European Football Roundup 4/8/2020

The domestic season in England came to a close with an enjoyable FA Cup final between London heavyweights Chelsea and Arsenal, both sides with young former players at the helm.

Christian Pulisic got the match off to a great start for the Blues with an early goal, but after that everything that could go wrong for them went wrong. First, captain Azpilicueta was forced off injured, then scorer Pulisic pulled up with a hamstring injury when through on goal. His replacement, Pedro, later went off with a dislocated shoulder after Kovacic had picked up a highly controversial second yellow card, Xhaka making an absolute meal of a nothing challenge.

In the meantime, Aubameyang had added another brace to his two from the semi-final to once again be Arsenal’s saviour, securing a 14th FA Cup title for the Gunners and a place in Europe at Wolves’ expense. Nuno’s boys will have to win the Europa League if they want to be playing abroad next season.

Brentford and Fulham will face off today to see who will join Leeds and West Brom in the Premiership next season in the match dubbed the richest in football. It’s been nearly eighty years since Brentford last dined at the top table. (TABLE)

If ever a scudetto was undeserved it was this one, Juve’s 36th. They ended the season with woeful losses to Cagliari and Lazio, as Inter finished just a point behind. Dreadful refereeing is the only reason they scraped home, and Sarri is unlikely to survive their poor end to the season, the bias of officials unable to blind Bianconeri spectators to the obvious deficiencies of their side.

Atalanta have been guilty of taking their eye off the ball after the scandal that was their win draw against Juventus and if they’d kept going to the end they may have caught them. Or maybe Ronaldo would have been given a few more penalties. Who knows? As it was, Inter swept them aside in their final game play-off for second, La Dea atypically unable to recover from an early goalkeeping howler.

Lazio ended up fourth after a defeat to Napoli, but not before Ciro Immobile had added a record-equalling 36th goal to his season’s tally to take the title of capocannoniere. Who says there are no goals in Italy? Certainly not Lecce. They scored 52 this season while shipping 85 as they slipped down a division after a battling 4-3 loss to Parma. Genoa maintained their Serie A status with a comfortable 3-0 win over Hellas.

Benevento and Crotone will be back in the top flight next season and will be joined by one of Spezia, Pordenone, Cittadella, Chievo, Empoli or Frosinone once the lengthy and complicated play-offs are done and dusted. (TABLE)

A largely forgettable season abandoned halfway through due to coronavirus came to a turgid end with the last ever Coupe de la Ligue final, contested by Lyon and PSG. Both sides looked flat due to a lack of football. Neither was able to muster much in the way of chances, meaning the match was decided on penalties after a very late red card for OL. Both sides scored their regulation five before Bertrand Traore saw his effort saved and Pablo Sarabia kept his cool to allow the Parisians to complete yet another domestic treble. Yawn. (TABLE)

League finished. Winners: Real Madrid / Champions League: Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla / Europa League : Villarreal, Real Sociedad, Granada / Relegated: Leganes, Mallorca, Espanyol / Promoted: Huesca, Cadiz / Copa del Rey Winners: Undetermined / Top Scorer: Lionel Messi (TABLE)

League finished. Winners: Bayern Munich / Champions League: Borussia Dortmund, Leipzig, Borussia Monchengladbach / Europa League : Bayer Leverkusen, Wolfsburg, Hoffenheim / Relegated: Fortuna Dusseldorf, Paderborn / Promoted: Arminia Bielefeld, Stuttgart / DFB Pokal Winners: Bayern Munich / Top Scorer: Robert Lewandowski (TABLE)

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