Eight days after a World Cup, that might be best described as a tough sell. No other tournament, not even the Champions League, can offer quite the drama, quite the strain of the ultimate rounds of the World Cup. Its secret is its scarcity; every game carries the sense that it’s now or never, do or die, once in a lifetime. It’s a contest of a special order, a blockbuster in a world of soaps, and one that provides something that almost all leagues at the moment are far too stratified, far too hierarchical to offer frequently. Every World Cup game has an air not only of jeopardy, but of balance, too. The gap between the strong and the (allegedly) weak just isn’t quite such a chasm has it has been allowed to turn out to be in domestic soccer. The World Cup offers regular viewers a touch of something they don’t get — but may secretly want — from their more strange food regimen.
That just isn’t to say, in fact, that the Premier League, and the remaining of Europe’s major competitions, will trudge reluctantly to a conclusion. The stadiums shall be full on Boxing Day, because that’s what numerous people do on Boxing Day. There are still plentiful stories to transfix fans around Europe: Arsenal and Napoli, real outsiders, competing for championships; the continuing crisis at Barcelona; Liverpool and Manchester United attempting to attract recent investment, within the wake of the rise of Newcastle United; Chelsea’s attempts to purchase every player in existence. In February, the Champions League shall be back, too, which implies all of us have a minimum of three remarkable Real Madrid comebacks to admire.
To ask fans to select up with those plot lines so soon, though, feels just a little bit like a misstep. It invites a contrast that, unusually, just isn’t especially flattering for the Premier League, particularly, and risks casting the failings in European domestic soccer in a fairly sharper light than it would like. It should be eight days since what might come to be considered the very best soccer game of all time. It’s asking loads of Everton and Wolves to match that standard. Simply because you usually play on Boxing Day doesn’t, actually, mean you need to.
Up Next: A Break
After a World Cup that may, I believe, be fairly described as intense, I’m going to permit myself a one-week break from the newsletter over the vacation period. Consider it as The Times taking the Serie A way of living, and coming back, fully refreshed, in early January. We have already got a month’s value of correspondence that has gone unattended, but when you’ve any questions, or thoughts, or observations that you want to to throw into the combination, they’d be greater than welcome: Send them along to email@example.com.
And for those who don’t have any thoughts and would like to calm down over the following few days, that’s positive, too. I shall be endeavoring to have as few thoughts as possible. I hope that those of you who have fun benefit from the time with family, or friends, or people you recognize from Twitter, and I hope that those of you who don’t decide to have fun have a beautiful time, too.
All the very best,