What a week this has been! Not only did we see Manchester United confirm their grip on the record 20th English top league title with a straightforward home victory but we also saw German teams sensationally dominate what are widely believed to be the world’s two top sides from the Spanish Primera Liga in the Uefa Champions League semi-final first-leg ties. There was no shortage of banter.
As I indicated a few weeks back, I expected Manchester City to do everything to postpone United’s coronation as the new champions of England and that was on course when they took an early lead against Tottenham Spur at the White Hart Lane on Sunday. How they collapsed during those seven second-half minutes was incredible and once they went behind to substitute Jermaine Defoe’s goal, you knew that was it.
And you knew that after last season’s late heart-break, the Red Devils would not need a second invitation. They not only made sure that the title was wrapped up in style but they also helped striker Robin van Persie overtake Luis Suarez as the leading goalscorer which means that with the Uruguayan’s season virtually over, the Dutch marksman is set to retain the Golden Boot Award he won at the Arsenal last season.
Talk of the Arsenal, it will be poetic justice that van Persie should return to the Emirates tomorrow and get the traditional guard of honour. There is a section of the Gunners that has promised to turn their backs in protest against that ritual, but it is likely to go ahead nonetheless. I questioned Arsene Wenger’s decision to allow the sale of the striker to move to a rival and the idea looks even more ridiculous now.
Come Tuesday night, it was part one of the Germany versus Spain face-off and while I had a feeling Bayern Munich—Europe’s best and most balanced team at the moment in my view — would at least avoid defeat in the Allianz Arena but I would never have imagined that kind of complete and thorough performance. Barcelona were not bad at all, but the Bavarians were just too good for them.
As for Wednesday’s game in the BVB Stadium, I fully expected and wanted Borussia Dortmund to win, but not as easily as it went. It is so unconceivable that a 4-1 defeat should flatter a Real Madrid side coached by one of the game’s accomplished managers in Jose Mourinho, but such was the dominance of Jurgen Klopp’s men that the Portuguese tactician would have been relieved they only conceded four.
The question being asked in various discussion forums is whether any of the Spanish teams can turn the tables in the second leg back home and avoid an all-German final at England’s Wembley Stadium. It is such a tall order for either side, but the Champions League has served us enough miraculous results over the years to rule out anything, but any come-back this time would certainly set a new record. Back, home today marks the start of the new Super League season and many fans are looking forward to the action following the promise of the pre-season tournaments that kept the momentum going. Of course, it would not be Malawian if there were not hiccups here and there. That was why after waiting all this while, you still had some fixtures being rearranged. You wonder what our administrators spend time on. Let the games begin!