After shouting and disturbing every person studying for the finals in my hostel, I settled down and started surfing the net. All the hate and anti-football claims made me very angry. This topic has been discussed and debated heavily, so I will not dwell upon it. What was interesting to me was the Liverpool manager's reaction. He was definitely frustrated. But what I took away from his words and his team's performance is that he is not the next managerial superstar he is being touted as and is definitely nowhere near the levels of top managers in the game. Rodgers is a preacher of tiki-taka style football. But much of his side's success this season is down to devastating counter attacking talent that he has at his disposal. Suarez and Sturridge thrive on the anarchy created in the defensive line when someone like Sterling or Coutinho is driving at them. When teams come out and press them, the space and time afforded to SAS is immense and they both are talented enough to exploit it. Now when they are denied said space, they revert back to Liverpool of last season(finished 8th in the league). So exactly how good are they? No doubt against teams that are naive enough or are compelled to press, they have generally backed their ability to outscore the opposition. Against quality opposition like Chelsea and Machester City though, this might not work. Liverpool were lucky that Kompany chose to make the mistake on that day. But otherwise they had no means to protect their lead. Luck favoured them in more than one way that day(Skrtel handball). So are Liverpool good enough to win the title? Owing to their magnificent 11 game unbeaten run, i'd say probably yeah. But their goal scoring exploits have glossed over some very fundamental flaws which we exposed. Rodgers is a good manager no doubt. But this season without having European concerns was the best chance for him to win the title(which he still might). Chelsea had one eye(probably more) on Atletico Madrid. Liverpool were not going to have to face Hazard or Oscar or Willian. They had a week to prepare for Chelsea. They knew what Chelsea were gonna do. If Rodgers wants to be the best, he has to beat the best. Breaking down Chelsea is no easy thing. But given Suarez's skill, the key had to be getting the ball to him in and around the penalty area so as to draw fouls in dangerous areas(by fair means or otherwise). Liverpool did the everything but that. The one time I was worried was when he got the ball at the byline and started driving inside. Now its easier said than done, but Rodgers failed to prepare for such eventuality. Arrogance and overconfidence in his side's ability got to him. He failed and in a rather hilarious fashion so did his team. People say that Liverpool have arrived this season. I argue that they are not yet there. They are not as good as Chelsea or Manchester City and shorn of the week long rests and lack of any semblance of squad depth they will be exposed time and again next season. Contrast this with Chelsea's development this season, I would say that Liverpool will not be title favorites next season even if they do win this season. But Chelsea on the other hand only have one significant missing piece of the puzzle(No prizes for guessing right). Next season, the title will be contested for by Chelsea and Manchester City. Liverpool and Arsenal have a lot of deficiencies. Liverpool i have already discussed. Arsenal and Arsene have some soul searching to do. They need to find leaders and add some physical presence to their midfield and pace to their attack. Defensive solidity that they displayed early season has gone missing when the dreaded March arrived for them. Ramsey has been a big miss and injuries have certainly taken toll. But this seems to be a recurring pattern and they better deal with that issue. The reason that the race is so tight this year is because of a lot of unexpected slip ups. I expect these mistakes to be rectified but only Chelsea and Manchester City have the capability and resources to do so by next season. And they will pull away. If Liverpool continue to delude themselves that outscoring the opposition is a valid way to win trophies then they are set for a trophy drought. Arsenal need to add steel to their silk. In short, Manchester City will be the new Manchester United in the two horse race for the Premier League crown.
Talking about managers, I think Pulis should definitely win the manager of the season award. His work is nothing short of incredible. Roberto Martinez seems to be a manager who can marry playing attractive football with pragmatism. He along with Mourinho and Pulis are the most successful managers this season. He might not get into Europe this season, but if he can build on this season by shrewd transfer maneuvering, then Everton just might give Arsenal a run for the fourth place trophy. I cannot believe that he wasn't considered for the Manchester United job. Instead they gambled on Moyes and the rest as they say is history. Rodgers has to learn and evolve. He has shown he is capable of it. As much as I hate Liverpool, their manager is young and inexperienced at the top level but he has shown that he can be the one who will guide them onto the top level. If the owners display patience which is rare these days, in a few years, Liverpool will genuinely be challenging at the top level. Mauricio Pochettino is also another of these young managers. He too has a lot to learn but I think he is cut from the same cloth as Martinez and these two are for me the next big things. They both will and should go on to bigger and better things. Pellegrini is a good manager but will he be good enough to beat Mourinho with a fully complete team next season? That remains to be seen. I'm just glad that we have Mourinho in our dugout and not in theirs or any other teams' dugout. The circumstances of last few seasons have conspired and got Chelsea and Mourinho back together. I am fairly confident that this will be as fruitful as his first spell. The longer it lasts, the happier i will be. Its time for us to build a new dynasty and he is the man to do it. Wenger is an absolute stalwart and one of the idealists in football. But he has either lost the appetite to compete or is being shackled by his board. In any case, it should be rectified asap. Its time that Premier league teams step up and challenge the European super powers. Arsenal I feel are capable of doing that if they add aforementioned ingredients to their mix. Manchester City are a work in progress. Chelsea are right up there and will be next season. And I don't want to get into the mess that is Manchester United right now.