It’s been the biggest break to the football calendar since the Second World War, if not even since football itself began. With all the major European tournaments dropping like flies in a matter of only a couple of weeks and with much still uncertain, we take a look at who stands to benefit the most, and from football’s imposed break.
Tottenham Hotspur – winning
Spurs have without a doubt the most to gain from a suspension of Premier League activity. Not only does it give Jose Mourinho the chance to heal his forward line with Harry Kane, Son Heung-Min and Steven Bergwijn all on the sick list (as well as Moussa Sissoko), it also breaks a particularly bad run of form.
Knocked out of the FA Cup and Champions League on top of back to back defeats against potential top-four rivals Chelsea and Wolves in the league will have Jose Mourinho breathing a sigh of relief.
Considering they were about to meet an in-form Manchester United at the weekend, it’s hard to see anyone else in Europe benefiting more from a suspension of football right now.
Manchester United – losing out
Speaking of Spurs’ next opponents, Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s Man United have been in a rich vein of form as of late. The Norwegian has been presiding over his most successful spell since taking over back in December 2018.
The Red Devils went into the mid-season enforced postponement on the back of an eleven match undefeated streak in all competitions, the latest a 2-0 victory in the Manchester derby and a 0-5 demolition of LASK Linz in the Europa League.
Solskjær’s side will have been relishing the opportunity to get one over their former manager Mourinho, as well as taking a step further towards achieving a top-four finish.
United have been boosted by the return of a number of key players, the only positive is it gives star player Paul Pogba a better chance of recovering and making a return to first-team action when football resumes.
Lazio – losing out
Lazio have been the surprise package in Serie A this season and have been one of the most in-form sides amongst the top European leagues. Having reckoned themselves as solid title contenders with their 2-1 victory over Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan, and supplanted the Nerazzurri into second place, the team from the capital will be frustrated with the enforced suspension of play.
Lying only one point shy of defending champions Juventus, manager Simone Inzaghi will be looking to hit the ground running when proceedings resume – if they ever do.
Real Madrid – winning
It all looked to be going so well for Los Blancos, but despite taking bragging rights from Barcelona in the latest edition of el clásico and moving into top spot in La Liga, a shock 2-1 defeat away to Betis in the following fixture saw them slip to second again.
On top of that they suffered an unprecedented drubbing at the hands of oil-rich nouveau riche Man City on home turf in the Champions League. It remains difficult to claw back from.
The positives? It gives Real a chance to regroup, relax and prepare for a final onslaught to save their season – whenever that might be. Don’t write them off just yet.
Liverpool – losing out
It’s been the talk of the town for a few days now, but with Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool looking to romp home to their first domestic title in who knows how long, there’s been a spanner well and truly put in the works.
Nobody is doubting that Liverpool will win the title (whenever that may be). With a 25 point margin and only two wins away from making it a mathematical certainty, the league has ground to a halt at least until April, and you have to feel for them.
Some would argue the Liverpool fans have waited long enough, but it must be truly agonising, and the prospect of celebrating in an empty stadium would certainly put a dampener on proceedings.
You have to feel for them. Or do you?
Europe’s forgotten leagues – winning
As far as we know, at the time of writing, there are a number of leagues around the world still in action and are bound to take an increased amount of spotlight in such strange times.
Three of the biggest leagues still open for business are the Turkish Süper Lig, the Russian Premier League and the Ukrainian Premier League. Home to stand out names such as Galatasaray, Besiktas, Fenerbahce, CSKA Moscow, Zenit St Petersburg, Dynamo Kyiv and Shakhtar Donetsk, a quick glance at some of these leagues will definitely draw your attention.
The problem for many football fans who like to back the action with a bet is finding decent odds. But with many other leagues postponed, its left betting sites to place Turkey, Russia and Ukraine centre stage. The question then is only finding the best betting sites that will suit you most.
In such uncertain times, it remains to be seen who will come out strongest when football does eventually come back, but for now it’s a very different kettle of fish for many clubs around Europe.
- EFL Cup Final: Mourinho’s Last Chance to Salvage his Spurs Stint - April 19, 2021
- Are merged domestic leagues the way forward for smaller footballing nations? - April 13, 2021
- Dortmund Can Dare to Dream - March 18, 2021