The link between live sports and Pay TV subscriptions is well established, and it’s no wonder that after more than a year of interrupted sporting schedules, operators in Europe are scrambling to make the most of their rights to the pandemic-delayed 2020 UEFA European Championship. Anyone hoping the Blades might take the Premier League by storm again and come within a whisker of qualifying for Europe would be sorely disappointed. The 2-0 win at Anfield in February finally ended their long wait for league success there, while Chelsea, 안전 토토사이트 Leicester, West Ham and Arsenal (twice) were also seen off. Four consecutive defeats at the start of the season set the tone and despite a promising run in February and March, culminating with a win at Liverpool, offering hope of survival their form just collapsed thereafter. The German has certainly made Chelsea watertight at the back and that has been the bedrock of their vastly improved form.
Manager Steve Bruce remains unpopular but a late upsurge in form means he’ll likely still be in situ come August. They still lack the strength in depth in wide attack, central midfield and central defence to win the title. There were many exceptional players – Ruben Dias formed an impregnable central defensive pairing with John Stones, Ilkay Gundogan stepped up in so many games, Kevin De Bruyne was his usual brilliant self, and Phil Foden enjoyed a breakthrough year. But there were plenty of other frustrating moment where Everton took one point when it might have been three, or inexplicably lost to Fulham or Burnley. Obviously the low point of the season came in again losing 9-0, this time at Old Trafford. Are you feeling guilt because you think you “should” spend more time with them? The Colorado Rapids are suddenly the hottest team in the MLS. If they round off the season by beating Villarreal to win the Europa League on Wednesday, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can rightly say he has the team heading in the right direction. Manchester City have been crowned Premier League champions for the third time in four seasons after Manchester United lost at home to Leicester.
More creativity from midfield or wide areas was required – striker Aleksandar Mitrovic ended up with the most assists, just four – while their defenders just looked out of their depth too often. Lopez, who is 2-4 with a 5.24 ERA in nine career starts against the Braves, escaped with a no-decision in his last encounter with Atlanta on April 13. He allowed six runs on nine hits in just four innings, but he received a lot of offensive support as the Marlins recorded a 14-8 victory. But it says a lot when your best performer in those closing weeks was Joe Willock, an Arsenal loanee. On the plus side, they finished above Arsenal in the table. On the negative side, they finished behind all of their other main rivals. One country setting the standard for the rest of us is Japan: over the course of the World Cup, fans of the East Asian team have captured the attention and hearts of the world, spending time after each match collecting rubbish left behind in the stands, even after their team were removed from the competition.
But an excellent finish to a testing season delivered a highly commendable third place finish and a return to Europe’s top competition for Jurgen Klopp’s team. You feel they could either surprise everyone and finish sixth next season or they could slide the other way and suffer relegation. The way they beat Fulham to secure their survival with games to spare showed how they deserved a sixth season in the Premier League. It really was absolutely impossible to envisage the same England side that beat Croatia, save for Reece James and Luke Shaw replacing Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier, until Dave Fraser sorted the graphic and wrote 590 words of fluff. The Catalan club celebrated 12 years since Lionel Messi scored in the Champions League final in Rome to beat Manchester United on Thursday, and they still expect him to stay for two more years. Fair enough, they’d made a poor start and taken a few hidings, but as it transpired Fireman Sam Allardyce wasn’t an upgrade at all as he suffered his first-ever relegation from the Premier League.
The unknown status of Kawhi Leonard makes this series somewhat hard to pick, but Paul George played excellent basketball in Leonard’s absence to close out the Jazz in the semifinals, and if he can continue to play at such a high level, the Clippers could be making their first-ever NBA Finals appearance. Argentina pushed forward as the game went on but Chile’s rearguard was solid, even without their talismanic holding midfielder Arturo Vidal, who missed out after contracting COVID-19. But they remain more efficient and functional than thrilling and you still expect a bit more from that very expensively-assembled forward line. With City only going to get stronger next season and Liverpool, Chelsea and others resurgent, major summer investment is required to keep pushing forward under Solskjaer. After convincing 3-0 and 3-1 victories in the opening two games, the Kookaburras made a fast start in front of a packed house in Palmerston North, going 2-0 up inside eight minutes. When Leeds scored seven goals and conceded seven in their first two matches back in September, everybody believed they would be a highly entertaining, but ultimately fleeting, feature of the top division.