The Business End of the Football Season

The joys and sorrows of the final games

By Dave Daniel

Leceister City: still top of the Premier League but a way to go
Leceister City: still top of the Premier League but a way to go

Both the English Premier League and the Australian League are heading into the so called business end. Will your team manage to make the play offs, qualify for Europe, escape the drop or just fade into mid-table obscurity knowing they are safe?

For many it is the most exciting part of the season, every match is a cup final, every goal is wildly celebrated and each defeat is painfully etched into the suffering faces of the supporters.

They love it, this is why they go along to the ground, to experience the emotions of enormous highs and lows before trudging home and trying not to inject gloom into the household while pondering the next campaign in a lower league with your best players gone. It hurts. 

Security ahead for the Phoenix

The Phoenix have  security about the the future
The Phoenix have security about the the future

The Phoenix of course cannot be relegated. They have a ten year licence with strings attached and before we go into the team situation it must be said that the club is in good hands. Rob Morrison did not panic, he is an astute businessman and negotiator and a 4 year plus 2 x 3 years deal subject to conditions was a great outcome.

While results this year have been disappointing, the owners and board have shown clearly they are here for the long term. On the pitch the Phoenix have struggled and changes are sure to come when the season ends.

Muscat heading off a good thing

Manny Muscat is already off to Melbourne City and although he is going for family reasons I am happy that he is leaving. Too many times he has been asleep at the wheel.

He was slow to react for Adelaide’s third goal as the ball was swept behind him and his elbow into the head of Pablo Sanchez as he slotted their 4th was something we’ve seen too many times and has no part in the game.

OK, maybe it was your shoulder Manny, but the intent was clear.  

Question marks about next season’s team

Will Roly still be there next  year?
Will Roly still be there next year?

Of the others, there must be question marks over the likes of Vince Lia, Matthew Ridenton and Alex Rodriguez. Will Roly Bonevacia stick around ? Tom Doyle has the ability to make the left back position his, but who is putting their hand up on the other flank ?

Apart from Bonevacia, we lack real class and presence in the central areas. Considering his age, Dylan Fox has done well, but it is no coincidence that since Ben Sigmund has been out through injury the Phoenix have had a wretched run of results.

Ernie Merrick will surely be shown the door if they fail to make the play offs next year. Almost without exception the team like having him in charge and many players have spoken of how he has improved them as individuals but the results indicate that most of the other

A League teams have raised their game and we are struggling to keep up.  Against Adelaide we had 56% possession and had 2 shots on target. As my school reports used to say . . . must try harder. 

Leicester could win the title

The Foxes are confident and have plenty of self-belief
The Foxes are confident and have plenty of self-belief

In the Premier League, Leicester City is 5 points clear and The Foxes have a great chance of pulling off the title. Their next game is at home to Newcastle United who are in their annual meltdown period and currently in the relegation zon

You see, Leicester have had momentum all season and no-one has been able to dent their self belief. They do not have the distractions of FA Cup or Champions League fixtures and ask any of the other top managers and they will tell you what a huge difference that makes.

Their next four opponents are Newcastle, Crystal Palace, Southampton and Sunderland. All winnable but it is often the sides that are fighting for survival that provide the shocks.

Leicester’s last three opponents are Manchester United, Everton and Chelsea. It will be compulsive viewing.

As for Man United, I don’t want to talk about them right now.

See you next time.