Celtic recently announced meagre profits of $283,000 for the last financial year. At the time the amount was released it was ridiculed in the Scottish and English media and on fans Internet forums. Since the announcement of Celtic’s fiscal status Rangers have gone into administration amid mounting debts while Man City-08 announced losses of $299 million, Man United losses of $173 million and Chelsea-03 losses of $110 million. All things considered Celtic are doing quite well while the financial performances of the other four demonstrate why Financial Fair Play rules cannot be introduced soon enough.
Claudio Rainieri’s days at Internazionale of Milan are surely numbered. While his team won the tie on the day, they failed to advance to the Champions League last eight having been eliminated on away goals by Marseille. Inter wasted numerous chances to build on their one goal lead and paid a heavy penalty when the French side scored out of nothing in the final minute. CL elimination and failure to qualify for next year’s competition will mean that Wesley Sneijder will be playing in England next season. What odds on his strike partner Diego Milito joining him there?
If ever a case could be made that the EPL is not as tactically advanced as its Spanish and Italian counterparts it is in a quick analysis of the four most recent Arsenal games against Newcastle United, AC Milan, Liverpool and Spurs. Milan took a 4-0 lead to the Emirates and while they conceded three goals they looked more comfortable in the final 20 minutes maintaining their slender one goal lead. They kept the ball, dictated the tempo of the game, took the emotion out and with it the pressure, and limited Arsenal to precious little in the way of space or opportunity. Both Newcastle and Liverpool conceded injury time winners to Arsenal with some schoolboy defending and questionable tactics in the buildup to both goals. Spurs threw away a two goal lead at the Emirates and capitulated amidst an onslaught from a rampant Arsenal. Spurs did not have the wherewithal to slow the game down, shut Arsenal down or take their lead into the halftime break. Were Fabio Capello, Jose Mourinho or Pep Guardiola in charge of the three English sides the results would likely have been different.
Major League Soccer kicked off this week and the quality of the football in the opening games combined with fan and media interest augurs well for the coming season. MLS and American soccer is often the butt of jokes in the European and domestic media, but one would be hard pressed to find many games with as good an atmosphere as was in evidence when Portland beat Philadelphia Union at Jeld-Wen Field. That the game was entertaining and produced some excellent goals in the Timbers 3-1 victory was a bonus.