There's an outside chance that Manchester United could still finish in the top three in the 2015/16 Premier League. Who knows, the football club could even collect some silverware this season, with both the FA Cup and the Europa League still up for grabs.
Still, by most metrics, the 2015/16 season has not been a terrific one for Man United. The Red Devils have failed to return to their previous heights of Premier League dominance, even with last season's champions (Chelsea FC) flaming out of the title race early on. Rumors about Louis van Gaal exiting the job of manager-either by way of sacking or resignation-have also been commonplace this season. Even Adidas, United's kit manufacturer, acknowledged how boring the team's soccer squad has looked out on the field this season.
The Birth of a Star?
Regardless of these factors, though, there have still been a few bright spots in Manchester United's 2015/16 campaign.
When Manchester United faced off against Midtjylland for the first leg of the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League, in many ways, the game was an important one. The Red Devils were looking to save face, after a disappointing season in the Premier League and an early exit from the Champions League; these troubles have left the once-dominant English heavyweights looking almost weak. The Europa League could prove to be United's last shot at a trophy for the 2015/16 campaign.
And yet, there was a least one thing missing from United's big round of 32 game: Manchester United fans.
Leicester City lost a game last weekend, falling 1-2 against Arsenal, but the defeat barely seemed to matter. The Foxes remain the highest ranked team in the Premier League, and as the weeks go on, it's becoming increasingly probable that they will at very least contend for the top-flight title in 2016. Such a victory would be a game-changer for the EPL, not because this has been a great or even particularly good season for English soccer, but because it would further challenge the idea of the Premier League's virtual "class system."
Since the English Premier League began with the 1992/93 football season, the division has crowned 23 champions. The 2015/16 campaign will mark the 24th Premier League winner. However, despite the fact that this league has now persisted for nearly a quarter of a century, the number of different soccer clubs to actually hoist the trophy remains a very small figure. Indeed, 23 seasons in, only five different teams have won the Premier
It was a rule change that, in hindsight, should really have been introduced sooner. When Uefa decided in 2014 that future winners of the Europa League would automatically qualify for the following season's Champions League, the tournament was given a new dimension and its participants another incentive to take it seriously.
Sevilla were the first club to benefit from the amendment, with their 3-2 triumph over Ukranian outfit Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in the final last May allowing them to enter the group stage of Europe's primary club competition this term despite only finishing fifth in La Liga. The Rojiblancos, who have won the tournament in each of the last two years and four times since 2006, are in a similar position this time around, too: ahead of the first leg of their round of 32 tie with Molde on Thursday, Sevilla's best chance of qualifying for the Champions League is by winning the Europa League once again.
You can't blame Manchester City for jumping at the chance to hire Pep Guardiola as their new head coach for the 2015/16 season. The Spaniard is viewed as arguably the greatest football manager alive, and judging by his work at FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich, he is going to do great things in the Premier League.
Still, Man City's current manager, Manuel Pellegrini, deserves a thank you from fans and a commendation from the club for turning the Sky Blues into one of the best squads in English soccer. Since taking over at Etihad Stadium in 2013, Pellegrini has coached the football club to one Premier League title, one runner-up finish in the Premier League, and one League Cup. He's kept his win percentage right around a very respectable 64%, and could deliver yet another top-flight title for Manchester City this season. Under any other circumstances, Man City probably would have adopted the "if it ain't
Has there ever been a Premier League season as tumultuous and unpredictable as this one? Starting with Chelsea's complete and utter collapse and continuing with surprisingly limp campaigns from both Liverpool and Manchester United, the 2015/16 English Premier League has been anything but a foregone conclusion. In fact, 25 weeks into the competition (and with only 13 games to go until the end of the season), the EPL title is still anyone's game.
Leicester City, previously part of the Premier League's so-called "middle class," have been one of the major game-changers this season. Spurred forward by a record-breaking scoring run from Jamie Vardy, the Foxes have been hanging around
There may be a few other kit manufacturers on the battlefield-like Puma or the newly involved New Balance-but for the most part, Adidas and Nike are the rulers of the football kit market. Ahead of the 2015/16 season, these two sporting gear companies held nine of the 11 most valuable kit manufacturing contracts in all of soccer. Judging just on contract price, Adidas was winning the battle at the start of the season, holding all four of the most valuable kit deals (Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, and Real Madrid). Nike's top soccer properties, meanwhile-Barcelona, Manchester City, and Paris Saint Germain-aren't quite as high-grossing, since those deals were all signed two or more years ago.
But what about aesthetic and performance? Whose jerseys look better this season and whose kits have been worn by the better-performing football clubs? Read on for Soccer Box's rundown of who made the better football kits for the 2015/16 campaign.
A year ago, by the time the fifth round of the 2014/15 FA Cup rolled around, only three heavyweight Premier League clubs had survived the eliminations. Those three teams-Arsenal, Liverpool, and Manchester United-had managed to avoid an upset-ridden fourth round that had sent Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, and Southampton (among others) packing. Arsenal went on to win the tournament, beating Aston Villa in the finals for a second consecutive FA Cup trophy.
This year, things could hardly be more different. Most of the football clubs to qualify for the round of 16 in the 2015/16 FA Cup are big names from the Premier League. The fourth round of the tournament-played this past weekend, in place of regular league competition-saw Arsenal, both Manchester teams, Chelsea, Everton, and Crystal Palace all earning spots in the final 16. Furthermore, most of those soccer
The 2015/16 football campaign is barely half done at this point, and the English Premier League has already been a bloodbath in terms of management shakeups. Liverpool sacked Brendan Rodgers; Aston Villa fired Tim Sherwood; Sunderland dismissed Dick Advocaat; Meanwhile, other managers like Louis van Gaal (Manchester United) and Steve McClaren (Newcastle United) could very well not last until the end of the season in their current positions.
The Premier League's turnover rate has been modest compared to that of the Championship, too. Indeed, England's second professional football tier has sacked a combined total of 10 managers so far this season. In fact, according to the LMA
It stands to reason that Adidas wants to see results at Manchester United. The sportswear company is, after all, paying the English football club £75 million per season for an association and kit manufacturing deal. At the beginning of the month, Adidas chief executive Herbet Heiner even went on record, suggesting that, while he was satisfied with the Manchester United branding deal, the club's "current playing style" wasn't exactly what his company would have hoped for this year.
Heiner's comments resonated with Man United fans, who continue to support the club despite what has been deemed a "boring" play style. Current manager Louis van Gaal, along with a soccer squad that has no clear or undisputed star, are both factors that have been blamed for a sleepy season at Old Trafford.