Updated: November 10, 2015 5:41:40 pm
It was quite a weekend in both football (in England) and politics (in Bihar). And things did not go as per script in both cases, with those expected to do well often coming a cropper and dark horses riding to glorious victories. So what better way to look back at the Premiership weekend than through the shades of the Bihar elections, synchronising the fates and feelings of the teams and managers with those of the parties and personalities that slugged it out both in England and in Bihar?
Jurgen Klopp feeling like Narendra Modi
The man in charge of Liverpool must have ended the weekend feeling a bit like the Indian Prime Minister. Like Modi, Klopp too rode into the job on a truckload of goodwill, a formidable track record and a lot of personal charisma. And like the Prime Minister, he too has proved to be a master of talking to the media and the public. And yet, as he watched his team succumb 1-2 at home to a well-organised Crystal Palace after beating defending champions Chelsea 3-1, he must have wondered just what he could do to get some consistency into a team that has so much promise and potential on paper and yet is subjected to the strangest of lapses. We think the Prime Minister might be harbouring similar thoughts, albeit in a slightly different context.
Chelsea/Jose Mourinho feeling like BJP
Being a defending champion is tough enough, but when you are perceived as aggressive and arrogant, it does not really help. And that must be the feeling pervading both Stamford Bridge and the BJP headquarters. Just as the party in power is wondering what is going wrong at the state level, so are the defending champions in the EPL wondering why every match sees a new part fall off the vehicle that dominated everything before it last season. And in spite of fighting words from their manager, Jose Mourinho, the London Blues found themselves getting even closer to the drop zone with a shock 1-0 defeat to Stoke City.
Louis van Gaal feeling like Nitish Kumar
They kept saying that he had got his tactics wrong and was betting on the wrong people, but be it the boss of the RJD or the man in the gaffer’s seat at Old Trafford, at the end of the day, both ended up with broad smiles. While Nitish Kumar stunned everyone by leading the Grand Alliance to victory in Bihar, Van Gaal stole the thunder at the weekend when his United team closed the gap on the leaders Man City and Arsenal, both of whom dropped points – Arsenal not too surprisingly being held by a spirited Spurs side, City were surprised by a stubborn Aston Villa. Van Gaal’s team on the other hand notched up an efficient 2-0 win over West Brom to come within touching distance of the leaders. Judge these men carefully could well be the moral of the weekend’s story in politics as well as football.
Leicester City/ Ranieri feeling like RJD/ Lalu Prasad Yadav
They were written off last year and expected to drop down from the Premier League and maybe from thence into oblivion. But both Leicester City and the RJD have proved to be far more resilient than the Doomsday Pundits would have had us believe. And their resurgence stems in part from their amazingly charismatic if occasionally eccentric leaders at the helm – Claudio
“Tinkerman” Ranieri at the English Club and the inimitable Lalu Prasad Yadav in Bihar. Just as many had predicted that Lalu Yadav was a spent force when he lost the chief ministership, so too had Ranieri’s managerial obituary been written when he was sacked as Chelsea boss before the Mourinho era. Today, both are back – Leicester continued to remain in third spot just a point behind Manchester City and Arsenal.
Aston Villa feeling like Congress
Both Aston Villa and the Congress entered the weekend with next to no expectations, considering the odds they were up against – Villa were facing the marauding league leaders, Manchester City, while the Congress knew it had no realistic chance of defeating either the BJP or the Grand Alliance. But by the time the dust settled at Villa Park and in Patna, both had ample reason to smile. Aston Villa seemed reinvigorated by their new manager, Rene Garde and held the league leaders to a goalless draw, and the Congress exceeded all expectations by winning 27 seats in Bihar. Neither side is guaranteed long term glory by these results (Villa remain bottom of the EPL, and the Congress is a shadow of what it once was), but that said, both will feel that this could be the start of a revival.
Bournemouth feeling like the Left
They get full marks for endeavour, sweating their socks off time and again. But alas, this effort is not reflected in the points or seats tally. We could be talking of the hard-working newly promoted Bournemouth side or the Left parties in Bihar. Bournemouth ran their hearts out and created chance after chance but were left with nothing as Newcastle scored the only goal in their encounter. Similarly the Left campaigned spiritedly in Bihar but when the results came, the CPI and CPI (M) drew blanks while the CPI (ML) got two seats.
Arsenal, Man City feeling like the Media Pollsters
It was not the sort of election that opinion poll pundits would like to remember. Most of them got it terribly wrong, in spite of formidable track records and reputations. And so did the men at the top of the Premier League. While Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City failed to break down a
very resilient Aston Villa side, Arsene Wenger’s Gunners found themselves at the receiving end for long periods against a Spurs side spearheaded by a revived Harry Kane. Contrary to predictions, neither team got full points, and while they remained on top of the table, their leads had been slashed. A bit like the media pollsters who live to fight another day, but with their credibility dented.
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