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Manchester City v. Tottenham: You Couldn't Script It Any Better

For the past six seasons, the same 4 teams ("The Big Four") have finished at the top of the English Premier League: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United. They haven't always finished in that order, but it's always been those four teams. What's the big deal about finishing in the top 4? Those teams qualify for the Champions League in the next season. The Champions League is a tournament of all the top clubs from all of the top leagues in Europe. The teams still play in their own league (English Premier League, La Liga in Spain, Serie A in Italy etc.), but in addition, they also play in the Champions League. It's a best of the best league. It's a way to crown the best team in all of Europe. Kind of a big deal. Ok, its a huge deal.

This year, for the first time in a long time, Liverpool won't qualify for the Champions League. There is only 1 game left and Liverpool is mathematically eliminated from making the Champions League. They will likely finish in 7th and qualify for the Europa League (sort of a NIT tournament to the NCAA March Madness tourney. A nice consolation for finishing well, but not nearly the excitement or publicity or glory). The two teams competing for the 4th and final spot are Tottenham and Manchester City. Perfectly enough, they actually play each other tomorrow (Wednesday). A previous game between the two teams earlier in the season was postponed and it was conveniently and dramatically rescheduled for the final week of the season. The two teams do have one more game on Sunday, so the winner of tomorrow's game doesn't necessarily have 4th place locked up, but they control their own destiny.

So here's a look at the two teams:


There isn't much reason to root against Tottenham. I tried to think of one and couldn't. As far as I (and wikipedia) am aware, Tottenham hasn't finished in the top 4 since the inception of the current Premier League in 1992. The best they have finished was 5th, twice. They have always been a good team, but usually somewhere in the middle of the pack. For the most part, they have likable players. You would really have to try to not like them or have some personal vendetta against one of the players if you were upset that they finished 4th. You may have wanted another team and may not be excited that they made it, but it's sort of hard to hate them. One of those, "Well, I would have preferred Team X, but I don't mind Tottenham and at least it wasn't Team Y that made it" teams.

Manchester City:

Manchester City is a Team Y type of team.

First of all, its worth noting that Manchester City is often called Man City. Their coach is named Roberto Mancini. Mancini. Mancini coaches ManCity. This was the reason he was hired right? It's like someone walking into a job interview being named Joe Dodger or Danny Laker. You have an immediate leg up on the other candidates. Who wouldn't hire that person?

But here is why it's possible to dislike Man City: they have money. And tons of it. Granted, there is a lot to like about Man City and a lot of reasons to root for them. They have long played second fiddle to the other team in their city, Manchester United (the Evil Empire of the Premier League). This isn't even like the Mets play second fiddle to the Yankees. The Mets have at least had success in the past. Man City is more like the Los Angeles Clippers. Just terrible for many years and always right next to the Lakers. Finally, a few years ago, a man by the name of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan bought the team. He's only a member of the ruling family of Abu Dhabi emirate. The family worth is estimated to be about $500 billion.

Anyways, he bought Man City a couple years ago and like any good owner with endless resources, he started buying many great players. The problem is/was, many were reluctant to go to Man City because Man City isn't part of the Champions League. Some went because the money was good, but Man City couldn't quite attract all the great names. Now however, they are on the brink of being a part of the Champions League. Which is why tomorrow's game is so intriguing. If Tottenham wins, great. That's fun and its a good story for the kids. But if Man City wins, it could dramatically change the Premier League landscape. They could be at the top of the Premier League for years to come. Man City will be a team that has qualified for the Champions League, so all the great players will want to go to Man City because they will get to compete against the other great teams of Europe. On top of that though, the owner has the money for all of those players. If Tottenham wins, their stock will go up and they will probably land some new players. But no one has the resources like Man City. Their owner can go out and buy up all the great players without even noticing. Man City could go to town in the offseason and have their pick of any player. They have the money and they would now be part of the Champions League stage where many of the great players want to perform. There is really no excuse for a player to not want to join. Torres? David Villa? Buffon? Ribery? Robben? The list and possibilities are endless.

Thus, despite their losing history, it's a reason Man City is a "Team Y" and people might not be happy they get in. Man City has essentially bought themselves a birth into the Champions League and will continue to buy their success for many years to come. Doesn't always make a you a likable club. Essentially it just boils down to people being jealous that Sheik Mansour bin Ihavetonsofmoney Nayan isn't their owner, but still, its a reason to root against Man City.

Regardless of the winner, the big 4 are shaken up. It's a bummer for Liverpool fans and Torres lovers (like yours truly), but in this case, any change is good change. Especially when the change comes down to the (second to) last game. Couldn't be scripted any better.
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1 comment:

  1. I'm pulling for Tottenham because I think this is their last chance for a while. It seems inevitable that the spot will go to ManCity next year no matter what.


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