Football Starter Pack...Let's watch football

English Premier League Being the crazy fanatic I am, I have been asked many times by my friends to teach them how to “watch” football! So here is my attempt to do it. I shall call this the football starter pack and these are the things that you need to watch football. Photo by IAN Kington/AFP/Getty images 1) A Hotstar account. Trust me, its worth it. 2) A team to support. Without supporting a team, watching football is like RCB after six games in the IPL 2019, Pointless. Let me make point 2 easy for you so that you can make an informed decision of which team to support. Be careful as this decision will define your life because once chosen, you cant change the team. Its frowned upon in the footballing world. In no particular order, these are the most popular teams in England (I’m sticking to England because it is the most entertaining league in the world, so you may not find Real Madrid or Barcelona in this list). Being an MBA graduate, I will use the popular SWOT technique to analyse each team. 1) Arsenal Strength: History. If you know the BCG Matrix, then Arsenal is the cash cow. They milk their glory days one and a half decades ago to convince others that they are still a force to be reckoned with. They have a strong legacy and supporting them will give you hope that some time in the future, they will return to glory. Weakness: Their current form. And by this, I don’t mean the past few months. It is the past few years, to be exact. They just haven’t won anything that has really mattered in the past 3 years. Opportunity: Their new coach Mikel Arteta, an ex-Arsenal player has breathed new life into the starving club. This may be the opportunity for exciting youngsters to be a part of the main team. Threat: Their management. They have proved to be miserly in investing in the club ever since they spent a fortune on their new stadium back in 2006. Probably this is one of the main reasons Arsenal has stagnated. 2) Leicester City Strength: Their 2015-16 season. They showed the world the ultimate underdog story when they won the league with the odds 5000-1. They are loved by all and are the darlings of EPL. Weakness: They are not a powerhouse unlike other clubs in this list. They may play a season very well and may fall into oblivion the next season itself. Opportunity: With an excellent manager in Brendan Rodgers, they are starting to attract young and promising players from across the country. Threat: They are still not considered a big team in England. If a player excels in the team, he might attract attention from bigger clubs and might leave Leicester. The core of their successful 2015-16 team are in various other clubs now. 3) Liverpool Strength: Their manager Jurgen Klopp. He is the epitome of the imaginary boss who we want. Friendly, Funny and yet brings the best of us, and most importantly, makes us love our work. Weakness: Luck. Yes, it’s rotten for them. This article may not be able to explain this part but once you start watching football, you will know what I mean. Opportunity: With their recent success being tremendous in magnitude, they have been the preferred choice for a lot of emerging footballers. Threat: Coronavirus. Liverpool are on the verge of winning this year’s EPL but the pandemic has halted football all over the world. It may be too late to do anything about it, but the pandemic may just elude Liverpool of their first league title in 30 years. 4) Chelsea Strength: Their youth academy. This club has one of the best youth training systems in England and has nurtured several young stars. Weakness: Lack of stability. Chelsea has the tendency to hire and fire managers and are always looking for short term success. Opportunity: With ex-Chelsea player Frank Lampard as the manager currently, youngsters from Chelsea’s youth academy are getting more playtime than ever before. This helps the club to invest less on other well established players from other teams. Threat: Their loan system. Chelsea has the tendency to “loan out” or sending their players to other teams temporarily because they may not be able to get more playtime at Chelsea. While this is a common practice across all teams, Chelsea loans out an extensively large number of players who on many occasions may never come back to the club. 5) Tottenham Hotspurs Strength: They have a core team of players. These players have played together for at least 2-3 years and know each other very well. Weakness: Lack of squad depth. Their strength is their weakness as well. They are over reliant on their core players and if any one of them is injured, they don’t have players of the same caliber to replace them. Opportunity: Their new manager Jose Mourinho who was hired in November 2019. He is a proven winner and may bring Spurs a trophy they are long craving for (well, some trophy atleast). Threat: Jose Mourinho’s managerial tactics being outdated. Despite a proven winner, he has failed to make a mark in Spurs. Is he outdated? Only time will tell. 6) Manchester City Strength: Money. They are the richest club in the country and can literally buy any player for their team. Weakness: Injuries. Despite having a lot of good players, their defenders are often injured and they tend to lose a lot of games due to their bad defense. Opportunity: They have the opportunity to win the Champions League (a tournament where the elite teams from across Europe participate) this year (if at all it continues after the coronavirus outbreak) as the other English teams (Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea) are either eliminated or on the verge of elimination. Threat: Jurgen Klopp. Liverpool’s manager has built a formidable team that has outclassed the seemingly unbeatable Manchester City team. 7) Manchester United Strength: They are the comeback kings. Well, they were, a decade back. No matter what the scenario was, the vintage United team used to win from losing situations. Despite not being so vintage now, they still have that spirit in them. Weakness: Lack of good investments and bad judgement by the management. However, of late, the club has bought a few good players who are making a mark. Opportunity: With their current form on the rise, they can have a good end to the season, assuming the season resumes (you know why). Threat: They are on the verge of losing their “big club” status. They were considered as the best club in the early 2000s but now heir old rivals Manchester City have become more relevant than them as United have failed to win anything of big importance in the past decade. Football is best enjoyed with a team to support. So, go ahead newbies, pick a team and start watching! About the Author The post is written by Vignesh . Vignesh is graduate from IIM Visakhapatnam who loves to watch Football and Cricket. He is a huge fan of CSK, Chelsea FC and Chennaiyin FC. He follows Tennis and Kabaddi as well and is an ardent supporter of Roger Federer

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