Manchester United Wins Their 20th English League Title: Are They The Best Team Of The English Premier League Era Or Simply The Most Consistent?
Manchester United defeated Aston Villa 3-0 Monday night to secure their record 20th English Football title, and 13th title in the English Premier League era. Since the Premier League's inception in 1993 just five teams have ever won the title, and other then United, no team has ever won it more then three times. This year they not only won it with four games to spare, but they also have a chance to break Chelsea’s record for most points in a single season. What make their success all the more astonishing, is that Sir Alex Ferguson has rebuilt his United side several times over their run of 13 league titles, with his current side winning their fifth title in the past seven years. With the great success that this current side is having, it is time to ask if this current Manchester United team is the best team ever in the Premier League era, or is it simply the most consistent.
Fox Sports has provided a major change to the status quo for American soccer fans Tuesday morning by announcing that Gus Johnson will become the new lead play-by-play man for the networks soccer coverage. Johnson, who has developed a cult following due to his excitement and knack for calling many close NCAA tournament games for CBS, will call his first match for Fox next week when Manchester United face Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League. Johnson will also call several other Champions League and Premier League matches for Fox, including the FA Cup Final and the Champions League final; with the ultimate goal being for Johnson to be Fox’s lead play-by-play voice for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups.
Over his career Gus Johnson has collected many fans who love the enthusiasm and excitement that he brings to every broadcast, regardless of who is playing. However, the move is a tremendously risky one for Fox, as American soccer fans demand the best, and can be very critical.
The New York Rangers entered the lockout-shortened 2013 NHL regular season as one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. After just two games the hype has all but turned into nerves after the team dropped their opening two games to the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins; two teams that many consider to be the two best in the Eastern Conference. It wasn’t just that the Rangers lost their opening two games; it’s that in those two games the Rangers have looked flat, out of sync, and for many stretches of play, just downright awful. The Rangers first two games were filled with the entire team making too many mistakes, both on the ice and in their heads, while taking way too many penalties to kill any momentum they may have found.
As many people have pointed out, this is why they have pre-season games, for teams to work out the kinks and get the mental mistakes out of the way.
When you think of the best football players in the world you do not rattle off many names before you get to Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney. It would be hard to argue that Rooney is not one of the most talented goal scorers in the world, after-all, he has 206 goals in all competitions with Manchester United and Everton, as well as 32 more for England. Over his 11 year career, Rooney has shown his ability to score all different types of goals, whether it be a clinical finish, deadly shot, great header, or just a downright spectacular “how-did-he-do-that” finish. But despite being one of the greatest English goal scorers to ever play the game, the summer arrival of former Arsenal striker Robin van Persie to Old Trafford has left Rooney playing the role of sidekick, rather than team leader. For anyone with an ego, which is almost every footballer on the planet, this would usually not end well, but for Rooney, playing van Persie’s sidekick has become his favorite role of his career.
The other day as I was listening to sports radio in New York, the topic of conversation came up about how the Mike D’Antoni New York Knicks era was considered a massive failure. While Michael Kay, one of the hosts disagreed, citing that originally D’Antoni was never put in a position to succeed; fans were calling into the show to lambast the former Knicks, and current Lakers coach. While D’Antoni never won a playoff game with the Knicks, and in the end ended up quitting on the team, the Mike D’Antoni era in New York was far from a failure, in fact, it accomplished everything it set out to.
On the radio, Michael Kay argued that for the first two years of his tenure as Knicks Head Coach, D’Antoni was never even given a chance to succeed. Team president Donnie Walsh was brought in to New York with one job, to clear cap space so the Knicks could make a run at Lebron James during the summer of 2010. As Kay said, every time the Knicks found a player that was becoming productive under the D’Antoni system, they would trade him to clear cap space, therefore D’Antoni never had a good team at his disposal.