seriously in rugby.
Football should be no different.
Apart from that, there is no need for the FA to hand out substantial bans. Football can be looked at as too soft these days and lacking that edge sometimes. As well as beautiful football, that added edge is the next most important thing that should always be involved in professional sport. Chelsea captain John Terry and Tottenham manager Maurico Pochettino shrugged off the incidents during the game as minor in their post match interviews.
The biggest compliment that can be made to both sides was that it was a reminder of the old United vs Arsenal rivalry in the early to mid 2000’s which defined the landscape of the Premier League. Both clubs were constantly battling each other for the title, and possessed strong characters and real natural leaders. The battle between Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira was the one that always took centre stage.
From ‘pizza gate’ at Old Trafford, the Highbury tunnel incident to the Arsenal players reaction to van Nistlerooy’s missed penalty. They are moments that continue to live long in the memory.
Both teams had a deep hatred for each other but also they respected each other. The current Arsenal and United teams can be seen as ‘too nice’. The likes of Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud, Juan Mata and Michael Carrick are good guys, but they do not have that edge as those gone before them had.
Of course, there is a line to all this that should never be crossed, but it is nice to see some real passion in football now and again instead of the mercenaries who play for Manchester City; just happy to collect their fat pay cheque every week.