Image Source: Brad Tutterow (CC BY 2.0)
The Premier League season is over and it will be remembered for the classic title run in between Manchester City and Liverpool, in which City won the league by one point. They needed 98 points to do it and it was arguably manager Pep Guardiola's finest title.
But City weren't finished there, earlier in the season they won the Carabao Cup and last weekend they won the FA Cup. City became the first team in England to win the domestic treble, which was a fantastic achievement and this must have softened the blow of not winning the Champions League. At the same time Guardiola has since claimed that his best cannot be considered the best without winning Europe's most elite trophy. City have been installed as the Premier League favourites for next season at 1.62. One player they will be without is defender and captain Vincent Kompany.
Kompany has decided to leave the club after spending 11 glorious years with The Citizens. He was the one bridge between the City of old and the City of new and him leaving the club does feel like the end of an era.
So what is next for Kompany? Well, he will return to Anderlecht where his career started and he will be a player/manager with the club. However at only 33 one suspects that he still had the highest levels of play left in him at least for another few seasons. Having said that injuries have obviously taken their toll and the Belgian has played just 45 league games in the past three seasons. Anderlecht finished 4th this season and it will be interesting if one of the youngest managers in the game can succeed at his boyhood club. Anderlecht are odds of 4.00 to win next seasons Belgian Jupiler League.
Over in Spain one has to be perplexed that Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane did not play Gareth Bale in Real Madrid's final game of the season. It is obvious that Zidane does not want Bale in his team and is not in his plans, why not give him a game to say goodbye to the fans?
Bale was no part player at Madrid, arguably one of the finest foreign players to play for Madrid, he won no less than 4 Champions Leagues with them and scored in important goals, totalling over 100. One could say that Bale was the difference in Madrid beating Liverpool in last seasons Champions League, including his incredible overhead kick. And yet in that game Zidane refused to start the Welshman.
Zidane's decision not to play Bale is, as the French call it, a faux pas (i.e) shooting yourself in the foot. If the club are to sell him they need him in the shop window. On the flipside Bale could well stay with the club he still has 3 years left on his contract, that's worth a reported 50m euros. Infamously Madrid fans can be harsh on their players- they even booed Ronaldo at times, but in purposely not giving Bale his deserved send off Zidane has lowered himself to some of those Madrid fans standards.
Finally Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri after facing the sack at the beginning of the year now holds all of the cards at Chelsea. The Blues are set to be banned from buying players for two transfer windows and look resigned to losing Eden Hazard. The tables have turned and with Juventus sacking Massimo Allegri last weekend there are rumours that Juve will go for Sarri.
Sarri is 2.75 to be the next Juventus manager, what could be alarming for Manchester City fans is that Pep Guardiola has been installed as the favourite at 1.91.
Sarri could stay and help the club or may just think that enough is enough and leave for Juventus who will be the favourites to win Serie A yet again next season. In truth Sarri has had a great debut season with Chelsea, reaching the finals of the Europa League and Carabao Cup and finishing 3rd in the league, guiding the team back to Champions League football. If Sarri does leave, the favourite to take the Chelsea job is club legend Frank Lampard who is around 1.20 to be the next permanent manager of the club. Watch this space.